Know My Company
Hi, Sameer. Tell us about your journey in technology and how you started at Fusemachines.
We all know how important education is in one’s life. Nepal, being one of the poorer countries, doesn’t necessarily have all the infrastructure required for providing the best education for the whole country. Many students try to go abroad for further education.
I was one of the lucky ones who got a full scholarship to do my undergraduate degree in the United States, which led to getting my PhD at Columbia University. It also led to an opportunity to work at IBM Watson Research Center as one of the researchers in Speech-to-Speech translation group.
After working in the AI field for more than a decade, I started thinking about how I could apply the skill sets to build something that can have an impact in many people’s lives. After ruminating on this point for a while, I started Fusemachines.
Today, Fusemachines teaches AI to thousands of students from underserved communities with its blended learning programs (online + in-classroom) and provides them with this skill set that enables them to be ready for the future of work.
Tell us about Fusemachines’ AI education programs and how it helps marketing and sales professionals.
Our AI education program is a framework for training many engineers in AI from untapped markets. We teach Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing courses and give them the best education with both onsite and online classrooms. Currently we run classes in Nepal and the Dominican Republic, but we have run classes in other geographic locations as well including Rwanda, United States, etc.
If you take the ML courses you will understand how some of the ML engines like Demand Prediction, Pricing Prediction, and Sales Prediction work under the hood, enabling you to integrate AI into your Sales workflow.
Almost every industry is heavily disrupted by Big Data, AI, Blockchain, and Predictive Intelligence technologies. What kind of future are you building with your AI and ML education?
We are trying to build a future where students of all ages can get personalized AI education. We use our AI tutor that emulates a human teacher, providing a teaching lesson on a one-on-one basis. This personalized approach allows students to learn at their own pace, understand the discrepancy in their knowledge in subtopics and understand those subtopics to get a better grasp of the main ML topics. We hope that our students can go on to build AI products and solve many problems, big and small, after going through our classes.
Apart from the ones in the US, which industries and geographies are you currently targeting?
We are targeting a variety of regions, including Nepal, US, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa.
How does Fusemachines democratize AI? What kind of AI talent is needed to scale business goals and workflows to justify investments in this market?
We believe that talent exists everywhere, but opportunities do not. By providing the best AI education through our fuse ai platform and our onsite classes, we are trying to provide the AI skillset to people from all types of backgrounds and professions. We are also making it accessible for companies to build AI features into their businesses, thus democratizing AI to individuals and companies.
We need many different types of AI talent to scale the business: AI Strategists, AI PhDs, AI Leads, AI Engineers, etc. Different types of AI talent are crucial to scope out business problems, write algorithms and then build machine learning models. We have seen that this combination of talent (business strategists, stakeholders, AI PhDs, and engineers) generate the best results.
What are your predictions on the future of AI-based Personalization in 2020-2024? Where do you see the whole mobile messaging and talent search platforms moving toward in the next 2-3 years?
Personalization will reach new heights in the next few years since data from social channels, CRM and third-party sources will be integrated even more. From tailored marketing content that is meant to appeal better, to personalized recommendation on outfits, activities, food depending on your particular tastes, AI will be in many pieces of software. Vendors can collect/disseminate data using AI powered chatbots, use NLP to study customer sentiment and image recognition to study facial expressions and take personalization to the next level.
For talent search there will be more AI systems doing pre-screening of resumes, using AI systems to score video interviews, using NLP techniques to mine social and other data to score behavior, etc.
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What is your opinion on the “Weaponization of AI and machine learning”? How do you promote your ideas in the modern digital economy?
Weaponization of AI is a real threat that needs to be addressed with proper policies from the government. Many current systems can be easily weaponized; however, they can also be used for the good of society. For example, drones can be fitted with bullets (like suicide bots), but at the same time, the same bots can be fitted with blood and medicine to be delivered in the Himalayas and save lives, which is something we have done in Nepal.
The Crystal Gaze
What digital technology start-ups and labs are you keenly following?
These organizations are not necessarily startups but some AI research organizations I follow are OpenAI, Google DeepMind, Facebook Research, IBM Research, MSFT Research, Amazon Research and many research labs in the universities.
What other emerging technologies within your industry are you interested in?
New Deep Learning based NLP technology that improves question answering and dialog systems and knowledge representation.
What are the new emerging markets for these technology markets?
Untapped/underserved communities around the world both in developing and developed countries.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Writing my to-do list on a piece of paper, scratching things out as I finish them, and carrying that piece of paper around with me until everything on the list is scratched out.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
- Elon Musk (I am a fan!)
Thank you, Sameer! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
Sameer Maskey is the Founder and CEO of Fusemachines Inc, a company that makes Artificial Intelligence accessible to everyone through education, software and services. Dr. Maskey has more than 18 years of experience in artificial intelligence, natural language processing, machine learning, and data science. After completing his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Columbia University, he joined IBM Watson Research Center where he invented various statistical algorithms to improve speech-to-speech translation and question answering systems.
Sameer currently serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University where he teaches several courses including “Statistical Methods for Natural Language Processing” and “Programming for Entrepreneurs”. He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles and served as Session Chair, Program Committee member, and Review Committee member at ACL, HLT, ICASSP, NAACL and COLING. Sameer is an inventor of 15 United States patents and has authored over 20 publications.
Fusemachines is an Artificial Intelligence solutions and services provider with a mission to “democratize AI,” making Big Data & Machine Learning capabilities and education available to companies of all sizes. The company was founded in 2013 by Sameer Maskey, an industry veteran and adjunct associate professor at Columbia University with over 20 years of experience in AI research and implementation.
Fusemachines helps organizations identify opportunities where AI can be best utilized to transform and grow their business and has successfully provided its products and services to a variety of different industry verticals, including healthcare, HR & talent management, retail, food & beverage, and more.