Israel Shitta Reaches Finals of King’s College London 3 Minute Thesis Competition

15th May 2024 | News

News > Israel Shitta Reaches Finals of King’s College London 3 Minute Thesis Competition

STAI CDT student Israel Shitta recently made it to the finals of the King’s College London 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.  

The 3MT competition challenges doctoral candidates to present the complexities of their research in a clear, concise and accessible way to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes. It celebrates the exciting research conducted by doctoral candidates across King’s College London and gives them the opportunity to develop their academic, presentation, and research communication skills. 

We talked to Israel about his experience taking part in the competition and was his talk was about. 

What was the topic of your 3MT? 

My 3-minute thesis was on explainable AI, the burgeoning subfield of AI concerned with providing insight into the complex decision-making processes of modern AI systems. I spent half my talk motivating the importance of having AI systems that we can understand (highlighting examples of AI acting in unintended ways) and then I laid out a high-level idea for what an explanation of an AI system might look like.  

Why did you want to take part in the 3-minute thesis challenge? 

I’m barely 6 months into my PhD and, naturally, I’m still doing lots of reading and thinking about what precisely my contribution will be and how I will achieve this. Despite having no concrete contributions yet and still being in the process of fleshing out my plans, I felt like I had done enough reading and thinking to talk about the topic and present my initial ideas with some confidence. In fact, condensing my thoughts into 3 minutes proved to be a real challenge but still an invaluable exercise in communicating clearly and concisely. In the process of preparing my talk and practising it with others, I’ve been challenged on my ideas and forced to rethink and refine them which can only be a good thing. 

What was it like to take part in the 3MT challenge? 

Taking part in the challenge was very fun. It all seemed to happen so quickly! One week I was submitting a video of my presentation after about 20 takes; the next week I was presenting it live on teams to the other semi-finalists with my script open on the side (in case I forgot my lines) and the week after that, I was presenting it live in the finals with people watching online, no script and no retakes! 

I was very nervous for the finals, but I kept reassuring myself that it was only 3 minutes and that I had practiced many times. Thankfully I was the third person to present which meant that after my talk, I could actually relax and listen to most of the other talks which were all so good! Given how nervous I am about public speaking, I am proud of myself for taking on this challenge and getting to the finals and I am more confident now as a result. 

A huge congratulations to Israel for getting so far in the competition. You can watch Israel’s talk from 10:51 in the Youtube video below: 

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Grand Final 2024 – King’s College London (