• 07:00

    Explore the Virtual Platform & Expo Area (all times PST)

  • 08:00
    Ann Thyme-Gobbel


    Ann Thyme-Gobbel - Director of UX/UI Design - Loose Cannon Systems

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    While doing a PhD in Cognitive Science and Linguistics at UCSD, Ann's interest in phonetics and NLP led to a dissertation using neural networks to model how speakers of a language use paradigms and analogy to create new words in that language. Since then, her professional life has spanned R&D, product development and services across organizations, including Nuance, Amazon Lab 126, and smaller startups. Always curious about how people talk to machines—and how machines respond—she's co-author of the upcoming book "Mastering Voice Interfaces".

  • 08:05
    Shubhi Tyagi

    Science Behind Alexa TTS

    Shubhi Tyagi - NLP Applied Scientist - Amazon Alexa

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    Science Behind Alexa TTS

    Do voice assistants excite you? AI-based voice assistants have gained massive attention over the past years and are continually getting better with the advancement of Deep Learning techniques in the field. In this presentation I will give a brief overview of the different components within Alexa and what kind of state of the art deep learning techniques go into it to make the interactions more human-like.

    Shubhi is currently an Applied Scientist with Amazon Alexa based out of Cambridge, UK. Her research involves in language-agnostic Natural Language Processing to scale and improvise Text-to-Speech systems. Prior to Amazon, she was with McKinsey & Company where she assisted industry clients to develop Machine Learning workforce for internal business applications.

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  • 08:25
    Muddu Sudhakar

    Digital Modernization and How Chatbots Have Evolved Into Conversational AI

    Muddu Sudhakar - CEO - Aisera

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    Digital Modernization and How Chatbots Have Evolved Into Conversational AI

    Ninety percent of chatbot projects failed in 2019—yet 100 percent of customers are optimistic about their benefits and are willing to deploy them again in 2020. In this session, we cover the key reasons for the failure of chatbot projects, such as offering robotic and scripted experiences with the lack of AI capabilities which leads to long time-to-value. With the emergence of true Virtual Assistants and Conversational AI, companies can now take advantage of cutting-edge AI solutions that are far more accessible and can deliver tangible business results from Day One.

    Muddu Sudhakar is a successful Entrepreneur, Executive, and Investor. Muddu has deep product, technology, and GTM experience in enterprise markets such as Cloud, SaaS, AI/Machine learning, IoT, Cyber Security, Big Data, Storage, and chip/Semiconductors. Muddu has strong operating experience with startups as CEO (Caspida, Cetas, Kazeon, Sanera, Rio Design) and in public companies as SVP & GM roles at ServiceNow, Splunk, VMware, and EMC.

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  • 08:40
    Verena Rieser

    Multimodal Conversational AI

    Verena Rieser - Professor in Artificial Intelligence - Heriot-Watt University

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    MultiModal Conversational AI

    With recent progress in deep learning, there has been an increased interest in multimodal conversational AI, which requires an AI agent to hold a meaningful conversation with humans in Natural Language about content in other modalities, e.g. pictures or videos. In this talk, I will present two case studies: one in generating responses for closed-domain task-based multimodal dialogue systems with applications in conversational multimodal search; and one case-study in selecting/ retrieving responses for open-domain multimodal systems with applications in visual dialogue and visual question answering.

    Throughout my talk I will highlight open challenges, including context modelling, knowledge grounding, encoding history, multimodal fusion, evaluation techniques, and shortcomings of current datasets.

    Verena Rieser is a Professor in Artificial Intelligence at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, where she leads the NLP lab and is affiliated with the Interaction Lab and the Edinburgh Center for Robotics. Verena holds a PhD from Saarland University (2008) and did her PostDoc at the University of Edinburgh (2008-2011). She also has 2 children.

    The ongoing theme of Verena's research is to develop intelligent conversational systems, such as chatbots and virtual personal assistants, where she researches machine learning techniques to automatically build these systems from data. She has authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers in this area. For example, Verena was one of the first researchers to introduce Reinforcement Learning to optimise task-based dialogues. For the past 2 years, Verena's team was the only UK university to enter the finals of the prestigious Amazon Alexa Challenge, which aims to build open-domain chatbots.

