Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a thirty-year track record of accurate predictions. Called "the restless genius" by The Wall Street Journal and "the ultimate thinking machine" by Forbes magazine, Kurzweil was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which described him as the "rightful heir to Thomas Edison." PBS selected him as one of the "sixteen revolutionaries who made America."
Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.
Among Kurzweil’s many honors, he received the 2015 Technical Grammy Award for outstanding achievements in the field of music technology; he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, holds twenty honorary Doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents.
Ray has written five national best-selling books, including New York Times best sellers The Singularity Is Near (2005) and How To Create A Mind (2012). He is a Director of Engineering at Google heading up a team developing machine intelligence and natural language understanding.
Rob High - CTO, IBM Watson
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.
Prior to joining the Watson team, Rob was Chief Architect for the SOA Foundation and member of the IBM Academy of Technology, Rob championed an open industry architectural definition of the principles of business and IT alignment enabled by SOA and Business Process Optimization, as well as ensuring IBM's software and services portfolio is architecturally grounded to enable for efficient SOA-based solutions. This responsibility extended across the IBM software portfolio, including WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli, Lotus, and Information Management offerings.
Rob has 37 years of programming experience and has worked with distributed, object oriented, component-based transaction monitors for the last 26 years, including SOMObject Server, Component Broker, and the WebSphere Application Server. Rob previously served as Chief Architect for the WebSphere foundation with architectural responsibility for the WebSphere Application Server and the related products integrated on that core runtime.
Dennis R. Mortensen - CEO and Founder, x.ai
Dennis is the CEO and Founder of x.ai, whose artificial intelligence driven personal assistant lets people schedule meetings using plain English and nothing more than a CC to firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s a pioneer and expert in the analytics, optimization and big data space and has been since its inception – he is also a fully-fledged entrepreneur and successfully delivered a number of company exits. He’s an accredited Associate Analytics Instructor at the University of British Columbia, the Author of Data Driven Insights from Wiley and a frequent speaker on the subject of Analytics and Data. A native of Denmark, Mortensen currently calls New York City his home.
Amanda Kahlow - CEO and Founder, 6sense
CEO and founder of 6sense, Amanda is passionate about bringing the power of predictive marketing and sales intelligence to B2B enterprise and mid-market companies. Amanda makes 6sense customers’ needs a priority, applying her proven aptitude for relationship building and sales. Prior to 6sense, Amanda spent 14 years as the CEO and founder of CI Insights, a big-data services company that used multichannel analytics to help enterprise companies generate hundreds of millions in net-new business.
Bruno Kurtic - Founding VP of Product and Strategy, Sumo Logic
Bruno leads product strategy and development for Sumo Logic, pioneering machine-learning technology to address growing volumes of machine data across enterprise networks. He joined Sumo Logic from SenSage, where he served as Vice President of Product Management, developing technology, go-to-market strategy and product roadmaps for data warehousing, GRC, SIEM and log management solutions. Before joining SenSage, Bruno developed and implemented growth strategies for large high-tech clients at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), including a $7 billion R&D organization. He spent six years at webMethods, where he was a Product Group Director for two product lines, started the west coast engineering team and played a key role in the acquisition of Active Software Inc. Bruno also served at Andersen Consulting’s Center for Strategic Technology in Palo Alto and founded a software company that developed handwriting and voice recognition software. Bruno holds an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and B.A. in Quantitative Methods and Computer Science from University of St. Thomas.
Nic Poulos - Bowery Capital
Nic is a Principal at Bowery Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund focused exclusively on enterprise software and based in New York. While at Bowery, he has led investments across a range of B2B sub-sectors and themes, including artificial intelligence and learning. Prior to forming Bowery Capital, Nic was an Associate at AOL Ventures where he helped drive investment in and support of over 20 companies, primarily in enterprise SaaS. Before AOL Ventures, he served as a Manager at Advertising.com, leading various business development initiatives focused around ad tech and sales. Earlier, Nic worked as a technology investment banking analyst at GCA Savvian Advisors in the firm’s Internet group. While there, he participated in the acquisitions of Broadband Enterprises and Register.com, as well as various early- and mid-stage private financings. Nic holds an A.B. in History from Princeton University.
