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157 How AI Can Work For Everyone w/ Girl Decoded Author, Rana el Kaliouby

Monday 22nd April 2024
157 How AI can work for everyone, w/ Girl Decoded Author Rana el Kaliouby

Today, we have a riveting conversation with Dr. Rana el Kaliouby.  She’s a tech / AI entrepreneur and the author of a brand new book out called Girl Decoded. Rana is the co-founder and CEO of Affectiva. Her work on A.I. is bleeding edge, particularly around human and emotional AI and the ethics of AI and more. This is a stunning, inspiring, real dialogue that you’ll surely love.

Top Woman in Tech

Rana el Kaliouby is a Muslim woman kicking butt in the American tech entrepreneur world. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and a Post Doctorate at MIT. She’s one of Fortune’s 40 Under 40 and Forbes says she’s one of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech.

She describes her success as a privilege for having supportive parents who made sure she and her siblings get a top-notch education. 

“I grew up surrounded by strong women but it was always understood that your priority is the family and you do your work on the side, that was the context.” – Rana el Kaliouby

EI and AI, Counterintuitive

Christopher asks about how Rana speaks about Emotional intelligence in the AI world as it is oftentimes, counterintuitive. Rana shares how her endeavors connected the two.

“Even 25 years ago, I saw this pattern, with tech, it empowers us to communicate with more people. But I always felt there was something missing. We were communicating with more and more people so the quantity is there but the quality of the connection wasn’t quite there. It was almost like an illusion of a connection. – Rana el Kaliouby

Rana shares about her first time living abroad. She was newly married at the time and she found herself away from her family and then-husband who had to stay behind to run a software company. She realized that despite spending a lot of time with her laptop and mobile phone, she always felt alone due to a lack of intimacy of technology. 

Importance of Emotional Intelligence

During Rana’s study abroad, technology served as the main portal of communication between her and her family. However, it fails to communicate the richness of her voice, intonation, facial expressions, and gestures. Non-verbal communications are lost she was chatting over text with her family.

“That just got me thinking, emotional intelligence and our emotions, in general, are so important in how we live our lives, how we make decisions, how we connect with one another, how we learn, how our memory gets encoded yet, in the digital universe, its devoid of all of that. That set me on the path of building technology that has AI and emotional intelligence and maybe even someday, empathy.” – Rana el Kaliouby

To hear more about Rana ’s views on human and emotional AI and the ethics of AI, download and listen to this episode.


Rana is co-founder and CEO of Affectiva. 

Having defined the category of Emotion AI, Rana is now pioneering Human Perception AI: technology that can understand all things human.  

A passionate advocate for innovation, ethics in AI and diversity, Rana has been recognized on 

Fortune’s 40 Under 40 and Forbes America’s Top 50 Women in Tech. 

Rana is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.  

She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and a Post Doctorate at MIT.


Linkedin: Kaliouby

Twitter: @kaliouby

Affectiva Leadership Team

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and subscribe on iTunes!