FULL NAME + PROFESSIONAL DESIGNATION
Shohreh Shaghaghian, Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering
Machine Learning, NLP
How did you get into this area of work? (Was there a specific moment where you said this is what I want to do?)
While I was in graduate school, I did a summer internship where I was asked to do some statistical analysis on a dataset recorded by urban bicycle-sharing systems. It fascinated me how much interesting and useful information could be extracted by studying the data of one of the most daily routine activities. This experience motivated me to learn more about data science and take some machine learning courses when I got back to school. It eventually led me to choose a career in this field. Later, working as a data scientist, I was involved in a project where we had to work with some text data. When I was building a model that made a machine understand the actual human language, it was the very first time I felt I was really building “Artificial Intelligence”. I have been looking for exciting Natural Language Processing (NLP) projects ever since, and it makes me feel the same excitement every single time.
What kind of projects do you work on?
My job is mainly to apply state-of-the-art statistics, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning methods to automate and facilitate some processes for professionals in the legal industry.
What is one interesting fact you’ve come across while performing your work?
I recently had a conversation with an experienced legal professional who would be a potential end-user for the product we have been working on for the past couple of months. I realized it usually takes her 11 hours to perform one of the tasks our tool will assist in streamlining into a couple of minutes!
Last thing you attended/ate/drank – and how would you apply AI/ML to improve that experience?
Recently, I had a discussion with a non-profit organization that was working on youth mental health around the problem of how difficult it is to convince teenagers to trust and open up to a parent, a teacher, or a knowledgeable professional so that the teens receive reliable information about their mental health rather than just using all kinds of resources on the internet. It occurred to me how a chatbot could be used to direct an anonymous user to good, reliable online sources of information.