From the time that Rohit Prasad (M.S. EE ’99)—now vice president and head scientist for Amazon Alexa—had his first serious talk with his father about the direction of his life, he had his eyes on the proverbial prize.
Prasad told his father that he didn’t want to become the third-generation member of their family to go into mechanical engineering but rather, wished to pursue computer science or electronics and communications, because he saw them as being the fields of the future. That Prasad grew up in the “to boldly go where no man has gone before” Star Trek era only added to his vision. On Mies Campus to deliver the 2018 Darsh T. Wasan Lecture last November, in which he discussed some of the latest advancements in Alexa, Prasad animatedly recalled his fascination with science fiction and how it inspired his dreams to explore artificial intelligence.
“I had a clear passion for human-computer interaction even back then,” he says. “It was easy to imagine talking to machines.”
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