What developments of AI are you most excited for, and which other industries do you think will be most impacted?
I'm really excited about advances in NLP and NLG technology enabling better conversational interfaces and AR/VR as a way to interact with technology. The point and click way that we use software today will mostly be replaced by type, voice, touch, or thought based interfaces where no one has to waste time opening windows, clicking through menus, dragging and dropping things etc. instead we can just ask for what we are looking for or want to do and interact with technology in a much more fluid way.

AI and machine learning raise many ethical concerns such as bias, security & privacy amongst others. What are your opinions on this and what can be done to avoid biased machines?
It's all about the data that AI machines are trained on, and it is very important not to take for granted that data can be biased (not the data itself, but the way it is collected and used). When dealing with any kind of personal information, or using AI to make decision that impact people's lives it is that much more important to make sure that we are aware of and correct for imbalances that will cause bias in training data and try to correct for it. It is out responsibility as developers of technology to think about how it will affect our society in the future and what type of society we want to live in. One way to combat bias in AI is to diversify the voices that are involved in creating it and making sure test datasets are weighted for as much bias removal as possible. Getting underrepresented people to participate in the conversation is also really important, which is why I am personally involved in groups like Humans for AI and Accel.ai which aim to demystify the field and open it up to women and people of color which are typically affected most by institutional bias.

As a woman working in the field, have you faced any biases, challenges or obstacles?
Honestly, no not really. I have been lucky to work with great colleagues and customers in this space, and haven't experienced any issues or setbacks due to my gender as far as I can tell. Back in the day as a Field Sales Engineer, I was acutely aware that I was a woman in a man's world most of the time, so this has been a refreshing change. I understand there is still a lot of inequality in the AI field, particularly I think on the Academic/Research side, but on the business side of things I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised.

What can we do to encourage more women into AI?
I think we just have to continue to break down gender stereotypes and gender-specific roles in general, especially in early education, which will ultimately lead to more equality in STEM and other fields in the future. The fact that one can find ABC's for Boys with images of "all of boys' favorite things--airplanes [and] dump trucks" and ABC's for Girls with "butterflies, castles, and more!" books on Amazon baffles me.

We start at such an early age implicitly telling boys and girls what occupations to gravitate towards. Currently, AI is a pretty advanced field that requires a pre-requisite technology background that is currently underrepresented by both women and minorities, so it is impossible to really level the playing field today. However, I think in the future this field will become much more mainstream requiring less advanced education and therefore a shorter path to entry, and in parallel, we are steadily increasing the number of women graduating in fields that can lead to working in AI. In the short run, I would love to see more of the women in this field publicising their work and speaking at conferences etc, to make it more approachable for other women to enter the field and take this path.