Survival Strategies in the Era of AI Taught by Stanford | Stanford AIRE Director

2 Mar 202309:37


TLDRLi Jiang, the director of the Stanford AIRE program, discusses the impact of AI and robotics on the job market and education. He emphasizes the necessity of integrating AI thinking into education to prepare students for the future. Jiang highlights the importance of understanding AI's capabilities, differentiating human and AI abilities, and leveraging AI for innovation. He introduces the Stanford Design Thinking methodology to foster creativity and innovation, which includes empathizing with users, defining problems, ideating, prototyping, and iterating. The summary also touches on the transformative potential of AI in education, exemplified by tools like ChatGPT, and the need for educators to adapt to these changes. Jiang shares his personal inspiration from Transformers and the importance of nurturing dreams in children, concluding with his goal to shape the ideal education system for future generations.


  • 👨‍🏫 Li Jiang, director of the Stanford AIRE program, discusses the integration of AI in education and its impact on future job markets.
  • 🤖 AI can perform certain tasks more efficiently and cheaply than humans, exemplified by robots doing a $1,000 job for $200.
  • 🧠 Emphasis on 'AI Thinking' as a crucial skill for future generations, helping to distinguish between human and AI capabilities.
  • 🚀 The potential of AI like AlphaFold, which has significantly advanced the field of structural biology by predicting protein structures.
  • 💻 Integration of AI tools such as ChatGPT in educational settings to enhance learning, while considering the challenge of academic integrity.
  • 👨‍💻 Advocating for early AI education to prepare students for a future dominated by technological advancements.
  • 🏃‍♂‍ Li encourages embracing AI rather than fearing it, highlighting its role as one of the most powerful tools invented.
  • 📱 The role of AI in creative processes and innovation, helping from concept generation ('0 to 1') to developing optimized solutions.
  • 🏁 Discussion on 'Design Thinking' at Stanford, which systematically teaches innovation through empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping, and testing.
  • 🛡‍ Challenges in education such as the need for redefining teaching methods in the AI era and preparing students to use AI creatively.

Q & A

  • Why is it more cost-effective to let robots do a job that can be done by a human?

    -Robots can perform certain tasks more efficiently and at a lower cost than humans. In the script, it is mentioned that a job that costs $1,000 to be done by a human might only cost around $200 when done by a robot, due to the speed and efficiency of machines.

  • What is the role of AI in the future job market?

    -AI is expected to cause significant changes in the job market, with many jobs potentially disappearing as tasks become automated. However, it also presents opportunities for new types of jobs that focus on human creativity and innovation.

  • Why is it important to teach AI Thinking to the next generation?

    -Teaching AI Thinking allows individuals to understand the differences between human and AI capabilities, enabling them to innovate and create new solutions. It prepares them to work alongside AI and focus on the human aspect of innovation, which is irreplaceable by machines.

  • What are the three important aspects of AI Thinking mentioned in the script?

    -The three important aspects of AI Thinking are: 1) having a general understanding of how AI works, 2) gaining the ability to differentiate human abilities from machine or AI abilities, and 3) having the ability to work with AI and use it to accomplish tasks.

  • How does the AlphaFold AI from DeepMind demonstrate the capabilities of AI in scientific research?

    -AlphaFold has demonstrated the power of AI by predicting the structure of almost all proteins in the world, a task that humans had only managed to do for less than 1% of proteins. This shows how AI can handle complex data and find optimized solutions, allowing humans to focus on other tasks.

  • What is the Stanford AIRE program's approach to teaching innovation?

    -The Stanford AIRE program uses Design Thinking, a methodology that involves steps such as empathizing with users, defining the problem, ideation, prototyping, and testing. This structured approach helps students become more innovative and creative by systematically generating and refining ideas.

  • How does the Design Thinking methodology help in the process of innovation?

    -Design Thinking helps in innovation by providing a structured process that includes empathizing with users, clearly defining the problem, brainstorming for ideas, prototyping, and testing. It allows for iteration and refinement, leading to effective solutions that meet user needs.

  • What is the significance of the example given about incubators in Nepal?

    -The example of incubators in Nepal illustrates the importance of correctly defining a problem before attempting to solve it. Initially, the problem was misunderstood, but through empathy and direct interaction with the local community, the real need was identified, leading to a successful, locally appropriate solution.

  • How does the advancement of AI, such as ChatGPT, impact education?

    -AI advancements like ChatGPT can change education by enabling students to write essays and complete homework with AI assistance. This requires educators to adapt their teaching methods and consider how to integrate AI tools into the learning process.

  • What is the role of creativity in the era of AI and robotics?

