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Women Leading The AI Industry, “be patient and persistent; listen to your intuition” with Marina Shumaieva and Tyler Gallagher

There can be a bunch of tips to follow not to make mistakes; however, let`s be realistic; you cannot always do things 100% right. Just be patient and persistent; listen to your intuition (women’s intuition is the greatest force); attend special events and session organized for women, and never give up. As part of my series […]


There can be a bunch of tips to follow not to make mistakes; however, let`s be realistic; you cannot always do things 100% right. Just be patient and persistent; listen to your intuition (women’s intuition is the greatest force); attend special events and session organized for women, and never give up.

As part of my series about the women leading the Artificial Intelligence industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marina Shumaieva, President and CTO of CruiseBe, Inc., a turnkey cruise planning technology, AI chatbot assistant and voice recognition solution. Marina is a tech evangelist, keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and travel enthusiast, possessing a Master degree in Computer Science. For the past years, she is focused on bringing innovations to the cruise industry, growing her company and concentrating on using machine learning and artificial intelligence as the leading technology for making a virtual travel adviser for the cruise industry.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the ‘backstory” of how you decided to pursue this career path?

Looking back I can remember that I was always passionate about information technology and somehow in years it turned out that I can combine my two hobbies: traveling and information technology (programming) and start my company — a tech travel startup CruiseBe. Past several years I devoted my life to launching new products on the cruise market, growing the company, learning a lot of different things and figuring out how to use new innovative technologies in my company`s products. I studied a lot of differed IT courses, I codded from scratch different solutions, and I learned new techniques, and this was the path how I understood that I am super excited about the artificial intelligence technology. Going deeper into the cruise industry market problems, one day, after the brainstorm meeting with Alex (my husband and co-founder of CruiseBe), we created a great concept of several AI techniques that we planned to integrate into CruiseBe products and launch on the cruise industry market. One thing I can say for sure, it so exciting and inspiring to bring to this world new things and solutions!

What lessons can others learn from your story?

In the life of a startuper, it is almost impossible to keep track of all the new technologies that have released and stay up-to-date with all new trends. However, one of the main goals is to be aware of all events that are happening and showcase yourself as a professional and your product as a new trend to follow.

When you are a founder, your career is intertwined with the success of the company. So you have to do all your best as a professional in your industry and as a team leader. When your profession is closely connected with one of the hot topics, for example, right now AI is really a hot topic for discussion, then this is your time! If you feel like you can share some exciting and vital information with others, do it! The information is the most valuable asset that you have.

Can you tell our readers about the most interesting projects you are working on now?

As I mentioned above, right now I am concentrating on using machine learning and artificial intelligence as the leading technology for making a virtual travel adviser for the cruise industry.

For the past several months I`ve been working on launching the AI voice-enabled assistant that will help cruisers to plan and be prepared for their cruise vacation. Smart speakers are becoming the fastest growing consumer technology, and companies have to adapt to the new ways users are getting used to buying and using their products. The penetration of voice-controlled assistants in our daily life is unbelievable. In a daily life smart speakers are used for playing music and online searching, checking daily forecast and news, setting alarms, making calls, scheduling meetings and even researching and booking hotels, flights and a lot of other things. At CruiseBe we have developed the new Google Action for the Google Assistant and Google home. From the consumer side, this voice-enabled chatbot works really simple, and it can be used via the Google Assistant that is integrated into any Android device or via the Google Assistant app that one can download from the Apple Store or via Google Home. A user needs to say “Talk to CruiseBe,” and the Google Actions will be activated. As a result, CruiseBe voice-assistant will be able to answer questions about the upcoming cruise, provide with information about ports of call, what to do and what attractions to visit. A user can say “I am going on a cruise on Allure of the Seas, departure on the 7th of July” and CruiseBe actions will generate and day-by-day schedule of a cruise, etc. On the other hand, talking from the development point of view, CruiseBe Google Actions is a sophisticated solution based on AI and NLP technologies, deeply thought out conversation logic and a big database of normalized datasets of information about ports of call, attractions in this ports, cruise lines, and ship, etc.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Founding a tech travel company and at the same time being Chief Technical Officer, a “woman in tech” is not an easy thing to do. I was lucky that my husband Alex (he is a co-founder at CruiseBe, Inc.) shared this long and thorny path with me.

