Michael Riegler studied Information Management at the University of Klagenfurt and is now a Research Professor within Artificial Intelligence in Oslo, Norway. In the interview, he talks about how his experiences abroad have shaped him, why he would definitely advise today’s students to go abroad and how his Bachelor’s thesis provided the initial spark for a later career in research.
Tell us about your most memorable experience during your time as a student.
When I started my Bachelor project with Mathias Lux. That was when I basically lost my heart to science.
How has your career developed? Did you always want to go into research?
I am a now a Research Professor at a public research institute in Oslo Norway called SimulaMet (https://www.simulamet.no). Basically, from when I started my Bachelor thesis, I knew that I wanted to be a researcher and from then on, I followed the path to become one.
What does your daily work routine look like?
My main work is within Artificial Intelligence in different domains such as medicine, child welfare and security and privacy. Thus, most of the time I am developing algorithms, talking to medical doctors and writing articles. I also supervise Master and PhD students, which is a lot of fun. In addition to that I am also part of the Academy of Young Researcher in Norway where I am trying to make research more accessible to the general public by writing about it in newspapers or going on school visits. In addition, I am involved in some start-ups within AI and medicine and I provide help and feedback to companies that want to work in this direction. Finally, I am part of an expert group on AI in Medicine for the Norwegian Board of Technology (NBT) that advises the Norwegian Parliament and Government on new technology.
What is it that you like most about your job?
I love the possibility to give something back to society with my work. The most rewarding thing for me is to know that my research in, for example, the medical domain can really help to save people’s lives or improve life quality.
Did your studies prepare you for your current job?
Yes, I think they did to a certain extent, by giving me access to inspiring and supporting professors.
Did you ever go abroad during your studies?
Yes, I spent an exchange semester at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands for my Master’s degree. After that I did my PhD in computer science at the University of Oslo. I got stuck in Norway where I am now a Research Professor in Artificial Intelligence.
Have these experiences shaped you in any way?
Definitely, I would say a lot. They completely changed my view on everything. When you go abroad it is like someone is opening your mind and making it more open. It’s hard to describe, but it surely changed me a lot.
What advice do you have for students today, who want to go abroad?
Do it! Most researchers and universities are really happy to have exchange students and it will change your life forever in a very positive way. And – in general – be bold with what you want to achieve and never avoid trying something just because you think you will not manage it.
Is there anything that still connects you to the university today?
Yes, I am working a lot with researchers from the University of Klagenfurt. Basically, my former teachers became dear colleagues and friends, and we do a lot of interesting and fun research together.
How do you define success?
Being able to help other people with my work.
Do you have a motto (for life)?
Try to understand how other people see the world!