Dean for Digital Learning

Photo of Cynthia Breazeal

Cynthia Breazeal

Office Phone 617-452-5601
Room NE49-2028


Cynthia Breazeal is the dean for digital learning at MIT. Prior to her appointment as dean, she served as senior associate dean for open learning. Breazeal is an associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs the Personal Robots group. She is a scientific advisor for the MIT Quest for Intelligence and the director of MIT RAISE, where she leads strategic initiatives in areas such as democratizing artificial intelligence (AI) through k–12 and vocational education. She also 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, user experience 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.

Her seminal 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 United Nations, South by Southwest, and CES, and she 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 magazine.

Breazeal did her graduate work at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab and received her ScD in electrical engineering and computer science in 2000.