Mansi Agarwal

The 34th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence 2020 was an enriching experience. It was my very first conference, and it became all the more special, for I got the golden opportunity to present my two full-length papers and a poster. I was a tad bit nervous considering it was my first formal presentation that, too, in front of the pioneers of Artificial Intelligence. My mentors, Prof Jack Mostow and Prof Rajiv Ratn Shah did their best at keeping my morale high, and I owe all my success to them. After my presentations, I was contacted by a lot of researchers, both in person and over mail. Their questions were interesting and helped me pave a path to the future work of my research. Apart from showcasing my work, I also got the excellent opportunity of attending several talks by great professors like Prof. Kraut from CMU. His talk on affective content analysis was similar to one of my research areas. Moreover, there were several exciting presentations identical to one of my papers on damage assessment through social media. The director of “AI for Social Good” at Google Research India, Milind Tambe, showed great interest in our work, which motivated me further to pursue this field as my career.

Apart from attending the technical talks, I also got the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet the godfathers of AI, Prof. Geoffrey Hinton and Prof. Yann Lecunn. They had been specially invited as speakers at the conference where they discussed their new papers with all the conference attendees.

AAAI 2020 helped me re-realize why I decided to pursue the field of AI, and I have never felt more motivated and confident. I want to thank the entire team of AAAI for giving me this opportunity, and ACM-W to help me grab it.