Colloquium on Human Learning + Machine Learning

Computer science and neuroscience are two of the fastest moving fields in the world. Join us for an interactive colloquium taking place simultaneously at swissnex Boston and at the University of Geneva, which will discuss the highly timely topics of Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence and Human Learning / Intelligence, and their intersection.

Event Details


swissnex Boston
420 Broadway, Cambridge , Massachusetts 02138 United States


March 30, 2016 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm America/New York (UTC-05:00)



Watch the event live on Youtube! Streaming will start at 9 AM.

Join us for an interactive colloquium looking at the intersection of Machine Learning and Human Learning taking place simultaneously at swissnex Boston and at the University of Geneva. This event is organized by the Center for Curriculum Redesign and supported by the Montes Alti Educational Foundation and the Fondation Helvetica Educatio.

Computer science and neuroscience are two of the fastest moving fields in the world. Join us for an interactive colloquium, which will discuss the highly timely topics of Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence and Human Learning / Intelligence, and their intersection. The colloquium will concentrate on the following questions, with an accent towards unearthing the next levels of questions to ask and research:   

  • How can Machine Learning foster and shoulder Human Learning?
  • What is the state-of-the-art of Machine Intelligence and what are its extrapolated hopes?
  • What is our present understanding of Human Intelligence, and the extrapolated developments of such understanding?
  • How are the two Intelligences similar and different?
  • What tasks are Humans particularly suited for, vs Artificial Intelligence?
  • What does this mean for what should Humans focus on? (occupations, skills, education)

This colloquium will take place in Geneva and Boston simultaneously and is open to faculty, students and other interested participants.The colloquium will be streamed live (details on how to watch it online will follow).


Colloquium Agenda

8:30 am Doors open

9:00 am Colloquium begins

9:50 am Break

10:00 am Colloquium resumes

10:50 am Break

11:00 am Colloquium resumes

12:00 pm Networking reception

1:00 pm Doors close


 Panelists at swissnex Boston


Rick Miller, President, Olin College of Engineering (TBC)


Richard K. Miller is professor of mechanical engineering and president of Olin College of Engineering. He earned his B.S. from the University of California at Davis, his M.S. from MIT and he has a Ph.D. in applied mechanics from the California Institute of Technology. He spent 17 years on the Engineering faculty at USC in Los Angeles and UCSB in Santa Barbara before he served as Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa from 1992-99. In 1999 he was then appointed president of Olin College of Engineering. With a background in applied mechanics and interests in innovation in higher education, Richard K. Miller is the author of more than 100 publications and has received several awards for his work. He served as Chair of the Engineering Advisory Committee of the U.S. National Science Foundation and has served on advisory boards and committees for Harvard University, Stanford University, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE), in addition to others.


Robert Plotkin, patent attorney and author “The Genie in the Machine”


Robert Plotkin is a patent attorney. His firm specializes in software patent application preparation and prosecution, software patent infringement and validity analysis, and on consultation on software-related litigation. He has a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law.  In 2000 he founded his law firm Robert Plotkin, P.C. From 2004 to 2010 he taught an advanced course on “Software and Law” at Boston University School of Law. He is the author of the book “The Genie in the Machine: How Computer-Automated Inventing is Revolutionizing Law and Business”


Todd Rose, Director, Mind Brain and Education program, Harvard University


Todd Rose is the Director of the Mind, Brain, & Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also leads the Laboratory for the Science of the Individual. He has a B.S. in Psychology from the Weber State University, a Master of Education (Ed.M.) from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in Mind, Brain, and Education. He also obtained his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Developmental Science from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. After his Ed.D. he became a Faculty Member at the same institution and in 2012 became President of the Center for Individual Opportunity. Since 2015 he is the Director of Mind, Brain, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He teaches Educational Neuroscience and is the author of “The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World that Values” and “Square Peg: My Story and What it Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-box Thinkers”.


