How will machine learning, AI, hybrid clouds, IOT, open source, edge computing, and many other innovations solve some of the world’s biggest challenges? Sit down with some of the most innovative minds in technology to learn how they are disrupting the present, and what kind of impact they foresee for the future. Hear from companies like Google, AWS, Intel, Red Hat, HPE, Dell and new, hot startups. Hosted by Avishai Sharlin, Division President of Amdocs Technology.
Beyond Experimentation: Prof. Yoav Shoham's A121’s CEO, talks on Gen AI's Future and AI21 Journey
26:14In this episode, Avishai sits down with AI pioneer Yoav Shoham. Yoav was a professor of computer science at Stanford for 28 years, where he was the director of the AI Lab. He is also a serial entrepreneur and has founded various companies across industries. Most recently, he co-founded AI21 labs. AI21 Labs aims to take AI to the next level and builds LLMs for enterprises that make machines thought partners. Join him and Avishai for a great discussion, and hear why Yoav doesn't believe Gen AI truly exists, AI21’s mission, and his vision for the future. The AI winter is over. AI is at the top of everyone’s mind today, but it has existed for decades. Yoav experienced the ‘AI Winter,’ a period during the 1990s when interest and funding in AI dropped. Yoav says that the effects of the winter have worn off, and that the learnings and changes from the period and beyond have helped us reach the AI boom of today. Lots of experiments, little deployment. Yoav says that while there is mass experimentation with AI, there is much less deployment of the technology. Proving the ROI of AI is something companies like AI21 must do to encourage uptake from large enterprises. Trust is key. Yoav identifies that reliability, predictability and explainability are key for LLMs. These models often don’t know when or why they are wrong. Ensuring that we can trust these models is key to their progression and adoption. Interested in further exploring the impact of GenAI? Tune in to Your Career: Is it Choice or Chance? Podcast for insightful discussions within the workplace domain.
GenAI and the Power of LLMs: Insights with Dr. Sharon Zhou
40:37The journey through GenAI continues! In this episdoe, Avishai enjoys talking to Dr. Sharon Zhou, founder and CEO of Lamini. Sharon's PhD in GenAI from Stanford along with her business career made the dialog intriguing. Sharon studied both classics and computer science at Harvard, and she has risen to be a pioneer in the GenAI space, having recently been named an MIT Tech Review 35 under 35. Building on our recent episode with NVIDIA’s CTO, this discussion will immerse listeners deeper into Large Language Learning Models.Key TakeawaysFine-tuning is key. As the competition in LLMs heats up, Sharon says that standing out is about taking your LLM from elementary school to PhD level through fine-tuning and strategically teaching models all the expertise they need to level up. Gen AI should be accessible. One of Sharon and the team at Lamini’s missions is to ensure that enterprises of all levels have access to Gen AI solutions, not simply those with huge budgets. Gen AI is the new calculator. Sharon points to how scared the education industry was when calculators first entered the markets and compare it to the current anxieties about Gen AI. Educational systems will have to adapt, and ultimately Gen AI and LLMs will help transform the education space. Interested in further exploring the impact of GenAI? Tune in to Your Career: Is it Choice or Chance? Podcast for insightful discussions within the workplace domain.
Insights from NVIDIA’s GenAI Journey - with Michael Kagan, CTO
34:53In this exciting episode, Avashai is joined by Michael Kagan, CTO of NVIDIA. He and Avishai dive into the challenges and opportunities faced by organizations when it comes to the explosion of Gen AI. Michael has been at the forefront of the tech space and is passionate about the potential implications of AI, and has said that we are experiencing AI's ‘iPhone moment.’ Don’t miss the exciting conversation to learn more about the future of Gen AI, as well as the exciting things happening at NVIDIA.Key Takeaways: Gen AI takes physical infrastructure. Michael mentions that many people overlook that the physical space, hardware and CPU needed to run Gen AI models is huge. This has implications for organizations as well as the environment that cannot be ignored. Gen AI will improve human collaboration. Michael emphasizes that he is excited about the potential of Gen AI when it comes to improving human collaboration. He believes Gen AI will help humans overcome language and cultural barriers that can impede effective collaboration. The world is exponential. Michael says that the world is exponential, and this includes Gen AI growth. He believes this new tech will come to impact all industries, and ultimately will allow humans to become more efficient and better at their jobs. Interested in further exploring the impact of GenAI? Tune in to Your Career: Is it Choice or Chance? Podcast for insightful discussions within the workplace domain.
