Announcing the Full Keynote Panelist Lineup at Gigaom Change

Gigaom Change 2016 Leader’s Summit is just one week away, September 21-23 in Austin. The event will take place over two and a half days of keynote panels with a lineup of speakers that are visionaries making R&D and proof of concept strategic investments to bring concept to reality, forging multi-billion dollar companies along the way.
Three top industry experts in the following industries will highlight the current impact these innovations are having, then pivot toward what will be possible in the future: Robotics, AI, AR/VR/MR, Human-Machine Interface, Cybersecurity, Nanotechnology and 3D+ Printing.
Keynote panelists include leading theorists and visionaries like Robert Metcalfe, Professor of Innovation, Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at the University of Texas; Rob High, IBM Fellow, Vice President and CTO, IBM Watson. It also includes practitioners who are actively implementing these technologies within companies; like Shane Wall, CTO and Global Head HP Labs; Melonee Wise, CEO Fetch Robotics; Stan Deans, President of UPS Global Logistics and Distribution; and Rohit Prasad, Vice President and Head Scientist, Amazon Alexa. We will hear from Sapient about AI, IBM about nanotech, Softbank about robots and a wide range of other innovators creating solutions for visionary enterprises.
We couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to the full lineup of this extraordinary group.

Robert MetcalfeOur opening night keynote speaker will be internet/ethernet pioneer Robert Metcalfe, Professor of Innovation, Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at The University of Texas.

Jacquelyn Ford Morie Ph.D.Speaking on the VR/AR/MR panel is Jacquelyn Ford Morie Ph.D., Founder and CEO of All These Worlds LLC and Founder & CTO of The Augmented Traveler Corp. Dr. Jacquelyn Ford Morie is widely known for using technology such as Virtual Reality to deliver meaningful experiences that enrich people’s lives.

Rodolphe GelinDiscussing the subject of robotics is Rodolphe Gelin, EVP Chief Scientific Officer, SoftBank Robotics. Gelin has worked for decades in the field of robotics, focusing primarily on developing mobile robots for service applications to aid the disabled and elderly. He heads the Romeo2 project to create a humanoid personal assistant and companion robot.

Manoj SaxenaOn the artificial intelligence panel, Manoj Saxena, Executive Chairman of CognitiveScale and a founding managing director of The Entrepreneurs’ Fund IV, a $100m seed fund, will address the cognitive computing space.

Dr. Heike RielSpeaking on the subject of nanotechnology is Dr. Heike Riel, IBM Fellow & Director Physical Sciences Department, IBM Research. Dr. Riel’s work focuses on advancing the frontiers of information technology through the physical sciences.

Mark RolstonAddressing human-machine interface is Mark Rolston, Cofounder & Chief Creative Officer, argodesign. Mark Rolston is a renowned designer who focuses on groundbreaking user experiences and addresses the modern challenge of design beyond the visible artifact – in the realm of behavior, the interaction between human and machine, and other unseen elements.

Rob HighDiscussing the subject of artificial intelligence is Rob High, IBM Fellow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of IBM Watson. Rob High has overall responsibility to drive Watson technical strategy and thought leadership.

Dr. Michael EdlemanAddressing nanotechnology is Dr. Michael Edelman, Chief Executive Officer of Nanoco. Through his work with Nanoco, Dr. Edelman and his team have developed an innovative technology platform using quantum dots that are set to transform lighting, bio-imaging, and much more.

Melonee WiseAs CEO of Fetch Robotics — delivering advanced robots for the logistics industry — Melonee Wise will speak to the state of robotics today and the need and potential for the entire industry to transform to meet demand for faster, more personalized logisitics/ops delivery using “collaborative robotics”.

Shane WallAs Chief Technology Officer and Global Head of HP Labs, Shane Wall drives the company’s technology vision and strategy, new business incubation and the overall technical and innovation community. Joining our 3D+ Printing panel, Wall will provide real insights into how 3D+ printing is going to transform and disrupt manufacturing, supply chains, even whole economies.

David RoseTaking a place on the Human-Machine interface panel is David Rose, an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and instructor at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on making the physical environment an interface to digital information.

Stan DeansJoining the 3D+ Printing panel is Stan Deans, President of UPS Global Logistics and Distribution. Deans has been instrumental in building UPS’s relationship with Fast Radius by implementing its On Demand Production Platform™ and 3D Printing factory in UPS’s Louisville-based logistics campus. By building this disruptive technology into its supply chain models, UPS is now able to bring new value to manufacturing customers of all sizes.

Rohit PrasadAddressing human-machine interface is Rohit Prasad, Vice President and Head Scientist, Amazon Alexa, where he leads research and development in speech recognition, natural language understanding, and machine learning technologies to enhance customer interactions with Amazon’s products and services.

Liam QuinnJoining our AR/VR/MR panel, Liam Quinn is VP, Senior Fellow & CTO for Dell, responsible for leading the development of the overall technology strategy. Key passions are xReality where Quinn drives the development and integration of specific applications across AR & VR experiences, as well as remote maintenance, gaming and 3D applications.

Niloofar RaziNiloofar Razi is SVP & Worldwide Chief Strategy Officer for RSA. As part of the Cybersecurity panel she brings more than 25 years experience in the technology and national security sectors, leading corporate development and implementation of investment strategies for billion dollar industries.

Michael PetchMichael Petch is a renowned author & analyst whose expertise in 3D+ printing will bring deep insights to advanced, additive manufacturing technologies on our Nanotechnology panel. He is a frequent keynote speaker on the economic and social implications of frontier technologies.

Josh SuttonJosh Sutton is Global Head, Data & Artificial Intelligence for Publicis.Sapient. As part of the AI panel Josh will discuss how to leverage established and emerging artificial intelligence platforms to generate business insights, drive customer engagement, and accelerate business processes via advanced technologies.

Melissa MormanJoining our AR/VR/MR panel is Melissa Morman, Client Experience Officer, BuilderHomesite Inc. Morman is a member of the original founding executive team of BHI/BDX (Builders Digital Experience) and advises top executives in homebuilding, real estate, and building products industries on the digital transformation of their business.

