Learn More About Rana el Kaliouby
Global investments in artificial intelligence (AI) have significantly increased yet organizations still struggle to use the technology to its fullest potential. As Smart Eye Deputy CEO Rana el Kaliouby (el kall-YOU-bee) knows firsthand, to make the tremendous leaps demanded by 21st-century business, leaders and their teams must become AI-minded – but this change can’t happen all at once.
“Small changes to how you approach AI transformation can have a big impact,” explains el Kaliouby, co-founder and former CEO of Affectiva who has been named one of Entrepreneur’s 100 Women of Influence in 2022, AI Magazine’s 2022 Top 10 Leaders Innovating in the AI Space and Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Tech. “For example, by clarifying roles and responsibilities, you can alleviate fears about job elimination. Show you respect privacy and safety by declaring an AI ethics policy consistent with your business values. Success will boil down to team, culture and people.”
A Harvard University Executive Fellow, el Kaliouby couples academic rigor with a practitioner’s experience to demystify AI and its practical implications for business advantage. Her exceptional skills earned as a tech entrepreneur, investor, and early pioneer in the data science and machine learning C-suite make her an expert guide for organizations embarking on an AI journey. Pointing to pitfalls and highlighting opportunities, el Kaliouby shows businesses how to weave AI throughout the fabric of their organization and revitalize their culture to automate, accelerate, innovate and, ultimately, increase profits.
Developing an AI Mindset for Competitive Advantage
Research by Accenture shows that firms with fully mature AI initiatives see 50% greater revenue growth on average compared with their peers. What sets them apart? According to el Kaliouby, these organizations were willing to combine strengths across strategy, processes and people to fully develop their AI mindset.
“These savvy companies committed to becoming entirely AI-first, from C-level sponsorship to technology infrastructure, from business ethics to company culture,” explains el Kaliouby, a 2023 Eisenhower USA Fellow. “Soon, every business, from the smallest startup to the biggest institution, will need an AI transformation to remain competitive.”
A seasoned leader, el Kaliouby’s keynotes and executive education sessions use examples from her successful companies as proof points to ignite curiosity about the benefits brought by machine learning and other tools, demonstrating in real-time how to overcome an organization’s cultural AI resistance to unleash the power of their data in the most ethical way. She maps a scalable framework that supports organizations in using diverse AI applications to create a competitive advantage in existing and new markets. Talented at translating complex science for any audience – as seen in her popular TED Talk that has nearly 2 million views – her “how to” guide sheds light on practical matters like the right way to de-silo organizational data and where to invest to fully capitalize on the data’s insights. Lifting the hood on AI-first organizations, el Kaliouby points to the nuts and bolts that hold them together, showing stakeholders how to deploy the latest AI tools that unlock new sources of strategic and operating value.
AI Transformation for a More Equal World
A unique voice in the AI space, el Kaliouby’s exceptional story as a Muslim woman tech founder is unforgettable. Bestselling author of “Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity By Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology” (Penguin Random House, 2020), she shares how discrimination and cultural barriers led her to become the industry’s leader in designing solutions to ensure AI is ethical, non-biased and essentially human in its values.
“I am concerned that unfortunately, and unintentionally, we all may be building biases into these algorithms and then deploying them at scale,” warns el Kaliouby. “If you just have middle-aged white guys developing models and looking at their accuracy, it’s not going to be enough to overcome blind spots. The more diverse perspectives we have that can poke holes at the approach, the better we will all be.”
A long-time proponent of women in STEM, el Kaliouby serves as an inspirational role model for anyone who has faced adversity in a tech career. Her willingness to be open about her experiences has led her to be frequently reviewed as the #1 session for attendees. Honest and authentic, her candid description of experiences with prejudice in AI will continue to resonate, ensuring a lasting change to AI ethics practices and procedures. As el Kaliouby showcased in Fortune’s Brainstorm AI 2022 conference, which she co-chaired, AI technology will continue to race ahead, and organizations taking a human-centric approach will be the ones that come out on top.
