Breakthrough Sessions: AI Education: Reaching and Engaging 21st Century Learners

Your Facebook feed looks different. On the side it shows a visual history of your activity and how that results in the current image on your feed. There is a little image of a brain, and if you click on it, it shows you what impact the image will have on your emotions. You don’t feel as depressed now when you see your friend’s vacation pictures!

A little crystal ball pops up on your teenager’s instagram feed when she is about to post a picture… It says, “See how your post will affect your friends tomorrow, and how this post will be used when you are being interviewed for a job in 6 years”.

AI is more recognizable, and present in even more corners of our lives. So is a heightened consciousness and societal awareness of how humans and technology co-exist and co-evolve.

This is not the situation today.

The world is changing dramatically as AI becomes integrated into our society and work. It is imperative that we reimagine our approach to education. Education needs to be seen as a lifelong journey that everyone has the opportunity to pursue, and through which everyone can develop the skills needed to thrive tomorrow — developing the agency to make a change in the world, ability to identify problems, generate creative solutions, solve problems and work collaboratively across multi-cultural teams.

Technologies such as AI are powerful tools that can unlock an individual’s potential and amplify her sense of agency and purpose. We not only need to learn more about AI, but also need to understand how to use it responsibly, and how we can improve AI technologies to create the world we wish to live in.

The challenge in getting started is that many people are deeply (and secretly) scared of these technologies, and as a result are not willing or curious to learn more.

This widespread fear of AI is fueled by movies and media stories around errant self-driving cars, “robots taking over jobs”, and misconceptions around how these technologies actually work. A survey of 1,500 parents commissioned by Iridescent found that ~60% of low-income parents were not interested in learning more about AI and less than 25% of children from low-income families had access to CS/technology programs. Below are some of the concerns expressed by parents from the survey:

“Afraid it will take over and destroy our working world”

“The great drawback here is that it is putting way too much trust in man-made machines. That will lead us into a lot of trouble in the long run.”

“I don’t see how this would help my children in the long run, when AI takes over jobs and replaces the human race in production and livelihood.”

“I do not trust machines or anything thing with no soul or spirit”

“I think it’s just making people lazy”

“Not learning first hand the enjoyments of doing yourself”

Read a full description of the AI Education track and labs.


  • Tara Chklovski, Founder and CEO of Iridescent

09:00 – 10:30 – Session 1 : State of Play. What is working and what do we know today?

Room 2, Level 0, CICG


What is AI? How is Machine Learning different? What is the current state of AI technology? What lies ahead?

  • Fei Fang, Assistant Professor, Carnegie Mellon University

State of AI Education

  • Valtencir Mendes, Project Officer, UNESCO’s Unit for ICT in Education, UNESCO

Lessons from deploying the AI Family Challenge with 7500 children and parents across 13 countries

  • Tara Chklovski, Founder and CEO of Iridescent

Lessons from implementing the world’s largest robotics program

  • Chris Rake, Vice President of Programs at FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology)

Lessons from the Arduino Movement –

  • Massimo Banzi, Co-founder at Adruino

A healthy AI diet for families

  • Isabela Granic, Radboud University
  • Daphne Bavelier, University of Geneva
  • Amy Orben, Oxford University

How do we measure impact in social science?

  • Adam Russell, Defense Sciences Office (DSO), DARPA

More speakers to be announced soon

10:30 – 11:00 – Coffee Break & Demo Stage

11:00 – 12:30 – Session 1 : State of Play. What is working and what do we know today?

Room 2, Level 0, CICG


A(I)nthropology. The emergence of a “Third Culture”

  • Adam Russell, Defense Sciences Office (DSO), DARPA

How do you create popular media that portrays young female protagonists in non-traditional technology roles?

  • J.J Johnson, Sinking Ship Entertainment

How do you use soap operas and serial dramas to educate the public?

  • Bill Ryerson, Founder and President of Population Media

How should you cover an emerging story in AI?

  • Jennifer Strong, Host, The Future of Everything, The Wall Street Journal

How do you make technology stories engaging and accessible to the public?

  • Stephanie Martinez, Four-time Emmy-nominated news reporter at Univision

AI-based Learning Platforms from Data to Impact at Scale – A Case Study in K-12 STEM Education

  • Amir Zarkesh, Ceo and Co-Founder, Polyup

How do you encourage lifelong learning in the workplace?