John McClurgJoining our Cybersecurity panel is John McClurg, VP & Ambassador-At-Large, Cylance. McClurg was recently voted one of America’s 25 most influential security professionals, sits on the FBI’s Domestic Security (DSAC) & National Security Business Alliance Councils (NSBAC), and served as the founding Chairman of the International Security Foundation.

Mark HatfieldSpeaking on our Cybersecurity panel is Mark Hatfield, Founder and General Partner of Ten Eleven Ventures, the industry’s first venture capital fund that is focused solely on investing in digital security.

Mark HalversonSpeaking on our robotics panel is Mark Halverson, CEO of Precision Autonomy whose mission is to make unmanned and autonomous vehicles a safe reality. Precision Autonomy operates at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics employing crowdsourcing and 3 dimensional augmented reality to allow UAVs and other unmanned vehicles to operate more autonomously.

James V HartSpecial guest James V Hart, is an award-winning and world-renowned Hollywood screenwriter whose film credits include Contact, Hook, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Lara Croft: Tombraider, August Rush, Epic and many more projects in various stages of development, including Kurt Vonnegut’s AI fueled story Player Piano. With us he’ll discuss the impact of storytelling on how we’ve formed our views of the future.


Gigaom Change 2016 Leader’s Summit is just one week away, September 21-23 in Austin, but there are still a few tickets available for purchase. Reserve your seat today.

More Stellar Visionaries To Join Gigaom Change 2016 Lineup

If you’ve been following us, you’ll know our mission with Gigaom Change is to add real value to the business leaders who are building our collective futures by delving further into the seven most disruptive enterprise technologies that are widely known but little understood: Robotics, Nanotechnology, AR/VR/MR, Human-Machine Interface, 3D+ Printing, AI and Cybersecurity.
To do this, we have been carefully curating the top three experts in each industry and have invited them to share their ideas and experience on a Keynote Panel. We’ve worked overtime to bring together a stellar lineup devoid of often-hyped CEOs of unicorn companies. Instead, we’re bringing you the visionaries that have their heads down making big R+D/proof of concept strategic investments that will make this rapidly advancing technological future real for all of us. Each of these seven technology panels will include:

  1. An industry leader who will explain why this technology is emerging right now and what the current state of the art really is.
  2. An industry practitioner who will be able to really talk to what it’s like to bring these technologies in-house and address so many of the questions the rest of us have about the impact it is having right now.
  3. An industry visionary who will take us into the next 5-20+ years and help us imagine what is possible moving ahead, as well as point out some of the big questions we all will need to prepare for, such as ethics and privacy, shifting intellectual property rights and regulations, the need for new business models and more.

ANNOUNCING MORE KEYNOTE PANELISTS:

After months of hunting for just the right people we’re excited to announce four more incredible speakers who will help us all better understand what this technology is, why it matters and where it’s headed:

Liam QuinnJoining our AR/VR/MR panel, Liam Quinn is VP, Senior Fellow & CTO for Dell, responsible for leading the development of the overall technology strategy. Key passions are xReality where Quinn drives the development and integration of specific applications across AR & VR experiences, as well as remote maintenance, gaming and 3D applications.

Niloofar RaziNiloofar Razi is SVP & Worldwide Chief Strategy Officer for RSA. As part of the Cybersecurity panel she brings more than 25 years experience in the technology and national security sectors, leading corporate development and implementation of investment strategies for billion dollar industries.

Michael PetchMichael Petch is a renowned author & analyst whose expertise in 3D+ printing will bring deep insights to advanced, additive manufacturing technologies on our Nanotechnology panel. He is a frequent keynote speaker on the economic and social implications of frontier technologies.

Josh SuttonJosh Sutton is Global Head, Data & Artificial Intelligence for Publicis.Sapient. As part of the AI panel Josh will discuss how to leverage established and emerging artificial intelligence platforms to generate business insights, drive customer engagement, and accelerate business processes via advanced technologies.


Join us at Gigaom Change 2016 Leader’s Summit on September 21-23 in Austin, Texas to explore some of the highly disruptive ways these seven key technologies are shifting enterprise business.
Tickets are strictly limited to 300+ attendees and we still have spaces left at a discounted rate for those who register early. We encourage you to take advantage and avoid a higher ticket price as we count down to this landmark event. Reserve your seat today.

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Gigaom Talks with Rodolphe Gelin about Robotics

Rodolphe GelinAs a graduate of the School of Civil Engineering (l’Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées) and with a DEA in Artificial Intelligence, Rodolphe Gelin, EVP Chief Scientific Officer, SoftBank Robotics, has 20 years of experience in research with teams in the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA)- most notably in robotics used to assist people. Rodolphe joined SoftBank Robotics in 2008 as Director of Research and Head of Collaborative Projects. He is also the head of the ROMEO project to create a large robot designed to assist the elderly. Rodolphe Gelin now leads the Innovation team which aims to develop new technologies for current robots and continue exploration of humanoid robotics.
Rodolphe Gelin will be speaking at the Gigaom Change Leaders Summit in Austin, September 21-23rd. In anticipation of that, I caught up with him to ask a few questions.
Byron Reese: People have imagined robots for literally thousands of years. What do you think is the source of this fascination?
Rodolphe Gelin: The idea of robots has fed our curiosity for more than half a century with the potential of having another form factor to interact with on our own natural terms. In reality robots offer us much more and, through recent technological innovations, robots are now helping us reach the next frontier in artificial intelligence research and engineering. As mankind has evolved our inherent nature is to create, build and then continue to evolve what we’ve created; advancing in technology is no different. As high tech has become more prolific, we are constantly on a quest to evolve our technical knowledge. Robotics represents the next step or extension of that continued innovation.
 
It is obviously extremely difficult to make a robot with the range of motion and movement as a human. What are some of the things that make it tricky?
Humans have evolved very specific types of muscles which provide us with strength, force and speed that currently no available motor can match. The complexity of the human skeleton gives us extraordinary mobility and support. This type of support is also very difficult to duplicate mechanically. In addition, to creating a general form factor for humanoid robots there are other details to consider like fluidity and other natural movements that require intricate programming, as well as various sensors and processors that would help identify the robot’s surroundings.
 
