Udacity Chairman Sebastian Thrun to Lead Off Day Two of Upcoming MGA Summit

Date: August 20, 2018

Contact: Jesse Heier, 202-367-1226


The Mind Behind Google’s Self-Driving Car & Udacity Will Discuss How Learning and Teaching Must Change in the Age of the Superhuman

Washington, D.C. – Today the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) and Governor John Kasich of Ohio announced that Sebastian Thrun, the founder and President of global online educator Udacity, will be the lead-off speaker on day two of the MGA’s annual summit: The Smartland: Prepared, Agile and Empowered for the Future.  The summit takes place September 19-20, 2018 in Columbus and serves as the capstone for Governor Kasich’s agenda as MGA Chairman.

Thrun will discuss how the coming wave of technological changes—artificial intelligence, the increased use of robotics and self-driving vehicles—will require profound changes to how students and workers acquire the skills they need to master these and other new workplace resources.  In 2011 Thrun co-founded Udacity, a global, online education company aimed at democraticizing learning that advances careers in the digital economy.  Thrun is also known for his work on self-driving cars, Google X, Google Glass, and various other inventions. In addition to his work in industry, Thrun was a professor at Stanford University, where he taught computer science and artificial intelligence.  He is an adjunct professor at Stanford University and Georgia Tech.

“We are facing a tsunami of job disruption and creation in our country and we must challenge the status quo in education or risk our young people being left behind,” said Kasich. “That’s why I’m so excited to have Sebastian join us at the MGA Summit to address this important topic.”

More information, including a draft meeting agenda and registration, is available online at www.midwesterngovernors.org/Agile-Workforce. The summit will feature leading thinkers in energy, transportation and learning who will explain how the Midwest and the country can navigate changes in these areas to emerge stronger and ready to succeed.


The Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) is a non-profit, bipartisan organization that brings together governors, their staff, and state agencies to address significant public policy issues and provide a vehicle to advocate for them. It focuses its efforts in four primary policy areas: economic development, agriculture, energy, and Midwest branding. Current members of the MGA include Gov. Bruce Rauner (Ill.), Gov. Eric Holcomb (Ind.), Gov. Kim Reynolds (Iowa), Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D. (Kan.), Gov. Rick Snyder (Mich.), Gov. Mark Dayton (Minn.), Gov. Michael Parson (Mo.), Gov. Pete Ricketts (Neb.), Doug Burgum (ND), Gov. John Kasich (Ohio), Gov. Dennis Daugaard (SD), and Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.).