Momo is a key member of the team working on Japan Airlines’ signature AI project: a virtual agent known as “Makana-chan.” Makana-chan uses IBM Watson Assistant and IBM Multicloud Manager to create a personalized travel experience for customers traveling to Hawaii, a key market. In an effort to make Makana-chan more capable and useful for consumers, Momo has drawn on her deep understanding of customer needs and AI technology to come up with not only standard features but innovative, fun features designed to entertain and engage. 

What was the business opportunity you sought to address by using AI? 
Initially, we sought to minimize the anxiety of moms going to Hawaii on vacation for the first time. Makana-chan, which we introduced in December 2016, not only functions as a chatbot; it also uses Watson's various APIs [application programming interfaces] to stimulate demand for Hawaii travel. 

Please tell us more about your project and how you’re using IBM Watson in your business.
Makana-chan uses four Watson functions. First, it uses Watson Assistant to create natural language conversations with users. Second, if the conversation takes place after the user has logged on to a social networking site (like Facebook or Twitter), Watson Personality Insights is used to analyze the user's past posts and change the user interface. Third, we use Watson Visual Recognition to show Hawaii-related recommendations through images. Fourth, we use Watson Discovery to find out the latest information on Hawaii, in real time.

What advice would you share with others who are considering using AI?
When I was assigned to my current job, at first I thought that AI was like a perfect robot and would do everything automatically. But that’s not the case. You must nurture AI, just like you nurture a newborn baby. Generating more accurate AI requires a huge amount of learning data, and the nurturing never ends.  

Why should women be more involved in the creation and use of AI?
I believe that to nurture AI, it is important to take opinions from many people as much as possible. This will help us create unbiased AI. I believe that if more women leaders are involved in AI, this will result in more accurate responses and enhanced customer satisfaction.  

What advice would you give your younger self? 
When you have an opportunity to work on a new project, it's important to be proactive about the challenge in front of you. New projects often involve a great deal of uncertainty and unanswered questions, but it’s important to believe in future possibilities and to continue taking on challenges.  

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