In this episode of ACM ByteCast, Rashmi Mohan hosts Pattie Maes, a professor at MIT's Program in Media Arts and Sciences. Pattie runs MIT Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces research group, which does research at the intersection of Human Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence with a focus on applications in health, wellbeing, and learning. She is also a faculty member in MIT's center for Neurobiological Engineering. She has been a researcher, a serial entrepreneur and mentor, a book and journal editor, and a recipient of numerous awards, including recognitions from Newsweek, TIME, AAAI, Fast Company, the World Economic Forum, and Ars Electronica. In addition to her academic endeavors, Pattie co-founded several venture-backed companies, including Firefly Networks, Open Ratings, and Tulip. She is also an advisor to several early-stage companies, including Earable and Spatial.
Pattie recounts her path to computing as one of the first people to major in computer science in Belgium and, later, as the only woman in the AI lab at MIT. She provides historical perspective on the cyclical nature of the field of AI and explains her passion for building systems that make people, rather than machines, more intelligent. She also recalls some of the designs and applied technologies she has worked on throughout her celebrated career, including recommender systems (before web browsers) and wearable devices (before cell phones). Finally, Pattie offers her thoughts on building diverse teams and what she’s most excited about in the field of AI.