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Daniella DiPaola

Hi! 👋 I’m Daniella, a graduate student in the Personal Robots Group 🤖 at the MIT Media Lab, advised by Professor Cynthia Breazeal. My research seeks to understand the ethical implications of social and relational artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. To address these questions, I focus on 1) long-term interaction studies to understand user perceptions of relational AI, and 2) the design and development of interventions (e.g. education and policy) to mitigate their harm. I use human-computer interaction and design research methodologies and have a special interest in questions regarding youth and social robotics.

Some of my recent projects include:

🏫 Developing middle school curricula to teach middle school students how AI can impact their rights.

🔍 Designing an age-appropriate policy design toolkit to allow students to explore technology policies

⚖️ Exploring how advertising with social interfaces (namely, social robots) might introduce new legal challenges for children

Research Projects

Image credit: Meg Leta Jones

Socio-Digital Vulnerability

Socio-digital vulnerability refers to the susceptibility of individuals and groups within mediated environments to decisional, social, or constitutive interference. In this work, we bring together a set of existing phenomena on mediated environments to identify how technology that is designed to be social, renders us vulnerable. In collaboration with Professor Ryan Calo.
WeRobot 2023 (preliminary draft) | Legitimacy in an Online World Workshop

Image credit: Daniella DiPaola

Child Advertising with Social Robots

These projects address the ways that socially embodied interfaces might impact traditional advertising practices. In collaboration with Anastasia Ostrowski and Kate Darling.
alt.HRI 2022 | WeRobot 2022 (preliminary draft)

Children's Rights in HRI Research

This systematic review looked at the ways that children's fundamental AI rights, as defined by UNICEF, have historically been addressed in child-robot interaction research. In collaboration with Vicky Charisi and Professor Selma Sabanovic.
HRI 2023 Short Paper

Robot Policy Design Research Toolkit

Social agents are becoming more popular and are generating new legal and policy issues. The Robot Policy Design Toolkit is a design research tool to allow any generation to design and consider how we can develop policy for social robot technologies around nine ethic topics. It has been tested with children, older adults, and technology developers. In collaboration with Anastasia Ostrowski.
Project Overview

AI Literacy Curricula

Through my work in the field of AI literacy, I have had the opportunity to collaborate on many different curricula about artificial intelligence. I love designing learning activities that address the intersection of artificial intelligence and ethics. These curricula have largely been made open-source and have been implemented in hundreds of schools worldwide.


ProjectSTEM CSE2

CSE2 is a middle-school course about AI, sponsored by Project STEM and Amazon Future Engineer. I had a main role in designing the learning activities for the 12-week course, which covers topics such as ethical thinking, representation, reasoning, machine learning, generative AI, and applied AI.

Curriculum and Educator Resources

Human Rights

Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights

AI and Human Rights is a curriculum designed for grades 5-8, and created in collaboration with i2 learning and Day of AI. In this 7 lesson course, students will learn about the increasing use of AI in our everyday lives, and how that use is forcing us to consider how some of our most basic human rights need to be protected and adapted.



Developing AI Literacy (DAILy)

The Daily-AI workshop, designed by the MIT Media Lab, MIT STEP Lab, and Boston College, is a 30-hour curriculum and features hands-on and computer-based activities on AI concepts, ethical issues in AI, creative expression using AI, and how AI relates to career futures. I had a primary role in creating the lessons and piloted the workshop in the Summer of 2020 with over 100 students.

Curriculum | Overview Paper

Project 4

ChatGPT in School

This curriculum is an introduction to ChatGPT that I designed in collaboration with Safinah Ali, i2 learning and Day of AI. Through a series of teacher-led activities they are introduced to ChatGPT, what it is and how it works, and come up with recommendations for how ChatGPT should be used and not used in their school.


Project 5

Introduction to Social Robotics

This curriculum, designed for my Master's thesis and now adapted by MIT RAICA is made up of 6 lessons that cover various topics in social robotics such as character design, affective computing, and computer vision.

Curriculum | Master's Thesis

Project 6

Data Privacy for Youth

This series of lessons engages K-9 students in the technical and contextual concepts related to data privacy. These lessons were created in collaboration with Stephanie Nguyen and piloted with the Girl Scouts of Massachusetts.