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How to think about robots

18 August 2021
6.30pm – 7.30pm AEST
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Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances this event will be POSTPONED. We will endeavour to reschedule this event and will be in touch as soon as possible. Please feel free to get in touch via our contact details below with any questions.

Whilst we endeavour to reschedule this event, register your interest below so that you can be notified about event updates.

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The robots are coming! Nowhere is safe. Not our factories, fields, offices, cars or even our homes.  

But, instead of throwing up our hands in horror, maybe it’s time to start viewing robots in the same way we might see a horse, a dog or even a carrier pigeon. Perhaps our robotic comrades will enrich - rather than replace - our skills and abilities? After all, humans have worked happily side-by-side with our animal associates for centuries.  

Join Kate Darling, a world-renowned expert in robot ethics from MIT's Media Lab, and author of The New Breed: What Our History with Animals Reveals about Our Future with Robots, in conversation with UNSW's AI guru Toby Walsh. Find out how our relationships with robots may end up mirroring, not just our relationships with animals, but other people, too. Watch them unpack some of the biggest questions about our robot-filled future. A future that is much less black and white than the headlines would have you believe.  

This event is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and supported by Inspiring Australia as a part of National Science Week. Head here to see full program.

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The Centre for Ideas’ new series of international conversations brings the world to Sydney. Each digital event brings a leading UNSW thinker together with their international peer or hero to explore inspiration, new ideas and discoveries.


This event will be available on the UNSW Centre for Ideas websiteFacebook, and UNSW YouTube channel.

A link to watch the event will be sent on the event day to registered attendees. 


For event enquiries or to discuss your access requirements, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9065 0485. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9065 0485. Internet relay users, visit, then ask for 02 9065 0485. 

Kate Darling

Kate Darling

Dr Kate Darling is a leading expert in robot ethics. She is a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, where she investigates social robotics and conducts experimental studies on human-robot interactions. Kate explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines, seeking to influence technology design and policy direction. Her writing and research anticipate many of the most difficult questions that lawmakers, engineers, and the wider public will need to address as human-robot relationships evolve in the coming decades.  Her most recent book The New Breed: What Our History with Animals Reveals about Our Future with Robots, is a bold and challenging exploration on thinking differently about robots.

Toby Walsh

Toby Walsh

Toby Walsh is a Laureate Fellow and Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW Sydney. He also leads the Algorithmic Decision Theory group at CSIRO Data61. He continues to play a leading role at the United Nations, and elsewhere, on the campaign to ban lethal autonomous weapons (aka "killer robots"). His recent book 2062: The World that AI Made, explores the future in which robotics experts predict we will have built machines as intelligent as us.