Frank Levy,  Professor emeritus of Economics, MIT


Frank Levy is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. He has a Masters and Ph.D. in economics from Yale. Before joining MIT in 1992, he taught for ten years at University of California, Berkeley and eleven years at the University of Maryland at College Park and worked for four years at the Urban Institute in Washington DC. In 2015 he published a Paper with Dana Remus “Can Robots be Lawyers? Computers, Lawyers, and the Practice of Law”.


Moderator: Charles Fadel, Founder and Chairman, Center for Curriculum Redesign


Charles Fadel is a global education thought leader, futurist and inventor; founder and chairman of the Center for Curriculum Redesign; visiting scholar at Harvard GSE; Chair of the education committee at BIAC/OECD; co-author of “Four-Dimensional Education” and best-selling  “21st Century Skills”; founder of the Fondation Helvetica Educatio (Geneva, Switzerland). He has worked with education systems and institutions in more than thirty countries. He was formerly Global Education Lead at Cisco Systems, and holds a BSEE, an MBA, and six patents.


Panelists at University of Geneva


Pierre Dillenbourg, Professor, Computer-Human Interaction Lab for Learning & Instruction, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)


Pierre Dillenbourg is professor in learning technologies in the School of Computer & Communication Sciences at EPFL, where he is the head of the CHILI Lab: “Computer-Human Interaction for Learning & Instruction“. He is also the academic director of Center for Digital Education, which implements the MOOC strategy of EPFL. Pierre Dillenbourg graduated in educational sciences from University of Mons (Belgium). He started research on learning technologies in 1984 and completed his Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Lancaster (UK) in the domain of artificial intelligence applications for educational software. Before he joined EPFL in 2002 he was an assistant professor at the University of Geneva.


Conrad Hughes, Campus and Secondary Principal at La Grande Boissière, International School of Geneva (ISG/EIG)


Conrad Hughes is Campus and Secondary Principal at the International School of Geneva, La Grande Boissière, the oldest international school in the world. He has been school principal, Director of Education, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Coordinator and teacher in schools in Switzerland, France, India and the Netherlands. He teaches Theory of Knowledge.

His PhD (2008) is in English literature: The Treatment of the Body in the Fiction of JM Coetzee. He is writing his EdD thesis on the relationship between prejudice and education with  specific focus on how education can reduce prejudice. He is the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and as Director of Education at the International School of Geneva he led the publication of Guiding Principles for Learning in the 21st Century with UNESCO. He was chief editor for a special edition of Springer’s Prospects Journal on Learning in the 21st Century with entries by leading academics such as Sugata Mitra, Steve Higgins, Doug & Lynn Newton, Scilla Elworthy, Paul Black and Juan Carols Tedesco.


Stéphane Marchand-Maillet, Associate Professor of Computer Science, head of the Viper group, Universite de Geneve (UNIGE)


Stéphane Marchand-Maillet is Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and head of the Viper (Visual Information Processing for Enhanced Retrieval) group. The Viper group deals with the development of Machine Learning and Data Mining techniques. Stéphane Marchand-Maillet received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at Imperial College (University of London, UK) in 1997. He then completed a postdoctoral stay at Eurécom (France). He joined the Computer Science Department of the University of Geneva in 2000 as an assistant professor.


The Center for Curriculum Redesign (CCR) is a global non-profit organization dedicated to improving education by focusing on what students should learn in the 21st century. To this end it designs and propagates new curricula and brings together international organizations, jurisdictions, academic institutions, corporations, and non-profit organizations.

The Montes Alti Educational Foundation is dedicated to assisting educators in using cutting-edge teaching technologies in programs for children and young adults. The Montes Alti Educational Foundation supports promising research programs encouraging development of new teaching technologies in Geneva, Switzerland, and the world.

The Fondation Helvetica Educatio seeks to improve global understanding, societal wisdom, and human prosperity by redesigning school, university and adult education and by developing deeply transformational policies adapting curricula to the needs of the 21st century.


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