CEO of Duolingo to Receive Award from Dickinson College

Portrait of Luis von Ahn.

Luis von Ahn.

The 70th Annual Joseph Priestley Award Celebration Lecture

by Logan Cort '22

Co-founder and CEO of language-learning platform Duolingo, Luis von Ahn, will discuss the intersections of technology and education at the 70th annual Joseph Priestley Award Celebration Lecture at Dickinson. The program, “How Duolingo Uses AI to Assess, Engage and Teach Better,” will be held Tuesday, March 22, at 5 p.m. in the Anita Tuvin Schlecter (ATS) Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Well-fitting masks are required, and N95 or KN95 masks are strongly recommended. The event will be available via livestream on The Clarke Forum's website.

Von Ahn will speak about the artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities of Duolingo to change teaching strategies and improve results. Duolingo is the most-downloaded education app in the world and is used more than 500 million times each day. Von Ahn will discuss how Duolingo takes advantage of an AI-usable dataset to constantly tailor and improve the user experience. He will explain human-created datasets and their powerful applications with the help of AI.

Von Ahn is a pioneer in crowdsourcing and former computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the co-inventor of CAPTCHAs and reCAPTCHA technologies, which enable websites to distinguish between human and automated access. Von Ahn is a MacArthur Fellow and has been named one of the 10 Most Brilliant Scientists by Popular Science, one of the 50 Best Brains in Science by Discover and one of the 100 Most Innovative People in Business by Fast Company.

About the Joseph Priestley Award

The Joseph Priestley Award is presented by Dickinson in memory of Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen, to an individual who has made significant contributions to science and the welfare of humanity. Each year, a different science department is responsible for choosing the recipient. This year, the departments of mathematics and computer science selected von Ahn for the award. Past recipients of the award include famed astronomer Carl Sagan, former NASA scientist and climatologist James Hansen and numerous Nobel laureates.

The event is supported by the College’s Priestley Fund and is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of biology, chemistry, earth sciences, environmental studies, mathematics & computer science, psychology, physics & astronomy, and the Churchill Fund. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.


Published March 21, 2022