We are fortunate to live in a time of new AI-driven possibilities, where science fiction and science reality are converging at a pace we wouldn’t have dared to predict even just a decade ago. As AI becomes more ubiquitous, multi-sector initiatives such as the Partnership on AI are crucial to ensuring its benefits are broadly accessible and that we advance our core societal values hand in hand with the tremendous technological progress we are making.  I am excited by the opportunity to contribute to PAI’s mission.

Prem Natarajan is a Vice President in Amazon’s Alexa unit where he leads the Natural Understanding (NU) organization within Alexa AI.  NU is a multidisciplinary science and engineering organization that develops, deploys, and maintains state-of-the-art conversational AI technologies including natural language understanding, intelligent dialog systems, entity linking and resolution, and associated worldwide runtime operations.  Natarajan joined Amazon from the University of Southern California (USC) where he was Senior Vice Dean of Engineering in the Viterbi School of Engineering, Executive Director of the Information Sciences Institute (a 300-person R&D organization), and Research Professor of computer science with distinction. Prior to that, as Executive VP at Raytheon BBN Technologies, he led the speech, language, and multimedia business unit, which included research and development operations, and commercial products for real-time multimedia monitoring, document analysis, and information extraction. During his tenure at USC and at BBN, Natarajan directed R&D efforts in speech recognition, natural language processing, computer vision, and other applications of machine learning. While at USC, he directly led nationally influential DARPA and IARPA sponsored research efforts in biometrics/face recognition, OCR, NLP, media forensics, and forecasting.  Most recently, he helped to launch the Fairness in AI (FAI) program – a collaborative effort between NSF and Amazon for funding fairness focused research efforts in US Universities.

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