Carnegie Mellon University

Who We Are

Artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, and advanced manufacturing already impact society, the economy, and our daily lives in profound ways. While many of these impacts are beneficial, laborers in some industries are being displaced due to automation, algorithms drive decision-making in powerful and often unseen ways, and new platforms and networks have fundamentally changed how people engage with, and contribute to, their world. 

Established in 2019, The Block Center focuses on how emerging technologies will alter the future of work, how AI and analytics can be harnessed responsibly for social good, and how innovation in these spaces can be more inclusive and generate targeted, relevant solutions that reduce inequality and improve quality of life for all.

Focus Areas


The Future of Work

How will technology change the nature of work? What types of jobs will no longer be done by humans? Who is at risk of being left behind?


Responsible AI

How can artificial intelligence and analytics increase justice and reduce inequality? Can we design algorithms which are transparent and fair? How do we design machines that are worthy of our trust?


Seeding Societal Futures

How can technology be used to reskill displaced workers? What new work opportunities will technology create? What solutions can we create to alleviate human suffering?

Keith Block and Suzanne Kelley

The Block Center was launched thanks to the generosity of Carnegie Mellon University alumnus Keith Block and his wife, Suzanne Kelley. 

Keith Block is the former co-Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce. Prior to joining Salesforce, Block served as Executive Vice President of North America Sales and Consulting at Oracle, leading a multi-billion dollar sales and services business unit that achieved record growth during his tenure. He began his career at Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior consultant. Block holds a Master’s of Science degree in Management and Policy Analysis and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. 

Suzanne Kelley is the Vice President of Consulting Operations & PMO at Oracle. There, she leads operations and project management for the global business unit. She is a graduate of Clarkson University, where she holds degrees in Industrial Distribution and Mechanical & Industrial Engineering.

Faculty Director

Ramayya Krishnan

Ramayya Krishnan
Dean, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy

Ramayya Krishnan is the W. W. Cooper and Ruth F. Cooper Professor of Management Science and Information Systems at the H. John Heinz III College and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. A faculty member at CMU since 1988, Krishnan was appointed as the Dean in 2009 of the Heinz College.

Krishnan was educated at the Indian Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Austin. He has a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a Master’s degree in industrial engineering and operations research, and a PhD in Management Science and Information Systems. Krishnan’s research interests focus on consumer and social behavior in digitally instrumented environments. His work has addressed technical, policy and business problems that arise in these contexts and he has published extensively on these topics.

He has founded multiple research centers at CMU and is the faculty director of the Block Center for Technology and Society. He advises governments and policy making organizations on technology policy and the deployment of data driven policy making. He is an advisor to the President of the Asian Development Bank and is a member of the Geotech Commission of the Atlantic Council. He is an AAAS Fellow (section T), an INFORMS Fellow, an elected member of the National Academy of Public Administration and a distinguished alumnus of both the Indian institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Austin. He served in 2019 as the 25th President of INFORMS, the Global Operations Research and Analytics Society. He was appointed to the National AI Advisory Committee to the President and the AI Initiatives office in 2022.

Responsible AI Leadership

Jodi Forlizzi head shot

Jodi Forlizzi

Herbert A. Simon Professor in Computer Science and HCII, and Associate Dean, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

rayid ghani head shot

Rayid Ghani

Distinguished Career Professor in the Machine Learning Department and Heinz College


Hoda Heidari

Assistant Professor, Machine Learning Department and the Institute for Software, Systems, and Society

Future of Work Leadership

Linda Argote head shot

Linda Argote

Thomas Lord Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory; Director, Center of Organizational Learning, Innovation and Knowledge

Lee Branstetter

Lee Branstetter

Professor of Economics And Public Policy

majd sakr head shot

Majd Sakr

Teaching Professor, Computer Science

Rahul Telang

Rahul Telang

Trustees Professor of Information Systems

Seeding Societal Futures Leadership

Amelia Haviland

Amelia Haviland

Professor of Statistics And Health Policy

Technology and Ethics Leadership

Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell

Lead Technologist

E. Fredkin University Professor of Machine Learning and Computer Science


Alex John London

Lead Ethicist

Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy



Steve Wray

Executive Director


Kait Pendrak

Program Manager, Future of Work


Hannah Graber

Program Manager, Seeding Societal Futures



Cole Gessner

Program Manager, Responsible AI


Brittany Calderon

Communications Manager


Brian Brown

Administrative and Events Coordinator