Ismini Lourentzou joined Virginia Tech’s “Curious Conversations” to chat about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning related to personal assistants, as well as her student team’s recent experience with the Alexa Prize TaskBot Challenge 2. 

About Lourentzou

Lourentzou is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and core faculty at the  Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics. She is also an affiliate faculty member of the National Security Institute and the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture.

 Three takeaways from the conversation

  • Though the two terms are often mentioned together, AI is a broad term that encompasses many subfields, one of which is machine learning.  

  • One of the challenges with creating AI assistants is training them to account for humans’ fluctuating needs, interests, and tastes.

  • Lourentzou’s current focus is helping to bridge the gap between virtual assistants and embodied assistants. 

Learn more

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About the podcast

"Curious Conversations" is a series of free-flowing conversations with Virginia Tech researchers that take place at the intersection of world-class research and everyday life. Produced and hosted by Virginia Tech writer and editor Travis Williams, university researchers share their expertise and motivations as well as the practical applications of their work in a format that more closely resembles chats at a cookout than classroom lectures. New episodes are shared each Tuesday.

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