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Michael Wooldridge Wins 2021 Outstanding Educator Award


The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Symposium on Educational Advances in Artificial Intelligence (EAAI) are pleased to announce that the 2021 AAAI/EAAI Outstanding Educator award was given to Michael Wooldridge of the University of Oxford and The Alan Turing Institute. 

The AAAI/EAAI Outstanding Educator was established in 2016 to recognize a person (or group of people) who has (have) made major contributions to AI education that provide long-lasting benefits to the AI community. Examples might include innovating teaching methods, providing service to the AI education community, generating pedagogical resources, designing curricula, and educating students outside of higher education venues (or the general public) about AI. 

Professor Wooldridge received this award for outstanding global leadership in AI education and public awareness, including publishing broadly adopted books and textbooks, establishing the European Agent Systems Summer School, and inspiring public dialogue on AI and multi-agent systems. 

'I’m extremely grateful, and it’s an unexpected honor,' Professor Wooldridge said of the award at the beginning of his invited talk at EAAI-21, entitled Talking to the Public about AI.

During his talk, Professor Wooldridge focused on his experiences talking to a variety of non-specialist audiences about artificial intelligence. He shared what he learned about how the field is perceived, and his recommendations for how best to communicate excitement about the progress we've made, where we are, and where we are going. He distilled his experiences into 14 useful lessons, which include such tips as: 

#1. If you don’t inform the public about AI, then someone who knows even less than you will.

#4. You need to keep your message simple and clear. Distill it and then distill it again and again. There isn’t space for nuance. Your position will be distilled even further in media reporting.

#6. When you say, “breakthrough in AI,” you may mean “cute theorem,” but what people hear is “robot butlers tomorrow.” 

The talk is publicly available on the AAAI-21 conference website. The award consists of a certificate, a $1,000 honorarium, a complimentary one-year AAAI membership (new or renewal), and a complimentary conference registration to the EAAI/AAAI conference, where the award was conferred. 

About the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
Founded in 1979, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) is a nonprofit scientific society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines. AAAI aims to promote research in, and responsible use of, artificial intelligence, and to increase public understanding of the field.

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