Do you foresee robots that are indistinguishable from humans? Would people want that?
At SoftBank Robotics, we strongly believe that robots should look like robots. Our robots, Pepper, NAO and Romeo, were created to resemble a human-like figure, but they do not look like us. While there are indeed some robotics scientists today who have created robots that look like humans which include features like eyes, and “skin,” similar to a wax figure. That is not where we are headed with our development of robots. All robotics research is ongoing and as each form factor becomes more advanced some robots could look very much like their human counterparts. However, SoftBank Robotics is focused on creating approachable robots that make people feel comfortable and happy.
Do you think that the computing power of robots will eventually be such that they attain consciousness?
I don’t think that a machine that plays chess will attain consciousness even with a lot of computing power. If consciousness is someday available in a computer, it will be because a human being would have programmed it, in one way or another. A robot is a machine that does what it has been programmed to do. If the programmer does not program a replicated state of ‘consciousness’, there would be no way for the program get one.  Having random ‘conscious-like’ processing could be seen in the form of a computer glitch but the software designer should detect and correct it, if he is not happy with the behavior. And if a developer wants to give a consciousness to his robot, he probably can. But what would be the purpose of it? To give a moral sense to the robot? Do we really want to have a machine judging the morality of what we are doing? I don’t think consciousness is a question of computing power, it is just a question of design.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this subject. I look forward to further discussion in September.
Rodolphe Gelin will be speaking on the subject of robotics at Gigaom Change Leaders Summit in Austin, September 21-23rd.

Gigaom Chats: Interfacing with machines in 2026

Mark Rolston
Mark Rolston, Cofounder and Chief Creative Officer of argodesign, is a renowned designer with a 25-year career of creating for the world’s largest and most innovative companies. An early pioneer of software user experience, Mark helped forge the disciplines around user interface design and mobile platforms.
Mark Rolston will be speaking at the Gigaom Change Leaders Summit in Austin, September 21-23rd. In anticipation of that, I caught up with him to ask a few questions.
Byron Reese: Let’s start with what you think we will be interfacing with machines in a decade?
Mark Rolston: For most of the 20th century we imagined our future with very physical visions: Massive superstructures, space travel, and amazing machines taking care of everything around us. Today we see the future arriving very quietly but no less profound than those visions. In ten years we will speak as often, or likely more, to machines as we do each other. With some of those machines we will even develop relationships that leverage human concepts such as trust and friendship. Everyone, everything, and everywhere will be codified, interactive, and addressable through ubiquitous interfaces scattered throughout our environments. And most profoundly we will be part cyborg. I don’t mean we will have mechanical implants (although we might) but instead if we were to assess who we are we will find a great part of us has become reliant on our digital dopplegangers. Our friends and business associates will frequently interact with our digital selves. By the way we call this digital+physical new self “Meta-Me”. Many of these interactions will occur outside of our interference because our digital “meta-me” has come to know us so intimately that it knows how you think. Today we rely on external systems such as maps and yelp to help make decisions. In ten years our minds will become so entwined with digital systems that we will scarcely recognize our own independence.
So you really think that in just ten years we will count machines among our friends? Do people want emotional relationships with machinery?
Sure. We already show love for precious objects in our life- cars, furniture, memorabilia, etc. And obviously we find room to love our pets even if they may not love us back. I’ve also watched my kids treat our Amazon Echo like a character, calling it “her” rather than “it”. So as everyday objects take on character it’s not hard to imagine us lending affection towards them. This won’t just happen overnight. It’s happening now.
Tell us about the work you are currently doing?
As a product design group we’re working on a range of digital and physical products. What’s exciting about these projects is that they are all examples for how much the world is changing because of advances in computing. Our partnership with WrapMedia is focused on developing an on-demand interface for the emerging world of devices and systems that don’t have their own interface. For example, if your car wants to tell you it needs an oil change, it needs a way to do that. In this scenario it sends you an instant application, called a ‘wrap’, that tells you where you can go for this oil change, helps you make the appointment, and offers you a discount on the visit. We are seeing incredible demand for GUIs that solve for these types of asymmetrical computing scenarios. We’re also working on the next generation of our PEQ smart home user interface. The platform is expanding to do so much more than the first gen of smart home software. We just finished a program with Farmlink that brings big-data and sophisticated data-modeling to the farming industry through a very accessible mobile user interface. And we have a team doing research in Tanzania and Jordan around using digital tools to drive entrepreneurialism in developing markets. Overall these projects follow a familiar pattern– computing has disrupted everything in life, and design is needed to help build and make sense of it all.
As a business argo is founded on a new model where we work as equity partners with our clients. Since our founding, we have established ten equity partnerships and have refined our process for working within this unique framework. The dynamics are very different because we act much more like an integral part of our partner’s operation. In many cases, such as with WrapMedia and PEQ, we have been their entire product design team from day 1. it means the product is much more than just something we worked on. This model has helped us change the way we operate the business.
I would guess that technological advance is a double-edged sword with regard to interfaces. On the one hand, tech lets you do things that you never could before, like recognize gestures or speech. On the other hand, we want our devices to do almost everything, even anticipating our needs. That’s a far cry from back in the day when the entire interface to a vacuum cleaner was an on-off switch. How does all that net out?
It nets out in deep changes in how we relate to our world and each other. We’re used to talking about the places and objects around us. Soon we will talk to them. Among the more interesting changes will be a potentially deep dependence on software for making decisions. Think about how digital maps have changed the way we find our way. Now apply that kind of shift to a much broader range of decisions we make every day.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing?
Every project we do is new– new problems, new concepts, new technologies, and new user expectations. On top of that we’re often engaged with the client in our unique business model. Because of that we’re constantly going in blind, developing the thinking as we go. But then again that’s why we do this and why we love it.
What challenges will the larger world face as we come to need to interface with machines more and more?
The list is long but two things concern me the most: The first is what this rapid change is doing to our own humanity. Never in history have the basic affordances of human interaction changed so rapidly and dramatically. The second is that technology is fundamentally an accelerator. It can magnify whatever we choose. I think we all shared initial optimism that technology can be used to create more opportunity for everyone. And it has to a large extent. But I’m seeing that we’re entering a new era where technology is just as effective of a tool to accelerate imbalances in the world. Winners don’t just win like they used to. Competitive advantage is radically magnified in digital. It makes competition more binary and that’s often not a good thing.
Hmmm. Elaborate on that. I would have argued just the opposite. Technology enables vast numbers of new entrants to compete against established companies. How would you have competed against Standard Oil a century ago? But today, anyone can compete against Microsoft. In fact, the simple fact that many of the greatest tech companies out there are less than two decades old, such as Google, Uber, Airbnb, Tesla, eBay, and Amazon, sure looks like they can compete successfully.
Ok, this part of the conversation wades deep into politics and what each of us believes the role technology will play in society and economics, but it is important that we not assume tech is only a force for good. I love that tech has brought about seismic shifts and ushered in a new era of companies. Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, etc. are great examples of disruption from tech. Uber is an example where we’re consolidating 100s of separate companies into one global transportation behemoth. The upside is that they’re killing off what we hated about taxi service. The downside is a consolidation of economic power and the commoditization of employment. Not every disruption will net out positive once the dust has settled.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this subject. I look forward to further discussion in September.
Mark Rolston will be speaking on the subject of human-machine interface at Gigaom Change Leaders Summit in Austin, September 21-23rd.

