Ayanna Howard

Photo of PEARC22 speaker Dean Ayanna Howard in purple suit with colorful background

Ayanna Howard, PhD

Plenary Speaker
Dean, Ohio State University College of Engineering

How the Computing Research Community Can Manage the AI-Disruption Through Inclusion
There is both hope and fear regarding the advance of AI technologies: Will they be our closest partners, or a threat to our jobs, safety, and well-being? Artificial intelligence and robotics promise enormous benefits to humanity, but there could be potential drawbacks as well. As more jobs become automated, there will be fewer opportunities for employment outside the technology sector. There is a possibility that the wealthy and STEM-educated will reap a disproportionate amount of the rewards, while the underserved find it harder to rise up the social ladder. In this talk, Dr. Howard will delve into the impact AI will have on computing research and the role universities and industry have in mitigating its disruption. She will focus on AI as an element in the future of work and explain the critical importance of ensuring diversity and inclusion at all stages of development so intelligent systems are designed to be accessible to all.

Accomplished roboticist, entrepreneur, and educator Ayanna Howard, PhD, became Dean of The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering on March 1, 2021. Previously she was chair of the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing, as well as founder and director of the Human-Automation Systems Lab (HumAnS).

Her career spans higher education, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the private sector. Dr. Howard is the founder and president of the board of directors of Zyrobotics, a Georgia Tech spin-off company that develops mobile therapy and educational products for children with special needs. Zyrobotics products are based on Dr. Howard’s research.

Among many accolades, Forbes named Dr. Howard to its America’s Top 50 Women In Tech list. In May 2021, the Association for Computing Machinery named her the ACM Athena Lecturer in recognition of fundamental contributions to the development of accessible human-robotic systems and artificial intelligence, along with forging new paths to broaden participation in computing.