    -Creativity plays a crucial role in the era of AI and robotics as it is the human ability to innovate and generate new ideas from scratch. While AI can optimize and analyze, human creativity is essential for breakthrough inventions and is something that should be fostered and taught.

  • Why is it important for children to have dreams and aspirations related to technology?

    -It is important for children to have dreams and aspirations related to technology because it inspires them to innovate and create. This early interest can drive their future contributions to the field and help shape the next generation of technology and innovation.

  • What is Li Jiang's ultimate goal regarding the education system?

    -Li Jiang's ultimate goal is to discover and implement the ideal education system for the future that prepares students for the era of AI and robotics, focusing on nurturing creativity, innovation, and the ability to work alongside AI.



🤖 The Impact of AI and Robotics on Jobs and Education

Li Jiang, the director of the Stanford AIRE program, discusses the inevitable rise of AI and robotics and their potential to displace human jobs. He emphasizes the need to adapt our educational systems to teach 'AI Thinking' from an early age, which involves understanding AI's capabilities, differentiating human from AI abilities, and learning to work collaboratively with AI. Jiang also highlights the importance of focusing on the innovative aspect of human work, which is from 0 to 1, and not just improving existing solutions. He introduces the concept of Design Thinking as a method to foster creativity and innovation, which includes steps like empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and iterating. The summary also touches on the transformative potential of AI tools like ChatGPT in education, suggesting that embracing these tools is crucial for staying competitive.


🌟 Design Thinking and Real-World Problem Solving

This paragraph delves into the practical application of Design Thinking, using a case study from a Stanford class focusing on improving incubators in Nepal. Initially, the students attempted to design incubators without fully understanding the local context, which led to the realization that the real issue was not a lack of machines but a lack of knowledge in operating them. The students then redefined the problem, engaging with the local community to identify their actual needs, which were low-cost, easy-to-use incubators for home use. This example illustrates the iterative nature of Design Thinking and the importance of empathy and accurate problem definition in creating effective solutions. The paragraph also touches on the broader implications of AI and robotics, including the surprising capabilities of AI like ChatGPT, which can converse naturally and even write code, and the need for educators to adapt to these technological advancements.




Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. In the context of the video, AI is portrayed as a powerful tool that is transforming various sectors, including job markets and education. It is emphasized as a critical area of focus for the next generation, with the potential to automate tasks more efficiently and cost-effectively than humans, as illustrated by the comparison of job costs between humans and machines.


Robotics involves the design, construction, operation, and use of robots, which are machines capable of carrying out complex tasks automatically. The video discusses the impact of robotics on jobs, suggesting that as robots become more capable, they will take over more tasks traditionally done by humans, leading to job displacement. The speaker, as the director of the Stanford AIRE program, is passionate about preparing the next generation for this era of AI and robotics.

💡AI Thinking

AI Thinking is the concept of understanding and incorporating AI capabilities into problem-solving and decision-making processes. It is highlighted in the video as a necessary skill for the future, allowing individuals to differentiate between human and AI capabilities and to focus on innovation where humans excel. The video emphasizes teaching AI Thinking from an early age to prepare for a future where AI is prevalent.

💡Deep Learning

Deep Learning is a subset of machine learning that uses neural networks with many layers (hence 'deep') to analyze various factors of data. The video mentions deep learning as one of the newer algorithms that allow AI to develop optimized solutions based on large datasets, showcasing the advancement in AI's ability to learn from data rather than just follow pre-set rules.

💡Structural Biology

Structural Biology is a scientific research field that studies the molecular structure of biological macromolecules, such as proteins. The video uses the example of protein structure determination to illustrate the power of AI in accelerating scientific discovery. It mentions how AI, specifically AlphaFold from DeepMind, has predicted the structures of nearly all known proteins, a task that would have taken humans much longer to achieve.

💡Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a problem-solving and creative process that emphasizes empathy, defining the problem, brainstorming, prototyping, and testing. The video discusses how Stanford uses Design Thinking to teach innovation and creativity. It is presented as a method that can make individuals more innovative than they are, by following a structured process that starts with understanding the user's needs and iterating until a solution is found.


Innovation refers to the process of creating new ideas, devices, or methods; it is the act of introducing new concepts or ideas. In the video, the emphasis is on fostering innovation in the era of AI, where humans should focus on the 'from 0 to 1' aspect of creating something that did not exist before. The speaker believes that AI can assist in this process by providing information and insights.


ChatGPT is an AI language model capable of generating human-like text based on given prompts. The video discusses ChatGPT's surprising ability to converse naturally and even write code, which has implications for education as students could use it to complete essays and homework. The speaker assigns an essay using ChatGPT to his students to understand how it impacts the educational system.

