Say “hello” to the women in AI shaping the future of customer experience

With International Women’s Day right around the corner, we thought we’d take the chance to celebrate some of the incredible women who are leading the way in artificial intelligence.

AI, especially in the CX space, has been constantly evolving over the last decade, from early chatbots to sophisticated natural language processing that is now helping businesses listen to and engage more closely than ever with their customers.

Women have been at the forefront of the AI revolution, pioneering change and helping to drive understanding and adoption of this game-changing tech.

Let’s meet some of them.

Rama Akkiraju

Distinguished Engineer & Master Inventor, IBM Watson

We’ll start with a woman whose work is helping shape the way businesses get to the heart of what their customers think and feel. Heading up the “People Insights” division at IBM Watson, Rama and her team are developing artificial intelligence capable of discerning personalities, emotions, tone and attitudes from the way people talk online.

Using sophisticated linguistic and machine learning techniques, as well as a healthy dose of psychology and decision theory, it’s hoped that the work they’re doing will lead to the creation of AI technology capable of bridging the gap between the need for constant personalised customer support and a business’s lack of personnel resources.

Rana el Kaliouby

Co-founder and CEO, Affectiva

The work Rana is doing promises to change the game of customer engagement forever by offering real-time emotional insight into how a consumer thinks and feels about a brand or ad campaign.

The award-winning emotional recognition AI platform she helped create combines deep learning with one of the world’s largest emotion data repositories to help teach machines how to better measure and interpret human emotion both visually and linguistically. The potential for Affectiva’s tech stretches much further than customer engagement, with applications that help doctors and nurses deliver a higher standard of care and create more engaging educational experiences for students.

Fei-Fei Li

Associate Professor and Director of “AI and Vision” Labs, Stanford University

Fei-Fei Li is one of the most widely renowned thinkers in the AI space. With more than 150 scientific papers published on the subject, her constant drive for progress has led to major developments in deep learning and AI – helping not only problem solve, but better understand how our own brains operate.

Having recently completed a year long stint at Google Cloud as the Chief Scientist of AI and machine Learning, Li is now back at Stanford helping shape some of the sharpest minds in the subject, whilst her non-profit organisations seek to open up AI to underrepresented minority groups.

Andrea Frome

Director of Research, Clarifai

Google Street View has become one of the most widely used applications on the web, and Andrea was one of the driving forces behind its initial launch during her time at the internet search giant.

Specialising in computer vision and machine learning, Andrea now heads up research at Clarifai and has leaned on her previous experience with Google to start pushing the boundaries of visual AI even further. The ultimate goal is to reach a stage where machines are able to comprehend visual inputs in the same way as humans, enabling them to make more accurate predictions about the environment and react to real-world situations in a more intelligent way.


Despite these incredible women leading the way and achieving amazing things in the world of AI, the industry is still very much behind the curve according to Montreal start-up Elemental AI. It’s estimated that only 12% of AI researchers are women, meaning more needs to be done to ensure women are recognised for roles in the industry, but also that they’re encouraged to engage with the subject early by studying computing courses at college and universities.

To find out more about how Feefo are putting some of these technologies into practice to help you better listen to, and understand, your customers, get in touch today with our team.

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