Keynote Speakers

Opening Keynote: Lili Cheng, Microsoft Research

Lili Cheng


Title: Conversational Intelligence: Bots and Lessons Learned

Abstract: How might bots and conversational intelligence change the way we work and socialize, and lead us to rethink the computing experience? Why now?

Inspired by online life in China and WeChat we have learned many lessons, both by building advanced bots such as Xiaoice/China, Rinna/Japan, and Tay-Zo/US, and by providing the Bot Framework and Cognitive Services to develop a conversational experience. While it’s early days for AI, what are actionable challenges and opportunities in the area of conversational intelligence, and how can bots and language understanding help improve the way we collaborate and work together?

Bio: Lili Cheng is a Distinguished Engineer, and General Manager in Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research (AI&R), focusing on conversational experiences, bots, and intelligence systems.

Lili’s team is responsible for the Microsoft Bot Framework, part of Cortana Intelligence, and bringing together community of bot creators, channels, tools and AI experts in events such as Botness, Microsoft Research’s Design Expo, and the Social Computing Symposium.

Previously, Lili was director of user experience for Microsoft Windows and also worked in Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group, on the User Interface research team, where she focused on Quicktime Conferencing and Quicktime VR.

Lili is a registered architect; she worked in Tokyo and Los Angeles for Nihon Sekkei and Skidmore Owings and Merrill on commercial urban design and large-scale building projects. She has taught at NYU-Interactive Telecommunications as well as Harvard University.

Lili was born in Tokyo, is married with three boys, and lives in Bellevue Washington.


Closing Keynote: Jorge Cham, PhD Comics

Jorge Cham


Title: The Science Gap

Abstract: Jorge Cham recounts his experiences bringing humor into the lives of millions of stressed out academics and tells stories from his travels to over 300 universities and research centers in the US and across the world. Thought-provoking yet humorous, this talk will examine the need to close the Science Gap, a disconnect in both communication and perception between researchers and the public, and how scientists and academics need to find new ways to collaborate in order the solve future challenges.

Bio: Jorge Cham is the creator of Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics), the online comic strip about life (or the lack thereof) in Academia. He is also the co-founder of PHD TV, a video science and discovery outreach collaborative, and a founding board member of Endeavor College Prep, a non-profit school for kids from disadvantaged communities in East Los Angeles.

Often called the Dilbert of academia, PHD has appeared in the Stanford, MIT, Caltech and Carnegie Mellon newspapers among others, and is published online where it is read by over 7 million visitors a year from over 1000 universities and colleges worldwide. Jorge Cham was born and raised in the Republic of Panama. He obtained his B.S. from Georgia Tech and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, specializing in Robotics. He was subsequently an Instructor and Research Associate at Caltech from 2003-2005, where his work focused on developing “Smart” Neural Implants. He travels and presents all over the world to thousands of graduate students, faculty and administrators. Five PHD book collections have been published and two feature-length films have been produced based on his work.