💡Autobots and Transformers

Autobots and Transformers are fictional robots from a popular cartoon and toy line. The video uses the speaker's personal interest in these characters as an example of how early exposure to robotics and AI can inspire dreams and aspirations in children. It highlights the importance of nurturing these dreams in the young to foster future innovators.

💡Education System

The Education System refers to the structured process of teaching and learning, typically within schools and educational institutions. The video emphasizes the need for an ideal education system that prepares students for a future dominated by AI and robotics. The speaker's ultimate goal is to understand and contribute to the development of such a system that fosters creativity, innovation, and the ability to work with AI.


To Empathize means to understand and share the feelings of another. In the context of the video, empathizing is the first step in the Design Thinking process, where one must understand the users' needs and emotions to create effective solutions. The video provides an example of how students flew to Nepal to empathize with the local people to redefine the problem of incubator accessibility.


AI and robotics are predicted to replace many human jobs, necessitating a shift in educational focus towards innovation and creativity.

Li Jiang, director of the Stanford AIRE program, emphasizes the importance of AI Thinking to differentiate human and AI capabilities.

AI is seen as a powerful tool that must be embraced rather than avoided to stay competitive in the future job market.

Teaching AI Thinking should begin as early as possible to prepare the next generation for the era of AI and robotics.

Understanding AI's evolution from rule-based systems to data-driven algorithms like deep learning and reinforcement learning is crucial.

AI's ability to analyze vast amounts of data can lead to optimized solutions, as demonstrated by AlphaFold's protein structure predictions.

Focus should be on the human aspect of innovation, particularly the creation of new ideas from scratch.

Stanford Design Thinking is a methodology for fostering creativity and innovation, even among those who believe it cannot be taught.

The Design Thinking process involves empathizing with users, defining the problem, ideating, prototyping, and iterating based on feedback.

ChatGPT's ability to converse naturally and write code signifies a shift in how education will be approached, with students encouraged to use AI as a tool.

Li Jiang's assignment to write an essay with ChatGPT reflects an acceptance of AI's role in education and a desire to understand its impact.

The importance of maintaining dreams and inspiring creativity in children is highlighted as key to fostering future innovators.

The ultimate goal is to discover the ideal education system that prepares students for a future where AI and robotics are integral.

The impact of education on the future of the next generation is profound, and it must evolve with the integration of AI and robotics.

AI's potential to handle tasks more efficiently than humans should be acknowledged, allowing humans to focus on tasks that require creativity and innovation.

The case study of incubators in Nepal demonstrates the importance of empathetic design and redefining problems to create effective solutions.

The transformative power of AI and robotics is not just in automation but also in their ability to augment human creativity and innovation.

Li Jiang's personal inspiration from Transformers and Autobots reflects the potential of early childhood dreams to drive future technological advancements.



If a job can be done by human and it cost $1,000.


Because you can't really calculate faster than the machines.


Then you let the robot do it. It will just cost roughly around $200.


AI will make a lot of jobs disappear in the future.


How much more information kids get nowadays


It's just completely different now


We still use the same way to teach them.


And then the more I think about it, the more I feel like


we need to push to change that.


I'm Li Jiang.


I'm the director of the Stanford AIRE program.


You know, the era of AI is in the near future.


And I would say it's actually now it's started already.


I'm passionate trying to figure out what is the right way


of teaching the next generation in the era of AI and robotics.


We have a lot of people are afraid of AI, so they try to avoid this.


They're like, Oh, I want to stay away from that.


But the thing is that that's probably one of the most powerful tool


that we have ever invented.


If you don't use these tools, then you cannot really compete


with anyone like other people.


I think there's a few things we need to change.


One is that we need to start a teach AI Thinking as early as possible.


AI Thinking will allow them to know the difference between human and AI.


And then the human part is really the innovation part from 0 to 1.


That's where I cannot do a good job. We need to focus on that.


There's three important thing about AI Thinking


With the first thing, you need to have general understanding of how AI works


In the past, AI is basically mostly based on the rules or the specific algorithms


that we write in the computer.


The humans set the rules


And then now,


we developed a different algorithms


like deep learning, reinforcement learning based on data,


because we have much more powerful computers that can handle a way, more data,


and then they will develop and trying to find the most optimized solution based on the current data.


And then the more data you have, the better solution you usually will get


if you do the first one.


The second one is that you will gain the ability to differentiate


the human ability versus the machine's ability or AI's ability.


I think probably most of the audience don't know.


There's a scientific research area called structural biology.


Scientists in this field study the structure of a protein.


Proteins are so important for all the living creatures.


The whole world have like 100 to 200 million proteins.


This research area, like scientists,


a lot of them are focusing on determining the structure of these proteins.


We humans only find just a very little number of these proteins, like the structures of it


less than 1%.


