Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA


Dr. Kate Darling

Researcher, MIT Media Lab


Francisco Mendoza


moderated by

Debra Wise

Theater Artist

Her— Robot ethics

Join us for this special Science on Screen presentation of Her, featuring a post-screening panel discussion with MIT research scientist Dr. Kate Darling, a leading expert on robot ethics, and Machine Learning playwright Francisco Mendoza. Debra Wise, co-founder of Catalyst Collaborative@MIT, will moderate.

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA

Film Synopsis

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need.

In the near future, a sensitive and soulful man earns a living by writing personal letters for other people. Left heartbroken after his marriage ends, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) forms an unlikely bond with a new operating system that has the capacity to develop into an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. He starts the program and meets the voice behind the OS1, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Though friends initially, the relationship soon deepens into love. Nominated for five Academy Awards, this film marks director-producer Spike Jonze’s solo screenwriting debut.

About the Speaker

Dr. Kate Darling is a leading expert in robot ethics and policy. She’s a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, a former fellow at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and the Yale Information Society Project. Darling’s work has been featured by The New Yorker, The Guardian, PBS, The Boston Globe, Wired, Slate, NPR, and more.

At MIT, Darling investigates social robotics, conducts experimental studies on human-robot interaction, and explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines. Her writing and research anticipate difficult questions that lawmakers, engineers, and the wider public will need to address as human-robot relationships evolve in the coming decades.

Machine Learning playwright Francisco Mendoza is an Argentinian writer currently living in Brooklyn, NY after spending several years in Brazil. His writing spans theater, prose, audio, and the screen, and he also works as a freelance journalist, teacher, and marketing consultant. He is also an advocate for immigrants in the entertainment industry. His play Machine Learning will run at the Central Square Theater from January 25 - February 25, 2024.

Debra Wise (moderator) is a theater artist - actor, director, and currently Associate Artistic Director of The Revels. She was one of the founding Artistic Directors of Central Square Theater, co-founded Catalyst Collaborative@MIT, and is Vice Chair of the CC@MIT Advisory Committee. She has produced, directed or performed in 20+ plays that engage with themes related to science or technology.