Dr. Fatmah Baothman
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.”