Ramirez uses artificial intelligence to teach students how to write. The idea came to the former Ph.D. candidate at University of California, Berkeley’s prestigious English program when he was teaching writing to oversized freshman classes. With some 120 papers per semester to grade, “I found that students weren’t getting feedback quickly enough,” he says. “I realized that we could capture, algorithmically, about 90% of what we were teaching.” It turns out writing—style, eloquence, clarity and logic, he says—falls into statistical patterns. “So I decided to encode that.”See MoreBorn in McAllen, Tex., on the Mexican border, Ramirez grew up with mostly poor, non-native English speakers and attended the local community college for one year before graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. WriteLab now has $2.5 million in funding and has already been deployed in 53 schools, ranging from low-income high schools to Ivy League colleges. “Our biggest gamble is betting that everyone can use this, regardless of their demographic or competency level.”Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on Matthew Ramirez and other top speakers and celebrities.