Students hear about different career paths in the technology industry
As part of its ongoing efforts to support empowerment and opportunity for women within the technology industry, IPsoft hosted 20 high school students from Girls Who Code at the company’s New York City headquarters on July 20. The students are part of a seven-week Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program and coding course sponsored by global investment firm BlackRock and held at their NYC office. They had the opportunity to learn about IPsoft, meet Amelia (IPsoft’s intelligent virtual agent), tour Amelia City and hear about different career paths in the tech industry from some of IPsoft’s employees.
Rohinee Mohindroo, IPsoft’s Director of Cognitive Implementations, kicked off a series of lively conversations by introducing the company and Amelia. Having already heard many things about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the media, the students were keen to learn the applications of Amelia, how she’s programmed, how often she’s updated and improved, and how IPsoft works with clients to customize her. Several expressed concern that AI will take over the world, and wanted assurance that she won’t “go rogue.” Rohinee explained that Amelia is trained to follow a company’s rules and compliance procedures to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
With tailored programs, such as those provided by Girls Who Code, we have the ability to transform the workplace and close the diversity gap.
The discussion then turned to the ways we promote Amelia to our clients. Aphrodite Brinsmead, Senior Analyst Relations Manager, talked about the importance of marketing and how businesses make decisions when buying technology by reading analyst reports and PR, as well as looking to peers for advice. She described the various functions and departments in the IPsoft marketing team, from events like IPsoft’s Digital Workforce Summit, to digital advertising and PR, to content marketing and analyst relations. During their discussion with Aphrodite, the students envisaged a world where Amelia is also consumer-facing, interacting with them daily in stores or on their phones.
Another career highlighted during the event was User Experience Design. Ruth Ong, Senior UX Designer, and Noelle Langston, Conversational Experience Design Lead, presented on the importance of building customized experiences for IPsoft’s clients. They utilized design examples from everyday objects to help the students consider new ways of thinking and learn about how we brainstorm with our clients. They were curious about when clients use the Amelia avatar, learning that kiosks are more suitable for the avatar while a smaller icon is used in chat sessions.
Jennifer Hewit, Head of Cognitive and Digital Services at Credit Suisse, ended the afternoon’s presentations by explaining how she’s implemented Amelia for IT support at the multinational financial services firm. Enthusiastic to get more women into the industry, Jennifer has built a diverse team at Credit Suisse, and she herself progressed in tech without a traditional IT background. The discussions also touched on security and how we stop users from exploiting Amelia, with the students realizing the importance of protecting customer data.
Envisioning how Amelia and AI will impact real life
Finally, the students got the opportunity to meet Amelia in person as they toured Amelia City. Sarah Toepfer, Cognitive Project Lead, showed them how Amelia can customize web pages and act as a guiding voice while driving (as exhibited in Amelia City’s demo vehicle). The students even had a chance to pretend to order a burger and fries from Amelia. Overall, the students were excited about Amelia’s potential use in real-life scenarios.
Another top-of-mind topic with students was the percentage of women working in technology and how to succeed. The IPsoft team recommends finding a manager that will recognize your skills and provide you with opportunities, regardless of your background. With tailored programs, such as those provided by Girls Who Code, we have the ability to transform the workplace and close the diversity gap – causes that IPsoft enthusiastically supports. We plan to host future events to showcase how we can empower women and give them equal opportunities in an automated, tech-driven society.