As we are talking here about the use of AI, I`d like to share my point of view, why it is so important to have several opinions, and obligatory, have both male and female thinking when developing your AI algorithm.

Basically, what is AI chatbot (text or voice)? Everything begins from the chart or decision tree that shows the logic of the conversation. So a person (a developer) makes assumptions how the conversation would flow, specifically, what will a user say and what should AI chatbot answer. You have to agree that male and female login is very different. My point is when planning this fundamental logic, a developer simply cannot be ready and know 100% all possible questions that a user can ask a bot. So when debugging your AI bot, make a team of female and male developers and testers. In my case it worked out perfectly with Alex, working together as a team and as a family is a great combination.

What are the 5 things that most excite you about the AI industry? Why?

The scientific world is working hard, trying to figure out how our brain works and how evolution created such a complex thing. Currently, the human brain is the most complex object in the known universe. If we take a look at the graphic of the development of computer engineering, we will see the rapid exponential growth curve. And now the time of the AI industry has come; however, we are at the very beginning of the exciting path of so-called “human brain reproduction.”

I am highly interested and very excited to devote a part of my profession to the AI industry, and I can talk a lot about what a valuable impact AI is having on humankind. But I`ll try to limit myself to five things that most excite me about the AI industry:

1. NLP (Natural language processing)

With the rapid development of text chatbots and voice-enabled assistants, NLP has become one of the most critical technologies of artificial intelligence. But a complete understanding and reproduction of the human language is a challenging task. AI is taught to talk on various topics based on the uploaded data sets of information and this way these chatbots are becoming a part of our daily life.

2. Automation of routine operation

The successful implementation of AI into companies` daily business processes will dramatically reduce the cost and significantly improve the performance of these processes in most cases. It will allow us, people to focus on the more creative part of the process, which AI cannot replace in the coming years.

3. Future prediction

Nothing magical here, only pure statistics and forecasting. AI is taking predictive algorithms to the next level. In a few words, these methods allow companies not only see and analyze the current state of their business, but what is more important, predictive algorithms empower decision-makers to build business plans based on the knowledge what may or may not happen next.

4. Data analysis

First, we were obsessed with making all information digital. Now we live in an information society. Companies` servers contain billions of terabytes of data. And all these data needs to be sorted, classified and normalized to be used by, for example, predictive algorithms that I mentioned above.

5. Machine learning and deep learning

Machine learning is a part of AI that is closely connected with big data and data science. Companies use data analytics and machine learning for decision-making actions, instead of only trusting human expertise.

What are the 5 things that concern you about the AI industry? Why?

Did see you read the book “I, Robot” by Issak Asimov? Also, there is a movie with Will Smith in the main role. Frankly, I like the book more. This book includes several different stories that describe some ways the robots are used in daily life (of cause this is science fiction). And AI is the brain of any robot. This book in a great way shows the concern of society and which problems we will inevitably be going to face sooner or later. From my point of view, I can highlight the following five concerns:

1. Technological singularity

It means a short period of extremely rapid technological progress or a point in time when machines begin to improve themselves, without the help of anyone. Machine learning and deep learning will reach such point of development that there will be no need for human interruption.

2. End of the human race

Stephen Hawking quote for BBC shows a great concern: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race….It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”

3. We are getting too used to use AI

We use AI every day, but rather often we even don`t see it. We let AI help us in a lot of things and this way we stop thinking, we just give our brain a break. It is not bad; AI was created to help humankind. However, we should never allow AI to make essential and life-threatening decision.