Lessons and insights from Microsoft’s journey to GenAI for enterprises
0:43Welcome back to Future of Tech! In this special season, Avishai sits down with some of the leading thinkers in Generative AI. In this episode, he is joined by Charles Lamanna, Corporate Vice President, Business Apps & Platforms at Microsoft. He and Avishai discuss what Microsoft is doing to educate their workforce about Gen AI, the impacts of Gen AI on large enterprises like Microsoft, and what he sees coming down the pipeline. Key Takeaways: Charles is an AI optimist. Charles says he focuses on the fact that the majority of Gen AI use cases are human-directed. He believes humans will be able to leverage Gen AI to make their processes more efficient and productive, not replace them entirely. Gen AI will be adopted across industries. Charles believes that AI will be harnessed by all industries, not just tech. He believes it will allow organizations to grow without compromising service. Enterprises need to invest in employee learning. Charles stresses that in order to harness the power of Gen AI, enterprises should invest the time and money to properly train their workforce on how to use Gen AI, and how to do so securely. Interested in further exploring the impact of GenAI? Tune in to Your Career: Is it Choice or Chance? Podcast for insightful discussions within the workplace domain.
From Amateurs to World Cup, Intel AI is Poised to Benefit Athletes at Every Level with Jonathan Lee
0:33This week, lace up your boots and be sure to stretch, because we have an exciting new Future of Tech to share with you! Avishai had a chance to sit down with Jonathan Lee, the Senior Director of Sports Performance Technology for Intel. If you never connected Intel and sports technology before, you certainly will after this conversation. In this lively conversation, Jonathan dives deep into how Intel’s AI is benefiting all facets of sports, from player performance to fan experience, and even advanced athlete scouting in underserved areas. Throughout the episode, he shares countless ways in which Intel’s technology is affecting the world of athletics for elite professionals and weekend warriors alike, highlighting the myriad ways these innovations will impact sports on every level. Enjoy the episode! Main Takeaways: Creating Scalable Athletic Solutions: Jonathan shares how AI solutions can scale to serve multiple types of athletes, from elite professionals to casual players, as well as benefiting the health and wellness space. AI and How It Will Redefine Athlete Scouting: Intel’s AI Scout is changing the way player performance is evaluated, using 3D analysis to objectively gauge an athlete’s potential against a growing field of competitors. Bringing Athletic Opportunities to Underserved Areas: Jonathan shares an inspiring story of how AI Scout made it possible for two unknown prospects from a remote village to be discovered and considered for an organized football program. Key Quotes: (16:29)“For sports, there are many applications that involve, how do we get athletes to perform better. Or how do we enhance a broadcast so that a fan feels more engaged with the action? And we're at an exciting place right now in technology where we have things that really bridged the gap between the athlete and the fan.” (18:19)“A lot of the things that we work on are meant to democratize and allow technology to be not just by the very elite athletes, but all the athletes on the team, and not just all the athletes on a pro or elite team, but actually down through your weekend warrior, your consumer, even in the health space as well.” (22:37): “We use computer vision to extract 25 or more key points from the body, and then whether you use one camera or multiple cameras, we can create a 3D model of the athlete. And then from there, we can calculate biomechanics, kinematics, and provide that to a developer, or in some cases, we've built our own applications on top of that. Again, this is without the use of any sensors or suits. It's just AI. (34:28): “Last year as a team, Purdue [baseball team] stole 48 bases. That put them at 130 first out of all the teams in the country. This year they stole 116, which ranked them number 10, right? And they had a great season. We're really at the cusp here on how to use tech to actually improve performance, right? And it's being demonstrated.” (54:35): “Being able to, to provide that information in, in real-time or near real-time would be something that would, that, that, um, would make the gym experience a bit more compelling as well as safe.”