Announcing three new Gigaom Change 2016 speakers

Join us in Austin for Gigaom Change where we will explore the impact of seven technologies that will change the way you do business forever.
Over an immersive two and a half days, we will cover Artificial Intelligence, Virtual + Augmented Reality, Robotics, Nanotechnology, Cybersecurity, 3D+ Printing, and Human-Machine Interfaces to understand how these technologies are transforming industry, and why this all matters.
Helping bridge the gap between today’s business operations and tomorrow’s demanding expectations, our carefully curated league of 20+ innovative speakers will showcase how business leaders can stop wondering what the future will bring, and instead start building for it.
We’re excited to announce three new speakers added to our lineup for Gigaom Change 2016!

Shane WallAs Chief Technology Officer and Global Head of HP Labs, Shane Wall drives the company’s technology vision and strategy, new business incubation and the overall technical and innovation community. Joining our 3D+ panel, Wall will provide real insights into how 3D printing is going to transform and disrupt manufacturing, supply chains, even whole economies … in other words, how it’s literally going to change the way we live.

Melonee WiseAs CEO of Fetch Robotics — delivering advanced robots for the logistics industry — Melonee Wise is an industry expert who will speak to the state of robotics today and the need + potential for the entire industry to transform to meet demand for faster, more personalized logisitics/ops delivery using “collaborative robotics”.

David RoseTaking a place on the Human-Machine interface panel is David Rose, an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and instructor at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on making the physical environment an interface to digital information. David holds patents for photo sharing, interactive TV, ambient information displays, and medical devices. His work has been featured at the MoMA, covered in The New York Times, WIRED, The Economist, and parodied on the Colbert Report.

These speakers join an extraordinary group of 20+ global experts we’re lining up for Gigaom Change 2016 including:

Dr. Heike RielSpeaking on the subject of nanotechnology is Dr. Heike Riel, IBM Fellow & Director Physical Sciences Department, IBM Research. Dr. Riel’s work focuses on advancing the frontiers of information technology through the physical sciences. Her research interests include nanoscale materials and novel device concepts for applications in electronics, optoelectronics, energy harvesting and cognitive computing.

Rodolphe GelinDiscussing the subject of robotics is Rodolphe Gelin, EVP Chief Scientific Officer, Aldebaran. Rodolphe Gelin has worked for decades in the field of robotics, focusing primarily on developing mobile robots for service applications to aid the disabled and elderly. Most notably, he heads the Romeo2 project, a large-scale effort to create a humanoid personal assistant and companion robot.

Mark RolstonAddressing human-machine interface is Mark Rolston, Cofounder & Chief Creative Officer, argodesign. Mark Rolston is a renowned designer who focuses on groundbreaking user experiences and addresses the modern challenge of design beyond the visible artifact – in the realm of behavior, the interaction between human and machine, and other unseen elements.

Jacquelyn Ford Morie Ph.D.Speaking on the subject of virtual & augmented reality is Jacquelyn Ford Morie Ph.D., Founder and CEO of All These Worlds LLC and Founder & CTO of The Augmented Traveler Corp. Dr. Jacquelyn Ford Morie is widely known for using technology such as Virtual Reality (VR) to deliver meaningful experiences that enrich people’s lives.

Rob HighDiscussing the subject of artificial intelligence is Rob High, IBM Fellow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of IBM Watson. Rob High has overall responsibility to drive Watson technical strategy and thought leadership. As a key member of the Watson Leadership team, Rob works collaboratively with the Watson engineering, research, and development teams across IBM.

Dr. Michael EdlemanAddressing nanotechnology is Dr. Michael Edelman, Chief Executive Officer of Nanoco. Through his work with Nanoco, Dr. Edelman and his team have developed an innovative technology platform using quantum dots that are set to transform lighting, bio-imaging, and much more. Using real insights and examples, Edleman will share how this technology is currently disrupting entire industries.

Manoj SaxenaOn the artificial intelligence panel, Manoj Saxena, Executive Chairman of CognitiveScale and a founding managing director of The Entrepreneurs’ Fund IV, a $100m seed fund, will address the cognitive computing space; specifically, a new class of machine intelligence powered software that revolutionizing customer engagement, decision-making and productivity via complex, multi-structured Dark Data.

Robert MetcalfeAnd last but not least, our opening night keynote speaker will be internet/ethernet pioneer Robert Metcalfe, Professor of Innovation, Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at The University of Texas.

Join us and 300+ visionary leaders along with 20+ global experts for the Gigaom Change 2016 Leader’s Summit on September 21-23 in Austin, Texas to explore some of the highly disruptive ways seven key technologies are shifting enterprise business.
Tickets are on sale now! This event will sell out, so get your tickets now.
If you are interested in sharing your work either on the stage or demonstrated in the venue, please contact us asap at [email protected] as we’re finalizing things now.

