On Thursday, March 29, Rocky Hill School, Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), and MassRobotics joined together to spark important conversations about how artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are influencing the work of the future, which in turn will dramatically impact the future workforce (students currently in grades K-12). Rocky Hill School initiated this collaboration to bring high-level business, tech, and education thought leaders together to discuss industry trends, technological innovations, and the intersection of artificial and collective human intelligence in organizations today, all with an eye on the future.
The event, “Boston at the Crossroads of Tech and Work” was held at the Old State House in Boston, a symbol of America’s innovation and independence. Following an introduction by Head of Rocky Hill School Dr. Jim Tracy, Kara Miller of WGBH’s Innovation Hub served as the moderator for this impressive panel that included:
- Elizabeth Reynolds, Executive Director, MIT Industrial Performance Center
- Tom Ryden, Executive Director, MassRobotics
- Daniel Theobald, Co-Founder and CIO, Vecna and Co-Founder and President of MassRobotics (Daniel appeared on a VGo from his office in California)
- Kathleen Kennedy, Director, Special Projects, MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and Co-Founder of HUBweek
- Greg Toppo, senior editor for Inside Higher Ed, and author
EdTech Times ran Twitter channel for live tweeting during the event, #techwork2018.
Information about the event can be found at www.rockyhyhill.org/techwork2018. In addition, WGBH’s Forum Network will soon post a recording of the event on their website, Rocky Hill School will post a podcast on their Innovation through Education iTunes channel.
Head of School Dr. Jim Tracy initiated the forum because he believes that preparation for work of the future begins in the K-12 sector, where an innovative and creative mindset and mastery of essential soft skills can best be developed in students through real-world experiences and connections. “Leaders in business and technology are clear that exponential change is upon us as technology continues to advance and change the way the world operates,” said Dr. Tracy. “At Rocky Hill School, we are looking closely at this shift, partnering with businesses and entrepreneurs to dig deep into the question, ‘How can leaders create policy, educate students, retrain workers, and re-imagine work during this time of rapid change and unprecedented disruption?’ We are excited to partner with such influential thinkers and creators for what we intend to be an annual event held both in Boston and in Providence in 2019.”
Kara Miller is the host and executive editor of Innovation Hub, which she launched in 2011. PRI took the program national in 2014. Kara has also appeared on “The Takeaway,” “PRI’s The World,” and “Marketplace Tech.” Her writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, The National Journal, TheAtlantic.com, The Huffington Post, and The International Herald Tribune. Kara holds a Ph.D. from Tufts and a B.A. from Yale. She serves on the advisory committee of the Lemelson Foundation.
Elisabeth Reynolds works on issues related to systems of innovation, regional economic development and industrial competitiveness. Her current research focuses on the pathways that U.S. entrepreneurial firms take in scaling production-related technologies, as well as advanced manufacturing, including the globalization of the biomanufacturing industry. She is a member of the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative Executive Committee. Elisabeth has an A.B. from Harvard in Government and was the Fiske Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. She holds a MSc. from the University of Montreal in Economics and a Ph.D. from MIT in Urban and Regional Studies.
Co-Founder of Vecna (1998), a global leader in autonomous solutions for the logistics and service industries and Co-Founder of MassRobotics (2014), a non-profit dedicated to the global advancement of the robotics industry, Daniel Theobald has decades of experience leading research scientists and teams of engineers in developing cutting edge robotics technology. He has 27 issued patents and over 90 patents pending and is dedicated to the idea that technology can be used to improve life for everyone on the planet. Daniel has expertise in mechanical, electrical, and software engineering, as well as artificial intelligence and machine vision. Daniel received a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.
Tom Ryden is an experienced senior executive who has devoted his career to creating viable businesses based on technology, covering domains ranging from factory to battlefield to healthcare. He has overseen the development and introduction of leading mobile robotics products, and executed product development and marketing contracts with major automotive, telecommunications and healthcare companies. Tom is active in the robotics community, helping lead trade associations and advising numerous startups. Tom received a Bachelor’s of Science, Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Vermont, and an MBA, in Finance, from the Elkin B. McCallum Graduate School of Business at Bentley College.
Kathleen Kennedy currently serves as the Director of Special Projects, working with the Center for Collective Intelligence at the MIT Sloan School to help coordinate campus initiatives and build collaborations with organizations around the world. From July, 2016-June 2017, Kathleen served as a lead organizer of The Engine (www.engine.xyz), a new MIT initiative created to advance innovation. Kathleen was awarded the Folio: 40, which recognizes the most innovative and influential people in the media industry, and named by the Women of the Harvard Club as one of Boston’s Most Influential Women of 2017.
Greg Toppo is a senior editor for Inside Higher Ed. Before that, he spent 15 years as the national education reporter for USA Today. A graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M., he taught in both public and private schools for eight years before moving into journalism. Toppo was a 2010 Spencer fellow at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a 2016 Yale University Poynter Fellow. He is the author of the book The Game Believes In You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter (April 2015). In 2017, he became president of the Education Writers Association. He is co-authoring a book with Dr. Jim Tracy about the future of jobs, analyzing how artificial intelligence and robotics will change employment and education opportunities in the future.
Nathaniel Sheidley is the Executive Director of the Bostonian Society, which operates the Old State House Museum on Boston’s Freedom Trail. He is a graduate of Stanford University and holds a Ph.D. in American History from Princeton University. He served as the Bostonian Society’s historian and Director of Public History from 2011 to 2017 and oversaw the Society’s ongoing effort to reinterpret the Old State House. Most recently Nat is the creator, with playwright Patrick Gabridge, of Blood on the Snow, an immersive, site-specific work of theater that dramatizes the pivotal aftermath of the Boston Massacre in the very room where the events took place.