Cynthia Breazeal is making AI run and educational for kids

Cynthia Breazeal, dean of digital learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she works on strategic initiatives with the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL), discusses AI in education and for social good with Success.

Cynthia says: “We need to design these systems so that they can be much more steerable, much more intuitive to use to empower a much broader part of society… to be able to apply our human values and expertise to shape our future harnessing this technology.”


Unlike with previous generations, students today are learning early on how to collaborate with emerging technologies and artificial intelligence to shape the world they want to live in as adults.

Many teachers are also embracing AI, especially when it means they can be more efficient and effective at their jobs. AI enables teachers to streamline administrative tasks, drive efficiency and fill gaps where they need a little help, such as adapting lessons to individual learning needs in a classroom of 30-plus kids. Yet, despite all these technologies, the unique skills that come naturally to us as humans—emotional intelligence, empathy and social awareness to name a few—still reign supreme.

With more than two decades of experience in AI, American robotics scientist and entrepreneur Cynthia Breazeal, Ph.D., is a world-renowned pioneer and lead researcher of social robotics and human-robotics interaction. In 2004, she published her seminal book, Designing Sociable Robots, which presented her vision for social robots of the future. Breazeal later co-founded Jibo, a company that developed personal assistant robots in 2012. A true innovation of its time, the Jibo robot was friendly and designed to be part of the family. It featured cameras and microphones, responded to questions and even recognized faces.