#IamthefutureofAI: Supreet Kaur

Join us on this captivating journey as we unravel the remarkable story of Supreet Kaur, Assistant Vice President at Morgan Stanley, and gain profound insights into the world of AI. Through her experiences, Supreet showcases the transformative power of diversity and encourages aspiring AI professionals to take bold steps toward their dreams. Her invaluable advice serves as a guiding light, inspiring individuals to embrace the vast possibilities within the AI space and make their own indelible mark.

This interview is part of Women in AI Ethics (WAIE)’s “I am the future of AI” campaign launched with support from the Ford Foundation and Omidyar Network to showcase multidisciplinary talent in this space by featuring career journeys and work of women as well as non-binary folks from diverse backgrounds building the future of AI. By raising awareness about the different pathways into AI and making it more accessible, this campaign aspires to inspire participation from historically underrepresented groups for a more equitable and ethical tech future.

Can you share an incident that inspired you to join this space?

Since childhood, I have always been fascinated with numbers and wanted to find a way to turn my passion into a profession. After extensive research, I discovered that Data Science was my perfect path. I could spend my days working with data and transforming it into valuable insights that would significantly impact businesses and people’s lives. This realization was the inspiration that led me to pursue a career in this space.

How did you land your current role?

I landed the role of Data Science Consultant at a startup, where I built machine learning models to predict the drugs a patient requires each month. My work significantly reduced right-offs and increased net profits. During my initial year, I realized the impact of data strategy and hence decided to pivot into a more strategic role at ZS Associates, where I could optimize and build data-driven AI strategies. I worked on analyzing patient data to understand the patient journey and perform AB testing to support the company’s launch strategy. In 2022, I got the opportunity to pivot to Morgan Stanley where I am an AI Product Manager where I manage the enhancements in one of our flagship AI Product

What kind of issues in AI do you tackle in your day-to-day work?

As part of my daily work, I handle sensitive customer data and take measures to ensure that Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is managed in a secure and responsible manner. One key aspect of this is obtaining appropriate consent from individuals, which we manage with strict guardrails.

Additionally, while working in the healthcare industry, I gained experience in conducting fairness and bias testing. This was crucial to building inclusive models that are free from discrimination and bias, ensuring that everyone is treated equitably.

Ultimately, our goal is to obtain compliance approvals, ensuring that our work meets industry and regulatory standards. This helps to establish trust with our customers and stakeholders, demonstrating our commitment to ethical and responsible data practices.

If you have a non-traditional or non-technical background, what barriers did you encounter and how did you overcome them?

After completing my Bachelor’s in Mathematics, I didn’t have a coding background. So, during my two-year Master’s program, I had to put in extra effort to adapt to the culture in the USA while also developing my coding skills to increase my chances of landing a job.

However, I faced visa-related barriers as I needed sponsorship to work in the USA. This limited my options, and I was only able to secure two interviews. As a result, failing these interviews was not an option.

To prepare myself, I found it helpful to have a support group that I could turn to for guidance. They helped me understand the kinds of questions that would be asked during interviews and provided valuable insight into how to prepare for them.

With their help, I was able to develop the required skillset and ultimately landed a job in my desired field. While the journey was challenging, it taught me the importance of hard work, determination, and seeking support when needed.

Why is more diversity — gender, race, orientation, socio-economic background, other — in the AI ethics space important?

In the field of AI, diversity is directly linked to the inclusivity of your product. Having a team with diverse cultural backgrounds and perspectives, including racial diversity, can greatly enhance the quality of your product and enable it to cater to a wider audience.

By having a diverse team, you can bring in different viewpoints and experiences that can lead to more creative and innovative solutions. Additionally, it can help you better understand and empathize with your users, which is crucial for developing products that meet their needs.

Ultimately, building a diverse team is not just about meeting diversity quotas but also about creating a culture of inclusivity where everyone feels valued and respected. This can lead to a positive work environment that encourages collaboration and innovation, resulting in products that truly make a difference in people’s lives.

What is your advice to those from non-traditional backgrounds who want to do meaningful work in this space on how to overcome barriers like tech bro culture, lack of ethical funding/opportunities, etc.?

In my experience, having grit, persistence, and a willingness to say “yes” can be key factors in achieving success as a budding professional. While it’s possible that you may not get the exact role you desire at first, it’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to accept other positions within a company.

By accepting a role within a company, even if it’s not your ideal position, you can establish yourself within the organization and gain valuable experience. This can also give you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills and showcase your potential to bring positive change within the company.

Remember that career growth is a journey, and it often involves taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone. By demonstrating your willingness to work hard and take on new challenges, you can build a strong reputation and establish yourself as a valuable asset to any organization.

In short, don’t be afraid to say “yes” to opportunities, even if they aren’t exactly what you’re looking for. Every experience can be a valuable learning opportunity and can ultimately lead you to the career path you desire.

Supreet is an AVP at Morgan Stanley where she is the product owner of various AI-driven products. She has built a recommendation engine for customized investment solutions. Prior to Morgan Stanley, she was a Data Science Consultant for Fortune 500 pharma clients where she developed forecasting models and targeting models for specific HCP. She is an avid writer and speaker. Also an advocate for women in technology, hence she is the Analytics Lead for Women in AI. She is also the founder of DataBuzz.

Connect with Supreet on LinkedIn.