Exposure creates interest, self-challenge also creates interest. In different populations, the level of exposure to STEM varies by gender in early education. We should be proactive in making sure younger generations of females are encouraged to learn more about AI so they could learn how fascinating it is and how embedded in our culture it will become. We should encourage fellow women in our lives to challenge ourselves, support one another and learn about new opportunities.
As part of my series about the women leading the Artificial Intelligence industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Noy Fima. Noy is a QA team leader at UVeye — an AI-powered vehicle inspection system. A former reserved duty officer at the special technology department of the Intelligence Corps (81) in Israel with a background in medicine and exact sciences, Noy is responsible for quality assurance, quality of performance and software integrations assisting in developing innovative artificial intelligence components in all UVeye’s vehicle inspection products.
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?
Throughout my career, I’ve devoted time and attention to a variety of diverse activities and interests. I found myself in medical school, after physics studies and years of hardware development at the army. However, there was always a voice inside me saying science and technology were my true calling, which I’d been studying my whole life and felt a penchant to pursue. I made the decision to leave the practice of medicine and follow my passion. When I read, teach, develop and lead anything that relates to learning about new technologies, I flourish. I’ve found this to be the most challenging stage of my career, and of all my career interests, this has been the most rewarding.
What lessons can others learn from your story?
Science is in our blood — the desire to learn the unknown, to create something from nothing, to stretch the limits of ability — we all have these qualities inherently. If you have something to contribute, if that desire burns in you, listen to your inner voice. It’s never too late to follow that dream.
Can you tell our readers about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
At UVeye, we are developing a system that detects abnormalities in parts of vehicles using artificial intelligence. The constant preoccupation with improving the “wisdom” of the system, its independence, its learning of its environment and watching the results, amaze me every time. As the system learns, improves and comes to life with your own improvements and developments — there is nothing more fascinating than that.
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?
My father always has the best answers and would often provide me with the support and guidance that I remember in challenging situations. His advice helped me improve my attitude and learn to grow from difficult career experiences, especially as I was transitioning between disciplines. He always mentioned how the world of management is a world in which you never stop learning or developing, and that it was important to be modest and humble with an eagerness to learn. Management is not only of others — we also need to know how to manage ourselves, choose the right choices, and analyze our mistakes to grow.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about the AI industry? Why?
In the world of development and science, we create something from nothing with our own ideas. We use a long history of human knowledge and never stop reinventing the wheel. AI is the next step in this evolution. We create things with continuity and with learning ability, which enables us to produce effective, tangible results from our own creativity. What excites me most is:
What are the 5 things that concern you about the AI industry? Why?
As AI is growing rapidly, it’s only natural that there will be many challenges and growing pains along the way to innovation. It’s important to not let this stifle creativity, or come at the expense of product quality or employee retention.
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?
I believe that every breakthrough in our path throughout human history has seemed potentially threatening to humanity. Electricity, aspirin, mobile phones and Facebook — all those who changed our lives started with a blank page with tremendous strength and impressive capabilities. Over time, we will learn to embrace these pioneering inventions, get used to their presence and let them benefit us. Our lives will change, get better and become more comfortable and safer. Like anything powerful, you need to know how to protect it from all negative sides, find a balance in regulation in how it fits unto our lives, and I believe we’ll find the right way to do it.
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?
Nothing but concrete evidence can prove anything to the public. Like all the greatest inventions in history, when users start to “play” with AI more and more, fear declines as it becomes a part of our society and culture. Most people are uncomfortable with what they don’t understand, and with the prevalence of these technologies used on a daily basis, it has created habits and comfort with users. The more we look at how AI can help to improve the quality of our lives, the lives of our loved ones, improve social processes and, most importantly, save lives, there will be more exposure to the endless benefits of it.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
I’ve always been appreciative of my opportunities, and of course the consistent investment from my parents was critical to my success. I’ve remained humbled by my own journey, keeping in mind that my journey is special and it drives me in my own ambition. Because of this, I’ve always had a desire to give back and volunteer, which is why I devoted much of my time as a former psychometric teacher. Sometimes all we need is someone who did it before us and imparts their wisdom on others to pursue their dreams. Also, seeing my apprentices continue on their volunteering path made me feel that I was a part of something really important, which has had a profound impact.
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?
I’ve always believed if you do not believe in boundaries, they will not have a right to exist and you don’t see them with your own eyes, others will not see them. To me, there is no such thing as a man’s world. There is a world that has more men; it does not mean for a moment that women have no place in it. From an early age, I found myself to be in a room with mostly men — through college and during my time in my army unit. I would tell the young girls — do not be afraid of numbers — science is all about ambition. Do not be afraid to want to enter places that you fear not to be accepted just because you are women. We are all human beings — and we all have the same skills. The main question is — what do I choose to do and where I aspire to reach. Do not be afraid to be in the minority, be proud of it. Do not stay away from competition, let it build you up. Definitions limit our thoughts and creativity. Do not define — and not be defined — not by others, but by yourself.
Can you advise what is needed to engage more women into the AI industry?
I believe that maybe there are not many women in our industry due to a lack of awareness and interest. Exposure creates interest, self-challenge also creates interest. In different populations, the level of exposure to STEM varies by gender in early education. We should be proactive in making sure younger generations of females are encouraged to learn more about AI so they could learn how fascinating it is and how embedded in our culture it will become. We should encourage fellow women in our lives to challenge ourselves, support one another and learn about new opportunities.
What is your favourite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?
You are who you choose to be — so choose! I learned to never be afraid to change my mind because for many parts of my life, I felt I was different, and I learned to see it as a positive. Because I have connected to so many fields throughout my career I’ve learned so much which has driven me to diverse roles. I’m a physician and a doctor in my soul, and geeky and full of tattoos all over my body. There is no such thing as a norm or need, and we should accept ourselves as uniquely as we are. I define myself. If I want to study medicine and work in high-tech, I can. If I want to stop everything at the age of 26 and change my course — I can. That’s my prerogative.
I admire people who tasted the world and as much as possible. Areas that sometimes seem unrelated to us can bring mutual prosperity. We can all be a little bit of everything. And that’s the beauty of people.
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.
If I could “hashtag” one thing I believe matters the most, it would be a movement of self-love.
A lot can grow out of self-love, and as one who is still learning to improve on this ability, I believe that no judgment of yourself — your abilities, your accomplishments, your appearance, your looks — brings peace. Inner peace brings happiness, and happiness breeds success. Complete self-acceptance is a challenge that few people cross, and many of us deal with it every day of our lives. Anyone of us can give it to himself — but if the as a society we will encourage it, we’ll all get there sooner.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/noy.fima
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!