anon answered on 20 Sep 2019:
tl;dr: it started with video games, and I just kept following my dreams 🙂
My career progressed from interest in video games, so I was initially interested when I was 4 years old 😀 Video games were fun, and computers were new and magical to me.
Then I was generally interested in sciences, so that’s what I picked in school. My parents bought me a lot of encyclopedias, so I was always surrounded by ideas in technology and sciences.
When I had to choose a subject to study at university, I picked maths (even though I didn’t do that well at it at school). Maths was what connected all the sciences, and I coulnd’t decide which science to pick.
Then I worked for a year at IBM, and they were launching artificial intelligence things (maybe you’ve heard of Watson computer which outplayed champions in Jeopardy!). I connected that to how good or bad AI was in video games, and started reading books about artificial intelligence.
I liked the science fiction idea of people talking to robots, but there wasn’t anything like that in real life apart from Siri at the time, so I applied for a PhD in computer science to study talking robots and the like.
Now I have skills in computer programming, artificial intelligence, and human-robot interaction design. I am using those to teach computers to guess things, for example, guessing the author of the book from the text of that book.