April 7, 2022

The Future of NLP with AI Professor, Vice Rector, & Researcher Aleksandra Przegalinska

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Today's guest is Aleksandra Przegalinska PhD, Vice-Rector at Kozminski University, research associate, and Polish futurist. From studying pure philosophy, Aleksandra moved into AI when she started researching natural language processing in the virtual space. We kickstart our discussion with her account of how she ended up where she is now, and how she transferred her skills from philosophy to AI. We hear how Second Life was common in Asia centuries ago, why we are seeing a return to anonymization online, and why Aleksandra feels NLP should be called ‘natural language understanding’. We also discover what the real-world applications of NLP are, and why text processing is under-utilized. Moving onto more philosophical questions around AI and labor, Aleksandra explains how AI should be used to help people and why what is sometimes simple for a human can be immensely complex for AI. We wrap up with Aleksandra’s thoughts on transformers and why their applications are more important than their capabilities, as well as why she is so excited about the idea of xenobots.

PhD, Vice-Rector at Kozminski University, Harvard research associate, and Polish futurist Aleksandra Przegalinska joins to discuss the future of NLP, the true value in improving transformers, and the current state of automation with regard to creative vs. mundane tasks.Key Points From This Episode:

  • An introduction to today’s guest, Aleksandra Przegalinska, PhD.
  • What Aleksandra is researching at the moment and how she ended up in academia.
  • Insight into the link between her PhD topic and the Metaverse and the transfer of skills from a philosophy degree to AI.
  • How a properly built digital ecosystem allows people freedom of expression and other takeaways from Aleksandra’s PhD experience.
  • The return to online anonymization that we are currently seeing.
  • Aleksandra’s experience of NLP in Second Life and how AI has altered the field.
  • The role of NLP in Aleksandra’s work today and why she feels it should be called ‘natural language understanding’.
  • The real-world applications of NLP: why text processing is under-utilized.
  • Why people don't have to believe that programs are close to human.
  • Why Aleksandra feels removing the need for manually annotated data should be a key focus in the field of AI.
  • Tradeoffs between automation and human labor; why we should use AI to help humans first.
  • How the challenges of automating tasks differ between fields from creative and marketing to calendar management.
  • What Aleksandra thinks of the transformer arms race: why applications are more important than parameters.
  • Why Aleksandra feels xenobots will change the world.

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Tweetables:“My major discovery was that people are capable of building robust identities online and can live two lives. They can have their first life and then they can have their second life online, which can be very different from the one they pursue on-site, in the real world.” — @Przegaa “We can all observe that there is a great boom in NLP. I’m not even sure we should call it NLP anymore. Maybe NLP is an improper phrase. Maybe it’s NLU: natural language understanding.” — @Przegaa “Transformers seem to be a really big game-changer in the AI space.” — @Przegaa “I think that using text as a resource for data analytics for businesses in the future is something that we will see happen in the coming two or three years.” — @Przegaa “AI should not replace you, AI should help you at your work and make your work more effective but also more satisfying for you.” — @Przegaa Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:Aleksandra Przegalinska on LinkedInAlexandra Przegalinska on Twitter 


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