Job Board Journalist: Interview With AI Summit Keynote Speaker, Michael Stewart, CEO of Lucid.ai

Peter Weddle

The TAtech Leadership Summit on AI/Machine Learning in Talent Acquisition will be held on February 12-13, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona. It begins with an optional complimentary Golf Tournament hosted by our Founding Sponsor, Paradox.ai, at the world famous Talking Stick Resort on February 12th and then continues with a jam-packed day of insightful presentations, panels and peer discussions on February 13th.

The conference is open to all technology companies worldwide and to HR and Talent Acquisition professionals in corporate enterprises, staffing firms and RPOs.

One of the unique features of the Summit will be the caliber of the presenters – to a person, they are the real experts in this technology. So, over the next several weeks, I’ll use my Job Board Journalist post to introduce several of them to you. The Opening Keynote will be delivered by Michael Stewart, CEO of Lucid.ai and a co-founder of AI Austin.

Tell us a little about your background and how you got involved with artificial intelligence.
I’ve been a serial entrepreneur since majoring in it at Baylor University where I started my first business. Later, I started a software company and innovated some new ways to integrate disparate, heterogeneous systems together into a combined system which acted as if it’s components were made by one vendor instead of many. One of my Wall Street bank clients liked what we were doing and introduced me to a tech think-tank called MCC in Austin and the government organizations sponsoring it. One of the main software projects there was an AI system that was being crafted differently than all others. I got intrigued by that AI project 27+ yrs ago and have been hooked since.

You’re the CEO of Lucid.ai. What does the company do?
Like any good systems integrator, Lucid combines together different AI technologies made by different vendors who do not normally ever “play-together” themselves, wherein we create a combined-AI that is significantly more capable in combination than either of the parts were on their own. This “Stronger-AI” enables Lucid to create its own valuable integration IP and control the aggregate technology stack, and to take on projects with Lucid-AI which other AI technologies were not built to tackle on their own.

You’re also a Co-Founder of something called AI Austin. What’s that?
As AIs mature into ever-more powerful tools, we all know that our industry needs to also be simultaneously developing clear understandings and methods to safely and ethically contain applications of those AIs to assure their safe and effective deployments. Lucid was the first AI company to build an “ethics advisory panel” back in 2014-2015 to assist with such vision. Later, we realized the effort to be far larger than anything we could tackle at Lucid alone, so I helped create and launch AI-Austin.org (now expanded to be AI-Global.org) with other key founders to work with other global organizations like IEEE, the World Economic Forum, several universities, and many others alongside other AI firms and large corporate/gov’t organizations to focus on building practical, effective, safe/ethical AI systems worldwide.

Without giving away the store, what are some of the points you’ll be covering in your Opening Keynote at the TAtech AI Summit?
I will talk some about how AI technologies are amazing already, impacting virtually all facets of our lives across all industries…and yet most all AI technologies are still only in their initial infancy stages. We’ll consider how the “next” stages of AI will be more evolved, and how that increased power is likely to play out in the coming 1-3 years, especially how it will impact the Talent Recruitment Industry well-beyond what is being seen already today. Last, we’ll then let our imaginations see several clear ways that AI will disrupt and forever change how labor and the need for labor find themselves in the marketplace, and the implications of those disruptions to everything else!

Finally, Stephen Hawking has famously said, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Is he right – do we need to be worried about this technology?
To be fair to Stephen, he also said that such “full AI” might well turn into Humanity’s greatest achievement and its most positively-disruptive thing ever created. He highlighted the key essentiality that AI technologies be developed in a way that is safe and containable, much like nuclear or cloning technologies, or to perhaps be intentionally self-limited by our industry in certain ways unless/until such safe methods can be proven and deployed. With greater power comes greater responsibilities, and that notion certainly applies here if anywhere.

Yet, Humanity’s greatest achievements to date have all also come with positive disruptive forces and the need for containment/accountability/auditability too. We didn’t ban or stop our pursuits of them just because they were inherently dangerous. Instead, we focus hard on how to control those technologies in ways that assure they do not otherwise control us, and we leverage their uses properly (most of the time) in ways that enable the gains while preventing the potential negatives.

Despite notions to the contrary within all of the dystopian “AI will take over the world” notions being touted by pundits around the world, there are already several known ways to assure that such horrors cannot happen within the levels of AI which are currently in-deployment. And many different key leaps of capabilities would need to be innovated and hardened well-before such risks were even remotely at play within the coming decade.

In the meantime, the world is racing forward to embrace the capabilities that “smarter” systems can bring to all activities even if such smarter tools are not yet “fully autonomous, unfettered, hyper-intelligent” full-AIs just yet. Maybe we never innovate over the challenges which would be necessary before the dystopian fears could become real, and so we stay just a tad shy of that problem but still do great things with these systems. Or, maybe we DO find assured ways to deploy ever-larger-and-more-intelligent systems that can help Humanity “makes sense (Knowledge/Intelligence) of” ALL of Mankind’s currently-disparate, non-unified information by being logically-merged into huge industry-focused “Intelligence Lakes” that better inform all human activities into the future, solving limitless-types of problems which were simply intractable without such capabilities.

I very much believe in the latter, and we are doggedly pursuing such at Lucid.
We are Lucid. Are you?

Food for thought,
Peter

TAprose and Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle are brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2018 events include:

• February 12-13, 2018 Scottsdale, Arizona USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on AI/Machine Learning in Talent Acquisition – the only conference totally focused on the capabilities and impact of AI/ML/NLP in recruitment.

• March 13-14, 2018 Dublin, Ireland: TAtechEurope 2018 – the premier event for recruitment advertising and technology thought & business leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

• April 18-19, 2018 Las Vegas, Nevada USA: The TAtech Spring Congress & Meetup – a unique conference designed to maximize opportunities for B2B networking, trending topic discussions and the exploration of partnerships and business opportunities.

• June 5-6, 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying – the only conference totally focused on the technology and applications of programmatic ad buying by both publishers and advertisers.

• September 26-27, 2018 Bourbon Street New Orleans, Louisiana USA: The TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum – the only conference that brings together the global thought and business leaders of the TA technology industry.

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