Illah R. Nourbakhsh -Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
llah R. Nourbakhsh is Professor of Robotics, director of the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) lab, and head of the Robotics Masters Program in The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His current research projects explore community-based robotics, including educational and social robotics and ways to use technology to empower individuals and communities.
Illah's past research has included protein structure prediction under the GENOME project, software reuse, interleaving planning and execution and planning and scheduling algorithms. Illah served as Robotics Group lead at NASA/Ames Research Center. He was a founder and chief scientist of Blue Pumpkin Software, Inc., which was acquired by Witness Systems, Inc. In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences named him a Kavli Fellow. In 2013 he was inducted into the June Harless West Virginia Hall of Fame.
John Frankel - Founding Partner ffVC
John Frankel is the founding partner of ff Venture Capital, one of the best performing seed- and early-stage venture capital firms in the U.S. John has been an early-stage investor since 1999 and has served as a director of over 35 companies and an investor in more than 76 companies, including Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD on NASDAQ), Indiegogo, Ionic Security, Lithium/Klout, SkyCatch, Plated and 500px. John and ff Venture Capital are also active investors in several early-stage artificial intelligence companies.
Prior to founding ffVC, John worked at Goldman Sachs for 21 years in a variety of roles that involved technology development, reengineering, and capital markets. In capital markets, he worked closely with some of the world’s leading hedge funds, and developed a keen understanding of portfolio risk/return management.
Bill Hibbard - Scientist, University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center
Bill Hibbard is an emeritus senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center working on visualization and machine intelligence. Dr. Hibbard is principal author of the Vis5D, Cave5D and VisAD open source visualization systems. He is also author of papers about machine intelligence and of Ethical Artificial Intelligence, available here
Thomas Kochan - Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management
Thomas Kochan is the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management, a Professor of Work and Employment Research and Engineering Systems, and the CoDirector of the MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Kochan focuses on the need to update America’s work and employment policies, institutions, and practices to catch up with a changing workforce and economy. His recent work calls attention to the challenges facing working families in meeting their responsibilities at work, at home, and in their communities. Through empirical research, he demonstrates that fundamental changes in the quality of employee and labor-management relations are needed to address America’s critical problems in industries ranging from healthcare to airlines to manufacturing. His most recent book is Shaping the Future of Work (Business Experts Press, 2016)
Nell Watson is an engineer, entrepreneur, and futurist thinker who grew up in Northern Ireland. She has a longstanding interest in the psychology of technology, and how that combination creates emerging social trends.
In 2010 Nell founded Poikos, the ‘Instagram for body measurement’. Nell’s patented technology ‘dematerialises’ the 3D body scanner, by providing accurate 3D scans of the body with only 2D camera hardware, such as that found within smartphones, or laptops. This may then be applied to a range of markets, such as fashion, mass customisation, and health.
Nell is an advisory technologist to several startups, accelerators, and venture capital funds.
Possessing a long-term mindset, she also serves as an advisory futurist to The Lifeboat Foundation, helping to pinpoint the trajectories that human beings are on. The Lifeboat Foundation has a mission to protect humanity from existential risks that could end civilization as we know it, such as asteroid collisions, or rogue artificial intelligence.
Nell lectures globally on Machine Intelligence, AI philosophy, Human-Machine relations, and the Future of Human Society.
Pavandeep Kalra - Director of Data Science, Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft
Pavandeep Kalra is currently a Director Data Science at Azure Machine Learning in Microsoft where he is leading a team to create cutting edge machine learning solutions on the cloud with various customers & partners. Prior to Microsoft he has led various teams at Nokia, Oracle, Goldman Sachs & multiple startups. Pavandeep has over eight pending patent applications, and holds degrees from the Wharton and Engineering Schools of the University of Pennsylvania
Ajay Singh - Venture Investor, Samsung
Ajay focuses on early stage venture investments at Samsung Global Innovation Center and his investment interests lie in disruptive consumer technologies. Specifically, Ajay leads investment efforts in Artificial Intelligence and AR/VR spaces and has made several investments in these areas. Ajay has over 12 years of investment and operational experience with several small and large corporations and venture funds.