How Civil Engineering Can Guide The Future of Telecommunications with Mark Potter, CIO, Optus
0:31We can be so passionate about tech that we can get caught up in its concepts and capabilities. But what is at the core of all technology? Our guest today, Mark Potter, the Chief Information Officer at Optus, says “that great technology is a result of people.” Mark’s fascinating career evolved from studying civil engineering to eventually working in the banking and telecommunications industries. The throughline for him has always been a desire to come up with solutions to challenges. Tune in for more of Mark’s story and learn how he keeps perspective on what he values the most. Enjoy this episode! Main Takeaways: Humanity is the Foundation: Mark reminds us that humanity is behind impressive tech. He also points out how a company with “purpose” attracts employees who are seeking the same. His view is that engineers want to be a part of performing meaningful work. Building a Career: In advice to up-and-coming talent, Mark advises that people focus more on attaining an employment situation with “career” potential rather than narrowly looking for a “job.” Leaning into a longer-term mindset is sage advice to build one’s career and life. The Future at Optus: In envisioning the future of Optus, Mark imagines a business that moves rapidly with simplified processes and where there is a great deal of interconnection. His vision is a beautiful one that’s hopefully realized in many companies. Maintaining Perspective: Shouldn’t we assess our values just as rigorously as our work data? Mark describes a process he’s undertaken to map out his priorities and then contemplate if he’s been focusing his attention on these values. Key Quotes: [05:58] “As a CIO, I think that great technology is a result of people. The paradox is great Technology is all about the people, and that's absolutely true across banking and telecommunications.” [09:03 - this is the correct timestamp. If I try to hyperlink, it goes to a different section] “And typically what I find is that great engineers want to solve real problems and get beyond tech for tech’s sake and get into tech for some sort of higher order purpose. And so our purpose is really key to the way that we attract and retain people and [it’s about] creating the opportunities for teams to have that real impact.” 16:49) “I'd love to see technology as just part of the product and product management. So you can imagine moving from a project management bias that we have at the moment into product management and then the technology is embedded [and] embraced within the product itself. So, the distance between a business stakeholder and an IT colleague is a lot more blurred than what it has been historically.” [29:57] “So I think platforms as an economy have kind of broken the economic paradigm of a traditional value chain.” [39:58] “I think organizations where there's a meritocracy rather than a bureaucracy is important where talent can be elevated based on merit. And then maybe, last but not least, organizations, that have got a culture where failure is okay. Learning through getting things a bit wrong is a great way to learn.”
No-Code Automation Workplace – Go fast and simple With Chris Byers, CEO of Formstack
0:35Intro: On this episode of Future of Tech, we speak to Chris Byers, CEO of Formstack. In 2010, Chris stepped in to lead Formstack as CEO for six months. Twelve years later, Chris has not only remained CEO, but the company has grown to 220 employees around the world and recently started fundraising at a billion dollar valuation. In this conversation, Chris discusses Formstack’s focus on intuitive, easy-to-use, no-code solutions. Plus we dive into Chris’s experiences and lessons learned as a CEO, as well as his advice for new CEOs. Enjoy this conversation. Main Takeaways: Evolution of Formstack: Chris dives into the evolution of Formstack and its journey as a startup, getting detailed about the work that the company does and its vision for the future. The Value of Fast Simplicity: Chris discusses Formstack’s intent to provide a no-code solution that is easy to learn. The company’s goal is for any individual contributor in any department to be able to figure out whether they can solve their problem on Formstack within 30 seconds. Chris’s Thoughts on Company Culture: Chris discusses company culture: how it has seasons, how it changes with remote work and what he thinks about when building culture at Formstack. Chris’s Advice for New CEOs: Chris shares his tips for new CEOs, as well as his experience stepping into the CEO role at a startup and a mistake he feels that he’s made throughout his leadership. Key Quotes: (19:41) “...culture still works in phases and seasons. I think the culture, even that I built from say seven people to let's call it 50, actually had to change.There was a moment in time and I've seen this happen a couple different times, moments in time where we're no longer getting the results that we once were getting. And that ultimately goes back to culture. Are we hiring the right people and promoting the right people?” (23:09) “I think our ability to succeed over time will always be because we make decisions that don't look like the next big software business. We make our own unique decisions that are innovative, that are different and maybe even cause people in those early days to be like, ‘wait, what are you doing? This doesn't make any sense to me.’” (44:16) “...as we are in a remote environment, it's a different skillset to kind of build comradery across video, which is where so much of life now takes place. And so you're starting to have to find people who can engage that way.” (45:38) “...one of the mistakes that I probably continue to make over and over and over again is I move too slow when something is not going well. I think as leaders, we often can quickly identify that a project isn't going well, a team member isn't working out and we are compassionate and we're empathetic. And so it makes us too patient, I think at times, and we put too much stock into the person that we're dealing with when we forget if a person is kind of failing their team or failing the organization, it's not just this one to one relationship that's kind of challenged, they're causing this challenge to like grow and grow and grow across the organization.” (47:43) “If you're in peace time, I think the team is always the most important. Sometimes you're in something more like war time, where things are chaotic and nothing is as usual, the economy is in a weird place. And sometimes if somebody's being successful, I think you let 'em run. But in the long term, I'd say it always comes back to that ability to work with the team. The ability to kind of work together is the most important thing.”
