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Getting Smart Podcast

Feb 28, 2018

On today’s episode, Tom is talking with Tess Posner, Executive Director at Al4ALL a new Oakland nonprofit that is introducing artificial intelligence to high school students and, more specifically girls. The goal is to help high school students learn to use AI for good and to increase diversity and inclusion in computer science.


AI4ALL is really aligned to one of the recommendations from Getting Smart’s December report, Ask About AI,” which focused on the future of work and learning. In the report, Tom called for connecting experts and high school students to close the guidance gap and help more people use AI for good. AI4ALL is a great example of the solution Tom was envisioning — and as he says, he’s nearly “doing jumping jacks” out of excitement for this conversation!


Listen in to hear more about Tess and the work she’s doing at AI4ALL, how her interest in AI and computer science formed, how she connected with Samasource and AI4ALL, her take on integrating new tech and AI into schools, and her current mission and goals for AI4ALL.


Key Takeaways:

[1:47] In 2015, Tom started noticing the rise of AI and made it his personal study topic for 2016. He reads some excerpts from his “Ask About AI” paper and how he discovered AI4ALL.

[5:47] Where Tess went to high school and how that helped give her an interest in the education field.

[6:43] Why Tess studied math at St. John’s College.

[8:27] What sparked Tess’ interest in social entrepreneurship.

[10:26] The importance of traveling as a learning experience.

[10:52] How Tess came about connecting with Samasource.

[12:44] How Tess’ interest in AI formed.

[15:32] When and how Tess spotted the guidance gap in STEM careers (including AI).

[18:11] The founding story of AI4ALL and what the alumni have gone on to accomplish.

[20:55] How Tess sees AI4ALL’s mission today.

[22:00] About AI4ALL’s current focus: After-school and summer camp programs.

[23:03] What’s on AI4ALL’s roadmap.

[24:16] The challenge of educating teachers on AI and integrating new tech into schools.

[27:15] Tess’s take on the current ‘coding for all’ trend.

[29:25] Where to find out more about Tess and AI4ALL.

[29:46] About Tess’s SXSWedu panel and SXSW Interactive panel.


Mentioned in This Episode:

If you’ll be at SXSWedu, tweet the team @Getting_Smart and use #SXSWedu, or email Jessica at to set up a time to meet!


SXSWedu Events: Join Tom on Tuesday for a meetup on The Rise of AI & What It Means for Education. And join Tess on Wednesday for her panel on AI in Education: Opportunities & Challenges.



Ask about AI: The Future of Learning and Work,” by Tom Vander Ark

Hewlett Foundation

Smart Cities That Work for Everyone, by Tom Vander Ark with Mary Ryerse

South Shore Charter Public School

St. Johns College

In Defense of a Liberal Education, by Fareed Zakaria


Tech Hire Initiative

IBM Watson

Stanford University

University of California, Berkeley

Princeton University

Carnegie Mellon University




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