MACHINES + MEDIA 2019: Speaker Bios & Program Index

Thursday, May 23 (8AM-7PM) | Sponsored & Hosted by Bloomberg
731 Lexington Ave, New York, NY | 7th Floor


8:00AM: Breakfast and Registration

9:00AM: Welcome Announcements.

Justin Hendrix, Executive Director, NYC Media Lab and RLab
Justin Hendrix is Executive Director of NYC Media Lab, a public-private partnership between the City’s industry and its universities to drive emerging media and technology innovation and entrepreneurship, and the founding Executive Director of RLab, a new 16,500 square foot facility including co-working labs, classrooms, studios, and more in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that is New York’s City’s home for VR, AR and spatial computing. RLab is the nation’s first city-funded center for research, entrepreneurship and education in virtual and augmented-reality, spatial computing and other emerging media technologies. Previously he was Vice President, Business Development & Innovation for The Economist. He holds a BA from the College of William & Mary and an MSc in Technology Commercialization from the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin. 

9:10AM: Keynote Discussion: Artificial Intelligence and Competition.

John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg
John Micklethwait is the Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg where he oversees editorial content across all Bloomberg platforms, including its news, newsletters, magazines, opinion, television, radio and digital properties, as well as its research services including Bloomberg Intelligence. Prior to joining Bloomberg in February 2015, Micklethwait was Editor-in-Chief of The Economist where he led the newspaper into the digital age while expanding its readership and enhancing its reputation. He joined The Economist in 1987 as a finance correspondent and served as Business editor and United States editor before being named Editor-in-Chief in 2006. Micklethwait began his career in banking at Chase Manhattan in London after studying history at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is the co-author of six books, most recently The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State. In 2010, Micklethwait was named Editors’ Editor by the British Society of Magazine Editors. He is a trustee of the British Museum.

Beth Smith, General Manager, IBM Watson AI
As the GM of Watson AI, Beth Smith is responsible for the overall success of IBM Watson’s AI strategy and execution. She leads the end-to-end business including the engineering and delivery of the technology, and the global ecosystem of Watson partners and developers. Fueled by scientific innovations born out of IBM’s research and engineering teams, Watson is IBM’s flagship AI system. More broadly across IBM, Beth contributes to technical and business strategy as a member of several senior leadership teams responsible for shaping key strategic initiatives across the corporation. Beth’s passion for technology took root in 1987 with her first role as a programmer in Cary, NC. Over the years, she has held several executive roles in IBM, including prior positions as the GM of IBM’s Information Management and Analytics Platform; VP of WebSphere Product and Engineering; and VP of WebSphere Mergers and Acquisitions. Beth holds a BS in Computer Science from North Carolina State University.

9:45AM: Panel: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Media.

Moderator: Monique White, Head of AI and Information Extraction, Bloomberg

Haile Owusu, SVP Data & Analytics, Turner Media
From LinkedIn:
Owusu’s technical background is in theoretical condensed matter physics, particularly in the parameterization and exact solution of integrable matrices. Using this background in advanced matrix techniques, he leads all of SocialFlow's research efforts. The company has unique access to Facebook and all of the Twitter firehose. The big data load is enormous and he’s designed a variety of techniques for its analysis and processing.

Anju Kambadur, Head of AI Engineering, Bloomberg
From LinkedIn:
Anju is a senior researcher and lead the AI group at Bloomberg. We work on all things machine learning, natural language processing, information extraction, table understanding, graph analytics, topic modeling, and more. We are hiring! 

