What To Expect When You're Expecting Robots: The Future of Human-Robot Collaboration

Laura Major Prof. Julie A Shah
Publication date: October 13, 2020

The next generation of robots will be truly social, but can we make sure that they play well in the sandbox?
Most robots are just tools. They do limited sets of tasks subject to constant human control. But a new type of robot is coming. These machines will operate on their own in busy, unpredictable public spaces. They’ll ferry deliveries, manage emergency rooms, even grocery shop. Such systems could be truly collaborative, accomplishing tasks we don’t do well without our having to stop and direct them.
This makes them social entities, so, as robot designers Laura Major and Julie Shah argue, whether they make our lives better or worse is a matter of whether they know how to behave.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting Robots offers a vision for how robots can survive in the real world and how they will change our relationship to technology. From teaching them manners, to robot-proofing public spaces, to planning for their mistakes, this book answers every question you didn’t know you needed to ask about the robots on the way.

About the authors

Julie Shah is an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT and the Associate Dean of Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing in the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, and Head, Interactive Robotics Group.

Laura Major (MIT SM ’05) is CTO of Motional, a self-driving car venture supported by automotive companies Hyundai and Aptiv.