However, this AI is called AlphaFold.


That's from DeepMind.


In the past two years, AlphaFold predict like the structure


of almost all the proteins in the world,


and they put it in the open database online.


So a job, once the machines can do it, then let the machines do it,


and then we focus on the human part


after you get the first two.


The third one is you will have the ability to work with AI


And use AI to help you to accomplish other jobs.


There is critical part is from 0 to 1, which basically that we invent something that doesn't exist before


and we probably can do 0 to 1 better


with AI providing a lot of information and things like that.


So we should prepare our kids to learn how to innovate,


to generate new ideas, to use AI to help us, that kind of stuff.


Creativity, It's a..


it's something that is really hard to teach


or some people think creativity cannot be taught


how to teach people creativity.


This thing get changed by the Stanford Design Thinking


We can use this method to teach you how to systematically to make innovations.


Design Thinking is a methodology that we use here at Stanford to teach


people how to make innovations,


and we do not make you


as innovative or creative as Steve Jobs or Elon Musk


However, we can use this methodology to make you


more creative or innovative than yourself.


So design thinking has steps that you can follow.


The first step is empathize.


First, you have to understand who you're inventing for


are you inventing for your parents or you're inventing for


children who are studying in the school?


You have to understand who are the users.


Then you empathize with them, especially their emotion.


And then you go to the second step, which is called Define


A lot of people, They didn't have the right problem to start with.


Then you have to define that problem clearly


and then you go to the third step, which is ideation, which is using brainstorming


to generate a lot of ideas, and then you kind


and then you kind of get feedbacks from the users.


You pick the good ones to prototype.


After you do the prototype, which is the fourth step,


you do test what the user and then you get feedback.


Maybe the feedback is good or maybe the feedback is bad,


but you have to do redesign or reinvent.


We have a phrase called all design is redesign.


if you realize, Whoa, I actually didn't define this problem right, then you go back to the step two.


So you have to go in this iterations


Eventually you will have some very nice inventions.


But when you read books and or you listen to some lectures, whatever,


after you finish in that you didn't understand it yet


you have to use it several times to really feel it.


Let me give you an example in one of the class at Stanford.


So basically this project is about how to get good incubators,


get more incubators for Nepal


At first that actually a lot of people


are just trying to say, well, just design it in California.


But then we say, Well, you have to gain empathy.


You need to go to the the real place.


If you have never been to Nepal, how can you design for that?


They actually fly to Nepal and they went to the mountains.


And to their surprise, they actually see a lot of these expensive incubators in these medical centers.


They actually are not lack of those machines,


but they don't know how to operate them.


Problem is defined wrong. They have to redefine the problem.


And then they went back to these villages and talk with those farmers.


We do need those things, but not in these medical centers.


We need in our home. We need the cheap ones.


So then they actually design a very cheap,


like kind of functioning as a baby incubator and had very good success.


And that's a good example.


The problem was defined wrong at first, and then they go into


This Design Thinking process and they find a way to redesign the problem


and then they solve their right problem.


The most interesting thing about AI & Robotics there is a few of them.


I think the first one is ChatGPT, because it's probably a surprise


for a lot of people that AI can talk with people


in that very natural way.


And also it can not only chat with you, it can also write code for you.


It seems like he knows a whole lot and it's smarter than a lot of people


and which surprised people


So and also it's going to change education for sure,


because now kids can use chatGPT to write essays and do homework.


So then teachers need to think about how to deal with that.


Actually, I just gave my student an assignment yesterday.


I asked a student to write an essay.


I said, Well, you know what? We just talked about ChatGPT in the class.


Now I'm going to give you an assignment to write an essay with the help of ChatGPT.


I'm not really asking you to not use it.


I ask you to use it.


And then after that class I will have short discussions


with each of you and tell me how you use it.


How do you feel it?


I think that technology advancement, you cannot trying to ignore it


or trying to avoid it, it's happening


and it's just like water.


You cannot block it. You have to go with it.


For me, I want to understand how ChatGPT is going to impact our education system


and I want to work with our students to understand that better.


So that's why I gave this homework for my students


I'm a big fan for Autobots, Transformers


I grew up with those cartoons, and I'm a big fan of it


Even now I'm still a big fan for Optimus Prime


And that really inspired me that


I always wanted to make cool robots when I was a little kid


I think most kids, they have a dream when they're young.


It's easier to inspire dream when someone's in the early ages


after people grow up, they kind of lose their interest,


they lose their dream, they don't know what to do.


It's actually critically important for these little minds to have dreams.


My ultimate goal is to find out what is the ideal education system for the future.


The education part is really important.


It has profound impact on the next generation's future,


and that's my ultimate goal.

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