Associate Professor at the University of Stavanger
How did your journey in AI start - what brought you to AI?
I got introduced to the concept of AI when I was a graduate student. Then I kept searching on the topic and decided to work on this area for my PhD thesis.
What is the biggest change you have observed in AI compared to when you entered the field at the start of your career?
That has been a great rise of Artificial Intelligence since I entered the field. The biggest change is the amount of data generated which is growing exponentially.
In addition, there is a considerable increasing amount of resources like processing power, memory and etc. which in turn boosted the power of AI. Many companies now have started creating hardware specifically for training Deep Learning models as well. So, the problem of computing
What excites you about working in AI, and what are you working on right now?
The cool factor of a machine mimicking human intelligence. Maybe with the help of these “machines”, we will finally have the answers for some of the most difficult questions that are troubling today’s society.
Currently I am mainly work on data analysis which is more focused on energy domain.
How do you see the number of female researchers and professionals in AI grow? How do you involve yourself in initiatives to introduce more women to AI, and what initiatives can we make to inspire more women to pursue careers within AI?
Increasing the number of women in crucial technical AI roles requires more than simply recruitment; it also demands establishing an inclusive culture and boosting access to growth and promotion opportunities.
Since there is a gap and challenge faced by women in data science domain, I would give more opportunities to female researchers and applicants to get hired at least at the university.
The only way to bridge the gender gap and eliminate gender bias in AI is to encourage more women to pursue tech subjects.
Why is it important for more women to get involved in AI?
If we must make use of AI technology and enjoy all its possible benefits, there must be a balanced input that comes from women and men. AI will only fulfil its potential to improve our world if everyone has an equal share in its development and adoption. How AI shapes our future will be determined by our collaborative, timely response to this catastrophe. Women Are the Key to Scaling Up AI And Data Science.
I believe that AI is one of the fields in which women can experience incredible success, especially with the right push towards female participation in the industry. The Women & AI are placed in a Circle where women are empowering AI to its full potential, and AI is empowering women to their full potential as well.
What advice would you like to give women who are pursuing their careers in AI?
First and foremost, any young individual, beginning a career in a technical sector, such as AI, must understand that persistence is the most crucial factor in achieving success. There will come a point when the technological obstacles become too much to tolerate. Alternatively, despite your best efforts, your proposed solution to a problem is not yielding the expected results. I would say These are all positive things, not negative!! It indicates you've chosen to work on a difficult topic, pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, and all you need is to persist and put more thought into it.
I would also recommend you find a community of people that can both mentally and technically help you. The best ideas come from discussing them with others and brainstorming with them. You'll need mental support, as well as individuals you can rely on, on both good and bad days.
What advice do you have for organizations who wish to recruit and retain female researchers and professionals in AI?
In most countries in the world women have long been and remain underrepresented at every level in the corporate talent pipeline. In an effort to close this gap, I would say one approach that leaders need to take is to turn their energies towards making their businesses more attractive to female talent. They should offer the same job positions and benefits as men.
Who is your biggest role model within your field, and why?
My role is my colleague Prof. Kjersti Engan. She is my role model because of her strong leadership and advocacy skills as a supervisor. In addition, because of her strong work ethic and continuous drive to learn new things to stay relevant in the field.
What role can NORA take on to empower diversity and inclusion in AI in Norway?
I believe that NORA can play a key role in presenting the women potential in AI by inviting more women to the conferences for example as keynote speakers from both academia and industry. Even we can look for successful women in industry or those who have established their own start up companies to make their roles even more bold.
Mina Farmanbar is an associate professor in Computer Science with the focus on Machine Learning applications at the University of Stavanger (UiS), Norway. She received the M.Sc. and PhD degrees from the Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus, in 2012 and 2016, respectively, on information and network security and biometrics. She has been an active researcher at UiS and Akershus University Hospital since 2017. Currently, her research interests lie in data science, machine learning applications in particular, time series analysis and load forecasting.