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Citizens of Silopolis: Elin Ehsani, Lead AI Scientist at Silo AI

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Meet Elin Ehsani, a highly skilled data scientist who turned her passion for stories and writing into a career in language technology. At Silo AI, Elin works on smart technology projects and ensures that AI is utilized in a fair and ethical manner. Elin holds a PhD in Natural Language Processing and has previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Language Technologies department at the University of Helsinki.

Elin's journey from literature to language technologies

Elin's path to becoming an AI Scientist was filled with unexpected twists and turns influenced by biases. She had always been drawn to literature and aspired to become a writer ever since reading her first book. However, her excellent grades in math and physics led her to attend a high school that specialized in these subjects, as they were considered more prestigious. Despite this, she continued to hold onto her dream of becoming a writer one day.

In high school, Elin discovered programming and was fascinated by how it required detailed understanding, much like writing. However, due to societal stereotypes, she ended up studying software engineering in college instead of mechanical or civil engineering, which were considered "masculine" and not suitable for women. In Iran, where she attended high school, there were no study tracks for women in engineering, which led her to pursue computer science.

Elin's career took another turn when she moved to Turkey for her master's degree. As she knew multiple languages, she was introduced to Natural Language Processing (NLP), which allowed her to work with language data and reignite her love for writing and words.

Despite the biases that influenced her choices, Elin is happy to be where she is now, and she believes her background and experiences are particularly beneficial in her work as an AI scientist. 

"I enjoy analyzing problems in detail in my job and learning about different approaches to problem-solving from people around me," she says.

Elin’s work at Silo AI –  keeping ethical considerations at the forefront of AI development 

Elin joined Silo AI as a Senior AI Scientist in 2021. Working in consultancy provides her with the opportunity to work on diverse cases and learn about various businesses every day, which keeps her job interesting and far from dull. She has a passion for problem-solving and enjoys helping others, which translates into her great ability to understand customer needs. This contributes to successful customer relationships, accelerating her growth path within Silo AI

Elin is thankful for the invaluable support that Silo has provided in her professional growth. Soon after joining the company, Elin was promoted to the position of Expert Lead, where she now takes on the responsibility of helping her team grow both technically and professionally. Elin finds great fulfillment in her work, whether it's helping her team develop their skills or collaborating with clients to create value through AI. She especially enjoys guiding her team towards addressing the "Ask Why" principle, which is one of Silo's core values.

Besides her work with language technologies, she is focusing on ethical AI. She finds this area fascinating because delving into the details reveals its significant importance. It highlights that the work of AI scientists is intertwined with society and emphasizes the importance of striving for positive societal impact. This includes efforts to address issues like gender bias or other biases that AI might preserve simply by reflecting the biases present in the data sourced from society. Thanks to Elin's background and the early days of her career, she's become excellent at recognizing biases in AI where biased data can lead to unfair outcomes. Avoiding biased data requires conscious effort and is a necessity for the development of fair algorithms for decision-making.

Companies providing AI-based solutions should be mindful of ethical considerations since they have complete control over their systems and can adhere to policies. Additionally, companies using AI systems should also investigate and seek clarity on the ethical aspects of these AI systems.

Outside of work

When she's not working, Elin loves spending time in nature. She enjoys hiking in both urban and natural environments, as well as kayaking in one of Finland's many lakes. In her free time, she also likes listening to music from a variety of cultures and genres. Currently, Elin is learning to play the accordion and experimenting with writing.

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