I am a founder of an AI “Start-up.” For our shareholders, we all must perform at a high level 24/7. So for me, AI is a competence hierarchy only: Make your career decisions for yourself because you are the one that is making the commitment. If you are prepared to be fully dedicated, go for it but realize sacrifices in your personal life will be necessary. No whining or complaining.
As part of my series about the women leading the Artificial Intelligence industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing MaryEllen Reider, the co-founder of Yarlap®, an American company that designs a unique FDA-cleared medical device for improving a women’s pelvic floor muscle tone. Yarlap®’s AI technology is improving women’s healthcare in a very personal way by providing women a way to improve their sexual wellness and bladder control at home.
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?
Treating medical conditions without surgery or drugs is an area where AI is making significant, practical and revolutionary innovations. While AI itself is highly sophisticated, it can make the technology highly usable, reliable and effective for the individual patient.
What lessons can others learn from your story?
In an epistemological sense, perception drives action. Recognition of this has been key to our success and our innovative Yarlap® AI technologies.
Can you tell our readers about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
Our work may be concordant with the theories of Piaget and Heidegger. Perception drives action. In practical application, we have made remarkable progress in human muscle control therapy.
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?
A number of people I know in AI benefit from their parents’ strengths. My mother is a respected academic in folklore. My father is a practical engineer. They are from completely different cultures. Growing up, I frequently helped them communicate. It was excellent training for AI management. Like many successful women, I can bring powerful and often divergent forces together.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about the AI industry? Why?
1. Medical Device Accuracy: instrument sensitivity provides more accurate data.
2. Medical Device Autonomous Control: Accurate data processed at higher speeds creates an environ for device control.
3. Medical Device Learning: Precision control creates a paradigm for device learning.
4. Medical Device Security: Device learning can better keep patient data secure.
5. Medical Device Usability: All of the above allow for patient specific design.
What are the 5 things that concern you about the AI industry? Why?
1. Intelligence is not wisdom: Isaac Asimov had this right (my father heard his lecture on this)
2. Autonomous Control: If the parameters are wrong it is an invitation for adverse event(s).
3. Device Learning: What is being learned is not always apparent.
4. Device Security: No network is secure.
5. Capability Overload: Remember grandma pushing buttons on the television remote that controls everything but controls nothing because it’s just too complex?
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?
Dr. Strangelove as an archetype, is more real than non-fiction. It would be intellectual arrogance to not be concerned that AI can be used to undermine our freedoms and used to perpetrate malevolence. “I do it because I can,” is a siren. We can identify the wicked/evil in Shakespearean characters but not always in ourselves.
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?
It is a conscientious endeavor to bring good to as many people you can .., and do no harm.
The commitment starts and ends with each individual. Perhaps that failure is what drove Nietzsche to his end? The argument is made by some theorists that Nietzsche did foresee the Hobbesian nightmare of the concentration camps and Gulag Archipelagos of the 20th century.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
Yarlap® technology, including the AutoKegel® Technology in Yarlap®, gives women the ability to regain pelvic floor muscle control. Specifically, Yarlap® gives nearly every woman the ability to regain urinary control with wellness outcomes that include muscle performance and personal expression(s).
Perhaps one testimonial on amazon.com is exemplar of the difference we make for women. A 26 year old cancer survivor has regained urinary control. It has made a significant difference in her active life and her success underscores the importance of our work. We are all in this together one individual at a time.
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 am a founder of an AI “Start-up.” For our shareholders, we all must perform at a high level 24/7. So for me, AI is a competence hierarchy only:
1. Make your career decisions for yourself because you are the one that is making the commitment.
2. If you are prepared to be fully dedicated, go for it but realize sacrifices in your personal life will be necessary.
3. No whining or complaining
Can you advise what is needed to engage more women into the AI industry?
The ability to communicate effectively is a super-power (a great idea will not achieve its potential if not well explained):
4. Learn to write clearly in your own voice
5. Learn to speak clearly and to the point.
6. Dress professional.
What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?
In a famous Kurosawa film, a young woman is asked to undertake a critical and dangerous mission for the archetypical good guys. When one warrior asks the leader if a maiden is up to the such an important task, the leader looks at the young man and curtly replies, “Kanojo wa samuraidesu (彼女は侍です), “She is samurai.” My mother is samurai. Watashi wa samuraidesu (私は侍です), I am samurai.
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. 🙂
Jessica Alba is a tech-savvy businesswomen. Her mission is clear and concordant with ours
“”safe and effective consumer products that are beautifully designed, accessibly priced, and easy to acquire.”
Importantly, Yarlap is an important asset for young mothers — healthy mom healthy world theme of Ms Alba. Pelvic muscle control is an issue for women of all ages and Yarlap is FDA Cleared to treat the issues without surgery or drugs.
Also, I think Jessica Alba gets the samurai thing. “Kanojo wa samuraidesu”
How can our readers follow you on social media?
We are on a roll with social media! You can always find what Yarlap is up to by following our social media accounts or on our blog. We are always excited when people interact on platforms and have suggestions on Yarlap’s blog posts — so feel free to browse around the blog and reach out to us!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!