Pioneering Solutions to Big Problems With Andrew Feldman, Co-founder and CEO of Cerebras Systems
0:36What does it take to solve an intimidating problem that many feel is unsolvable? Andrew Feldman, Co-founder and CEO of Cerebras Systems, can tell you, because he and his team engineered an unprecedented technological breakthrough. They set out to build a new class of computer system to accelerate Artificial Intelligence work. In the end, they built the fastest AI accelerator, based on the largest processor in the industry. Tune in to hear his story, his thoughts on building and selling companies, and his career advice for aspiring founders. Enjoy this episode. Main Takeaways: - Pioneering Solutions to Big Problems: Andrew explains his love of tackling big problems where there “isn’t a safety net” and his love of “fearless engineering.” He shares his experience searching for a solution that many thought couldn’t be found. - Artificial Intelligence: Andrew discusses his thoughts on AI, how it could be used for extraordinary good and how it will permeate every facet of our lives moving forward. - Building and Selling Companies: Andrew discusses his experience building, leading and selling companies, diving into his decision making process for when to sell. - Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Andrew provides advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and also dives into the mistakes that he has made along the way. He stresses the need to focus on the customer, to build trust within your team and to build the right professional network. Key Quotes: In my experience, these aren't sitting on a park bench with an idea arriving like a child from Zeus's head fully formed, right? That's not the way they come. You articulate a problem….What choices are available to you to solve this? You have to decide in your career what sort of problems you're going to attack. And you have to decide if you're more afraid of failing in pursuit of a really interesting big problem or succeeding at a mediocre problem. I think like every technology, [AI] has the opportunity for tremendous good and tremendous evil, both. I'd say the same for nuclear power. I'd say the same for, you know, any number of monstrous technologies. It is that their very power can be used for good or for bad. And I think that the technologies in AI can be used for evil and the exact same technology can be used for such good, it's extraordinary. And so the challenge is on us to manage it. I think it's a tremendous mistake to build a company to sell it. I think it's a tremendous mistake to have a religious view that you have to go public. You are using other people's money in what we do. You are building a company in partnership with people who are lending you part of their career, and you're the steward of that. I think one of the things young people should think about is they see resumes and they see LinkedIn links and it's success, lots of bullets, another success, lots of bullets. I think you can just ignore all that because nobody puts up their failures. You know, bad idea, six months wasted on a bad idea, millions of dollars destroyed because of arrogance, right? Nobody puts that on their LinkedIn. And so you get this, sort of like the Instagram version of a career, perfect angles, perfect lighting filters done properly. But that's not really the way careers went.
Promoting Financial Wellness Now and Into Your Future with Kristina Wallender, Chief Experience Officer of Human Interest
0:36Kristina Wallender, Chief Experience Officer of Human Interest, discusses tackling the retirement crisis in the United States, where a vast majority of people will be unable to afford the life that they envision after work. She dives into how our psychological biases can negatively impact our decisions about long-term investing and how Human Interest works to combat those biases. Intro: How can technology be used as a lever to improve people’s lives at scale? On this episode of Future of Tech, we speak to Krisina Wallender, Chief Experience Officer of Human Interest, a company focused on increasing financial wellness through helping small and medium businesses offer quality 401k plans to their employees. She dives into the retirement crisis we are seeing in the United States, explaining that a vast majority of people will be unable to afford the life that they envision after work, and discusses how psychological biases can hinder good long-term investing decisions. Enjoy this episode. Main Takeaways: Kristina’s Career Journey: Kristina discusses studying psychology and economics, and her “personal mission to create a more empowered world”. She talks about what she has learned from her work at Amazon and Human Interest, as well as her sabbaticals. The Importance of Investing in Retirement: Kristina discusses the retirement crisis that we are seeing in the United States. She explains that “nearly 80 percent of Americans are not saving enough for their future” and will not be set-up for the life that they envision after work. Pairing Technology and Behavioral Psychology: Kristina talks about the psychological elements and biases in the human decision-making process that hinder our ability to make long-term investments, and how Human Interest works to combat those biases. Key Quotes: (06:24) I double majored in psychology and economics. And what I found fascinating was this burgeoning field of behavioral economics and, you know, thinking about some of the systematic biases people have that hold them back from having the best outcomes in their life and with the right nudges, we can help people live better lives, healthier, wealthier, happier lives. (07:10) I found that technology was a tremendous lever for being able to improve people's outcomes and, you know, do that at scale. (12:39) The problem of long term savings is one of the biggest challenges that we have as humans. A lot of the heuristics and biases that we use for day to day decision making, they work against the problem of long term savings. (28:22) Few things are more empowering than being able to afford the life you envision in your retirement. And I get to work toward that every day. I mean, it's one of the biggest problems we have in the country, the retirement savings crisis. (40:20) What precipitated my first sabbatical following Amazon was the death of my mom and I still call her my best friend. I think of her every day, I used to speak with her every day. I can't possibly convey the degree to which that changed my life, you know, her passing…. What I learned from it is that you can't defer your life goals to the future…. because there were so many things my mom had hoped for in her life that she wasn't able to experience.