“We can’t forget about the people behind AI or those impacted by it,” she reminds. “Without a human-centered approach, AI will fall short of its potential, so it’s only right that we consider the human before the artificial to net the biggest benefits.”
A computer scientist, technologist, entrepreneur and business leader, Rana el Kaliouby is the deputy CEO of Smart Eye. Co-founder and former CEO of Affectiva, the category-defining MIT spinoff and pioneer of Emotion AI, el Kaliouby invented the company’s award-winning emotion recognition technology. Using large, diverse datasets – comprised of 12+ million faces analyzed in 90 countries – to detect complex and nuanced emotions and cognitive states, the Emotion AI platform combines facial expression and tone of voice to infer how a person is feeling. Among other applications, the company’s technology is used by leading companies in the automotive industry to improve road safety and deliver better, more personalized transportation experiences. In addition, 25% of the Fortune Global 500 companies use Affectiva’s technology to test consumer engagements with ads, videos and TV programming. It is also used in healthcare, education, social robotics, conversational interfaces and more. El Kaliouby and co-founder Rosalind Picard realized a successful exit for Affectiva in June 2021 when the company was acquired by Smart Eye.
A passionate advocate for innovation, ethics in AI and diversity, Rana el Kaliouby was appointed an Executive Fellow at Harvard Business School where she co-teaches AI-related courses. Her credentials as a popular spokesperson for science led to her co-hosting the PBS Nova Series “Nova Wonders,” which premiered in April 2018. An accomplished inventor and one of few women to have successfully transitioned from academia to business, el Kaliouby – and her work – earn considerable recognition. This journey to new frontiers for AI technology are the subject of her bestselling book, “Girl Decoded” (Penguin Random House, April 2020).
El Kaliouby has been named to the 2018 Thinkers50 Radar list of management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led; BBC’s Top 100 Women of 2019; Fortune’s 2018 40 Under 40 of the most influential young people in business; Forbes America’s Top 50 Women in Tech; Inc.’s Female Founders 100; Bostinno’s 50 on Fire; Newsweek’s America’s Greatest Disruptors and WIRED’s 25 Geniuses Who Are Creating the Future of Business. El Kaliouby is also a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader and a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, where she serves on the New England Board. She is also often cited in and interviewed by top business and mainstream outlets, including The New Yorker, Wired, Forbes, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Fortune, CNN, CBS and Reddit.
Prior to founding Affectiva, el Kaliouby was a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab where she spearheaded applications for facial coding to benefit mental health, autism and other research areas. Born and raised in Cairo, she received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in computer science from the American University in Cairo and a Ph.D. from the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge.
Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D., is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.
When an organization considers transforming to an AI-first business, they need expert advice to help map their upcoming journey. As the deputy CEO at Smart Eye and the co-founder and former CEO of Affectiva, Rana el Kaliouby specializes in helping organizations understand and make use of their data. A Harvard Executive Fellow who bridges industry experience and academics, she effectively demonstrates how C-level leaders can sponsor AI efforts, making them more likely to be successful.
El Kaliouby assists business leaders with important questions like:
- How do we get stakeholders on board with an AI-first strategy?
- What’s the best way to communicate about AI with employees and customers?
- How should an AI-first organization and team look?
- What technology infrastructure improvements need to be made?
- Data is a key competitive advantage when it comes to AI. Where is organizational data located and how is it warehoused?
- Where should a business invest to capitalize on data insights? Where should one start?
- What ethical, privacy and safety concerns should a leader be aware of?
In mapping an organization’s AI journey, el Kaliouby brings an assured sense of confidence to leaders interested in taking advantage of AI’s potential capabilities. Honest and real, she lifts the hood on AI-first organizations, showing leaders her tried-and-tested methods of developing, deploying and enabling an AI strategy in ways that unlock new sources of strategic and operating value.