Anca Dragan, 30
Ensuring that robots and humans work and play well together.
Anca Dragan, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley, is working to distill complicated or vague human behavior into simple mathematical models that robots can understand. She says many conflicts that arise when humans and robots try to work together come from a lack of transparency about each other’s intentions. Teaching a robot to understand how it might influence a person’s behavior could solve that. One pressing application for this work is in helping self-driving cars and human-driven cars to anticipate each other’s next moves.