    Verena's work was also recognised with a number of prizes, including the Dr-Eduard-Martin Prize for outstanding research, winner of the SemEval 2016 Shared Task on Arabic Sentiment Analysis, and runner-up for the Amazon Alexa Prize 2017 and 2018. In 2019 alone, Verena was invited to be the keynote speaker of 7 international conferences and workshops. Verena's outreach activities have been recognised with the EPSRC Public Engagement Award 2018, a Herald Higher Education Award 2018 for Heriot-Watt's "Year of Robotics", as well as with a nomination as one of "12 Women Shaping AI" by NESTA, "One to Watch 2019" by FutureScot and as "Pioneering Women in AI" by The Telegraph, 2019.

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  • 09:00
    Lucy Vasserman

    AI Principles and Identifying Toxicity in Online Conversation

    Lucy Vasserman - Staff Software Engineer - Google

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    AI Principles and Identifying Toxicity in Online Conversation

    Jigsaw's Perspective API serves machine learning models that identify toxicity in text. In this talk, I'll share how the team behind Perspective uses Google's AI Principles to guide our work and our collaborations with developers using Perspective.

    Takeaways: - Building principled and ethical AI is a continuous, ongoing effort, not a one-time task. - There are concrete strategies to mitigate bias in ML models. - Machine learning, combined with thoughtful human moderation and participation, can make online conversations better.

    Lucy Vasserman leads the Conversation AI team within Google's Jigsaw, which studies how computers can learn to understand the nuances and context of abusive language at scale. Lucy works on machine learning research to improve the Conversation AI's core models, which power the Perspective API, with a focus on combating algorithmic bias. She also collaborates with internal and external users to ensure the Conversation AI models capture their needs. Prior to joining Jigsaw, Lucy worked on machine learning research and engineering for several other Google teams including Speech Recognition and Google Shopping.

    Lucy is passionate about computer science education. She spent the fall of 2015 teaching computer science full-time at Xavier University in New Orleans through the Google in Residence program, a partnership between Google and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She also serves on the Board of Advocates for Citizen Schools, a national non-profit that runs career-focused after school programming for low income middle schoolers.

    Lucy received her B.A. in Computer Science from Pomona College in 2010. In her free time, Lucy enjoys scuba diving, dance, and, as a native New Yorker, all things New York.

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  • 09:20
    Roundtable Discussions & Demos with Speakers


    Roundtable Discussions & Demos with Speakers - - AI EXPERTS

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    Join a roundtable discussion hosted by AI experts to get your questions answered on a variety of topics.

    You are free to come in and out of all sessions to ask your questions, share your thoughts, and learn more from the speakers and other attendees.

    Roundtable Discussions 28th January: • 'From Open-Endedness to AI' hosted by Kenneth Stanley, Research Manager, OpenAI • ‘Cost Optimize Your Machine Learning with Multi-Cloud’ hosted by Leon Kuperman, Co-Founder & CTO, CAST AI

    • ‘Creating Data Products with Visual Intelligence’ hosted by Daniel Gifford, Senior Data Scientist, Getty Images

    • ‘Swapping Autoencoder for Deep Image Manipulation’ hosted by Richard Zhang, Research Scientist, Adobe

    • 'Conversational AI: Human-Like or All Too Human’ hosted by Mark Jancola, CTO & VP of Engineering, Conversica

    • 'Supercharge Your Data Quality: Automated QA' hosted by Aurelie Drouet, Product Marketing Manager & Shaashwat Saraf, Customer Success Engineer, Sama

    Roundtable Discussions 29th January: • ‘Curriculum Generation for Reinforcement Learning’ hosted by Natasha Jaques, Research Scientist, Google Brain

    • ‘The AI Economist’ hosted by Stephan Zhang, Lead Research Scientist, Salesforce Research

    • ‘A Win-Win in Precision Ag’ hosted by Jennifer Hobbs, Director of Machine Learning, Intelin Air

    • ‘Delivering responsible AI: via the carrot or the stick?’ hosted by Myrna MacGregor, BBC Lead, Responsible AI+ML, BBC

  • 09:50

    PANEL: Developing & Deploying Conversational AI for Customer Experience

  • Marsal Gavalda


    Marsal Gavalda - Head of Machine Learning - Square

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    Marsal Gavalda is a senior R&D executive with deep expertise in speech, language, and machine learning technologies. Marsal currently heads the Commerce Platform Machine Learning team at Square, where he applies machine learning and automation for Square's overarching purpose of economic empowerment. Marsal holds a PhD in Language Technologies and a MS in Computational Linguistics, both from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS in Computer Science from BarcelonaTech. Marsal is the author of over thirty technical and literary publications, thirteen issued patents, and is fluent in six languages.

