Cynthia Breazeal

Professor of Media Arts and Sciences; MIT Dean for Digital Learning
  • Personal Robots

Cynthia Breazeal is a professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, where she founded and directs the Personal Robots group at the Media Lab.  She is the MIT dean for digital learning, and in this role, she leverages her experience in emerging digital technologies and business, research, and strategic initiatives to lead Open Learning’s business and research & engagement units.   She is also the Director of the MIT-wide Initiative on Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education ( MIT RAISE is a research and outreach effort that advances access and inclusivity in AI education to people of all ages and backgrounds with a focus on K12 and the workforce. She co-founded the consumer social robotics company, Jibo, Inc., where she served as Chief Scientist and Chief Experience Officer.

Breazeal is a pioneer of social robotics and human-robot interaction.  Her work balances technical innovation in AI, UX design, and understanding the psychology of engagement to design personified AI technologies that promote human flourishing and personal growth.  Her recent work focuses on the theme of "living with AI" and understanding the long-term impact of social robots that can build relationships and provide personalized support as helpful companions in daily life. Her research group actively investigates social robots applied to education, pediatrics, health and wellness, and aging. As part of this mission, her group also develops design justice frameworks for human-robot interaction and inclusive AI literacy education for under-served K12 students.

Her seminal book, Designing Sociable Robots, is recognized as a landmark in launching the field of Social Robotics and Human-Robot Interaction. She is a fellow of the AAAI and is an international award-winning innovator, designer, and entrepreneur. She has spoken at prominent venues such as TED, the World Economic Forum, the UN, SXSW, CES, and she has keynoted at numerous top academic conferences. She is a recipient of the National Academy of Engineering's Gilbreth Lecture Award, Technology Review's TR35 Award, TIME magazine's Best Inventions, where her Jibo robot was featured on the cover.  She has received numerous design awards, including recognition by the National Design Awards, Fast Company Design Award, and Core 77.  She has also been recognized as a rising entrepreneur by Fortune and Entrepreneur Magazine.   Breazeal did her graduate work at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab and received her doctorate in 2000 in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.