Sage Wohns, CEO & Co-Founder, Agolo
Sage Wohns is the cofounder and CEO of Agolo, a CRV and Microsoft backed company that uses artificial intelligence to summarize information faster, and with better coverage, than any person in the world. Sage believes that if we can responsibly apply the capabilities of AI, it can empower us toward insight and ingenuity of which only the human mind is capable. After completing his MBA at Columbia Business School and leading Multilingual Engineering at Rakuten in Tokyo, Sage enjoyed a brief stint farming radish in the countryside of Hokkaido before returning home to pioneer the AI-startup boom in New York City. He blended his programming and business-strategy experience to launch Agolo, which has since become a trailblazer for the mainstream use of AI in finance and news organizations, and the winner of Citi’s Top Business Intelligence Tool prize. Besides being a proud nerd and Seattle native, Sage is also an accomplished cellist, fluent Japanese speaker, and avid mountaineer. Don’t get him started on comic books.

Sowmya Gottipati, Vice President, Media Labs, NBCUniversal
Sowmya Gottipati is Vice President of Media Labs, Innovation arm of NBCUniversal. Sowmya drives technology innovation and help deliver business solutions enabled by emerging technologies with particular emphasis on developing new business models for NBCUniversal. She leads pilot and incubation programs in collaboration with start-up and venture capital community, academic research groups and technology professionals from the worlds of application and content strategy, mobile development, distribution, video, and consumer-experience technologies. Previously, Sowmya served as a technology leader at AT&T where she managed and delivered products to the market that are currently bringing $3B+ in revenues. She has more than 20 years of hands-on experience in technology strategy and product innovation, product development, product and program management, and financial management.

10:30AM: Coffee Break

10:50AM: The State of the Art.

Moderator: Amy Chen, Director of Entrepreneurship Programs, NYC Media Lab

Shih-Fu Chang, Richard Dicker Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Columbia University
Shih-Fu Chang is Director of the Digital Video and Multimedia Lab at Columbia Engineering, where he also serves as the Senior Executive Vice Dean. Listed as the most influential researcher in multimedia in 2016, he has made major research contributions in image/video search, multimodal knowledge extraction, and media forensics. His research has led to several startup companies and many licensed technologies. He is a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Academia Sinica.

Shioulin Sam, Research Engineer, Cloudera
Shioulin Sam is a research engineer at Cloudera Fast Forward Labs, where she bridges machine learning academic research and industry applications. In her previous life, she managed a portfolio of early-stage venture focusing on women-led startups and public market investments. She also worked in the investment management industry designing quantitative trading strategies. She holds a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mor Naaman, Associate Professor, Jacobs Institute, Cornell Tech
Mor Naaman is an associate professor of Information Science at the Jacobs Institute at Cornell Tech where he is the founder of the Connective Media hub. Mor leads a research group focused on topics related to the intersection of technology, media and democracy. The group applies multidisciplinary techniques — from machine learning to qualitative social science — to study our information ecosystem and its challenges. Previously, Mor was on the faculty at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information, led a research team at Yahoo! Research Berkeley, received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Stanford University InfoLab, and played professional basketball for Hapoel Tel Aviv. He is also a former startup co-founder, and advises startup companies in social computing and related areas. His research is widely recognized, including with an NSF Early Faculty CAREER Award, research awards and grants from numerous corporations, and multiple best paper awards. 

Gary Kazantsev, Head of Quant Technology Strategy, Office of the CTO, Bloomberg
Gary Kazantsev is the Head of the Engineering Machine Learning group at Bloomberg, leading projects that intersect computational linguistics, machine learning and finance, including sentiment analysis, market impact indicators, machine translation, text classification, information extraction and predictive modeling of financial markets. Gary Kazantsev serves as Member of Customer Advisory Board at Context Relevant, Inc. Gary Kazantsev holds a B.S., Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Cum Laude.

11:50AM: Panel: AI Characters.

Moderator: Justin Hendrix, Executive Director, NYC Media Lab and RLab

Oren Aharon, CEO & Founder, Hour One
Oren is CEO and Founder at Hour One which is a cloud platform for creating digital characters of real-life people as well as fictional characters in voice-photo-real quality, in video. Hour One cloud platform is already being used to create computer generated video by its customers. Oren has both technological and investments background. Co-founded, Cytopx, Kadoor and Vectorious which is the first ever digital system to be implanted in a human body. Oren has been part of the Samsung Catalyst fund under Samsung Corporate Strategy Office, which is responsible for building new business units in Samsung (Health, IOT, Automotive). At his role in Samsung, Oren took part in defining the A.I. strategy for voice applications and investments as Sound Hound and led the A.I. strategy for video applications including the investment in Allegro.ai. Prior, Oren held different VP R&D roles. He is Physics B.A., Eng. B.Sc. & M.Sc., MBA and Ph.D. E.E.

