Afsaneh Fazly

Episode 70: Using Psychology to Help Machines Better Understand Our Words

Jon Prial | Conversational AI

In the not too distant future, talking machines will become a part of our everyday life. After all, we’re already talking to Siri, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa. Before we know it, those conversations will extend to other things too. Of course, in order for people to really trust machines, there needs to be a clear level of understanding. You need to know that the machine isn’t simply just registering the words that you’re saying, but rather that it actually understands the meaning and intent behind them.

In this episode of the Impact Podcast, Jon Prial talks with Afsaneh Fazly, Director of Research at Thomson Reuters and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto. Afsaneh’s area of expertise is at the intersection of psychology, communication and technology. Find out how to apply basic psychology to natural language processing (NLP) systems to help ensure that they are able to correctly interpret the true meaning of our words and sentences.

You’ll hear about:

  • How computers try to understand the meaning of words
  • The role of psychology in NLP and NLU
  • How language differs in different contexts

Who Is Afsaneh Fazly?

Afsaneh Fazly is a researcher with over 20 years of experience in the areas of computational linguistics and cognitive science. She has an outstanding publication record, with over 50 articles in prestigious journals, conferences, and workshops in various areas of AI, including a paper that won the Google best paper award in 2013, and one that won the best Language Modeling paper award from the Cognitive Science Society in 2008. Afsaneh also has extensive experience in leading research teams both in academia (University of Toronto) and industry (Director of Research at Thomson Reuters).

You can find her here on LinkedIn.