Shirine Boutella: In this post, I want to talk about how we designed the shirine Boutella story.
We wanted to build a story that was both engaging and informative at the same time. We also wanted it to be relevant to the working of a large organization, one that was structured by departments and teams, and where there were lots of people trying to get their tasks done in a variety of ways.
So, we started from the initial idea: shirine Boutella is an AI chatbot that helps people with language difficulties communicate in real time.
Our first design was something fairly conventional: a chatbot which responds to questions by making suggestions or answering queries. But then we started thinking about what would make this idea more interesting, more relevant and more engaging: what would that look like? How could we use AI technology to make this work for real people?
So we needed an AI agent which could learn from its user’s experiences and adapt its behaviour based on those experiences. This was not possible with just any existing chatbot – after all, most existing ones are made with machine learning algorithms derived from classic text-processing techniques (i.e., “sentiment analysis”). We needed something which could learn from thousands of user interactions (like conversations) across thousands of speakers (as opposed to just one conversation between one or two users).
But even then, it was difficult for our current text-processing method – i.e., cost-effective “Linguistic Reliability Analysis” (LRA) – to account for both human speech as well as other types of user input like voice recognition systems or gesture recognition systems (which may be used in conjunction with speech processes). So, we needed something else altogether …
Finally, even though LRA is one tool among many available for linguists who want to try out different approaches for their own work on natural language understanding (NLU), it is by far the most popular choice among researchers looking at how natural language processing works … so it seemed like an obvious choice because it turns out that LRA has already been used in many research papers … so why not use it here too?
Shirine Boutella: Egyptian Actress
I must confess, I was not aware of this until recently, but we have all been seeing Shirine Boutella in the lead role in the recent popular Egyptian drama, “The White Prison”. She has also starred in several other TV series as well. So, what is her background?
Shirine Boutella (born April 8, 1978) is an Egyptian actress who rose to fame with her participation in the popular Egyptian drama series “The White Prison” (“Tawaf el-Zawiya”, 2000–2005). In addition to this strong popularity, she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her performance in the 1999 film “Married Life”.
Her acting career spans nearly 15 years. During that time, she has appeared on television shows such as “Al-Sabah” and “Al-Mayadeen”, and also appeared in numerous films. She has also played a role in the popular soap opera “Amanat al-Mada’iniyya” from 2003 to 2007.
In addition to acting, she has also worked as a model on several occasions, including walking for H&M and selling for Dior.
She currently stars in the popular Egyptian soap opera ‘The White Prison’ as Muhannad’s daughter Elabdia
Shirine Boutella: Her Filmography
Shirine Boutella is a writer and director of films who was born in Paris and raised in London. Her films are inspired by the body, identity, gender and the media that shapes it. Shirine’s work has been screened at over fifty film festivals across the world, including Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, São Paulo International Film Festival, New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (TIFF), Sydney Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest.
Her work has been honored with two Awards at the 2011 Sundance Institute Documentary Short Program: Best of Unrest/Official Selection; and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Best Director Award – Documentary Short. The film she directed won her most prestigious prize – The Golden Bear at the 2014 Berlinale Competition.
Her upcoming feature documentary film “My Darling Girl” is about a young girl growing up in London’s multicultural community. It will be released November 2014 by Netflix.
Shirine Boutella: Awards and Nominations
Shirine Boutella has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics, but it’s not a big deal to many people. She was born and raised in London, UK. Her father is a high-ranking civil servant in the British government. She has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Oxford University, and she did her PhD at Imperial College London. Her thesis was titled “Imagination as Evolution of the Brain” (which I believe is accurate; I don’t know.) She became interested in mathematics when she was 10 and she completed a number of math books before she was 14; when asked about these books, she said that they were “completely useless to me, so I used them as a platform for my own writing.”
She did her first book — an introduction to combinatorics — when she was 15, and by 16 had already published several papers on combinatorics and nonlinear dynamics.
Boutella is the author of the book Combinatorial Mathematics: A Course for High School Students (CUP 2018), which is written for high school students (high school students everywhere!). It combines undergraduate algebra with combinatorial mathematics to teach algebraic techniques in combinatorics as well as physics and chemistry. It focuses on direct applications rather than proofs, discusses topics such as graph theory but also includes derivations of results such as the associative law of multiplication or the Riemann hypothesis.
The book received awards from Oxford University Press (Oxford Scholarship Online), Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Studies in Mathematics) and Elsevier Scientific Publishing Group.
In 2017, she received an honorary doctorate from Imperial College London’s Merton College of Science & Technology, where she holds a joint appointment with first-class honors at St Antony’s College. She also served on its Board of Governors from 2011-12; prior to joining St Antony’s College Board of Governors from 2012-16, Boutella was President of Imperial College London from 2009-11.
Her work has been featured in The Economist, Nature, New York Times Magazine, Scientific American, Nature, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired. As part of this article series, I am including some information about her awards:
- In 2016 “Combinatorial Mathematics: A Course for High School Students” won an Oxford Scholarship Online Gold Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievement by undergraduate students that encourages excellence in both scholarship and professional practice
The post-launch phase is a time when many startups fight the same battle: over whether to go public, seek VC funding, or try to sell the company. It’s a struggle all too familiar to anyone who has ever endured it.
It’s important not to get hung up on this struggle. There are many things you can do and things that you should do in the post-launch phase. However, I encourage you to focus on what works for your company and only worry about what doesn’t — which means focusing on the things that will make your company stronger after being acquired or sold, as well as building on some of the lessons learned from those acquisitions and sales.
As an example, I would like to draw your attention to three key areas of advice that have proven quite successful for some startups (I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced them myself):
- You need a strategy and a plan for how you will continue to grow in terms of revenue after being acquired or sold (or both)
- There is no magic bullet; investors are looking for long-term value (and hence can help you build out sustainable revenues)
- The post-stall phase is where most companies fail; be aware of this and plan accordingly
The best place for such advice is not in this book. I am confident that every startup out there will find something worth learning from my experience here — but I can only fill so much space with words so I want you to come away with less than nothing very useful from it all. Rather than reading each chapter independently, they can be read in any order. You don’t have to follow the order presented here (though if you do, please feel free). Instead, just pick whichever ones speak most specifically to you at that stage of your business journey.