Prof. Alex Pentland, Faculty Director
Professor, Media Arts and Sciences, Media Lab, Sloan School of Management, Institute for Data Systems and Society
Alex “Sandy” Pentland is founding faculty director of the MIT Connection Science Research Initiative, which uses network science to access and change real-world human behavior, and is the Toshiba Professor of Media, Arts, and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also holds a triple appointment at MIT in Media Arts and Sciences, Engineering Systems Division and with the Sloan School of Business.
Sandy has helped create and direct MIT’s Media Lab, the Media Lab Asia and the Center for Future Health. He co-chairs the IEEE Council on Extended Intelligence, and has been an Advisory Board member for Google, Nissan, Telefonica, the United Nations Secretary General, Monument Capital and the Minerva Schools.
In 2012 Forbes named Sandy one of the “seven most powerful data scientists in the world,” along with Google founders and the CTO of the United States, and in 2013 he won the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review. He is among the most-cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, wearable computing (Google Glass), image understanding and modern biometrics. His research has been featured in Nature, Science and Harvard Business Review, as well as the focus of TV features on BBC World, Discover and Science channels. His most recent books are Social Physics (Penguin) and Building a New Economy (MIT Press).
Professor Cynthia Breazeal, Faculty Director
Professor, Media Arts and Sciences; Director and founder of the Personal Robots Group, MIT Media Lab; Director of the Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education Initiative (RAISE); Dean for Digital Learning
Cynthia Breazeal is the dean for digital learning at MIT. As dean, she leverages her experience in emerging digital technologies and business, research, and strategic initiatives to lead Open Learning’s business and engagement units. Breazeal heads Open Learning’s corporate education efforts, including xPRO, Bootcamps and Horizon, helping to grow the existing portfolio of online professional courses, content libraries and bootcamps, while looking more holistically at the needs of companies and professionals to identify areas of convergence and innovation.
She also works with research and strategic initiatives across Open Learning, including the Center for Advanced Virtuality, MIT Integrated Learning Initiative, ReACT and RAISE. In this role she leads research efforts in teaching, learning and how new technologies can enhance both, with a special focus on virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence and learning science. Breazeal is the director of MIT RAISE, a cross-MIT research effort on advancing and democratizing AI education through K-12 and vocational education. A collaboration between Open Learning, the Media Lab and the Schwarzman College of Computing, RAISE seeks to advance access and inclusivity in AI education to people of all ages and backgrounds. Under her leadership, RAISE launched FutureMakers and the inaugural Day of AI, an annual educational event wherein teachers across the country will introduce students of all backgrounds to foundational concepts in artificial intelligence and its role in their lives.
Breazeal 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 focus includes 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. She also founded the consumer social robotics company, Jibo, Inc., where she served as Chief Scientist and Chief Experience Officer.
Breazeal’s book, Designing Sociable Robots, is recognized as a landmark in launching the field of social robotics and human-robot interaction. An international award–winning innovator, designer and entrepreneur, Breazeal has spoken at prominent venues such as TED, the World Economic Forum, the UN, SXSW and CES and has given keynote addresses at numerous top academic conferences. She is a recipient of the National Academy of Engineering’s Gilbreth Lecture Award; Technology Review's TR35 Award; and TIME magazine’s Best Inventions, where her Jibo robot was featured on the cover. She has received numerous design awards, including the Fast Company Design Award and Core 77 Design Award, and was a finalist for the 2003 including the National Design Award for Communication. She has also been recognized as a rising entrepreneur by Fortune and Entrepreneur magazines.
Breazeal did her graduate work at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, receiving her ScD in electrical engineering and computer science in 2000.
Dr. Kate Darling, Faculty Director
Research Specialist, MIT Media Lab
Dr. Kate Darling is a leading expert in technology ethics & policy. She is a Research Specialist at the MIT Media Lab and author of THE NEW BREED: What Our History with Animals Reveals About Our Future with Robots. Kate’s work looks at the near-term effects of robotic technology, with a particular interest in law, social and ethical issues. Kate runs experiments, holds workshops, writes and speaks about some of the more interesting developments in the world of human-robot interaction, and where we might find ourselves in the future.
Matt Daggett, Faculty Director
Technical Staff, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Systems Group, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Matthew Daggett is a member of the technical staff in the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Systems Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory. His research focuses on using operations research and computational social science methods to analyze complex sociotechnical systems in order to conduct experiments, build and evaluate prototypes, and create data-driven interventions that bring about organizational and societal advancement. Some of his areas of investigation include developing human-system measurement frameworks for studying team dynamics, the design of human-centered technical systems for enhancing decision-making, and the utility assessment of emergent technology. Overarching these research endeavours, he explores the complexities of human-system integration and organizational adoption, including trust and reliance in technical augmentation and the potential ethical, privacy, and societal implications of using technology. He has mastery in a diverse range of technical disciplines, including natural language processing, computer vision, and data visualization, and is nationally recognized for expertise in the use of technology to counter human exploitation, including testimony before the United States Congress. He joined MIT in 2005 and holds a degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.