4. AI is smarter than we think

Weak AI is a narrow-focused artificial intelligence trained for a specific task. This type of machine AI is at least or exceeds human intelligence and efficiency in performing a particular task. It is a little bit terrifying to realize this fact.

5. The creation of human brain

Nothing reveals the complexity of human intelligence, as an attempt to create a computer that will be as smart. We are trying to recreate our brain or at least to understand it. As I have already mentioned, the human brain is the most complex object in the known universe.

As you know, there is an ongoing debate between prominent scientists, (personified as a debate between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg,) about whether advanced AI has the future potential to pose a danger to humanity. What is your position about this?

People are always afraid of unknown things and uncertainty. And with AI being rapidly developing we face with a lot of demagogies “To be, or not to be.” The potential danger to humanity depends on the industry where AI is going to be used and in which way AI will be implemented. Despite this fact, AI is still under human control and only humans make decisions on how AI should be used. Whenever our society reaches the technological singularity (that I have described above), it will be the time for concerns and potential danger to humanity. However, it can be too late.

What can be done to prevent such concerns from materializing? And what can be done to assure the public that there is nothing to be concerned about?

Even though I am fully supporting the development and use of AI, I didn’t say that there is nothing to be concerned about. It is all about legislation that can prevent inappropriate use of AI. Legislation acts should separate which and how industries can benefit from using AI and which terms should be met.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?

First of all, I am always willing to speak on the conferences and to participate in different panels to discuss the impact of AI, how we can use AI in various industries, how my company is using AI, etc. I am devoting a significant part of my time to studying new AI technologies, codding and implementing it to CruiseBe products. The key to the success of your company is when you are making a valuable and needed product for the market. As my company is working in the travel industry, specifically on the cruise market, the solutions I create are in demand, and this is the factor of bringing goodness to the world.

As you know, there are not that many women in your industry. Can you share 3 things that you would you advise to other women in the AI space to thrive?

There can be a bunch of tips to follow not to make mistakes; however, let`s be realistic; you cannot always do things 100% right. Just be patient and persistent; listen to your intuition (women’s intuition is the greatest force); attend special events and session organized for women, and never give up.

Can you advise what is needed to engage more women into the AI industry?

There are two paths of how a person chooses his/her future profession. The first one is “from the very beginning, school or college years.” When a little girl or teenager has some specialized classes where teachers explain in details and using easy to understand examples what is AI and how it is used, that would be a great impetus to the engagement of women in the AI industry. The second path is when you are a grown-up woman, and one of the events you hear something about AI. You become curious what is that and as a result or a self-learning process, patience and persistence you become a part of the AI industry. So the key thing to have more women in the AI industry is sharing information about AI, and what a significant new trend AI is and that it is something that everyone can begin to study and use.

What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?

“They’re a cleaner better breed than we are.” — quote the book “I, Robot” by Issak Asimov about robots being our loyal companions. I am not sure if this quote can be treated as a life lesson quote, but this quote highlights that we are living in the time of evolution, not revolution. We should treat artificial intelligence not as a competitor, but as an ally. AI will make a human`s work easier, more efficient and more interesting, as the Internet and computers once did. Companies with different vectors of technologies should cooperate in one or another way to enhance and improve AI. It is the top priority for us right now.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Knowledge is power, knowledge is flexibility, and knowledge is strength. The what is more important, knowledge is the assets that you can share and bring good to the most amount of people. I don`t know if it is movement, but the idea of sharing structured information is what excites me.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I am always happy to connect with like-minded people.

Personal website: https://marinashumaieva.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marinashumaieva.official/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarinaShumaieva

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marina-shumaieva-860bb043/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marina.shumaieva/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


About the Author:

Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, a “Bitcoin IRA” company. Regal Assets is an international alternative assets firm with offices in the United States, Canada, London and United Arab Emirates focused on helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the understanding and application of blockchain technology. Prior to founding Regal Assets, Tyler worked for a Microsoft startup led by legendary tech giant Karl Jacob who was an executive at Microsoft, and an original Facebook board member.

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