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Risto Miikkulainen

VP of AI Research | Cognizant

Academia Changes One Grave at a Time as AI Reshapes Education and Research

“We need to address the carbon footprint of AI and work towards energy-efficient modeling to minimize its impact on sustainability.”

In this podcast episode, Prashant Raizada interviews Risto Miikkulainen about his long journey in artificial intelligence (AI) and how it shapes education and sustainability. Risto shares how his fascination with AI began in the early ’90s and has driven his career for over 40 years. They discuss the evolution of AI from a highly technical field to something accessible to everyone, emphasizing its impact on various professions, from legal to creative arts. Risto highlights the importance of adapting education to prepare the next generation for AI, advocating for AI literacy from an early age.

Risto acknowledges the carbon footprint of AI but stresses the need for responsible and efficient use of resources. He also envisions a future where AI fosters global connectivity and problem-solving, ultimately benefiting humanity. Overall, this episode underscores the transformative potential of AI in education, industry, and society, advocating for an inclusive and forward-thinking approach.

Key Moments

00:00 Fascination with intelligent AI and its potential.

05:54 Tech’s impact requires guidance for productive use.

09:55 Understanding AI’s potential, educating on its use.

13:55 AI can enhance education by providing critique.

14:39 Interactive writing critique, education adapting to technology.

18:46 Dissertation while working, structural change, collaboration essential.

23:57 AI innovation expands knowledge and affects society and business.

25:37 AI applications in COVID, climate, and healthcare.

30:59 Being aware of carbon footprint in research.

33:30 AI literacy is crucial for improving equity in AI.

38:50 Utilize technology to overcome barriers, and unify humanity.

39:44 Staying optimistic in uncertain spaces is important.

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About In YOUth We Trust

In YOUth We Trust sits down with successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators, and others worldwide.

We spotlight how individuals & organizations are shaping a better world, directly or indirectly, for the coming generations by focusing on sustainability, equity, education, and more to empower young people to create the future they deserve.


About Lumi.Network

Lumi is building the world’s first AI-augmented platform where 10-25-year-olds undertake Quests to build entrepreneurship, design thinking & AI skills while collaboratively developing tech-enabled solutions to the world’s biggest problems (based on UN SDGs). The Quests culminate in a unique Digital Skills Passport accredited by a Stanford University-affiliated institution.

Working in teams from around the world, Luminaries learn skills in coding, design, and entrepreneurship. Supported by weekly expert sessions, they put these skills into practice to develop their original apps and solutions with tremendous potential to create real-world impact.

Young people see solutions, not problems. Lumi is their chance to combine their natural curiosity with the opportunity to make a real difference.

Learn more:


About Your Host, Prashant Raizada

“I am an experienced entrepreneur & CEO whose career highlights include being part of the founding team of a unicorn (Infosys BPO- $2bn exit), Founder & CEO of Macmillan Publishers’ flagship digital education venture-EnglishUp, which became Brazil’s 3rd largest online English learning co.), working at McKinsey & Co. and having tried and failed (or learned) multiple times but starting back again…

I have operated in/engaged with most major global markets, continue advising companies across sectors on digital strategy/innovation, and mentor several start-ups and charities globally. I have dedicated the last 11 years to solving problems in all forms of education globally, and I am most excited about my latest venture, Lumi.Network, which is giving young minds globally an opportunity to learn about and collaborate to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges. 

Since 2017, I also started my journey of inner transformation by becoming a part of the Self-Realisation Fellowship, a remarkable 100+ year institution started by Paramhansa Yogananda. Integrating yoga and meditation in my life has allowed me to become a better leader and person in all walks of life.”


Podcast Produced by Old Soul:


Dr Gavin Towler

Dr. Gavin Towler

Corporate Chief Scientist, Sustainability Technologies | Honeywell