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Interview with Dr. Natalie Raphil, Runner-up of the WAI Ambassador of the Year 2022 Award By Anne

Anne-Katrin: Dr. Natalie, you are the WAI Country Lead Ambassador South Africa and one of the four Runners-Up of the WAI Ambassador of the Year 2022 Award. Congratulations! I still remember one of our global ambassador meetings, in which you told us about the great work you are doing with pupils in South Africa. What is the best experience you have had in your role?

Dr. Natalie: Creating opportunities for people to envision a future they have not dreamt of before. The moment etched in my memory was when WAI SA together with 2 partners Nikha Technology and Naz Consulting offered 3 girls aged between 9 and 12, who reside in a drug and crime-ridden neighborhood, an opportunity to speak at an event that attracted a global audience…Speaking at an event was not a thought nor a dream for these girls. Witnessing the culmination of joy, confusion, disbelief and belief “oh my goodness, this is me, it’s me speaking at an event, I cannot fathom this” is absolutely my best experience and a lifelong memory not even amnesia will erase ☺

Anne-Katrin: While listening to you, I kept asking myself: Wow, there are many different stakeholders involved in her work. This could be a huge challenge. Do you have any “communication hacks” you would like to share with us so that we can learn from your way of doing things?

Dr. Natalie Raphil: - “If you talk to a person in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to the person in his OWN language, that goes to his heart.” Mr Mandela

*Follow me @robotscanthink for many more informative hacks lol

Anne-Katrin: Given that you a very inspirational person and role model, I am pretty sure that you are often asked to give advice. Hence (smile): What is your most important advice for women aiming at engaging in data and AI?

Dr. Natalie Raphil: - Im humbled at your request for my advice – thank you. My advice to women aiming at engaging with Data and AI is to be curious, allow data and AI to mesmerize you…data and AI will take you to great depths and provides extraordinary highs.”

Anne-Katrin: And last but not least, why have you decided to engage in the work with data and AI? How would you end this sentence: For me the work with data and AI means

Dr. Natalie Raphil: - Answer to question 1: A creative technologist – this is my spillion. 3 reasons for my engagement with data and AI : feed, house and educate people, women in particular. I strongly believe data and AI provides opportunities to circumvent some of the basic needs of the people in my country.

For me the work with data and AI means opportunity

Thank you so much, Dr. Natalie, for your engagement for WAI!

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