KATJA HOFMANN Microsoft

Microsoft

Katja Hofmann

Principal Research Scientist, Microsoft

Hofmann's team is focused on pushing forward a particular realm of artificial intelligence, reinforcement learning, and using the powerful training tool of video games.

Games offer an invaluable arena for AI research, giving algorithms sets of complicated rules to divine for themselves how best to accomplish their tasks and learn how to learn on their own.

"We share the belief that games will drive a transformation of how we interact with AI technology. My long-term goal is to develop AI systems that learn to collaborate with people, to empower their users and help solve complex real-world problems," Hofman writes in her company profile.

In 2019 Hofmann organized a competition which challenged coders to create an AI capable of mining diamonds in Microsoft's wildly popular open-world game "Minecraft." None of the candidates were completely successful, but it was still a useful exercise.

“It’s exciting to be part of this space and seeing how rapidly the community has made progress on fundamentally hard problems,” Hofmann tells Business Insider.

“At the same time, we face deep challenges in understanding what types of applications we should be working towards and how they will affect our daily lives. I’m optimistic that the right conversations are happening, but there is a lot of hard work ahead.”