Julie Shah ’04, SM ’06, PhD ’11, the director of MIT CSAIL’s Interactive Robotics Group, specializes in enhancing robot-human teamwork, particularly on factory floors. If you’re thinking that has the makings of an interesting conversation, imagine setting three professional comedians—Wyatt Cenac, Maeve Higgins, and John Hodgeman—loose on the topic.

On the WBUR radio show “You’re the Expert,” the three recently had to guess, 20-questions-style, the nature of Shah’s expertise—and then to get to the bottom of what she actually does all day and why her work matters.

Listen to the episode to find out what misunderstandings can crop up when you have two Abbys working in your lab (one a robot, one a grad student); which human trust-building technique Shah has found is also effective in working with robots; and how Shah’s Jersey Shore upbringing shaped her career path.

The episode was recorded as co-presentation of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival and the Cambridge Science Festival, with funding from MIT’s de Florez Fund for Humor.

MIT Technology Review: “This MIT engineering professor is turning robots into ideal colleagues for humans”

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