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Bustos: “Computational linguistics combines arts and science”

Computational linguistics

Beatriz Bustos is from Córdoba and has a degree in Linguistics and Applied Languages from the University of Cádiz. In September she will start the Master’s Degree in Language Technologies at the UNED, to later pursue a PhD. Before joining MMG, Beatriz had experience in companies such as Andanta or MeaningCloud, where she worked as a computational linguists. However, it was not her first choice after finishing high school, as she had previously enrolled in law at the University of Córdoba.

The law made her see that “the law has quite a few inconsistencies and ambiguities”, which is why she thought that the best way for it to be written well “was necessary to know how the language works in depth”. In addition, another of the reasons why she decided to study this degree was “the need to give scientific rigor to the letters”. In fact, the year she spent in the Alps allowed her to look for studies related to this discipline. She returned to Spain and enrolled in Cádiz in the Degree in Linguistics and Applied Languages, and later moved to the Complutense University of Madrid for her journey in computational linguistics.

Beatriz Bustos is clear that computational linguistics is what she wants to dedicate herself to. This week’s protagonist stresses that there is currently “a lot of work” in this field. In her opinion, “if we manage to process all the language and the machine understands it, we will have accomplished a great achievement”. For Beatriz, processing language means that “the machines understand human language“.

Work in MMG

She works as a computational linguist in the Artificial Intelligence Department. She is in charge of integrating knowledge into machines. This is done by “giving them all the necessary resources and emulating our cognitive processes”. Also, coming from the legal world, Beatriz Bustos would love to work with legal documents to study the consensus of what citizenship needs and help make the world a fairer place. On the other hand, what she never imagined was that she would be lucky enough to “apply all this to the medical field”.

“Voice for the planet”

Recently, Beatriz Bustos was one of the winners of the Hackathon “Voice for the planet“, organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). She and her team won thanks to her project Doni, an assistant who will help to have sustainable consumption habits. At the same time, this initiative will allow a more efficient use of food.

Assistant Doni was given the personality of chef José Andrés, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian activism when he traveled to Puerto Rico to feed 100,000 people who had suffered the consequences of Hurricane Maria. In fact, the assistant will put recipients (people in social exclusion) and intermediaries in contact. The system will also choose the pick-up point and try to create an environmental impact.