Industry Insider Series: Volume 2

Welcome to our Industry Insider series, where we ask our faculty of expert speakers to weigh in on industry trends, innovation and more.  This week’s insiders work in AI-driven fields and have extensive knowledge of the AI landscape.

Ryan Villim is a software engineer focusing on machine learning at Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company that is re-imagining how cities are built and run in the 21st century. Ryan is a devoted Toronto enthusiast, having lived, worked, and studied in the city for nearly a decade. He earned his PhD in physics from the University of Toronto studying the origin of the planet Mercury’s magnetic field.

Lee Brotherston is currently the Director of Security for Wealthsimple in Toronto, he has worked within Information Security for nearly 20 years. In that time he has held positions ranging from practitioner through to management across a number of industry verticals as both an in house resource and as an external consultant.

Ian Kinsella has over a decade sales and recruitment experience and joined Morgan McKinley in 2011. He began his Morgan McKinley career in the IT Recruitment Division in Dublin recruiting for Senior IT Appointments and was a top performer himself before moving into management.

What is one game-changing technological advancement in your field that the general public may be unaware of?

IK: AI Bots that do initial interviewing/screening is an interesting one. They will do video screening interviews with potential candidates and the AI will have the ability to detect emotion from facial recognition and reaction to certain questions. In time it should evolve and and get smarter and will be able to determine candidates confidence, ability to deal with pressure etc.

RV: The combination of low cost, low power hardware that can be deployed in cell phones and IoT devices with new privacy-preserving machine learning techniques, such as federated learning will help us reap the benefits of big data while decreasing the amount of our data that we need to share.

LB: Transparent authentication factors.  Users are aware of passwords, fingerprint readers, and two factor authentication tokens.  But additional measures such as keyboard dynamics and high frequency device beaconing allow a transparent additional check for identity.

Those outside the tech industry have a difficult time defining exactly what AI is. We’d like to know: What isn’t AI?

IK: AI isn’t something that will eliminate the human race. Humans will eliminate the human race.

RV: Products powered primarily by AI are very often confused with products that are powered primarily by normal automation. This trend isn’t helped by the fact that “AI” is a bit of a buzzword which helps companies sell products. I don’t think that the ubiquity of “smart” devices that we see is driven primarily by AI, but by a combination of better digital and telecommunications infrastructure, better tooling for software development, and a market demand for IoT devices.

What’s one significant way AI will affect the industry you work in?

IK: AI is believed to be a threat to the recruitment industry seeing as it has the potential to eliminate a lot of the manual sourcing that is done by recruiters all over the world when trying to find candidates. I believe the companies that embrace using AI and integrate it into their current business model enhancing the service offering will actually do very well and thrive.

RV: At Sidewalk Labs I spend a lot of time thinking about how people live in, and interact with cities. I think that the obvious example here is autonomous vehicles, which are at their very core an AI product.

They promise to be an improvement on human drivers in almost every respect, but we need to recognize that both our relationships with cars and our cities transportation networks have been designed with human-operated vehicles in mind. Autonomous vehicles could be disastrous if they are implemented poorly, so some careful thought is required to craft sensible policy and design in this area.

As someone working in a Data / AI driven field surrounded by discussions of cybersecurity and privacy, what data security measures do you personally employ?

RV: I use a password manager to encrypt and store long, randomly generated, unique passwords for all my logins. This means I never worry about forgetting passwords, and if one website gets hacked none of my other passwords need to be changed. I also use two factor authentication everywhere that supports it.

LB: I work in data security, so, a lot.  But a few highlights…

– AdBlocker in all browsers

– Full Disk Encryption

– 2 Factor Authentication on all services I use (that support it)

– Keeping up to date with patches

– And yes… a cover on my webcam

Lee, Ryan and Ian will be at AI Toronto 2018 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Find out more about our conference program on our website and make sure you follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to catch our next edition of Industry Insider.

Leave a Reply