Prominent robot ethics questions focus on liability and privacy concerns in the face of increasingly autonomous technology. A lesser-discussed issue is the emergence and effect of robots that are designed to interact with humans on a social level. Studies have begun to establish a tendency to perceive social robots differently than we do other objects. As more and more robotic companions enter into our lives and homes, our inclination to project life-like qualities onto robots could have some societal implications.
Kate Darling is an IP Research Specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and a Ph.D. candidate in Intellectual Property and Law & Economics at the ETH Zurich. After surviving law school, she went on to pursue her passion for innovation policy at the intersection of law and technology. Her work has covered economic issues in copyright and patent systems, and she now also increasingly writes and lectures about robotics and law, with a particular interest in social and ethical issues.