Cynthia Breazeal

Dean for digital learning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cynthia Breazeal is the dean for digital learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she also works with research and strategic initiatives across Open Learning, including the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL), the Centre for Advanced Virtuality, MIT Integrated Learning Initiative, ReACT and RAISE. In this role, Cynthia leads research efforts in teaching, learning and how new technologies can enhance both, with a special focus on virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence (AI) and learning science.

As dean for digital learning, she also leverages her experience in emerging digital technologies and business, research and strategic initiatives to lead Open Learning’s corporate education efforts, including xPRO, Bootcamps and Horizon.

Cynthia is also head of the 'Personal robots' research group at the MIT Media Lab, where she is a professor of media arts and sciences. Her research focuses on technical innovation in AI and user experience design combined with understanding the psychology of engagement to design personified AI technologies that promote human flourishing and personal growth. Over the past five years, her work has increasingly focused on inclusion and agency in the design, use and education of digital technologies, particularly AI.

Beyond academia, Cynthia is the founder of the consumer social robotics company, Jibo, Inc., where she served as chief scientist and chief experience officer. Her book, 'Designing sociable robots', was recognised as a landmark publication in launching the field of social robotics and human-robot interaction. Her work has received numerous design awards, including the Fast Company Design Award and Core 77 Design Award, and she was a finalist for the 2003 including the National Design Award for Communication. She has also been recognised as a rising entrepreneur by Fortune and Entrepreneur magazines.

Cynthia studied at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, receiving her doctorate of science in electrical engineering and computer science in 2000.

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