The value of a human life

For this week’s curation assignment, I created mine on Storify, link here:

A quick note on using Storify: Overall, I found Storify to be easy to use as long as I didn’t need anything other than what their tools strictly allowed. But, simple things like including an image were unnecessarily difficult or not supported. Its integration with Twitter also only supported recent tweets, which I had to find a work around to since I was including tweets from over a month back. The URL also couldn’t be manually updated, hence why the URL doesn’t tie with my actual story. I would only recommend Storify for breaking or recent news stories and curation.

MIT Starr Forum: National Security & Civil Liberties 1942 & 2017

I’ve been interested in multi-media storytelling, so have created an article on Atavist for my coverage. My story is here:

The event I covered was:
2017 Day of Remembrance: MIT Starr Forum presents National Security and Civil Liberties 1942 & 2017
Saturday Feb 25th 2pm to 4pm

Time stamps:
Start 2:30pm (Technical difficulties and skipped opening statements of the event)
End: 6:35pm


Google Translate: A keystone for global communication

Google Translate is a tool that most of us already know and use. As one of the more popular Google products, it currently serves 500 million monthly users. While Google Translate historically may have been helpful for casual browsers of the internet, it’s not really useful enough to rely on completely for every day conversation, nor for a comprehensive understanding of foreign website.

Google’s recent update of Google Translate, however, has changed that. As of December last year, Google introduced AI into Google Translate, making the product astoundingly better. NYTimes shares the below example:

“Uno no es lo que es por lo que escribe, sino por lo que ha leído.”
With the original Google Translate: “One is not what is for what he writes, but for what he has read.”
With the new A.I.-rendered version: “You are not what you write, but what you have read.”

The difference is stark. Not only has the improvement enabled more coherent and seamless translations, the Google Neural Machine Translation tool now is able to link between two different languages that haven’t been previously linked. That is, Google Translate (idiomatically speaking) has it’s own language that it translates all languages to, thus enabling it to translate two different languages that it hasn’t been explicitly linked to. This improvement opens the door to more language pairings without much of the previous heavy lifting of explicitly linking one language and translating it to another.

This change has interesting implications on the future of news. It makes international news articles accessible to everyone. It allows journalists much easier and faster (and more reliable) access to sources–whether it be other people or documentation and data. More data will simply be more accessible.

It also may have implications on the labor force in the news industry–local speakers may not eventually be needed for reporting. How might this change the type of coverage we get? In a time when some news articles are already written by bots, will Google Translate improve our coverage because we can “understand” more? Or will this make news stories even more impersonal and spotty as we miss cultural nuances and context that only a local expert can provide? The potential implications seem both exciting, and daunting.


Sources and more information:

Google’s AI translation tool seems to have invented its own secret internal language

Hi! I’m Aileen.

Hi! I’m Aileen, a second year Sloan MBA who is coffee & pastry obsessed. In a world where I have oodles of money, I would own a high end bakery, and smell the smell of baking croissants all day. I hum when I feel awkward.

But perhaps more relevantly–



  • My Background: 
    • Education: Majored in Political Science, Minored in Economics. Originally I wanted to be a journalist to pay the bills as I worked my way through the next great American novel. Was fascinated most in my classes by the role of media in political society.
    • Work Experience (journalism ended up not working out): 
      • Advertising: I used analytics and statistics to optimize media placement, brand messaging, and media mix for clients like JetBlue, and
      • Google: Decided I wanted to understand how businesses worked. I helped launch and grow a new product, and also did operations strategy.
      • Entrepreneurship: Creating your own product felt compelling, and still is. I am a co-founder for Armoire, a startup that was in MIT’s summer accelerator this past summer, and still going strong.
  • My Personal interests:
    • Better media for the average person: After studying mass media in American democracy during my undergrad, I struggled with some of the shortcomings in today’s media: the sensational headlines, dizzyingly short news cycles, parachute journalism, and inaccessibility by the average American. I’m passionate about finding a media structure that is engaging and educational for everyone, not just people who read The Economist.
    • Food science: Because, science makes everything tasty!
    • Other things I do in my free time: Learning how to photograph & edit, blogging & writing, learning French, baking, and learning how to gracefully lose at chess.