Exploring the Impact of AI on Human Behavior: An Interview with Emilia Gómez

Emilia Gómez, a principal investigator at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and scientific coordinator of AI Watch, is at the forefront of understanding the influence of AI on human behavior. Her team contributes scientific and technical knowledge to shape AI policies, including the proposed AI Act. In this interview, Gómez sheds light on her journey in AI, her notable contributions, and her experiences in a male-dominated industry.


Briefly, how did you get your start in AI? What attracted you to the field?

My journey in AI began with a focus on machine learning algorithms for automatically describing music audio signals. I was fascinated by the intersection of technology and music, and how AI could enhance music platforms and education. The shift from knowledge-driven to data-driven algorithm design fascinated me. Instead of relying solely on acoustics and music theory, I embraced the power of datasets, architectures, and evaluation procedures.

What work are you most proud of (in the AI field)?

One of the highlights of my research is the development of music-specific machine learning architectures, which have significantly advanced the field. For example, my algorithm for extracting tonality from audio signals has become a key reference in the industry. I’ve also contributed to the design of machine learning methods for melody extraction, tempo estimation, and emotion modeling in music. Many of these algorithms are now integrated into Essentia, an open-source library for audio and music analysis.

Among my proudest achievements is the project called Banda Sonora Vital (LifeSoundTrack), where we created a personalized music recommender for senior Alzheimer patients. This project received the Red Cross Award for Humanitarian Technologies. I’ve also coordinated the PHENICX project, funded by the European Union, which leverages AI to create enriched symphonic music experiences.

As the first female president of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval, I’m committed to increasing diversity in the music computing community.

In my role at the European Commission, I provide scientific and technical support to AI policies, including the AI Act. While my contributions might not be as visible in terms of publications, I’m proud of my work on the harmonization of legal and technical terms and assessing the practical implementation of legal requirements for high-risk AI systems.

How do you navigate the challenges of the male-dominated tech industry, and, by extension, the male-dominated AI industry?

Navigating the male-dominated tech and AI industries is undoubtedly a challenge. However, I approach it with resilience and a determination to enjoy the collaborative process. While it would be wonderful to work in a more diverse environment, I focus on avoiding frustration and finding fulfillment in my work. I am fortunate to collaborate with excellent women in the field and appreciate their support.

What advice would you give to women seeking to enter the AI field?

To aspiring women in AI, I have two messages. Firstly, your perspectives, approaches, and ideas are vital. The field urgently needs greater diversity. Currently, female representation at prominent conferences remains low, highlighting the need for more women to contribute their expertise.

Secondly, remember that you are not alone. Many women, nonbinary colleagues, and male allies are working towards fostering a more inclusive AI industry. Seek out networks, communities, and mentors who can support and guide you on your journey.

As Emilia Gómez demonstrates, women are making significant contributions to the AI revolution. By embracing diversity, the field can evolve, innovate, and impact human behavior in profound ways.

Note: The original article can be found at [TechCrunch](https://techcrunch.com/2022/03/08/ai-revolutionary-emilia-gomez-puts-music-at-core-of-ai-research/).

Emilia Gómez’s work in AI intersects with various industries, including music, healthcare, and symphonic music experiences. Her research on machine learning algorithms for music audio signals has contributed to enhancing music platforms and education. These advancements have the potential to transform the music industry by leveraging AI technologies.

In terms of market forecasts, the AI industry is projected to grow significantly in the coming years. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global AI market is expected to reach $190.61 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 36.62% during the forecast period 2020-2025. This growth can be attributed to the increasing adoption of AI across various sectors, including healthcare, automotive, finance, and retail, among others.

However, the AI industry also faces several challenges and issues. One of the major concerns is the ethical and responsible use of AI. As AI becomes more pervasive, there is a need to ensure that AI systems are developed and deployed in a manner that respects privacy, fairness, and transparency. The European Commission’s proposed AI Act aims to address these concerns by providing a legal framework for trustworthy and human-centric AI.

Moreover, the lack of diversity in the AI industry is also a pressing issue. The dominance of men in both the tech and AI industries creates a barrier for women and underrepresented groups to enter and thrive in these fields. Efforts are being made to address this issue by promoting diversity and inclusion in AI through initiatives such as mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and conferences dedicated to women in AI.

For more information on the AI industry and related topics, you can visit reputable sources such as:

Statista – Artificial Intelligence (AI)
IDC – Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Spending Guide
Gartner – Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence

These sources provide market insights, research reports, and trends in the AI industry, helping readers gain a broader understanding of the industry’s potential and challenges.

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