Cynthia Breazeal is making AI fun and educational for kids

By Megan Eileen McDonough

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, PhD, 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.

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