Rob High talks Artificial Intelligence with Gigaom

Rob High
Rob High is an IBM Fellow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, IBM Watson. He has overall responsibility to drive Watson technical strategy and thought leadership. As a key member of the Watson Leadership team, Rob works collaboratively with the Watson engineering, research, and development teams across IBM.
Rob High will be speaking on the subject of artificial intelligence at Gigaom Change Leaders Summit in Austin, September 21-23rd. In anticipation of that, I caught up with him to ask a few questions about AI and it’s potential impact on the business world.
Byron Reese: Do you feel like we are on the path to building an AGI and if so, when do you think we will see it?
Rob High: Cognitive technologies, like Watson, apply reasoning techniques to domain-specific problems in things like Healthcare, Finance, Education, and Legal — anywhere there is an overwhelming amount of information that, if processed, can substantially improve the decisions or outcomes in that domain. For example, the work we’ve done with Oncologists to help them identify the most appropriate treatments for their cancer patients is based on having assessed what makes the patient unique; standard of care practices and clinical expertise that has been used to train the system; and the available clinical literature that can help doctors make better decisions. This helps to democratize that expertise to a wide swath of other doctors who do not have the benefit of having seen the thousands of patients that major cancer centers like Memorial Sloan Kettering or MD Anderson see.
The types of artificial intelligence used in these systems are spectacular in that they are able draw inferences from literature written in natural language, and to be taught how to interpret the meaning in that language as it applies to bringing the right information at the right time to the doctor’s fingertips. Unlike Artificial General Intelligence, our goal is to amplify human cognition — not to do our thinking for us, but to do the necessary research so that we can do our thinking better.
What do you make of all of the angst and concern being talked about in terms of why we should perhaps fear the AGI?

The concept of a machine-dominated world is inspired more by Hollywood and science fiction writers rather than technologists and AI researchers. IBM has been firmly committed to responsible science and ethical best practices for over a hundred years – it’s embedded in our DNA. Our focus is on applying cognitive computing to amplifying human cognitive processes, not on replacing them.
The reality is AI and cognitive technologies will help mankind better understand our world and make more informed decisions. Cognitive computing will always serve to bolster, not replace, human decision-making, working side-by-side with humans to accelerate and improve our ability to act with confidence and authority. The industries where Watson is being applied today – healthcare, law, financial services, oil & gas – exist to benefit people working in those industries.
For example, Watson augments a doctor’s abilities by aggregating and producing the best available information to inform medical decisions and democratizing expertise. But it’s the human doctor who takes the information Watson produces and combines it with their own knowledge of a patient and the complex issues associated with each diagnosis. Ultimately, the doctor makes the recommendation, informed by Watson, and the patient makes the decision – so there will always be a complementary relationship between human and machine.
Do you think computers can or will become conscious?
Today, we are making significant advances in integrating embodied cognition into robotics through Watson and that remains a primary focus. Our technology currently allows robots to – like humans – show expression, understand the nuances of certain interactions and respond appropriately. There’s still a need to teach robots certain skills, like the skill of movement, the skill of seeing, the skill of recognizing the difference between a pot of potatoes that are boiling versus a pot of potatoes that are boiling over.
However, we do believe that we’re only in the first few years of a computing era that will last for decades to come. We are currently assessing what’s doable, what’s useful and what will have economic interest in the future.
Great. We’ll leave it there. Thank you for taking the time to talk today.
Rob High will be speaking on the subject of artificial intelligence at Gigaom Change Leaders Summit in Austin, September 21-23rd.

