Skip to main content

Ohio State Engineering leader shares AI, robotics insight on global stage


College of Engineering Dean Ayanna Howard travelled to Switzerland last week. But not to ski the Alps, sample chocolates or tour castles. She was an invited guest panelist at the 54th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

Nearly 3,000 policymakers, business executives, international organization and civil society leaders, academics and innovators from around the world participated in the meeting and connected across diverse viewpoints on key issues in Davos, Switzerland.

Global leaders met to rebuild trust, generate new ideas, and create partnerships to advance solutions to the challenges facing us all. On topics ranging from AI to climate change and global growth, more than 450 sessions and workshops took place during the event, facilitating dialogue, debate and alignment across many perspectives. Participants advanced new ideas and initiatives to increase resilience and security, revive economic growth, protect the climate and nature, balance innovation and guardrails for technology, and invest in jobs, skills and health.

Dean Howard on stage as a panelist at World Economic Forum
Dean Howard on stage with Suleyman and Thompson (photo: World Economic Forum/Greg Beadle)

Howard was part of a speakers lineup of world leaders, industry pacesetters and cultural icons, including European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, Jane Goodall and so many more.

She participated as an expert on two panels within the Creating Growth and Jobs for a New Era theme: "Town Hall: How to Trust Technology" & "About Robo-Allies.”

In the town hall session, Howard joined Inflection AI CEO and DeepMind Co-founder Mustafa Suleyman and Stratechery Founder Ben Thompson to discuss why it is essential to build trust in technology without overtrusting new tools like AI and large language models. Click to watch the whole conversation.

In response to a question from an audience member, she offered interdisciplinary collaboration as a strategy to increase trust in AI. “How do we as technologists build bridges with others that understand us and understand the technology, but can also translate that in terms of the risks as well as the opportunities in a space that’s more holistic.”

Dean Howard engages with co-panelists at World Economic Forum
Dean Howard with Alonsoperez, Verzelen and Schenker

In the “About Robo-Allies” roundtable session, Howard, Chipsafer Founder Victoria Alonsoperez and Dassault Systèmes Executive Vice President Florence Verzelen chatted with The Innovator Founder Jennifer Schenker about how robots and humans can exist harmoniously in the physical world. Click to watch this insightful discussion.

For more information on the Annual Meeting 2024, visit

Category: Faculty
Tag: AI