How I got started: AI security researcher

For the enterprise, there’s no escape from deploying AI in some form. Careers focused on AI are proliferating, but one you may not be familiar with is AI security researcher. These AI specialists are cybersecurity professionals who focus on the unique vulnerabilities and threats that arise from the use of AI and machine learning (ML) systems. Their responsibilities vary, but key roles include identifying and analyzing potential security flaws in AI models and developing and testing methods malicious actors could use to manipulate or deceive AI systems.

In this exclusive Q&A, we spoke with Madhu Shashanka, cofounder of Concentric AI, about his background and experience.

Did you go to college? What did you go to school for? If not, what certifications did you obtain?

I completed a bachelor’s degree in computer science from BITS Pilani, India, and then got a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from Boston University.

What was your first role in IT? If it wasn’t in security, what pushed you to pursue security?

My first job was with the candy and pet food company Mars, doing analytics. I joined a team called “Catalyst,” which functioned as an internal think tank. There were members from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds looking at innovation and areas of strategic interest to the company in the medium-to-long term. I was doing an internship at Mitsubishi’s North American research labs as part of my Ph.D. thesis work and was introduced to members of the Catalyst team who had come down to explore some new innovations from Mitsubishi.

After Mars, I followed my manager to the corporate research labs of United Technologies ..

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