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  • Michael McTear


    Michael McTear - Emeritus Professor - Ulster University

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    Creating Conversational Assistants: Challenges and Solutions

    Conversational assistants are all around us – as smart speakers in our homes, on our smartphones, in our cars. The Conversational AI market is expanding dramatically and major technology companies are producing ever larger language models and datasets to support the development of conversational assistants. However, the use of these assistants is currently mainly restricted to one shot conversations involving commands or questions, or in some cases to fulfilling well-defined tasks. More open conversations are still within the realm of research, yet these systems will be needed for new areas of application such as conversational commerce, healthcare and mental health support, and the promotion of active and healthy ageing in older people. Traditional approaches based on best-practice guidelines are compared with new neural dialogue based approaches. The presentation concludes with a brief look at some recent projects in which I have been involved and the different ways in which they are addressing the challenges faced by designers and developers of conversational assistants.

    Michael McTear is an Emeritus Professor at Ulster University with a special interest in spoken language technologies. He has been researching in the field of spoken dialogue systems for more than 20 years and is the author of several books, including Spoken Dialogue Technology: Toward The Conversational User Interface (Springer, 2004), Spoken Dialogue Systems (Morgan and Claypool, 2010), with Kristiina Jokinen, The Conversational Interface: Talking to Smart Devices (Springer, 2016), with Zoraida Callejas and David Griol, and Conversational AI ( Morgan & Claypool 2020). Michael has delivered keynote addresses and tutorials at many academic conferences and workshops, including SpeechTEK, Conversational Interaction, ProjectVoice, REWORK AI Assistant Summit, and the European Chatbot Conferences. Currently Michael is involved in several research and development projects investigating the use of conversational agents in socially relevant projects such as mental health monitoring, and home monitoring of older persons.

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  • Derek Roberti


    Derek Roberti - VP of Technology - Cognigy

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    As the VP of Technology at Cognigy, Derek delivers insights and understanding of Conversational AI and Chatbots as the next level of Automation. For the past 15 years, Derek has focused on bringing innovation to the enterprise, a place where it doesn't easily fit. He uniquely combines a passion for technology with an honest dialog about its possibilities and limitations in real-world organizational contexts. Derek graduated with a PhD and JD from Stanford University and immediately entered the technology industry, working with startups from initial funding through public offerings and acquisition.

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  • Nikhil Mane


    Nikhil Mane - Technical Product Manager - Autodesk

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    Nikhil Mane is a Technical Product Manager at Autodesk leading a team tasked with creating a seamless blend of digital and human support across all Autodesk help channels. His work focuses on using Natural Language Processing and Conversational Interfaces to reduce customer effort while scaling support. Nikhil has a Master's degree from UC Berkeley's School of Information. In his spare time, Nikhil labels data.

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  • Carmen Martínez


    Carmen Martínez - Conversational UX Expert - FlixBus

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    Dr. Carmen Martinez is a Conversation Analyst and Ethnographer of Communication working in Conversational Artificial Intelligence at FlixBus. As an expert in human-to-human conversation, she contributes to a cross-disciplinary team by automating customer service interactions, modelling both text- and voice-based human-to-machine conversations, and developing visual solutions for graphical and multimodal conversational agents. Carmen holds a PhD in Conversation Analysis and is the author of “Conversar en español: un enfoque desde el Análisis de la Conversación” published by Peter Lang Berlin.

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  • 10:30

    MAKE CONNECTIONS: Meet with Attendees Virtually for 1:1 Conversations and Group Discussions over Similar Topics and Interests

  • 11:00


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