Women in AI: Emilia Gómez at the EU started her AI career with music

12 Min Read

To present AI-focused girls lecturers and others their well-deserved — and overdue — time within the highlight, TechCrunch is launching a collection of interviews specializing in outstanding girls who’ve contributed to the AI revolution. We’ll publish items all year long because the AI increase continues, highlighting key work that always goes unrecognized. Learn extra profiles right here.

Emilia Gómez is a principal investigator on the European Fee’s Joint Analysis Centre and scientific coordinator of AI Watch, the EC initiative to observe the developments, uptake and affect of AI in Europe. Her staff contributes with scientific and technical data to EC AI insurance policies, together with the just lately proposed AI Act.

Gómez’s analysis is grounded within the computational music area, the place she contributes to the understanding of the best way people describe music and the strategies through which it’s modeled digitally. Ranging from the music area, Gómez investigates the affect of AI on human habits — specifically the consequences on jobs, selections and youngster cognitive and socioemotional growth.


Briefly, how did you get your begin in AI? What attracted you to the sphere?

I began my analysis in AI, specifically in machine studying, as a developer of algorithms for the automated description of music audio indicators by way of melody, tonality, similarity, fashion or emotion, that are exploited in several functions from music platforms to training. I began to analysis methods to design novel machine studying approaches coping with totally different computational duties within the music area, and on the relevance of the info pipeline together with information set creation and annotation. What I favored on the time from machine studying was its modelling capabilities and the shift from knowledge-driven to data-driven algorithm design — e.g. as a substitute of designing descriptors primarily based on our data of acoustics and music, we have been now utilizing our know-how to design information units, architectures and coaching and analysis procedures.

From my expertise as a machine studying researcher, and seeing my algorithms “in motion” in several domains, from music platforms to symphonic music concert events, I noticed the massive affect that these algorithms have on individuals (e.g. listeners, musicians) and directed my analysis towards AI analysis relatively than growth, specifically on learning the affect of AI on human habits and methods to consider methods by way of facets resembling equity, human oversight or transparency. That is my staff’s present analysis matter on the Joint Analysis Centre.

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What work are you most happy with (within the AI area)?

On the tutorial and technical aspect, I’m happy with my contributions to music-specific machine studying architectures on the Music Expertise Group in Barcelona, which have superior the cutting-edge within the area, because it’s mirrored in my quotation information. As an illustration, throughout my PhD I proposed a data-driven algorithm to extract tonality from audio indicators (e.g. if a musical piece is in C main or D minor) which has turn into a key reference within the area, and later I co-designed machine studying strategies for the automated description of music indicators by way of melody (e.g. used to seek for songs by buzzing), tempo or for the modeling of feelings in music. Most of those algorithms are at present built-in into Essentia, an open supply library for audio and music evaluation, description and synthesis and have been exploited in lots of recommender methods.

I’m significantly happy with Banda Sonora Very important (LifeSoundTrack), a undertaking awarded by Crimson Cross Award for Humanitarian Applied sciences, the place we developed a customized music recommender tailored to senior Alzheimer sufferers. There’s additionally PHENICX, a big European Union (EU)-funded undertaking I coordinated on the usage of music; and AI to create enriched symphonic music experiences.

I really like the music computing neighborhood and I used to be completely satisfied to turn into the primary feminine president of the Worldwide Society for Music Info Retrieval, to which I’ve been contributing all my profession, with a particular curiosity in rising range within the area.

Presently, in my function on the Fee, which I joined in 2018 as lead scientist, I present scientific and technical assist to AI insurance policies developed within the EU, notably the AI Act. From this latest work, which is much less seen by way of publications, I’m happy with my humble technical contributions to the AI Act — I say “humble” as it’s possible you’ll guess there are numerous individuals concerned right here! For example, there’s quite a lot of work I contributed to on the harmonization or translation between authorized and technical phrases (e.g. proposing definitions grounded in current literature) and on assessing the sensible implementation of authorized necessities, resembling transparency or technical documentation for high-risk AI methods, general-purpose AI fashions and generative AI.

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I’m additionally fairly happy with my staff’s work in supporting the EU AI legal responsibility directive, the place we studied, amongst others, specific traits that make AI methods inherently dangerous, resembling lack of causality, opacity, unpredictability or their self- and continuous-learning capabilities, and assessed related difficulties introduced relating to proving causation.

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

It’s not solely tech — I’m additionally navigating a male-dominated AI analysis and coverage area! I don’t have a method or a technique, because it’s the one atmosphere I do know. I don’t know the way it could be to work in a various or a female-dominated working atmosphere. “Wouldn’t it’s good?,” just like the Seaside Boys’ track goes. I truthfully attempt to keep away from frustration and have enjoyable on this difficult state of affairs, working in a world dominated by very assertive guys and having fun with collaborating with glorious girls within the area.

What recommendation would you give to girls looking for to enter the AI area?

I might inform them two issues:

You’re a lot wanted — please enter our area, as there’s an pressing want for range of visions, approaches and concepts. As an illustration, based on the divinAI undertaking — a undertaking I co-founded on monitoring range within the AI area — solely 23% of writer names on the Worldwide Convention on Machine Studying and 29% on the Worldwide Joint Convention on AI in 2023 have been feminine, no matter their gender identification.

You aren’t alone — there are numerous girls, nonbinary colleagues and male allies within the area, regardless that we is probably not so seen or acknowledged. Search for them and get their mentoring and assist! On this context, there are numerous affinity teams current within the analysis area. As an illustration, once I grew to become president of the Worldwide Society for Music Info Retrieval, I used to be very lively within the Ladies in Music Info Retrieval initiative, a pioneer in range efforts in music computing with a really profitable mentoring program.

What are among the most urgent points going through AI because it evolves?

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For my part, researchers ought to commit as many efforts to AI growth as to AI analysis, as there’s now a scarcity of steadiness. The analysis neighborhood is so busy advancing the cutting-edge by way of AI capabilities and efficiency and so excited to see their algorithms utilized in the actual world that they neglect to do correct evaluations, affect evaluation and exterior audits. The extra clever AI methods are, the extra clever their evaluations must be. The AI analysis area is under-studied, and that is the reason for many incidents that give AI a foul fame, e.g. gender or racial biases current in information units or algorithms.

What are some points AI customers ought to concentrate on?

Residents utilizing AI-powered instruments, like chatbots, ought to know that AI is just not magic. Synthetic intelligence is a product of human intelligence. They need to be taught concerning the working rules and limitations of AI algorithms to have the ability to problem them and use them in a accountable means. It’s additionally necessary for residents to be told concerning the high quality of AI merchandise, how they’re assessed or licensed, in order that they know which of them they will belief.

What’s one of the best ways to responsibly construct AI?

For my part, one of the best ways to develop AI merchandise (with a great social and environmental affect and in a accountable means) is to spend the wanted sources on analysis, evaluation of social affect and mitigation of dangers — for example, to basic rights — earlier than putting an AI system available in the market. That is for the good thing about companies and belief on merchandise, but additionally of society.

Accountable AI or reliable AI is a solution to construct algorithms the place facets resembling transparency, equity, human oversight or social and environmental well-being must be addressed from the very starting of the AI design course of. On this sense, the AI Act not solely units the bar for regulating synthetic intelligence worldwide, however it additionally displays the European emphasis on trustworthiness and transparency — enabling innovation whereas defending residents’ rights. This I really feel will improve citizen belief within the product and know-how.

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