Ajay graduated with BS in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, JD from Northwestern University School of Law and MBA from Kellogg School of Management.
Francesca Rossi - IBM Research and University of Padova
Francesca Rossi is a research scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, currently on leave from the University of Padova, Italy. Her research interests are within artificial intelligence, and include constraint reasoning, preferences, multi-agent systems, and computational social choice. She has published over 170 papers on these and other topics related to AI. She has been president of the International Association for Constraint Programming (ACP) and of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI). She currently is the associate editor in chief for the Journal of AI Research (JAIR) and she is both a AAAI and and ECCAI fellow.
Max Tegmark - Cosmologist, MIT Professor, Co-Founder of Future of Life Institute
Known as “Mad Max" for his unorthodox ideas and passion for adventure, his scientific interests range from the physics of cognitive systems to precision cosmology to the ultimate nature of reality, all explored in his new popular book "Our Mathematical Universe". He is an MIT physics professor with more than two hundred technical papers and has featured in dozens of science documentaries. His work with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey on galaxy clustering shared the first prize in Science magazine’s “Breakthrough of the Year: 2003.
Soumen Ganguly - Director, AV&Co
Soumen is a Director with AV&Co. and focuses on wireless and converged products and services. Prior to AV&Co., Soumen was a Partner at Mercator Partners – a strategy boutique firm focused on telecom. Soumen holds an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Delhi, India.
With 14+ years consulting experience and over 200 projects in the wireless and technology industry, Soumen is an expert in mobile devices product portfolio strategy and optimization, converged communication and entertainment products within the Smart Home, wireless spectrum valuation and auction support, B2B mobile services, new product strategy and business case development, wireless towers, mobile payments, and customer segmentation. Soumen has led numerous engagements for multiple U.S. and European mobile and broadband operators, equipment manufacturers, and investors. He has been quoted on mobile related matters within publications such as CNN.com, Fortune, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Nathan Wilson - Co-Founder and CTO, Nara Logics
Nathan is the driving force behind Nara's revolutionary neural network technology, and has spent his career as an expert at the intersection of neuroscience and computer science. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT in brain and cognitive sciences, a Master's in computer science and artificial intelligence from Cornell, and has numerous patents and publications in top journals including Nature, Neuron, and the MIT Press.
Neena Buck - Senior Analyst, MIT Technology Review
Neena Buck recently joined MIT Technology Review as a Senior Technology Analyst. Prior to this, she worked in MIT’s Office of Corporate Relations as a Senior Industrial Liaison Officer, connecting companies in the US, Japan and India to relevant MIT faculty and research groups, and fostering meaningful collaborations between these entities. In her role within the MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP), she assisted companies in formulating their long-term research, business and technology strategies within the context of MIT’s research, and in areas that could influence each company’s current and future direction.
Neena was previously a Vice President at Strategy Analytics, an industry analysis and market research firm, where she launched and managed the company's Emerging Frontiers research program and was responsible for tracking and anticipating artificial intelligence and robotics-related technologies and their impact on business, consumers and society. As an industry analyst, she assisted companies in visualizing how new technologies could help them transform their future products, services and business models. She served as Director of Marketing at DRI/McGraw-Hill, the economic forecasting arm of Standard & Poor's (now Global Insights). Before this, she was Vice President & Research Director of Artificial Intelligence at New Science Associates, a market research and technology strategy firm (acquired by Gartner).
Earlier, she worked at IBM Corporation on the development of new-generation computing architectures, intelligent systems and natural language processing software. She started her career at General Motors Corporation’s Delco Electronics (now Delphi), where she was the lead hardware design engineer for one of Cadillac’s first engine-control computers.
Neena serves on the Visiting Committee/Visiting Advisory Board of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Wisconsin, Madison. She specialized in artificial intelligence research at Yale University, where she was a PhD candidate in Computer Science. She holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and a BS in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.