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For this week's interview as part of the series 'Know a Member' we have Mr. Chandra Shekhar Dhir. Please continue reading below to know what he has to say.
1. What was your biggest take-away from the training at IIT?
Response. A good academic training, bunch of life time friends and the confidence! Especially, an early exposure to the ability to finish tasks with stringent and short time-line; anecdotally, how to pass quizzes and mid/end semester exams with a day of mugging (IITM lingo for intense nervous study time).
2. What is your area of interest and how do you see that affecting the common man?
Response. I am very much interested in the area of artificial intelligence. Just as us, machines will have consciousness with modeled memory and attention. Orthogonal to some beliefs, I am a strong proponent that synthetic intelligence (I prefer it over AI) will positively impact us in our day to day life. As few examples, personalized search, automated calendar, driver-less car, and many more have eased our lives by giving us more customized experience, avoiding disasters by not forgetting anniversary/birthdays of your spouse, and reduced risk of accidents, respectively. There is nothing artificial in intelligence at this moment which have the brains of a new born pretty much rule based (things are pacing up). Most developments are to synthesize how an adult human brain/perceptions work. In next decade, we will see efforts in this direction and singularity will reach faster than we had initially hoped. Hopefully, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and the likes change their mind in due time.
3. Post IIT, what has been your biggest assignment of which you are proud of?
Response. I feel happy to initiate and be involved in the in-house development of scalable multimedia content identification system using audiofingerprint technology at Enswers. This algorithms, which is my baby, sits on several application/platform having millions of downloads worldwide and receives billions of queries/month.
First often remains fresh in the memory. Back in 2012, a cruder version of this algo powered the official second screen app SOTY of Seoul Broadcasting System. SOTY was launched alongside the 2012 London Olympics, during which viewers were rewarded with badges and prizes for checking in during game broadcasts. This app appeared on the top 10 trending apps in Korea and was promoted on 8'clock KBS national news (2012).
Besides, I had been involved with a start-up here in Seoul which recently got acquired - this was a proud moment for us as a team, especially, for me a unique experience to be doing this in Korea.
4. In your over a decade long stay here in Korea, what has been some of your memorable (good or bad) experiences? Why?
Response. As a student at KAIST, I have had several memorable experience. I distinctly remember the words from my MS/PhD supervisor in our first meeting - "I don't care what you do at other times, I want you to attend weekly seminar and meetings". This is quite unconventional and to top that up we were instructed to make every presentation in English. I appreciate the efforts everyone took to make my life easier and in parallel take the harder route to learn a foreign language. This definitely did not help me in improving my Korean language skills which remains at beginner level II for a long time. The same continue at my present work place where it is truly bi-lingual and the work culture is very open.
5. What are your expectations from this alumni association?
6. Any other thoughts?
Response. Enjoy your kimchi while in Korea, and take this unique experience elsewhere.
Chandra Shekhar Dhir is currently the research director of Enswers Inc. (KT Affiliate) providing digital contents identification solutions to over one hundred customers. He is the inventor of patented multimedia matching algorithm which finds unique patterns in audio. Several commercial applications use the architected algorithm and has millions of downloads worldwide. He received his B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from IIT Madras in 2002, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bio and Brain Engineering from KAIST in 2006 and 2010 respectively. He is author of 10 registered patents, 4 articles in SCI journals, and several conference papers. After completing his doctoral studies at KAIST, he joined LG Electronics, Seoul, Korea, as a Senior Research Engineer where he was awarded the global techno innovator award in 2010. His main research interest focuses on advances in deep learning research and its application to sequence labeling tasks like speech recognition and household energy disaggregation using recurrent networks.