The Future of the Unicorn CFO, Ronit Maor, Earnix
0:36Intro: How should businesses properly utilize a CFO? Today’s guest is Ronit Maor, the Chief Financial Officer at the insurance and banking software provider Earnix. With nearly two decades of CFO experience, she is the perfect person to talk to about the intricacies of the CFO position, and how it has changed over the years. On this episode of Future of Tech, Ronit explains how in successful businesses, the role of the CFO stretches far beyond mere budget management and into other essential strategic aspects within the company. She also gives new CEOs some valuable advice about hiring a CFO and building a strong partnership with that person. Enjoy this episode. Main Takeaways: It’s Not All Numbers: Ronit suggests that new CEOs not consider their Chief Financial Officer to be just a “glorified controller.” She insists that a CFO needs to be deeply involved in decision-making processes at a company rather than someone who only handles a budget. Women in Leadership: In an effort to work toward greater representation for women in leadership roles, Ronit is a mentor at Woman2Woman, an Israeli organization that helps young aspiring women professionals reach their goals. Ronit suggests that more equitable representation will be positive for businesses. How SaaS Has Changed the CFO Position: Ronit offers a CFO’s perspective on how working at a company that provides SaaS compares to the more traditional enterprise software-driven businesses or even hardware companies. She claims that because SaaS requires companies to have ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue), CFOs have to consider their customers differently: “The sale never ends. You have to, all the time, know your customer, take care of it, [and] learn what the customer needs are. It’s a different way of work compared to… the old way that you’ve sold it once and that’s it.” Key Quotes: [12:09] “Business is not very different in different companies, even if the technology is very different. So, one of the advantages CFO do have is the ability to move between industries and different types of markets even if the technologies are completely different, when the technology people have less flexibility than us.” [23:44] “So the more formal things that I’m doing is I'm a mentor in a organization called Woman2Woman, which is an organization established by people that got out of [the] 8200 army unit. And it's a mentoring for women… I think we have a group of like 50 mentors — senior people in the industries actually. It's not only one industry… You’ll find they’re senior women from all around the country. The organization is choosing each year 50 mentees — young women that want to get into this program [and] that want to become leaders in the industry.” [28:58] “If I need to choose one thing that will increase chances for success — nothing can guarantee success, of course — is having the right people… hiring people that are smarter and more knowledgeable in their specific professions. It's not always easy, but this is what people… what CEOs need to do.” [35:26] “We mentioned ARR, which is the recurring revenues, which is the core thing that you have in SaaS. The fact that you have recurring revenues changes a lot the way you go after the markets, the customers, and you maintain them afterwards. The whole concept is that it's not a one time thing [where] you got the customer once and that's it, you're done. You have to maintain them.” [44:13] “The difference between public and private for a CFO… putting aside the pressure of being a CFO of a public company… but from the business side, when the company's public, the balance in the view and the decision-making between the short term and the long term is different from when you are a private company. When you are a private company, you can afford yourself… making… the right decision for the longer term, with less considerations of how the quarter will end. While when you are a public company you, as much as you will say that you are doing everything you can for the long term of the company, at the end of the day, you have the conference call with the investors and you report how the quarter ended, and the stock goes up or down, and your employees see [that] the stock goes up or down, and… it's very hard to ignore it. So you have to take into consideration also the short term considerations, which are not always the right balance for the business.”