Janelle Shane

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Janelle C. Shane
Alma mater
Known for
  • Optical trapping
  • Artificial intelligence research
Scientific career
InstitutionsBoulder Nonlinear Systems

Janelle Shane is an optics research scientist and artificial intelligence researcher, writer and public speaker. She keeps a popular science blog called AI Weirdness, where she documents various algorithms from around world. Her first book, You Look Like A Thing And I Love You: How AI Works And Why It's Making The World A Weirder Place, is scheduled for a November 2019 release.

Early life and education[edit]

Shane studied electrical engineering at Michigan State University and graduated in 2007.[1] She started out in a research group that worked on genetic algorithms, and then worked with Marcos Dantus on genetic algorithms for femtosecond lasers.[2] She earned her master's degree in physics at the University of St Andrews, where she worked with Kishan Dholakia on pulse shaping and dispersion compensation.[1] In 2008, Shane joined University of California, San Diego as a graduate student, where she worked on ultra-fast nanoscale optics.[1]


Shane works at Boulder Nonlinear Systems, an organisation who are developing holographic optical trapping modules for the International Space Station.[3][4] She is also working on low size, weight and power (SWaP) 3D wind sensor technologies for unmanned aerial vehicles.[4] The optical trapping systems (tweezers) use focused laser beams to trap transparent microparticles, and the holographic optical trapping uses liquid crystal spatial light modulators that can convert a single beam into separate steerable beams.[4] This system allows Shane to position trapped particles in arrays.[4] The technologies include liquid polarisation gratings for airborne Doppler lidar systems.

Shane came across a list of neural network cookbook recipes written by Tom Brewe.[2] AI Weirdness, Shane's blog on Artificial Intelligence, features everyday neural networks and algorithms.[5] Shane writes for Fast Company and O'Reilly Media.[6][7] She has collaborated with CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times.[2] Shane delivered a talk at TED 2019, where she spoke about the realities of artificial intelligence.[8] She argued that while artificial intelligence is celebrated as a gift to society, in reality it often doesn't live up to the hype.[8][9] Her first book, You Look Like A Thing And I Love You: How AI Works And Why It's Making The World A Weirder Place, is scheduled for release in November 2019.[10]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Shane, Janelle C. (2008). "Control of Molecular Fragmentation Using Shaped Femtosecond Pulses". J. Phys. Chem. A. 112.
  • Shane, Janelle C. (2010). "Effect of pulse temporal shape on optical trapping and impulse transfer using ultrashort pulsed lasers". Optics Express. 18: 7554–7568.
  • Shane, Janelle C. (2006). "Selective nonlinear optical excitation with pulses shaped by pseudorandom Galois fields". Phys. Rev. A. 74.


  1. ^ a b c "Janelle Shane". emerald.ucsd.edu. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  2. ^ a b c Feldman, Brian. "Janelle Shane's Neural Network Keeps Producing Hilarious, Terrifying Creations". Intelligencer. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  3. ^ "Janelle Shane's schedule for IDEA Week". ideaweek2019.sched.com. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  4. ^ a b c d "BNS Awarded Multiple NASA Contracts". Boulder Nonlinear Systems (BNS). Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  5. ^ "Janelle Shane | Eyeo Festival". Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  6. ^ "Janelle Shane - O'Reilly Media". www.oreilly.com. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  7. ^ "Meet Janelle Shane, one of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People 2019". Fast Company. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  8. ^ a b Shane, Janelle. "Janelle Shane | Speaker | TED". www.ted.com. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  9. ^ "Play: Notes from Session 9 of TED2019". TED Blog. 2019-04-18. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  10. ^ You Look Like a Thing and I Love You. 2019-03-05.