Mitu Khandaker, CEO, Glow Up Games
Dr Mitu Khandaker is game designer, creative entrepreneur, scholar, teacher, and an advocate for thoughtful & inclusive tech, games & artificial intelligence. She is CEO of Glow Up Games, a creative R&D studio building beautifully crafted character-driven games for mobile & emerging tech, XR & AI, which a focus on building diverse audiences. She is also an Assistant Arts Professor at NYU Game Center, where she teaches game design classes ranging from social simulation to game production to XR. Prior to this, she was on the founding team & Chief Creative Officer of Spirit AI, an AI platform company building tools to create naturalistic characters. She also created acclaimed systemic storytelling indie game Redshirt, which was nominated for an IGF award and for which she was awarded a Breakthrough Brit BAFTA in 2013 and the Creative English Trailblazer Award in 2014. She also holds a PhD on the aesthetics of VR and interactivity in video games. She has a strong interest in encouraging diversity in game development production and practice, and participates in outreach programs around the world.

Aleissia Laidacker, Director of Developer Experience, Magic Leap
Aleissia is a Technology and Design Director with 20 years experience in product design, AI, systems and game development. A leader in the Augmented Reality / Mixed Reality space, where she leads as Director of Developer Experience at Magic Leap. Her team works closely with the Developer community to drive the product design for tools, platforms and engine development at Magic Leap. As well as providing creators with design and technical best practices to working in the mixed reality space. Previous to Magic Leap, she worked in game development, working at Ubisoft for 11 years, where she was AI Lead on the Assassin's Creed franchise. She is also co-founder of Mixed Flour, an Immersive Design Company focused on creating location-based experiences that bring together Food, Technology and Interaction Design.

Terry Chen, VP of Audio, Modulate
Terry Chen is the VP of Audio at Modulate, a startup leveraging machine learning to pioneer the next generation of voice customization. A Boston native, Terry has served as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University and Corporate Strategy Associate at K-Swiss Global Brands. With over a decade of audio engineering experience, he currently leads Modulate’s audio team, blending classical signal processing with revolutionary machine learning algorithms.  He is deeply passionate about building ethical safeguards into AI technology from the ground up. Terry graduated from UCLA with a BS in Environmental Science.

12:30PM: Lunch

1:30PM: Panel: Deep Dive: The R&D Priorities of the Tech Platforms.

Moderator: Justin Hendrix, Executive Director, NYC Media Lab and RLab

Mandeep Singh, Senior Analyst, Technology, Bloomberg Intelligence
From LinkedIn:
Equity research analyst covering software sector at Bloomberg Intelligence. Mandeep has a solid understanding of technology is experienced in machine learning and data visualization using Python and R to collect and analyze big data for research. He possesses a strong work ethic and attention to detail with proven ability to quickly learn, adapt and deliver in different cultures and teams. Mandeep has created valuation models and identified inflection points for growth companies Palo Alto Networks, Tableau, Splunk, ServiceNow and Ultimate Software. Mandeep earned a Masters in Data Science from Columbia University, M.B.A. in Finance from New York University Stern School of Business and is a CFA charter holder. Specialties: Equity Research, Financial Modeling & Valuation, Bloomberg, Big Data, Project Management, Business Development & Investor Relations 

