ArticuLab @ World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017


CMU’s ArticuLab presented SARA (the Socially Aware Robot Assistant) at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos (January 17-20, 2017). The SARA booth was located right in the middle of the main corridor of the Davos Congress Center and was, in fact, the only demo in the Congress Center. What an honor!

SARA had access to the WEF database of sessions being presented, participants attending, demos being shown in the Loft across the street, and places to get food in the Congress Center (she also knew about some private parties – information she was willing to share if asked nicely!).  SARA was programmed to use this information to act as a virtual personal assistant. She assisted the global leaders attending Davos by finding out about their interests and goals in attending the WEF and then recommending sessions and people who were relevant to their interests and goals. In so-doing, SARA showed what it means to have socially-aware Artificial Intelligence.  That is SARA used the conversation to build a relationship with the person talking to her, and then used that relationship to obtain better information about his/her interests and goals. In turn, that allowed her to do a better job recommending sessions and people. For more information, please refer to SARA’s homepage.


SARA at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017

World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation. This year’s theme was “Responsive and Responsible Leadership“.

Learn more (news release from Carnegie Mellon University)

Davos, Switzerland, January 20, 2017 Copyright by World Economic Forum / Ciaran McCrickard

Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

The SARA booth, Copyright by Yoichi Matsuyama

The SARA booth, Copyright by World Economic Forum / Manuel Lopez

The SARA booth, Copyright by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary

The SARA booth

The SARA booth

Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh and SARA: In addition to helping guests make connections at the World Economic Forum, SARA also enjoyed snapping selfies with attendees – she later sent the selfies to them by email.


SARA-Davos Team (Ran Zhao, Fadi Botros, Yoichi Matsuyama, Justine Cassell, Lauren Smith)

“Ask About: Virtual Humans” by Justine Cassell Copyright by World Economic Forum / Valeriano Di Domenico

“Ask About: Virtual Humans” by Justine Cassell Copyright by World Economic Forum / Valeriano Di Domenico


  • Professor and Associate DeanJustine Cassell
  • ArticuLab (Yoichi Matsuyama, Ran Zhao, Fadi Botros, Lauren Smith, Arjun Bhardwaj, David Slebodnick, Jiajia Li, Luo Yi Tan)
  • ArticuLab Interns (Akanksha Kartik, Alexander Bainbridge, Anna Tan, Chileshe Otieno, Divya Sai Jitta
    Ethel Chou, Jacqueline Yeung, Orson Xu, Sara Stalla, Sasha Volodin, Ting Yan, Ying Shen, Xuchen You, Zhao Meng)
  • InMind Project (Igor Labutov, Oscar J. Romeo, Sushma Anand Akoju)
  • Simcoach Games (Jessica Trybus, Eben Myers, Adam Chizmar, Matt Denton, Hao Fu)
  • Special Thanks (World Economic Forum, Yahoo!, DroneData, MultiComp Group, Alan W. Black)

Media Coverage