Cynthia Breazeal

Social Robots 

Cynthia Breazeal
Associate Professor, MIT Media Lab
Chief Experience Officer, Jibo, Inc

Social robots are designed to interact with people in an interpersonal way, engaging and supporting collaborative social and emotive behavior for beneficial outcomes.  In this talk, I highlight a number research projects where we are developing, fielding, and assessing social robots over repeated encounters with people in real world environments such as the home, schools, or hospitals. We develop adaptive algorithmic capabilities for robots to support sustained interpersonal engagement and personalization to support specific interventions. We then examine the impact of the robot’s social embodiment, non-verbal and emotive expression, and personalization capabilities on sustaining people’s engagement, improving learning, impacting behavior, and shaping attitudes — in comparison to other personal technologies. I will also discuss the commercialization of social robots as a mass consumer product and developer platform, where people are interacting with social robots in the context of daily life. In a time where citizens are beginning to live with intelligent machines, we have the opportunity to explore, develop and assess humanistic design principles to support and promote human flourishing at all ages and stages.

Cynthia Breazeal is an Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs the Personal Robots Group. She is also founder and Chief Experience Officer of Jibo, Inc., a personal robotics and AI startup developing a social robot for the home.  Her research focuses on the design and impact of highly personalized social robots that build a relationship with people to help them achieve meaningful goals. She is author of the book ‘Designing Sociable Robots,’ she speaks at venues such as TED, the Computer Electronics Show, South by Southwest, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations on topics related to AI, innovation, and society. She is a recipient of awards by the National Academy of Engineering as well as the National Design Awards. She has received Technology Review’s TR100/35 Award and the George R. Stibitz Computer & Communications Pioneer Award.  Her robots have been recognized by TIME magazine’s Best Inventions in 2008 and in 2017 where Jibo was featured on the cover.