Francesco Marconi, R&D Chief and Head of the Editorial Lab, The Wall Street Journal
Francesco Marconi is the R&D Chief and Head of the Editorial Lab at The Wall Street Journal where leads experiments with digital storytelling technologies, tools and techniques; establishes best-practices; and disseminate the methods to the rest of the newsroom, with the ultimate goal of nurturing a culture of innovation at the Journal as well as providing new, valuable experiences to WSJ subscribers. He also works to promote collaborations with startups, academic institutions and other media organizations. Prior to WSJ, Francesco was responsible for strategic planning, innovation, and partnerships at the Associated Press. He led the AP’s artificial intelligence strategy where he helped implement processes to enable journalists to analyze data, identify patterns, and scale news production. In addition to his work at the AP, he is a Tow Fellow at Columbia Journalism School and an affiliate researcher at the laboratory of social machines at MIT Media Lab. Francesco began his career as an economic researcher at the UN.

2:15PM: Fireside Chat: Algorithmic Bias & the Ethics of Machine-Driven Media.

Amanda Stent, NLP Architect, Office of the CTO, Bloomberg
Amanda Stent is a Natural Language Processing (NLP) architect at Bloomberg LP. Previously, she was a director of research and principal research scientist at Yahoo Labs, a principal member of technical staff at AT&T Labs - Research, and an associate professor in the Computer Science Department at Stony Brook University. Her research interests center on natural language processing and its applications, in particular topics related to text analytics, discourse, dialog and natural language generation. She holds a PhD in computer science from the University of Rochester. She is co-editor of the book Natural Language Generation in Interactive Systems (Cambridge University Press), has authored over 90 papers on natural language processing and is co-inventor on over twenty patents and patent applications. She is president emeritus of the ACL/ISCA Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialog, treasurer of the ACL Special Interest Group on Natural Language Generation and one of the rotating editors of the journal Dialogue & Discourse. She is also a board member of CRA-W, where she co-edits the newsletter.

Katherine Maher, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
Katherine Maher is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation and oversees the operations of the organization and its professional staff. Originally from Connecticut, USA, Katherine has spent her career at the intersection of technology, human rights, democracy and international development. Before joining the Foundation, she was Advocacy Director for the international digital rights organization Access in Washington, D.C., where she worked on global policy issues related to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy. Prior to Access, Katherine was an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Innovations Specialist at the World Bank; ICT Program Officer at the National Democratic Institute; and Innovation and Communication Officer at UNICEF, where she was a founding member of the UNICEF Innovation team. She joined the Wikimedia Foundation in 2014 as the organization’s first Chief Communications Officer. Katherine received her Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies in 2005 from New York University’s College of Arts and Science, after studying at the Arabic Language Institute of the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and Institut français d’études arabes de Damas (L’IFEAD) in Damascus, Syria.

3:00PM: Coffee Break

3:20PM: Cities, Satellites and Sensors.

Moderator: Harley Sugarman, Investor, Bloomberg Beta

Christian Guirnalda, Director, Verizon Innovation Centers & 5G Labs
Christian Guirnalda leads Verizon’s 5G Labs across NY, LA, DC, Cambridge, and SF which focus on educating and engaging innovators to build next generation experiences through Verizon’s 5G Incubator. Prior to this role, he was a part of Verizon Ventures where he invested in early stage companies, funds, and accelerators.  He also worked at a journalism startup, Patch, which disrupted hyperlocal news and was acquired by the Huffington Post as well as IBM as a strategy consultant for the TMT sector. Christian received a double major from Carnegie Mellon in Computing Technology and Manufacturing Management as well as an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Janine Yoong, VP Business Development, Mapillary
Janine Yoong is the VP of Business Development at Mapillary, the street-level imagery platform that scales and automates mapping using collaboration, cameras, and computer vision. At Mapillary, Janine works with mapping and navigation platforms, government agencies, geospatial service providers, NGOs, and location-based apps to get the most out of street-level imagery. Prior to Mapillary, Janine worked on strategic partnerships at Google and Yahoo, then scaled two startups toward successful exits. Janine is an advocate for collaborative use of technology for effective and equitable cities.

