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The Future of Artificial Intelligence Is Being Created Today: Skymind CEO Chris Nicholson Talks What’s Next in AI

Chris Nicholson is the co-founder and CEO of Skymind, the company behind Deeplearning4j, which is the most popular open-source deep-learning framework for Java.

Skymind helps companies in telecommunications, finance, retail, and tech build enterprise deep learning applications, notably fraud detection, using data such as text, time series, sound, and images.

Listen in to learn more about Chris and his perspective on Artificial Intelligence.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence Is Being Created Today: Skymind CEO Chris Nicholson Talks What's Next in AI

Time stamped show notes:

[0:49] About Skymind – Artificial Intelligence company, bringing AI out of the lab and into the real world

[2:00] People should know: AI is just math and code, not magic.

[4:05] The thing AI and capitalism have in common: they are accelerants.

[6:34] AI will introduce us to more environments to try and serve our needs better.

[9:16] Consistency can move mountains and carve rivers and mountains.

[10:49] As chips get more powerful, AI can get powerful.

[12:43] What is quantum computer?

[15:25] What would quantum supremacy achieve?

[18:34] We need to gather data on what type of art causes each emotion so that then we can produce meaningful art.

[19:24] He believes we can create really strong AI, which might be stronger than us.

[22:13] We program AI’s values. They learn from what we teach them.

[24:25] Collaboration is the way we win.

[25:50] Sarcasm kills intimacy.

[27:06 ] He was born in Montana – a very rural state. He realized that there’s a big world out there that has to be explored.

[27:31] He felt like he had to leave Montana to grow economically and mentally.

[28:07] The great divide is urban vs. rural (especially in the USA now).

[28:39] He worked as a journalist for 10 years.

[29:08] Paris is no longer welcoming to artists. Now it’s very bourgeois.

[30:00] He learned to code in the evenings while being a journalist. And then he went to work for a company where he met his co-founder.

[31:19] He never thought he would be the head of a company. He had to grow into it.

[31:43]  Being the head of a company is a big moral project: to give people a place they can work, where they have a supportive work environment, and make sure everyone is communicating well.

[32:20] Leadership lesson he’s learned: communicate more – get in contact and listen.

[33:25] They (at Skymind) communicate asynchronously.  

[33:43] They (at Skymind) use Basecamp.

[33:52] They (at Skymind) schedule weekly calls.

[34:02] Live conversation is better than an email. Make an effort to get on the phone.

[36:27] Skymind is working toward profitability. They just had their first $1M year.

[41:13] AI starts with the collection of data and it has to be aligned with the outcomes you want to predict.

[42:25] What he wishes to leave the world as his legacy/words of wisdom: for people to follow their nose when finding what their passion is and what they want to create

Three key points:

  1. People should know: AI is just math and code, not magic.
  2. Leadership lesson he’s learned: communicate more – get in contact and listen.
  3. Live conversation is better than an email. Make an effort to get on the phone.

Resources mentioned:

Basecamp – Project Manager

Last question:

They need to execute their plan to make their product better to build a whole organization of repeatable sales.

Talent is a choke point for him. Finding the right fit for the company.