Carnegie Mellon University

Joelle Pineau, Director, Meta AI Research Labs

Enabling Machines to Make Good Decisions

Facebook and Instagram users see Joelle Pineau’s (SCS 2001, 2004) artificial intelligence work in their feeds with every scroll as languages autotranslate and videos autoplay.

But her work also affects what you never see, like influencing content moderation to quickly take down offensive posts.

As the person who sets the strategy for AI research at Meta, one of the planet’s most recognizable companies, she leads 500 employees in 10 labs across five time zones.

“We’re using technology to improve the ability for people to connect and to socialize by reaching the content that's interesting to them,” Joelle says.

That’s a complex problem to tackle, but it’s the kind Joelle has studied for two decades. Her thesis project at Carnegie Mellon University explored health care robots that interacted with older adults, reminding them to take medicines while monitoring their stability and mental sharpness.

It’s one of her many projects intended to improve lives by training machines to contend with unpredictable variables and make decisions, which is the common theme in her work.

And she’s continuing the life-changing work she embraced at CMU each day in her role at Meta.

“Science advances more quickly when we share our knowledge, and doing research is about pushing the boundaries of our knowledge,” Joelle says. “When we put all of our knowledge in common, we push that boundary faster. To have a company of Meta’s scale, that is willing to have an AI research lab with a strong commitment to open science, will impact the world and do incalculable good.”

Story by Elizabeth Speed