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Uniting Game Theory, Maths Stars, and Actors To Build Human Intelligence in the AI Age

30 May 2024
1.00pm – 3.00pm AEST
Anita B. Lawrence Room 4082/3 UNSW (campus map ref: H13)
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Po-Shen Loh

Picture a "maths person". Picture a "humanities person". Picture a "drama person". Do you picture very different people? What if someone could be everything all at once? It's possible, and just takes intentionality, open-mindedness, and courage. It's also the right time to think about building holistic human characteristics, because AI's increasingly powerful capability will soon turn the job market upside down. This talk is for everyone interested in education and the future (and not only maths education). The Wall Street Journal reported on the speaker's tour last year.

But can a re-orientation of education be done rapidly at scale? Fortunately, there is an area close to maths which devises solutions in which problems solve themselves even through self-serving human behavior: Game Theory.

The speaker will describe his recent work, which uses Game Theory to create a novel alignment of incentives, which concurrently solves pain points in disparate sectors. At the heart of the innovation is a new, mutually-beneficial cooperation between high school math stars and professionally trained actors and comedians. This creates a highly scalable community of extraordinary coaches with sufficient capacity to teach large numbers of younger students seeking to learn critical thinking and creative analytical problem solving (covered on CNN). At the same time, it creates a new pathway for high school maths stars to significantly strengthen their emotional intelligence. The whole program is conducted virtually, so it reaches through geographical barriers.

This talk will discuss topics that involve many different dimensions of skill, from arts to humanities to STEM. It will also discuss the bigger question of what highly-skilled people should do with their lives, the importance of building empathy, and how to leave positive social impact. The speaker will illustrate all of his points with his own experiences with innovation.

Refreshments will be hosted following this session. 

Hosted by the School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW.



1:00-2:00pm: Talk by Prof Po-Shen Loh

2:00-3:00pm: Q&A session with the speaker, followed by refreshments.


The talk will be presented in the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics, Room 4082/4083 on level 4 of the Anita B. Lawrence Centre (East).

The School of Mathematics and Statistics is accessible via the Centre Wing or East Wing entrances to the building (campus map ref: H15).

*Please note that the School of Mathematics and Statistics is not accessible via the West Wing of the building.

About the speaker 

Po-Shen Loh is a social entrepreneur and inventor, working across the spectrum of mathematics, education, and healthcare, all around the world. He is a maths professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and served a decade-long term as the national coach of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad team from 2013–2023. He has pioneered innovations ranging from a scalable way to learn challenging maths live online at comparable engagement to live-streaming entertainment, to a new way to control pandemics by leveraging self-interest.

As an academic, Po-Shen has earned distinctions ranging from an International Mathematical Olympiad silver medal to the United States Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

As an educator, he was the coach of Carnegie Mellon University’s maths team when it achieved its first-ever #1 rank among all North American universities, and the coach of the USA Math Olympiad team when it achieved its first-ever back-to-back #1-rank victories in 2015 and 2016, and then again in 2018 and 2019.

His research and educational outreach takes him to cities across the world, reaching over 10,000 people each year through public lectures and events, and he has featured in or co-created videos totalling over 21 million YouTube views.

Po-Shen Loh will be touring Australia as a visiting researcher on behalf of the Sydney Mathematics Research Institute.