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Robots role in humanity to be a core topic at TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics


At least since Isaac Asimov posited the Three Law of Robotics, many have wondered whether robots would ultimately help or harm humanity. Or maybe do a little of both. Humanity still has time to shape the answer to that question, and we’re pleased to announce three speakers who have distinctive, grounded perspectives on how to secure a world made better (not worse) by robots.

These speakers join our agenda for TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics, our first one-day event dedicated to discussing the core topics facing the robotics industry. General admission tickets are currently available for purchase though seating is very limited.

The event takes place on July 17 in Boston at MIT’s stunning Kresge Auditorium. It will be a great time and we hope to see you there.


David Barrett is a professor of mechanical engineering at Olin College, where has helped pioneer new approaches to training future robotics engineers and advocated the development of “eusocial” robotics – a robotic sensibility driven to act for the common good. Prof. Barrett has more than 25 years experience in robotics, including VP of engineering at  iRobot, director of the Walt Disney Imagineering Corporation, research engineer at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and technical director at Draper Laboratory. He has a PhD in ocean engineering from MIT.

David Edelman is leading the Project on Technology, the Economy, and National Security (TENS) at the MIT, which is a joint position between MIT CSAIL and MIT’s Center for International Studies. Edelman recently left government, where he served for the past seven years in a variety of roles, including Special Assistant to President Barack Obama on issues of the digital economy and national security, including the impact of robotics on the economy and cyberwarfare. He has a PhD in international relations from the University of Oxford.

Brian Pierce is the director of the DARPA Information Innovation Office (I2O) and has 30 years of experience developing advanced technologies in the aerospace/defense industry. Prior to joining DARPA, he was a technical director in Space and Airborne Systems at the Raytheon Company. Dr. Pierce earned a PhD  in chemistry at  the University of California at Riverside. He has more than 20 U.S. patents.


TC Sessions: Robotics

July 17, 2017 @ MIT’s Kresge Auditorium

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM
Opening Remarks from Matthew Panzarino

9:05 AM – 9:25 AM
What’s Next at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory with Daniela Rus (MIT CSAIL)

9:25 AM – 9:50 AM
Is Venture Ready for Robotics? with Manish Kothari (SRI), Josh Wolfe (Lux Capital) and Helen Zelman (Lemnos)

10:10 AM – 10:35 AM
Collaborative Robots At Work with Clara Vu (VEO),  Jerome Dubois (6 River Systems) and Holly Yanco (UMass Lowell)

10:35 AM – 10:55 AM
Coffee Break

10:55 AM – 11:20 AM
Building A Robotics Startup from Angel to Exit with Helen Greiner (CyPhy Works), Andy Wheeler (GV) and Elaine Chen (Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship)

11:20 AM – 11:30 AM
Soft Robotics (Carl Vause) Demo

11:30 AM – 11:55 AM
Re-imagineering Disney Robotics with Martin Buehler (Disney Imagineering)

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Lunch and Workshops TBA

1:00 PM – 1:20 PM
Robots at Amazon with Tye Brady (Amazon Robotics)

1:20 PM – 1:55 PM
When Robots Fly with Buddy Michini (Airware), Andreas Raptopoulos (Matternet) and Anil Nanduri (Intel)

1:55 PM – 2:15 PM
Packbot, Roomba and Beyond with Colin Angle (iRobot)

2:15 PM – 2:35 PM
Building Better Bionics Samantha Payne (Open Bionics) and TBA

2:35 PM – 2:45 PM
Demo TBA

2:45 PM – 3:05 PM
The Future of Industrial Robotics with Sami Atiya (ABB)

3:05 PM – 3:25 PM
Coffee Break

3:25 – 3:35 PM
Demo TBA

3:35 PM – 4:15 PM
Robotics Startup Pitch-off (Judges and contestants TBA)

4:15 PM – 4:35 PM
The Age Of The Household Robot with Gill Pratt (Toyota Research Institute)

4:35 PM – 4:55 PM
Building The Robot Brain with Heather Ames (Neurala) and Brian Gerky (OSRF) and TBA

4:55 PM – 5:20 PM
Robots, AI and Humanity with David Barrett (Olin), David Edelman (MIT) and Dr. Brian Pierce (DARPA) and TBA

5:20 PM – 5:25 PM
Wrap Up 

5:25 PM -7:00 PM
Reception  



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