Interview with Priti Srinivas Sajja
Priti Srinivas Sajja
Professor at Sardar Patel University
Anand, Gujarat, India
Q1. Please share your inspirational journey with us.
I belong to a middle-class family in Gujarat, India. My father was a lecturer, and my mother used to take stitching classes. Being the elder of the family, my father supported his siblings to settle in their lives.
The journey of my parents and family made me and my younger sister strong. Especially, my mother always encouraged me to be generous and helpful to society and community. I completed my research in 2000 in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for rural development. My father has published many research articles and more than 35 books in the subject of economics. Taking inspiration from that, I have also published 219 publications including 10 books, 14 chapters and other research paper in machine learning.
Before joining the Sardar Patel University in 1996 as a lecturer, for a short span, I worked for Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). My husband, Srinivas Sajja (who is Executive Director, NCDFI) is from Andhra Pradesh, and I had to learn Telugu to interact with my grand-in-laws. My daughter, Abhignya is doing her post-graduation in English Literature. She preferred Literature despite eligible to get admission in MBBS or Engineering. She has received gold medals, research awards and Times public speaking awards in the last few years.
Q2. What did attract you towards teaching instead of any corporate job?
Both my parents were teachers, and from childhood, it was my dream to become a teacher. I have started my career at the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) as a Programmer. After a short span, I joined the services of Sardar Patel University as Lecturer so that I can carry out my research.
Q3. How do you see new technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Data Science? How will be this technology useful for real world?
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AIML) have become ubiquitous in the modern era. Particularly in the post-Covid-19 pandemic, everything becomes not only electronic but personalized and customized. Teaching and learning, commercial activities, entertainment, etc., are the prime area where AIML can help. The modern world is more machine-oriented and offers all machine-based advantages such as speed, accuracy, long time storage, etc. However, it’s the humans’ collective knowledge & wisdom that is more effective on the problem and target audience. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning imparts intelligence into machines and offers dual advantages of efficiency as well as effectiveness. As far as data science is concerned, I believe that every job/transaction from routine to spectacular life generates lots of data. Pity is that these data are not appropriately utilized for many possible benefits for the uplift of business and community. Traditional computing systems do not have ability to efficiently utilize these data for problem-solving and decision making. Artificial intelligence techniques must be used to handle the issue. My book Intelligent Techniques for Data Science (https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319292052) talks about these issues and possible solutions. Similarly, Web and Internet technologies can also be enhanced by the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques, as mentioned in my book, Intelligent Technologies for Web Applications (https://www.routledge.com/Intelligent-Technologies-for-Web-Applications/Srinivas-Sajja-Akerkar/p/book/9781439871621).
Q4. How do you excel students in their academics and career?
Many aspects need to be considered. The very first is as a teacher, one needs to update one’s knowledge. Another thing is about the latest syllabus and course content with values. The third thing is the delivery and teaching techniques, guidance and motivation to the students. As a teacher, I believe that education, learning, extension activities and research are the pillar to build a good society. At our department, besides modern syllabus, we are enhancing students’ communication skills and values through various activities.
Q5. What was your Thesis topic in Ph. D? Please share some brief about it?
My research topic is “Knowledge-Based System for Socio-Economic Rural Development”. I have examined the reasons why the traditional computer-based solution could not work well to effectively utilize the scare resources, particularly for rural development. To overcome the limitations, I have developed a design framework of multi-layer knowledge-based. Using the framework, I have developed an advisory system for small and medium scale business advisory system for sustainable and integrated rural development. The system is developed in a prologue programming language. At the time of research, the Internet was new and supporting only email facilities. Hence, to refer necessary literature, I used to visit libraries of IIM, Ahmadabad and IRMA.
Q6. What kind of problems have you faced in your journey and how did you remove it?
In the initial stages of my research, there was limited access to the publications. To overcome that, I had to visit the libraries of IIM, Ahmedabad and IRMA. Further, for publishing, papers were sent through the post, which used to take considerable time. I still remember that in the beginning, as photocopying was expensive, I used to copy all important notes and references.
Q7. You have written number of books and papers. How do you choose any topic to write? Please give some key point to write book?
I keep on reading books on my domain as well as other domains, both fiction and non-fiction. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series are my all-time favorites. I am also keeping an eye on the needs of students and researchers, which motivates me to write books in that domain.
Q8. Tell us about one of the moments which changed your perspective towards life?
There is no such big and specific moment. Deep in my mind and soul, my perspective towards life has remained the same. If time rewinds, I will make similar decisions. However, there are a series of lots of small experiences which help us evolve in many ways.
Q9. Which one skill do you like most about yourself?
I considered myself creative enough and loved to be busy and useful always. Besides teaching and research, I do a lot of embroidery and paintings. I have written Gujarati poetry and short stories too.