Dr. Michael Edelman talks quantum dots with Gigaom

Michael Edelman
Dr. Michael Edelman joined Nanoco in 2004, led the initial fund–raising and spun Nanoco out of the University of Manchester. Prior to Nanoco, Michael held a number of executive roles including responsibility for licensing the technology developed by GE/Bayer joint venture, Exatec LLP, Vice President and Managing Director at yet2.com , Commercial Director at Colloids Ltd and Business Manager at Brunner Mond & Co ltd., Michael started his career with ICI, has a Ph.D. in organo–metallic chemistry from the University of Sussex, UK, and undergraduate degree in classics and chemistry from Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA.
Dr. Michael Edelman will be speaking at Gigaom Change Leaders Summit in Austin, September 21-23rd. In anticipation of that, I caught up with him to ask a few questions.
Byron Reese: Tell me the first time you ever heard about Nanotechnology?
Dr. Michael Edelman: Oh gosh, probably in the late eighties. And in the late eighties, we weren’t really calling it nanotechnology then, we were calling it colloidal chemistry, which is chemistry on a very small scale and then the nano name took off. Nanotechnology has been around for thousands of years, starting off with some of the early pigments and dyes used by Greeks and Romans to paint pots. So it’s not a new concept, chemists, physicists have been working on these sorts of technologies for a very very long time, and typically what we mean by nanotechnology is materials, things under 75 to 100 nanometers. You are looking at working with sizes 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. So pretty small.
Wow us a little bit with some of the science fictiony things we may live to see that nano is going to enable.
With Nanoco, my company, we play in the area of florescent semi-conductors called quantum dots. What’s unique about these materials and nanomaterials in general, is that they start to behave in weird and wonderful ways when they get very small.
And the amazing thing that our materials do is they fluoresce, they give off very, very bright, different colored light; red, green, blue, orange, yellow, whatever color you want. And that color is strictly dependent on the size of the nanocrystal. We are manufacturing these nanocrystals with a diameter between one and ten nanometers which is ten to one hundred atoms across.
We accurately manufacture these materials, growing these crystals of one, two, three, five, seven nanometers. It would be as if you had a very tiny golf ball with a diameter of one nanometer, and you expanded it. The chemical makeup is the same, but the mass is changing and this changes the electronic properties, which in turn changes the optical properties or color of light emitted.
When you have a material that lights up very brightly with only tiny amounts of energy, people start getting excited. We can bind specific anti-bodies to the quantum dots and use them to more accurately image and diagnose cancer. They absorb energy so they can also be used very effectively as new generations of solar cells.
So the ‘wow factor’ for the materials, these quantum dots, is that it’s a true platform technology that can be used across a number of different and unrelated end use applications from cancer imaging to next generation displays.
I get excited because it is very infrequent that you see a true platform technology. It is a word that is overused today. People talk about platform technologies all the time, but when you see a material that actually can be used in a number of unrelated sectors its tremendous.
Dr Nigel Pickett, our CTO and co-founder and I started Nanoco in the UK, in a converted men’s bathroom at the University of Manchester and have grown very successfully since then.
So you’ve actually expanded into the woman’s bathroom at this point?
[laughing] We’re actually much bigger. HP started in a garage and we started in the toilet.
Well you’ve got no place to go but up from there.
Well it was a big toilet.
In what sense are quantum dots quantum?
Because you get what we call a ‘sized quantization effect’ which is where the electronic properties of the semiconductor materials are changed, meaning the band gap of the material can be altered by changing the size. That is the quantum effect.
And how will they be used in quantum computing?
Our main focus today for these materials is on things that require enhanced color, so as a company we are not working on quantum computing. The folks working on quantum computing, using more traditional semiconductor technology, use molecular beam epitaxy to grow these quantum dots on wafers. That is the area that’s focused on the quantum computing.
We are essentially chemists and we are making these quantum dots in chemical reactors. In essence we are high-tech cooks, we add ingredients, we stir those ingredients and we heat them. How we do it is fairly sophisticated but the advantage of this is that the finished product is very cost effective to make, so we can apply these onto TVs today. Those TVs are at a price point that you and I can buy. Whereas quantum computing today is not there yet.
So where are you from a commercial standpoint with your technology?
The technology right now is getting launched into the marketplace. The Company has signed a number of deals, and probably [the one] that we’re known for is with Dow Chemical. Dow has built a large facility in South Korea to service the display industry, mainly the Korean TV giants. And the first products coming online are products from Samsung. You can go to Best Buy today and buy a new Samsung TV with enhanced color that comes from quantum dot technology. The first market to take off is the display market, and in the display market the first products are the high end color enhanced 4K displays. We are talking about LCD TV’s and LCD is the predominant display technology out there with about 240 million LCD TVs being sold each year. We’re helping the LCD technology, which has been around for a number of years, evolve and continue to get better.
Likewise, for lighting systems we have developed some products that we launched earlier in the year into horticultural lighting. What we’re doing is tuning the LED light with the quantum dots, so the light emits specific wavelengths that promote specific plant growth.
Looking forward in the next two or three years, what are some breakthroughs our readers should just keep an eye out for in the news?
The televisions are here now, they are getting rolled out and you are going to see a lot more of them. [Also] light and different types of light sources using quantum dots are here and you are going to see more quantum dot based lighting.
What I am excited about, if I look three to five years down the road, is the use of these materials in biological imaging and life science applications. Because our materials are all heavy metal free, [they can be used in the body] to very accurately image and diagnose cancer at an early stage, at a very sensitive level. You can tag specific anti-bodies onto these quantum dots of whatever color, and manipulate the size so they can get through the cell walls. Then they can bind specifically to a cancer that you are targeting. This, to me, is amazing.
Thank you so much for your time. I look forward to discussing this further in September.
Michael Edelman will be speaking on the subject of nanotechnology at Gigaom Change Leaders Summit in Austin, September 21-23rd.

