Rodney Brooks Presents First Kelly Distinguished Lecture on Robots and Jobs

IRIM’s new lecture series, the Kelly Distinguished Lecture on Robots and Jobs, features preeminent scholars in fields of significance to robotics. The visiting lecturers, in addition to presenting seminars on topics relevant to robots in the workplace, participate in informal discussions with Georgia Tech faculty and students.

The inaugural lecturer, Dr. Rodney Brooks, will present “The Case for More Robots” on Friday, March 11. Brooks is the founder, chairman, and chief technology officer of Rethink Robotics, Inc.

A reception will immediately follow the event in the GTRI Conference Center Atrium/Pre-Function Area.

Although we welcome attendance by members of the campus community, priority seating will be reserved for robotics students, faculty, and researchers. An overflow room will be available adjacent to the GTRI Conference Center auditorium to accommodate our guests.

  • Watch the video.
  • To learn more about the lecture series and read the lecture transcript, please visit the IRIM website.


New technologies change industries and change the needed make-up of workforces. Today, we are in a situation in China, Japan, North America, and Europe where economies and the standard of living are in danger due to lack of labor for very menial jobs. Robots are becoming better at doing very menial non-dexterous tasks, and just in time. They will save our standard of living, and stop our younger people from being overwhelmed by the needs of the elderly—soon to be the dominant population portion across most of the technological world. While people don’t want to do the jobs that robots will be taking over, there is still a challenge for what levers can be used to allow most people to have a comfortable middle-class existence.


Rodney Brooks founded Rethink Robotics in 2008. The company’s goals include making robots for manufacturing and research that are affordable, safe around people, and easy to use. 

From 1984 to 2010, Brooks was on the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), becoming the Panasonic Professor of Robotics. He was also the founding director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and served in that role until 2007. In 1990, he co-founded iRobot, where he served variously as CTO, chairman, and board member until 2011. 

Brooks received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Flinders University of South Australia and a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University. 

He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association of Computing Machinery, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

About the Lecture Series

Funded through a generous gift from Dr. Clinton W. Kelly III, a member of the College of Computing’s advisory board and a longtime benefactor of Georgia Tech, the Kelly Distinguished Lecture on Robots and Jobs features preeminent scholars in fields of significance to robotics who present seminars on topics relevant to robots in the workplace.

Kelly is a recognized expert in the leadership and management of research and advanced technology projects for both industry and government. Most recently, he served as the senior vice president for advanced technology development at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Prior to joining SAIC in 1998, Kelly was director of the U.S. Strategic Computing Program at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and executive director of the DARPA Information Science and Technology Office. From 1980 until 1987, he was responsible for establishing the direction for research in all areas of the Strategic Computing Program. From 1986 to 1989, Kelly directed the U.S. Department of Defense study on Japanese manufacturing technology. He also directed the DARPA engineering applications office with oversight of all DARPA research programs in robotics and autonomous systems, intelligent processing of materials, multimedia communications, and simulation technology. From 1972 to 1980, Kelly was director of research and a founder of Decisions and Designs, Inc., a company specializing in the development and application of decision analysis to public and national security policy problems. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Unmanned Ground Vehicles and the Safety, Security, and Rescue Research Center. Kelly received his bachelor’s degree from Duke University in 1959, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1967 and 1972, respectively.

Event Details


  • Friday, March 11, 2016
    3:00 pm - Saturday, March 12, 2016
    3:59 pm
Location: GTRI Conference Center Auditorium

Related Media

Click on image(s) to view larger version(s)

  • Rodney Brooks

  • Kelly Distinguished Lecture on Robots and Jobs

For More Information Contact

Josie Giles
IRIM Marketing Communications Mgr.