October 1, 2023

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AI – “Girls, don’t hesitate, there is no reason”

AI – “Girls, don’t hesitate, there is no reason”

It was 2011 – twelve years ago – when we first contacted her Marilee Nika. Soon after, at the age of 26, she was awarded the Anita Borg Fellowship from Google, which promotes the study of women in IT. She was the first Greek woman to succeed. At the time she was commencing her PhD at Imperial College London and an internship at the legendary firm, Google. At that time, all possibilities were still open: would cooperation with the company continue? Would you live in a male-dominated environment?

The rest is history, as they say at Google. Not only was she offered a position, but within a few years she rose to the position of Director of Google’s Speech Recognition and Artificial Intelligence Department, gradually becoming one of the most popular and active women in the diaspora. technology space. He now lives in San Francisco and works for another industry leader, metaformerly Facebook, is once again at the forefront of developments in Facebook field of artificial intelligence.

It’s great that none of this would have happened had Marelli obeyed the “principle” we grew up with in Greece at the time, that “computers are not for girls”. However, there was a voice within her that was “speaking” into the blade. She secretly borrowed her brother’s programming books and “burned” some old computers. It is typical that she only pursued her IT inclination after earning her first degree in the Navy. She was shaped by her personal experience. She felt like a link in a chain of women who resisted the establishment and pursued the dream of science. At Imperial College he founded a private collection “Women and Information Technology”, also organized classes in schools to “open” science to girls, organized a special “hackathon” for ladies, to develop the best app in the field of health and wellness, and much more. Today she is the co-founder of it Greek women working in technologywhich aims to empower Greek women working in the fields of technology.

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Dr. Marilee Nika works at Meta, while co-founder of Greek Women Do Tech.

On this occasion, we talked about the AI ​​revolution and about another, less visible “invasion” of women into the industry. How does it feel for women to work in such a competitive environment? “At Google, I would say there is more of a culture of academic research and great importance is placed on quality work, while at Meta we focus more on speed and ‘flexibility’ in developing and launching new products,” says to “K”. “Undoubtedly, things were more difficult in the past, as there were fewer women in the field and the mentality was different. However, I started to see big changes in the work environment. There are already many female role models who have not only proven their worth, but She has in turn inspired other women as well as the next generation to enter the field, and the number is growing.In contrast, the majority of men in the industry have no prejudice against women.This means I constantly see colleagues regardless of gender at work and create a productive work environment where what matters It is what you can bring to the team, not whether you are male or female.”

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Our society is constantly changing and evolving. In 10 to 15 years, when the women who study today excel, the difference will be seen.

She was sure this would happen. “Our society is constantly changing and evolving. In 10 to 15 years when the women who teach today excel, the difference will be seen. Women in technology will be no exception, and their numbers will not be anything worth talking about, they will be normal.”

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With the Greek Women Do Tech programme, they wanted to give the Greek public a realistic picture of what a career in STEM means. “I believe that Greece is a growing force in this field. We see more and more startups from Greeks, young people with internationally recognized ambitions and successes, such as Blueground, Accusonus, Instashop, Pollfish, Workable and Spotawheel. So our thinking was to contribute to this growth by By allowing more people to learn first-hand about these industries, we brought in Greek experts who distinguished themselves in America, working for large companies such as Meta, Google, Microsoft, Amazonto teach them specific technical skills but also to explain to them what it is like to work in such a company, what daily life is like and other necessary information.” The response was much greater than they could have imagined. They received more than 400 applications to participate.

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the first goal

“I like to tell girls not to hesitate, no need to. Let them start by setting a goal, and if that goal changes a little bit along the way, don’t get discouraged. As long as they keep trying, success is a given, even if there are bumps along the way.” .