Prof. Julie A Shah

H N Slater Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Department Head / Aeronautics and Astronautics
Bisplinghoff Faculty Fellow

Primary DLC

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

MIT Room: 31-245

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Autonomous Systems
Human-Robot Collaboration
AI Planning and Scheduling
Interactive Robotics for Aerospace, Medical, and Manufacturing

Research Summary

Shah and her team at the Interactive Robotics Group conduct research that aims to imagine the future of work by designing collaborative robot teammates that enhance human capability. She is expanding the use of human cognitive models for artificial intelligence and has translated her work to manufacturing assembly lines, health-care applications, transportation, and defense. In 2020, Shah co-authored the popular book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Robots,” which explores the future of human-robot collaboration.

As an expert on how humans and robots interact in the workforce, Shah was named co-director of the Work of the Future Initiative, a successor group of MIT’s Task Force on the Work of the Future, alongside Ben Armstrong, executive director and research scientist at MIT’s Industrial Performance Center. In March of this year, Shah was named a co-leader of the Working Group on Generative AI and the Work of the Future, alongside Armstrong and Kate Kellogg, the David J. McGrath Jr. Professor of Management and Innovation. The group is examining how generative AI tools can contribute to higher-quality jobs and inclusive access to the latest technologies across sectors.

Recent Work

  • Video


    February 28, 2024Conference Video Duration: 46:29
    Generative AI, Ethics and Work of the Future 


    October 25, 2023Conference Video Duration: 43:10
    AI Ethics and Ethical Computing Platform 


    May 5, 2022Conference Video Duration: 29:48
    Julie Shah
    Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics


    March 24, 2021Conference Video Duration: 27:24
    Julie Shah
    Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics


    January 22, 2021Conference Video Duration: 21:13
    Julie Shah
    Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    Julie Shah - 2019 RD Conference

    November 20, 2019Conference Video Duration: 39:45

    Enhancing Human Capability with Intelligent Machine Teammates

    Every team has top performers -- people who excel at working in a team to find the right solutions in complex, difficult situations. These top performers include nurses who run hospital floors, emergency response teams, air traffic controllers, and factory line supervisors. While they may outperform the most sophisticated optimization and scheduling algorithms, they cannot often tell us how they do it. Similarly, even when a machine can do the job better than most of us, it can’t explain how. In this talk I share recent work investigating effective ways to blend the unique decision-making strengths of humans and machines. I discuss the development of computational models that enable machines to efficiently infer the mental state of human teammates and thereby collaborate with people in richer, more flexible ways. Our studies demonstrate statistically significant improvements in people’s performance on military, healthcare and manufacturing tasks, when aided by intelligent machine teammates.

    2019 MIT Research and Development Conference