Coworking: Nataliya Polyakovska aims to use AI to improve academic outcomes

SoftServe’s principal AI technical consultant turns “AI concepts into impactful business solutions.”
article cover

Nataliya Polyakovska

· 7 min read

Coworking is a weekly segment where we spotlight Tech Brew readers who work with emerging technologies.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in tech?

As a principal data scientist, I manage the entire lifecycle of AI development by leading a team adept at transforming AI concepts into impactful business solutions. A typical day might look like analyzing video streams to ensure workforce safety in manufacturing, building an analytical platform that optimizes the supply chain from inventory management and demand prediction to customer operations, or constructing unique AI solutions to real organizational problems. From the moment you bring us an idea, we’re ready to guide you through the technological possibilities, brainstorm innovations, and meticulously construct a comprehensive solution. Our portfolio is rich with examples, from demand prediction models to generative AI tools for complex data analysis.

My job includes collaborating with industry giants like AWS and Google to harness advanced tools that make visions tangible through our creative solutions. My team doesn’t just build these systems; we also measure their real-world impact, ensuring they meet the challenges our clients face with accuracy, security, and ingenuity. My role in AI development entails leading the team with a clear vision, taking technical ownership of our projects, collaborating with partners to align our innovative efforts, and designing solutions that effectively tackle complex business challenges.

What’s the most compelling tech project you’ve worked on, and why?

The projects I’ve been able to integrate AI into educational settings have been the most fulfilling experiences in my career field. With an assorted portfolio of AI-driven applications that directly aid students and educators, I often wish this capability and innovation had been available during my own school days.

AI capabilities enabling more intuitive advice for navigating potential career paths in school, as well as access to adaptive learning and personal coaching, would’ve made my educational journey less stressful and more efficient. These career-identifying tools and educational solutions are what we’re actively building today.

We are currently developing an application known as AYO, an innovative platform leveraging generative AI to make education effortless that assists school districts in several ways. One feature is the Family Activity Suggestions tool, which uses advanced algorithms combined with generative AI to generate personalized activity options for families and students aligned by the child’s individual skills, passions, geographical location, and unique schedules.

Activity types span across a broad spectrum, including workshops, sports, arts, music classes, science-related activities, local events, and more. All recommendations pass through a layer of human review for appropriateness and safety. As students gain confidence in their capabilities developed from the suggestions tool, they become eager to explore new areas of interest and develop new skills, leading to improved academic success. Educators benefit from better student performance, further amplifying the district’s educational outcomes.

Additionally, the tool includes another feature that can generate customized lesson plans, allowing teachers to devote more energy to engaging with students rather than extensive planning.

The challenge in these projects lies in the novelty of the AI technology and the responsibility we carry in creating content for young audiences. Hence, we pay significant attention to ethical considerations and the establishment of safety measures within the AI to make sure it’s a positive addition to the educational experience.

What technologies are you most optimistic about? Least? And why?

The realm of generative AI is where my optimism truly lies, which might not come as a surprise—it’s the talk of the town these days. We’ve all dabbled with large language models (LLMs) and have witnessed their impressive capabilities. However, what excites me the most is the evolution of the orchestration layer.

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.

To illustrate, consider LLMs like ChatGPT a year ago; if you asked it to perform a multiplication problem, it would stumble, being more of a linguist than a mathematician. Now, it’s a different story. It adeptly generates code to compute the answer, leveraging its linguistic prowess since programming is, after all, a language.

This improvement signals a future where AI agents can seamlessly solve increasingly complex problems right out of the box. This includes integrating technologies for responsible AI, ensuring that our smart tools are not only efficient but also ethically designed and user-centric. It’s this kind of innovation that makes the field of AI so dynamic and promising.

What’s the best tech-related media you read/watch/listen to?

I find great value in consuming content directly from the innovators shaping the industry. I regularly read blogs and watch videos produced by hyperscalers like AWS, Google, Nvidia, and Azure. They’re quite literally leading the world into the latest technological advancements while offering deep technical insights along the way, which appeals to me as someone who prioritizes the technical aspects of technology. For staying abreast of the latest AI and tech news, I turn to well-regarded media outlets like TechCrunch or Wired—and of course, Morning Brew newsletters like Tech Brew—to ensure I’m in the loop on broader industry trends and breakthroughs.

If I were to recommend a resource for tech enthusiasts, I’d point them to the teachings of Andrew Ng. His ability to demystify complex concepts in AI and machine learning is unmatched and incredibly valuable to anyone interested in the field.

What’s something about you we can’t guess from your LinkedIn profile?

As a teen, I seamlessly blended my love for tech with a serious commitment to gymnastics and dance. This wasn’t a random hobby; it was a disciplined pursuit that almost steered my career path, underscoring my multifaceted approach to life and work. The same drive that had me tirelessly practicing leaps and spins also powered late-night coding sessions and meticulous project planning. In both arenas, whether nailing a complex routine or solving a tech puzzle, my mind was in overdrive, thriving on the challenge. This discipline has given me an edge in tech—a field where being unstoppable isn’t just an advantage; it’s a necessity.

What do you think about when you’re not thinking about tech?

When I’m not deep into tech, my mind drifts to the stunning diversity and beauty of our world. I’ve been fortunate to visit more than 60 countries, and there’s a strong desire within me to see at least 100 more. It’s this curiosity about different cultures, landscapes, and the sheer wonder of the planet that drives me to explore further.

My fascination with the tapestry of cultures has deeply enriched my life in the US. Since moving here, I’ve immersed myself in the mosaic of traditions, perspectives, and innovations that is uniquely American but reflects global influences. This cultural kaleidoscope has not only broadened my understanding but also infused my work in tech with a global sensibility that is invaluable.

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.