Manoj Saxena talks Artificial Intelligence with Gigaom

Manoj Saxena
Manoj Saxena is the executive chairman of CognitiveScale and a founding managing director of The Entrepreneurs’ Fund IV (TEF), a $100m seed fund focused exclusively on the cognitive computing space.
Saxena is also the chairman of Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, San Antonio branch and Chairman, SparkCognition an Austin based cognitive security and safety analytics company.
Prior to joining TEF, Saxena was general manager, IBM Watson, where his team built the world’s first cognitive systems in healthcare, financial services, and retail. Earlier he founded, built and sold two Austin based software startups.
Saxena will be speaking at Gigaom AI in San Francisco, February 15-16th. In anticipation of that, I caught up with him to ask a few questions about AI and it’s potential impact on the business world.
Byron Reese: How intelligent do you think a computer can become?
Manoj Saxena: I think they can become super intelligent. They already are. In certain areas, they have far exceeded human brain capacity. Now they are super intelligent, they are not super conscious. So I separate intelligence from awareness and consciousness. So I think intelligence is here, has been here for decades. And you know with the advent of cheaper computing power in the cloud and more access to cloud through mobile, I think that intelligence is going to get more and more pervasive and will basically be woven into all aspects of our life. You know, how we work, how we live and how we play is all going to be changed through computer intelligence surrounding us. I actually talked about this notion of as a species Homo Sapiens are dead. Home Digitalis is the future because we will be surrounded by intelligence and amplified and augmented by intelligence.
Do you believe that in AGI, general intelligence is possible to build?
I think it is possible but we are probably at least 40 or 50 years away from it. You know artificial general intelligence which essentially you could argue that you know parts of it. Google, you could argue as the beginning of an AGI kind of like a mega brain or Watson in certain domain is the beginning of an AGI but through AGI covering all forms of human knowledge and human pursuits, I’ve read a study on it that even if you ask the specialist in the AI field, the average response was that we are looking at 2050 or 2060 by the time we will attain AGI. I think the most exciting part is not AGI but ASI, Artificial Specific Intelligence.
How so?
Well I think a little bit of AI can go a long way. There were few big revelations when I was running IBM Watson. First, you don’t need to build an AGI to drive humanity forward or to transform businesses. A little bit of AI when applied to targeted consumer engagement or industry specific business processes can have exponentially huge impact. The second insight I had when I was running Watson is, the real interesting part about AI and machine intelligence is not asking the question of a machine, but it’s the machine telling you what question to ask. You know there is three types of information in this world: there is stuff you know, there is stuff you know you don’t know, and there is stuff you don’t know that you don’t know. The real interesting part of machine intelligence is the third bucket where the machine taps you on the shoulder and says, hey you got to check this out.
I don’t want to get bogged down in definitions or anything, but can you please explain the distinction between machine intelligence, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing?
Yeah. So artificial intelligence is sort of the uber category. Artificial intelligence is like saying ‘software’. It’s the broadest definition which includes multiple types of technologies and techniques: machine learning is one, computer vision is another one, and cognitive computing is yet another one. There are many other types of AI. So at a top level, AI is the super category and then within that, machine intelligence is application of AI where machines start learning and start getting smarter on their own. So it could be a thermostat, it could be a traffic light or it could be a mobile app. Any of these can get smarter. Cognitive computing is that specific part of AI that relates to mimicking the human brain in terms of how we understand, reason, decide, and learn as a human being.
And recently, you know Stephen Hawking has mentioned that AGI may be an existential threat. Elon Musk says things like, maybe we are just a boot loader for the machine intelligence and that’s the next step in evolution. Bill Gates is concerned about what a general intelligence could do. I would ask two questions. One, why do you think that so many obviously very smart people are worried about it and second, do you share that worry?
I think there is some truth to that worry that I share. But I also think there are other scenarios that are in my opinion overhyped and overinflated in terms of machines as the new digital overlords.
[CALL IS LOST. AFTER RECONNECTING:]
My car’s system is kind of acting up here. This is a good example of why I am not too worried about machines being our own overlords because you can’t even get the damn phone to work in your car or your autocorrect to work on your cell phone as someone said. Having said that, today we already are at a point where machines are running our lives. There are millions of us that entrust our lives to computers today by allowing a computer to land our plane and seem very comfortable doing so. And that will slowly expand that we could only get more prevalent as we start giving more and more trust to machines. Robotic surgeries of eyes or blood vessels are other good examples.
On the other hand, there is a lot that we don’t know about how the human brain works and it will be hard to replicate that in a machine. There is much to be learned around our own consciousness, compassion and instincts work for example so in that sense we are very far away from the worry of a new digital race of computers.
What is needed for sure are some general principles and governance by which we as a race put this powerful technology to work for the betterment of society. I am currently engaged in some discussions with industry and local leaders around AI ethics and moral responsibilities to prevent both real and perceived threats from an AI apocalypse.
So what are you trying to do with CognitiveScale?
What we focus CognitiveScale on is deep practical applications of machine learning in industry. So what CognitiveScale builds is the notion of industry digital brains. They have taken AI and applied it into three verticals in commerce, in healthcare and in wealth management. We call it health, wealth and commerce. We are using AI to transform how patients manage chronic conditions and chronic diseases. We are using AI to manage how shoppers are experiencing their journey with the retailer and how financial advisors and investment advice is being delivered to end users. So we focus on transforming the experience of a user through a mobile phone or a browser that creates an experience like that of the traffic and map application Waze.
Waze is a good example of an existing cognitive app. You know it’s an app that is able to source a lot of data both structured data and unstructured data and it’s an app that guides you through the journey and optimizes your experience and outcomes. It knows you, it knows what’s around you and it gets you to your destination in the most efficient fashion. So what CognitiveScale is doing is they are building products for health, wealth and commerce that create a Waze-like experience that lets a patient manage their diabetes or their cancer or their obesity by guiding them through their journey. It lets a shopper manage the journey of shopping for an event and it helps a financial client manage the journey of investment advice because we believe that patient shoppers and financial clients, they all go through a journey and these applications take a regular mobile app and they put a little digital brain behind it and those applications start acting like Waze.
And where are you in your product lifecycle?
CognitiveScale has launched two products. One is called Engage for the customers, the other is called Amplify for business processes. So Engage transforms how a customer experiences the company and Amplify makes every employee your smartest employee. They are about a 100 people and they have been in existence for about 3 years. They have 20 customers and global brands you know everything from Barclays to Nestle to Macy’s to Dow, Eli Lilly, MD Anderson. So they’ve got a tremendous technology and client proof points and have a very strong deal pipeline. Off to a good start but much more needs to be done.
Do you believe that computers will become conscious?
Well yes and no. So, yes but it depends on how you define consciousness. So with consciousness, there are two problems. One is, there is no consciousness detector today. So we don’t really have a model that says, okay what’s the level of consciousness in a particular human being. Now there are some models that are based on anatomy like doctors use to know if you are comatose or not or behavioral people use to figure out whether you are mentally capable or not but there is no proper sort of a continuous consciousness detector that we can use to measure a person’s or a computer’s consciousness or lack of it. So one is a problem of measurement.
And second is a problem of applicability because only, I think, 5% of the human brain is used around consciousness or consciousness-related activities and it may very well be that consciousness may be outmoded and may be outdated by computers that get super intelligent and are able to do tasks much more efficiently and maybe the relevance of what consciousness is needed for is a lot more limiting.
For example, how does it matter for a computer or when does it matter if the computer can sense the pain of a young wife who lost her husband, or if the computer can sense the joy and laughter of a child on a beach, or why someone would throw themselves in front of a running train to save a baby, right? So these are the kinds of things while they are important, they may not be as relevant in the grander scheme of things for the progress of humanity with machine intelligence. So those are the two issues. Therefore, in part yes, you could say the computers will get self-aware but I think unless we have a proper consciousness detector, it will be very hard to formally answer the questions if computers can become conscious.
What is your take on the Chinese room problem, which argues that computers can’t really ever be truly intelligent? [Note, this is a classic argument against the possibility of a general AI put forth by the philosopher John Searle. It is worth looking up in Wikipedia. But the basic idea is that because a computer is completely mechanistic, it simply follows programming. No matter how clever it looks, it doesn’t really understand anything.]
I think there is a lot of truth to that statement as long as you assume that computers are being built on the Von Neumann architecture. Under the present architecture the Chinese room problem that you are talking about is true. You can say the computer is only parsing things together. However, if you look at evolution of quantum computers, [it might be different.] When you ask a current computer what is 1 plus 1, it will get you 2. When you ask a quantum computer what is 1 plus 1, it will take all numbers on the right and all numbers on the left and it will give you all kinds of answers. So it won’t just add up 1 plus 1, it will add up 1 plus 5, five million plus 3 and on both sides and then it picks a particular quantum event. So a lot of theories [suggest] that the human mind is a quantum machine, and that the reason we make connections across things which may not have any logic to it. There is a big stream of expertise and thinking that believes that the human mind operates not like a traditional computer but more like a quantum computer. So if you took that approach then I think the answer could be, ‘yes AGI is possible.’
Great. We’ll leave it there. Thank you for taking the time to talk today.
Manoj Saxena will be speaking at Gigaom AI in San Francisco, February 15-16th.