  • Sebastian Dennerlein, Postdoctoral Researcher, Technische Universität Graz 

Increasing AI literacy in the workplace and supply chain

  • Pamela Mar, Director, Supply Chain Futures – Fung Academy, Fung Group

12:30 – 14:00 – AI for Good UN Partners meeting, Lunch & Demo Stage

AI for Good UN Partners meeting

*Invitation only

“Telecom Area” Level -1, CICG

14:00 – 15:30 – Session 2: Strategy Labs

Room 2, Level 0, CICG

Goal of Labs: Evaluate and discuss practical proposals & projects that could amplify the use of AI technologies by a broader section of society to tackle problems that are meaningful to them.

Format: Participants will be invited to choose any of the labs outlined below, during which they will engage in afacilitated discussion identifying practical projects that could help move the field forward.

Lab themes: Community, Workplace, Media, Lifelong Learning, Psychology. Read a full description of the AI Education track and labs.

AI in your Community

As AI is rapidly integrated into our society and workplace, this change is increasingly being called the 4th Industrial Revolution. Characterized by exponential rates of discovery and adoption, this revolution combines digital, physical, and biological systems. And, like the revolutions of the steam engine, electricity, and computers that preceded it, AI will unlock tremendous growth and productivity.At the same time, it threatens to accelerate existing income and access gaps (Frey & Osborne, 2015). Low income and under-resourced communities are already being left behind by the technology revolution (Google, 2016, Iridescent, 2018). In a technology-dominant future, these communities are placed at an even greater risk of failure. Educational organizations have a critical role to play in implementing grassroots programs that immediately help under-resourced communities change their perceptions and attitudes towards AI. These programs need to support development of skills such as problem identification, creative problem solving, collaboration and lifelong learning. In this track, we will review different AI-education programs and launch the largest, global, two-generation AI-education program engaging both students and their parents in learning about AI, but also developing a sense of self-efficacy that enables them to


  • Devin Dillon, Iridescent


  • Stefania Druga, Cognimates
  • Ashley Patton and Jonathan Reynolds, CMU
  • Joysy John, Director of Education, Nesta
  • Ani Martinez, Remake Learning

AI-literacy and mentoring in the workplace

Skill-based volunteering is a powerful vehicle for encouraging employees to gain new knowledge and skills in a fun, experiential way, compared to traditional learning from lectures. In this lab we explore the question – “Can we create a large-scale, experiential AI-literacy and mentoring program that is fun and effective in helping employees become agile, curious learners?” A potential vehiclecould be that of the AI Family Challenge through which mentors would support families in their local communities to identify meaningful problems and create AI-based solutions.We hypothesize that mentees would benefit from having a real mentor show them how to apply ideation, information management and problem solving strategies, while giving them authentic informationabout different career paths. Mentors will learn new technical, AI content (such as learning how to train a machine learning model), and they will also learn about product development and launch, team management, and connecting authentically with diverse communities. Most importantly they will be inspired by the communities they interact with, and will be motivated to step out of their comfort zones and tackle new learning challenges personally, and in their work.

Lead Funder & Partner:



  • Tara Chklovski, Founder and CEO of Iridescent


  • Jim Stolze, Tech Entrepreneur at Amsterdam Science Park, AIGENCY

Demystifying AI through media

The media is the primary vehicle for the public to understand how AI technologies affect their lives. It matters how we talk about technologies that we don’tfully understand. News cycles about killer robots and one-sided conversations about AI replacing humans at work have been encouraging and stoking fear for years. Yet it is a challenge for journalists (especially those without technical backgrounds) to investigate highly complex and rapidly evolving AI stories in a way that doesn’t focus on sensationalist headlines. One potentialdirection could be to create an AI Toolkit for Journalists to equip journalists (including students, community reporters, and national editors) with training and resources, connect them to AI researchers who can advise them on specialized topics as well as connect them to underrepresented communities to include low-income voices in the AI conversation. Another “quick-win” direction could be to develop a serial drama or TV show that illustrates through emotional storytelling, the adoption of new, non-traditional behaviors (such as mothers, grandmothers and girls learning about new technologies) in a way that generates no disbelief or negative response from the audience.

