One could say that she creates the future – the Computer Scientist who became a Professor in Production Technology, and AI Expert. She also plays Bridge at the Swedish Championship level. Meet University of Skövde's Anna Syberfeldt.
Anna Syberfeldt grew up in Skövde and stayed in her hometown when it was time for university studies. At the University of Skövde, she studied Computer Science and started working as a Programming teacher and assistant right after graduation. After some time, she was offered PhD studies at the School of Engineering Science at the University, and she defended her thesis in 2009 at De Montfort University in England.
“It was a bit of a coincidence that it became Engineering for me. At the time it was quite divided – Computer Science was one thing and Engineering was another. These days there is much more collaboration between the two subjects. I really enjoyed working with industrial and complex problems in companies, and solve them using Computer Science methods. It was perfect for me.”
Today, Anna divides her time between teaching students, supervising PhD students, research projects and collaborations with industry partners, mostly at the ASSAR Industrial Innovation Arena.
“The most interesting thing about my job is that I get to help create the future. Both in terms of technology and research, but also that I get to participate in educating students and help them move forward in their career.”
What is it like to work at the University of Skövde?
“The University has always been my employer and I have been here more than half my life now. There are incredibly large opportunities for personal development. To be able to take part in building and realising one's dreams, actually. I think that the University has a very good structure for growing as an employee. There is a fantastic collaboration with industry, which contributes to interesting research and education.
“I create social value at the University. I get to educate young people, but I also participate in research, create new things and contribute to something bigger. I enjoy myself incredibly well and will never stop working at the University. I feel I have the best job in the world!”
Today, Anna Syberfeldt works a lot with Artificial Intelligence, AI, and researches how to use AI to solve complex problems in the industry. On several occasions recently, she has been an expert voice in the media to comment on the rapid development in the field. She is convinced that we will see more AI in the future, everywhere in society.
“We are facing a revolution in terms of development and are at the very beginning of seeing AI's potential and possibilities. I think AI will be much more integrated into everything we do. In the media, it is currently emphasised as a negative aspect, and that AI will take over the world, but that is not the reality. I respect those thoughts and when you don't know what's going to happen, it's natural to feel fear. But AI will help us create a better society and better standard of living.”
That sounds really exciting! Why then are there so few who wants to study to be engineers today?
“I wish young people would understand this about the future. They have a completely different view of the engineering profession than we do and think that the industry is heavy and boring. But the heavy tasks are performed by robots today. This old image of the industry must be erased. Both the University and industry have a responsibility there. We have to make young people understand and think that the profession is fun, because that will spread.”
Awarded for impact on society
On International Women's Day 2023, Anna received an award from a political women's group in Skövde. The prize is awarded on March 8 each year to a woman who makes an impact on society.
How did it feel?
“I was incredibly happy about the prize and extremely surprised. I don't really think I did more than my job, so it's great to receive such a nice award. When I was young, I lacked female role models, so if I can be someone's role model, I just think it's great fun.”
Passion for Bridge
For the past ten years, Anna's major hobby has been Bridge. She plays competitively several times a week, both at the club in Skövde and around the region. Anna has also played at Swedish Championship level and tours the country with her Bridge team.
“I love Bridge! It is an extremely big passion for me. I spend all my free time on it and think a lot about various problems I have in the game. There is an enormous complexity in Bridge and it is actually a bit like my job. I find it incredibly fun and fascinating to break down and solve complex problems.”
And I have to ask. Your last name?
“It was my husband who came up with it. The name is inspired by cyberspace and we took it when we got married 15 years ago. We are the only ones with that name in the whole world, we think. Sometimes, however, it gets misspellt. The coolest misspelling was when I was called Anna Cyberfalk (Cyber Falcon). I didn't correct them.”