Will the robots take all the jobs?

This article is part of a continuing series leading up to Gigaom Change, which will be held in September in Austin, Texas.
Humans have always had a love/hate relationship with labor saving devices. Generally speaking, the owner of the device loves it and the person put out of work by it hates it. This tension periodically takes the form of violent rejection of industrial technology in all of its forms.
The cotton gin “did the work of twenty men” which meant that after it was installed, one fella loved it, but the nineteen newly-unemployed workers probably shook their fists at the infernal gin, wishing all manner of evil to befall that Eli Whitney troublemaker.
While this “technological unemployment” has been cited as the cause of our economic woes for two centuries, the issue has taken on a new sense of urgency as there has emerged a general fear that the wave of technical innovation we are currently in will capsize the economy and produce a new category of workers: The permanently unemployed.
Is this another example of the “boy who cried ‘no jobs’?” or are we witnessing a true transformation in our economic world?
The question is fundamentally unknowable because it hinges on three independent factors, each of which is also unknowable.
The three factors are:

    1) How many jobs will the robots/AI really take?
    2) How quickly will that happen?
    3) What new jobs will be created along the way?

Let’s dive in:
The tipping point of widespread permanent unemployment is thought by many to be the driverless car taking all the jobs away from the truck drivers:
Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck
One Oxford study claims that 47% of US jobs could vanish in 20 years. While consulting giant McKinsey & Company says 45% of all work activities could be automated right now.
But at the same time, there is a chorus of voices urging calm and pointing out that in spite of radical transformations of virtually every industry, the US has maintained near-full employment. How can this be?
Technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed, says 140 years of data
Two interesting questions that need to be addressed when approaching these issues are:

The widespread fear of substantial, permanent joblessness has caused the topic of a universal basic income to move to the mainstream. How would this work?
We talked to five experts about what it would take to actually institute Universal Basic Income
Finally, it may simply be that in a post-scarcity world, “working for a living” just doesn’t have the moral imperative that it used to. We might regard what Buckminster Fuller had to say on the topic:
“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”
Robotics, and its impact on business, will be one of seven topic areas covered at the Gigaom Change Leader’s Summit in September in Austin. Join us.

New speakers added to lineup at Gigaom Change 2016

Join us in Austin for Gigaom Change where we will explore the impact of seven technologies that will change the way you do business forever.
Over an immersive two and a half days, we will cover Artificial Intelligence, Virtual + Augmented Reality, Robotics, Nanotechnology, Cybersecurity, 3D+ Printing, and Human-Machine Interfaces to understand how these technologies are transforming industry, and why this all matters.
Helping bridge the gap between today’s business operations and tomorrow’s demanding expectations, our carefully curated league of 20+ innovative speakers will showcase how business leaders can stop wondering what the future will bring, and instead start building for it.
We’re excited to announce three new speakers added to our lineup for Gigaom Change 2016!

Dr. Heike RielSpeaking on the subject of nanotechnology is Dr. Heike Riel, IBM Fellow & Director Physical Sciences Department, IBM Research. Dr. Riel’s work focuses on advancing the frontiers of information technology through the physical sciences. Her research interests include nanoscale materials and novel device concepts for applications in electronics, optoelectronics, energy harvesting and cognitive computing.

Rodolphe GelinDiscussing the subject of robotics is Rodolphe Gelin, EVP Chief Scientific Officer, Aldebaran. Rodolphe Gelin has worked for decades in the field of robotics, focusing primarily on developing mobile robots for service applications to aid the disabled and elderly. Most notably, he heads the Romeo2 project, a large-scale effort to create a humanoid personal assistant and companion robot.

Mark RolstonAddressing human-machine interface is Mark Rolston, Cofounder & Chief Creative Officer, argodesign. Mark Rolston is a renowned designer who focuses on groundbreaking user experiences and addresses the modern challenge of design beyond the visible artifact – in the realm of behavior, the interaction between human and machine, and other unseen elements.

These speakers join an extraordinary group of 20+ global experts we’re lining up for Gigaom Change 2016 including:

Jacquelyn Ford Morie Ph.D.Speaking on the subject of virtual & augmented reality is Jacquelyn Ford Morie Ph.D., Founder and CEO of All These Worlds LLC and Founder & CTO of The Augmented Traveler Corp. Dr. Jacquelyn Ford Morie is widely known for using technology such as Virtual Reality (VR) to deliver meaningful experiences that enrich people’s lives.

Rob HighDiscussing the subject of artificial intelligence is Rob High, IBM Fellow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of IBM Watson. Rob High has overall responsibility to drive Watson technical strategy and thought leadership. As a key member of the Watson Leadership team, Rob works collaboratively with the Watson engineering, research, and development teams across IBM.

Dr. Michael EdlemanAddressing nanotechnology is Dr. Michael Edelman, Chief Executive Officer of Nanoco. Through his work with Nanoco, Dr. Edelman and his team have developed an innovative technology platform using quantum dots that are set to transform lighting, bio-imaging, and much more. Using real insights and examples, Edleman will share how this technology is currently disrupting entire industries.

Manoj SaxenaOn the artificial intelligence panel, Manoj Saxena, Executive Chairman of CognitiveScale and a founding managing director of The Entrepreneurs’ Fund IV, a $100m seed fund, will address the cognitive computing space; specifically, a new class of machine intelligence powered software that revolutionizing customer engagement, decision-making and productivity via complex, multi-structured Dark Data.

Robert MetcalfeAnd last but not least, our opening night keynote speaker will be internet/ethernet pioneer Robert Metcalfe, Professor of Innovation, Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at The University of Texas.

Join us and 300+ visionary leaders along with 20+ global experts for the Gigaom Change 2016 Leader’s Summit on September 21-23 in Austin, Texas to explore some of the highly disruptive ways seven key technologies are shifting enterprise business.
Tickets are on sale now! This event will sell out, so get your tickets now.
If you are interested in sharing your work either on the stage or demonstrated in the venue, please contact us asap at [email protected] as we’re finalizing things now.