Virtual Assistants, AI – Are we there yet?

If you are like me, you are seeing tons of articles and blog posts on how great AI is. Most industry leaders cannot make a presentation or a speech without acknowledging AI. The media whips up everyone into a frenzy. Is AI good for us? Will AI take over the world? Is Google evil for wanting to make an intelligent virtual assistant sound human? It goes on.

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Back to Basics: Children and Food

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During my yearly visits to India, I was struck by the fact that many urban children do not have access to fresh vegetables and fruits. The price is exorbitant, but more importantly, there is very little awareness of the benefits of eating vegetables. I wondered if it is possible for these children to grow their own greens and vegetables. I no longer wonder.

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Annapurna Prasad: Agricultural Engineering Entrepreneur

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Annapurna graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India, in 1971, with a mechanical engineering degree.  She went on to get master’s degrees in Food and Agricultural Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Engineering Management at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.  She headed the power tiller manufacturing unit in the family business founded by her father.  The unit and its technical innovations thrived under her leadership. Her belief in Gandhian principles of truth and ethics have helped her navigate the difficult waters of commerce in India.  Along with a successful career, Anna continues to have a rich family life.

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A. Kamala: Educator and Author

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Kamala graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India, in 1954. After an impactful career as an educator in the Andhra Pradesh’s polytechnic colleges, she retired as the Joint Director of Technical Education in 1989 after more than thirty-five years of service. The technical textbooks she authored on subjects such as Engineering Drawing and Surveying are still in use. Since her retirement, Kamala has been following her passion – that of helping needy school children with their language skills. Her mission in this work is to strengthen education where it matters the most, the early years of life.

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Dr. Shantha R. Mohan: Software Engineering Leader and Entrepreneur

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Shantha graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India, in 1971. After a few years of designing electronic instruments, she took a break to raise her daughter and went back to school to earn her doctorate in Operations Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Her leadership in product development and software engineering spans more than thirty years, multiple generations of products and technology upgrades. She co-founded Retail Solutions Inc. that became a leader in its niche. There she grew the technical team from the ground up to distributed teams across the globe.  Currently, she has a portfolio career of mentoring, teaching, and writing.

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Radha Ramaswami Basu: Global Technical and Social Entrepreneur

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Radha graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India, in 1971. Highly independent even at a young age, she charted her own path, to study engineering, and later moving to the USA for higher studies, barreling through strong societal concerns of family and friends.  Innovation is a constant theme that runs throughout Radha’s life.  She spearheaded the entry of Hewlett Packard into the then virgin Indian Information technology space of 1988; went on to head a startup, Support.com, and take it through its listing in NASDAQ and beyond; created the Frugal Innovation Lab at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley; and is now on her next entrepreneurial chapter of founding and heading iMerit Technology Services. Radha epitomizes resiliency in the face of unthinkable tragedies, including losing her talented daughter and only child, Jhumki, who had immense promise as an educator, and turning all her love for Jhumki into the passion of running the Jhumki Basu Foundation. Her story is truly inspirational for everyone who dreams of great achievements in the technology-driven world of tomorrow.

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Prabavathy (Arthur) Kawai: Multiculturalist

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Prabavathy Kawai graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Chennai, India, in 1966.   After a brief career as an electronics engineer, Praba studied archeology, immersed herself in her husband’s Japanese culture, and successfully brought up her bicultural children. While her technical career was short, her life is rich with different cultural experiences and a loving family.

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