World Economic Forum


Mark Kamlet


Golan Levin

Each summer, some of the world's most engaging business, political and academic leaders participate in a meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

For the second year in a row, five members of Carnegie Mellon University's faculty/administration participated in WEF's Annual Meeting of New Champions, held September 11-13, in Tianjin, China.

One of the week's highlights: a panel titled "The Future of Education," where Provost Mark Kamlet sat alongside former United Kingdom prime minister Gordon Brown and other global thought-leaders. (Watch the video online»)

Kamlet touched on Carnegie Mellon's groundbreaking research into online learning and how university spinoff Carnegie Learning and CMU's Open Learning Initiative combine cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

But, he said, it goes beyond simply posting online lectures.

The future of learning will not be a "sage on a stage" with one teacher lecturing to a room of students, but rather a more one-on-one approach.

"It's going to be much more personalized, much more adapted to the individual students," Kamlet said. 

Gordon Brown praised CMU during the talk. "It's a great pleasure to be speaking alongside great thought leaders for the universities of the future, from Singapore, from Carnegie Mellon in the states, from India," Brown said. 

In addition to the panel Kamlet participated in, CMU faculty presented in several other discussions, underscoring our expertise in topics including the arts, big data and technology:

  • Beta Zone: "Smart Art": Golan Levin, director of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and associate professor of electronic time-based art, was a panelist. Art, science and technology are increasingly bleeding into one another, and that blurring of boundaries raises questions about arts and science and artist and audience. Levin suggested that art asks smart questions and showed how science can be employed for purely expressive ends that are less goal oriented and more driven by curiosity. 
  • Beta Zone: "From Big Data to Big Decisions": Jeannette Wing, the President's Professor of Computer Science and head of the Computer Science Department, served as a panelist. Consistent themes that emerged during the discussion included the opportunity to inform better decisions, privacy, and the accelerating volume, velocity and variety of data being captured. As well, privacy was directly at odds with security. 
  • IdeasLab: "Computing and Technology: A Springboard for the Human Mind with Carnegie Mellon University" Jesse Schell, assistant professor of entertainment technology, discussed "The curiosity gap: how 21st century geniuses are made." Emma Brunskill, assistant professor of computer science, discussed "Optimizing online education." Levin presented "Radically local: personal fabrication and future economies." Wing offered a session titled "Computational thinking: it's for everyone." 
  • "Imagineering Our Future" Brunskill was also a presenter in this session, helping to answer the question, "How do artists and scientists imagine the future of society?"

Editor's note: IdeasLab and "Imagineering Our Future" session summaries were not yet available online at the time of publishing. 

Related Links: World Economic Forum | News Brief: Kamlet Discusses Education Innovations at WEF | Video: Kamlet in "The Future of Education"

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