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Los Angeles CTO Roundtable about AI and Data

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The recent "Leaders in Data CTO Roundtable" in Los Angeles included discussions about an artificial intelligence (AI) framework/platform for business, data in the next five years, data software stacks, and acquiring data talent. Stacey Broadwell hosted the event and included the following speakers: 

  • Arshad Khan, chief scientist at DevMasters
  • Srivastav Sethupathy, VP of data at Age of Learning, Inc.
  • Aarthi Sridharan, Sr. director data at Beach Body
  • Vijay Manickam, VP architecture at OceanX, LLC
  • Subash D'Souza, head of data at Headspace Inc.

The evening started with Khan presenting Syzygy, a platform for building AI automation and general intelligence for businesses. The platform uses AI technologies like deep learning, natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML) and computer vision.  The presentation did not advocate for specific AI technologies, but instead the intrinsic properties/skills that an AI architecture must possess to develop AI automation and general intelligence. Core intrinsic properties/skills include Gradual Learning, Guided Learning, and Learning to Learn. Syzygy has at least 25 architecture models ranging from slow learning models to high speed data streaming models. Curriculum learning is used to train the AI agent in an environment controlled and presented to the AI agent in a prescriptive manner to teach tasks. Examples of such environments include views into simple 2D worlds, simple 3D Worlds, and photo-realistic 3D worlds.  

Next, the remaining speakers sat in front of the audience for a panel discussion. The discussion started with the speakers giving opinions about the next five years in data. The speakers shared their opinions in an additive manner enumerating the following topics:

The speakers continued with a discussion on data software stacks used at their respective organization. The majority of the speakers shared that they use Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Tableau in their enterprises. AWS provides many services for data that were mentioned by the speakers. Services such as Redshift, RDS, S3, Kinesis, and EMR. Beyond the software stack components the speakers had in common, the speakers each had their unique data software including Snowflake, Oracle, Oracle business intelligence, MS Excel, and Talend.

Next, the speakers each shared their opinions about acquiring talent in today's market. Discussion surrounded the following points:

  • Candidates are generally looked on favorably if they have a passion for their work, curiosity, excellent communication skills, and a healthy balance of humility vs. confidence
  • Competency in using cloud services is a must-have skill
  • For those hiring, it's crucial to sell the brand of the company
  • It's easier to hire into a culture that encourages new skills/ideas
  • Competition for talent in the market is fierce, so consider training your existing staff

Community events like CTO Roundtables in Los Angeles, DataCon LA, and similar meetups continue to spread best practices and insights from active practitioners in addition to helping newcomers to AI/ML get their start.

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