"Who am I?" or "What defines me?" are very difficult questions to answer since humans are complex beings. And my philosophical take is that there is no "essence of me" that can be looked at in a vacuum"". Instead we are primarily defined by who we associate with, what we do, our habits, our memories. Of course we humans seem to have some traits that seem to be independent of context such as the big five in psychology. Or the not so scientific Myers-Briggs test where I regularly get a different result every few years (the first Myers-Briggs test I ever took around 8th grade gave me INTP but I got more social since then).
But today I was able to pinpoint something that comes quite close to something that seems to define my character and how I approach life, two opposite drives in me that often work against each other (and that are definitely not unique to me!):
At different points in life the question "Who am I" will be answered by focussing on very different aspects.
But since the present is the most important of times, I will start with my latest answer to the question.
I am about to graduate in Computational Linguistics at LMU Munich where I am in the middle of writing my thesis on "Memorization & Generalization in Contextual Embedding Models" under the supervision of Prof. Hinrich Schütze and Nora Kassner. What this means more concretely: I am training a large Language Model (BERT) from scratch on different logical patterns. I started this research earlier than usual in order to submit it to the conference EMNLP at the end of May (more on this soon).
I also starting working as a research assistant at Prof. Alexander Fraser's Machine Translation lab, where I work on Adversarial Attacks on Context-Aware Neural Machine Translation Models (Context-Aware = looking at more than a sentence in isolation, Neural = Neural Networks).
But the bigger picture of this, and also my previous 1-year job at Hellsicht, is to dive deep into AI. I especially want to work more on Grounded Language and Reasoning in AI systems in the future. However I also don't want to pick one specialized subarea of AI yet. Instead I strive for a holistic understanding of the field.
In the little spare time, I play Ultimate Frisbee where my highlights have been the U24 World Championships in 2019 and finishing 8th in Europe with my Munich club team in 2018. Due to my passion for AI (and sadly Corona), this is taking up less time than it used to.
In August 2019 I co-initiated a Student Philosophy Society where I can so far look back on vivid disussion on Neuroscience & the Law, The Chinese Room Argument, David Chalmer's work on consciousness and much more! I always have been philosophically-minded, so it was about time I channel this interest more socially and formally.