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Dr. Fatmah Baothman

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First in the Middle East with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence

Dubai: Dr. Fatmah Baothman is no ordinary Saudi woman.
She embodies women’s empowerment in the country, as the first woman in the Middle East with a PhD in Modern Artificial Intelligence (AI). Her AI journey started when she was a student at the University of Arizona studying the English language. She was introduced to computer systems that help and assist non-native English speakers.
“I was fascinated by the level of machine communication and interaction,” Dr Baothman explained. “Once I started studying programing and understanding more about the Turing Test, which is a test that’s been designed to test the intelligence of machines, I became fascinated.”
In 2003, she graduated from the School of Computing and Engineering at the University of Huddes field in the UK, where she earned a PhD in “Phonology-Based Automatic Speech Recognition for Arabic.”
“We worked with a robot and we were able to increase its intelligence from four to seven years,” she noted. “Speech is a very important tool in different applications that could be used in smart cities, smart cars and smartphones – it’s about connecting machines and people, and machines to machines, even if they don’t speak our language, they find a way of communicating in which they can interact with each other.”
The Jeddah-born woman started working as an advisor with MMG (MedLab Media Group), a Spanish technology start-up focused on improving daily clinical practice and decision-making, which signed an agreement a couple of weeks ago with Advanced AI LLC, a Saudi company specialized in AI technology and products. “It makes me feel very excited to be the first woman with a PhD in Modern AI,” she explained. “(We) are planning to establish an AI lab in Jeddah very soon to work in blockchain technology, AI projects and other areas, directed towards healthcare.”