Unbuzzing AI and Machine Learning

I really dislike buzz words and the way they are leveraged by some people as a tool for self promotion. 

Lets face it, most companies are not truly working in Artificial Intelligence, at best they are implementing an interface on top of existing platform that has been developed by other companies (there is absolutely nothing wrong with this). At worse they are working on AI creating a platform from scratch, and as exciting as this sounds, unless significant fire power is thrown at the initiative, its not likely to end well. 

Innovation does not always come from reinventing the wheel, sometimes small iterations with existing frameworks and ideas can create a significant impact in whichever ecosystem you operate in.

At iCarAsia we decided to use TensorFlow as a machine learning platform interfaced by another tool developed by Google to be used as the front facing interface. Is there a risk of us putting all eggs in one basket and risking looking control over our tech? Maybe. In the grand scheme of things does it matter? No!

The reality is that the benefits of executing this and pushing the benefits to our customers in a shorter time span, coupled with the massive learning gathered from exposing the product to our customers completely outweighs the risks. 

An AI project is only cool if it actually does something useful, if it helps people by enhancing an experience. We did not look at AI as a technological problem, it was seen as a  potential way to enrich and improve the way car buyers and sellers connect. 

FutureTech Kuala Lumpur

I'm going to be speaking about iCarAsia's experience implementing our AI based Chatbot at the FutureTech event in May. Feel free to drop me an email or reach out to me by LinkedIn if you are interested in attending.

Event details Below:

If you want to make sure I am not going to bore you to death, have a look at some of my previous speaking engagements below.



Monday Focus: Fake positivity

There is this trend in the tech industry of forcing and fabricating positivity as if it were a magic potion that would suddenly make everything alright. I find that disguising of faking emotions is one of the most toxic and ineffective things a Human being can do. 

Its okay to have a bad day, its okay not to use the term "awesome" when things are difficult, its okay to feel failure and let it sink in temporarily.

In the workplace, not fully accepting bad moments and failure is counter productive as it is a form of inaction by itself. Success and improvement are an inevitable result of countless tentatives and failures, they are not supposed to feel good, joyful or cool. Bad days are supposed to feel bad, failure is designed to feel that way so that we want to take action and get away from that place as fast as possible. 


Self Awareness is precious

Today I was just speaking to someone that mentioned to me how difficult it was to continued doing the same mistakes over and over again at work and how this was impeding growth. Suddenly I realised that this person did not realise she had one of the most important instruments to personal growth: Self awareness. 

In my view, self awareness is the ability to pragmatically see our mistakes for what they are, they are not permanent limitations that we need to live with, a mistake creates a temporary state of imbalance that also creates an opportunity for self reflection and improvement. 

If we allow others see their mistakes as an opportunity not a stain or a defect, we will give them space to change and become better. 

By treating others with this level of kindness and patience, maybe we will start treating ourselves the same way and become better people and professionals in the process. 

The Value of a Long life

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a video of Bernie Sanders campaign that really touched me during the elections, as I rewatched it  a thought occurred to me; Bernie Sanders is 75 years old, he has lead long life of activism, consistently standing by things he believed in never shying away from a battle no matter how hard it was.

So at a time when convention expected him to sooth down, he ran for the toughest job on earth, and nearly won! 

When I look at the way society sees the contribution of our senior citizens, I realise that we have a huge problem that is only likely to get worse as the life expectancy becomes longer. Its a widespread cultural problem that will inevitably lead to an almost greater economical disaster if things don't change.

This idea that the value a person can contribute as they become older declines is so confusing to me when experience it is essentially the most valuable trait in a professional. This line of thought defies logic, especially in industries like the one I operate in where for some reason youth is over hyped and experience is no longer seen as cool.

Here are two wonderful examples of a life with purpose that will probably make you fear old age a lot less.

Experience cannot be bought nor faked, at iCarAsia we value and welcome experience, if your a senior techie, we hire and value people like you.