Spotlight: Dr. Orathai Sangpetch, Vice President of CMKL, on her vision of using AI to bridge the gaps in our society.

April 11, 2024
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Dr. Orathai Sangpetch, Vice President and a founding member of CMKL University, encourages innovation from diverse minds and disciplines and believes that CMKL University 'brings out the best in people by nurturing and giving them opportunities to thrive,' creating a brighter future for all. As a graduate of Carnegie Mellon herself, she has made major contributions while working closely in collaboration with public and private organizations in Thailand to support innovations and research strategies for the program. Her goal is to achieve research capabilities and drive innovations that will impact Thailand and the surrounding region's transformation. An exciting project she's been working on is Porjai: the Thai Dialect Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), an ASR model that can recognize Thai dialects.

The root of Dr. Orathai's inspiration for this project came from observing her English-speaking son interact with Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, to request his favorite song at just three years old. She couldn't help but imagine how her mother, a Thai speaker, could greatly benefit from this technology if there was an AI model that understood Thai and local dialects. There it was - the spark to create an innovative AI 'technology to bridge people from all ages and backgrounds,' Dr. Orathai states, where Thai speakers can use their local dialect to talk to a computer or smartphone. She believes that it's 'one step closer towards the dream of having a Thai virtual assistant for our loved ones' and towards a technology that reduces gaps in our society, connecting people from all walks of life. 

Bringing this system to life required passionate people who share the vision of seeing a practical and helpful AI system in the near future. People with diverse expertise put their talents together to make it happen, from application developers, system engineers, researchers or experts in ASR, and local linguistics, along with interns from renowned high schools and Undergraduates in Thai and Universities in the United States. 

CMKL University provides a space for diverse, talented people from various disciplines to collaborate and drive the world forward. Most importantly, creating an environment where we can all learn from one another.

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