Natural Language Understanding for Amazon Alexa with Zornitsa Kozareva

800 800 The TWIML AI Podcast (formerly This Week in Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence)

Our guest this week is Zornitsa Kozareva, Manager of Machine Learning with Amazon Web Services Deep Learning, where she is leading a group focused on natural language processing and dialogue systems for products like Amazon Alexa and Amazon Lex, the latter of which we discuss in the podcast. 

We spend most of our time talking through the architecture of modern Natural Language Understanding systems, including the role of deep learning, and some of the various ways folks are working to overcome the challenges in this field, such as understanding human intent. If you’re interested in this field she mentions the AWS Chatbot Challenge, which you’ve still got a couple more weeks to participate in. I had a ton of fun chatting with her Zornitsa and learned a bunch and we couldn’t wait to share this conversation with you. Enjoy.

Summer Scheduling Update

This week, we’re starting a two-week break from the industrial AI series.  The week of July 3rd we’ll be forgoing our usual Friday release and experimenting with a shift to a Monday release schedule for at least the rest of the summer. When this podcast drops (6/29) , I’ll be in New York City for the O’Reilly AI Conference where I’ll be interviewing speakers like Douglas Eck from Google Brain, Rana el Kaliouby from Affectiva, Ben Vigoda from Gamalon, and Naveen Rao of Intel Nervana. Our O’Reilly AI Series will be posted on Monday, July 10th for your binge listening pleasure. The following week, I’m in Germany, Hamburg, Berlin and possibly Munich. If you’re in or near one of those cities and you’d like to connect, definitely give me a shout out.

 NYC Happy Hour

As we’ve mentioned over the past few weeks, we’ve been planning and now have finalized our very first TWIML happy hour. We’ve partnered with our friends from NY AI Meet-Up Group and Clarifai, and we’d love for you to meet us at Ainsworth Midtown in New York City on Thursday, June 29 starting at 6 PM right after the O’Reilly Conference for a few hours of drinks, conversations, and networking. I’m looking forward to being back in my hometown and sharing a drink with those of you who can make it. Make sure to RSVP at to let us know you’re coming.

About Zornitsa

Mentioned in the Interview

  • Christian

    Great episode! Interesting insight into the fundamental elements of an NLP application as well as the challenges faced given the open-ended nature of understanding problems.

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