Strategy Lab Lead:

  • Jennifer Strong, Host, The Future of Everything, The Wall Street Journal


  • Evert Haasdijk, Senior Manager and AI expert, Deloitte
  • Sandeep Junnarkar, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism
  • Bill Ryerson, Founder and President of Population Media

A Healthy AI-diet for Families

Young or old, rich or poor, all across the world — we are all increasingly dependent on our smartphones, “daily feeds” from social media and videogames. Teenagers especially are vulnerable to being addicted to these technologies. We need to educate both children and adults on how these devices and AI-powered apps are affecting our brains, and most definitely our moods. In this lab, we will share current research from the field, and scope out a global collaborative project that will explore the question – “How can AI-powered devices, apps and games help bring families closer together?”

Strategy Lab Leads:

  • Daphne Bavelier, University of Geneva
  • Isabela Granic, Radboud University
  • Amy Orben, University of Oxford

AI for Lifelong Learning and Teaching

AI has had a footprint in education for almost as long as the field has existed. However, the full benefit of utilizing AI in education to personalize and optimize educational outcomes for all learners has not been realized. In many education systems we are beginning to realize that students need to not only learn how the world works (i.e literacy in areas such as science, math, history, government, health, social structures, etc.), but they also need to be prepared (and enthusiastic) for a lifetime of learning, training and retraining. We need to create dispositions and skills to become flexible, self-driven,lifelong learners. AI-powered learning tools and technologies are promising in this regard. An area of exploration is the role AI-powered learning tools play in the evolution of a learner’s interest.We propose an initial study to understand what combination of an AI-based student learning platform, teacher, mentor and parent support results in a student being able to articulate and achieve her learning goals while developing self-efficacy, interest and motivation to continue self-driven learning? What is the dosage of support/exposure needed? A study like this would ideally span three Latin American, Asian and African countries each, with ten local applications each, compared with a comparison group in the US (10 sites) or Europe. Total applications at 70 sites. We would collaborate with local researchers in a global consortium, coordinated by the lead organization, and overseen by an international group of advisors.


  • Lucas Rocha, Lemann Foundation


  • Sergey Karayev, Turnitin

A second example focuses on using AI and AR/VR to better prepare educators. We propose to develop AR/VR environments that mimic formal education contexts and utilize AI agents (i.e., students) who interactwith pre-service teachers to challenge them to apply their learning in different learning scenarios. Doing this with AI and VR will increase the feasibility of pedagogical experts coaching novice educators,providing real-time feedback, and helping hundreds of thousands of teachers-become more effective.

Strategy Lab Lead:

  • Valtencir Mendes, Project Officer, UNESCO’s Unit for ICT in Education, UNESCO


  • Rekha Pai Kamath


  • Dionne Francis, Indiana University

15:30 – 16:00 – Coffee Break & Demo Stage

16:00 – 17:30 – Session 3: Launch Labs

Room 2, Level 0, CICG

Goal: Identify resources and practical next steps needed for proposed projects to be launched at the end of the Summit.

Format: Attendees will be invited to work together to determine the following project elements:

  • What is the question to be explored? What is the problem being solved?
  • What are best practices? What are some key challenges?
  • How many people will be reached, how many different types and for what dosage (hours)?
  • What are the expected attitude changes?
  • What are some assessments that can be embedded stealthily into the normal program experience?
  • Which organizations will come together to pool resources, knowledge and investment?
  • Which organization will be the backbone organization?
  • What are the combined, aligned metrics of success?
  • What is the project timeline and budget for years 1-3 and years 3-5?
  • How will the project be sustained?
  • Who should be on the advisory board?
  • How will lessons from this project be disseminated to the wider public?
  • Prepare a 5 min video pitch that will be shared with the broader public

18:30 – 20:00 – Performances: AI pushing the limits of Artistic intelligence

Palais des Nations, Room XX (Salle des droits de l’homme), E Building, 3rd Floor – Door 40

Artists around the world have taken up the topic of Artificial Intelligence to explore and reflect our very own identity in the face of the coming change. As part ofthe AI for Good Global Summit 2019, the cultural event AI pushing the limits of Artistic intelligence will present leading international artists working at the intersection of performance arts and AI.

Moderated by LJ Rich, Inventor, BBC Click Presenter, the evening explores how man and machine could come together to augment the boundaries of human creativity and genius.


  • Taryn Southern, Singer, songwriter, and the first artist to release a solo music album composed by AI
  • Reeps One, Award-winning vocal and visual artist
  • Christian “Mio” Loclair, Creative director at Waltz Binaire, new media artist, computer scientist and choreographer
  • Robozee, Dance performer

The event is free but space is limited. All attendees are kindly requested to register here

20:00 – VIP evening reception

VIP evening reception


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