Jen Hensley, President, Link, Intersection
Jen Hensley is President, Link, at Intersection overseeing all aspects of the LinkNYC program including deployment, operations, and service delivery for the world’s most comprehensive free public Wi-Fi network. Prior to joining Intersection, Jen led the expansion and evolution of the City’s preeminent civic advocacy organization as Executive Director of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY). Previously, she was Senior Adviser to the Chairman at Empire State Development Corporation, leading economic development projects across New York State. Jen has also held positions in finance at Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, and served as Assistant Vice President at the Alliance for Downtown New York. Jen brings more than 15 years of experience working with government, civic, and business communities to Intersection, and she’s an integral part of the company’s Smart Cities mission. Included among Crain's 2018 "40 Under 40," she is a graduate of Barnard College and holds an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business, as well as an MPA from NYU's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Adam Maher, CEO, Ursa Space Systems
Adam Maher serves as CEO of Ursa Space Systems, which he founded in 2014 to develop his driving vision of connecting people to information-rich data derived from satellite-based synthetic aperture radar.  Maher’s vision is to create a living mosaic of the earth, providing truth to businesses, industries, and individuals about what is really happening worldwide through satellite data analytics. Maher has been identified as a leading visionary in the space-based enterprise data field, especially in the energy vertical.

4:00PM: Panel: The Chinese User Experience.

Moderator: Edith Moy, Managing Editor, Data Driven News & Automation, Bloomberg News

Joyce Shen, Investment Director & Operating Partner, Tenfore Holdings
Joyce Shen is a business executive, investor, and educator in emerging technologies and innovation. She is also a published author, public speaker, board member, and entrepreneur. Her most recent book is From Talking to Doing: A Short Guide to Corporate Innovation Success. Joyce is the investment director and operating partner at Tenfore Holdings where she leads enterprise software, big data, and emerging technologies. Joyce is also an adjunct faculty of data science at UC Berkeley where she teaches applications of machine learning and AI in product development and innovation. She previously guest lectured on blockchain and innovation at University of Oxford. Previously, Joyce was the global managing director of emerging technologies and venture investments in the CTO office at Thomson Reuters where she built and led global emerging technology group and the corporate venture fund. During her tenure, she led new technology strategy and product innovations in fintech, IoT, and emerging data solutions, established the global blockchain program, and made strategic investments in early-stage technology companies in big data and AI, digital identity, blockchain, and alternative data.

Kenneth Bronfin, Senior Managing Director, Head of International Investments, Hearst Ventures
Kenneth A. Bronfin is one of the key forces behind Hearst's transformation from traditional media company to interactive media leader. Bronfin is a senior managing director for Hearst Ventures, a team that makes strategic investments in companies operating at the intersection of media and technology. His primary focus is on the division’s international investments, and he sits on the boards of several Hearst Ventures’ portfolio companies. According to Bronfin, Hearst’s interactive philosophy is unique among traditional media companies in that Hearst is building a large portfolio of businesses that leverage the rich media resources of Hearst and each other. “Hearst is much more than a financial investor. We are a partner with many of these portfolio companies—working with them on promotion, sales and development,” he says. “They find big value in integrating their new media assets with Hearst’s media properties and find strength in the fact that Hearst will be there with them as a partner and backer, independent of the variations inherent in the internet public equity market.” He joined Hearst in June 1996. Prior to joining Hearst, he was with NBC, as a founder of the Interactive Media Group as well as general manager of NBC’s digital television group and vice president of NBC Cable and Business Development. Bronfin was also head of business development for NBC Technology and was director of NBC's Broadcast Engineering Group, which was responsible for the research and development associated with NBC’s technical infrastructure. He joined NBC as part of its Management Associate Program.

Paul Triolo, Practice Head, Geo-Technology, Eurasia Group
Paul leads the firm’s newest practice, focusing on global technology policy issues, cyber-security, internet governance, ICT regulatory issues, and emerging areas such as 5G deployment, automation, artificial intelligence, and fintech/blockchain. He is building a cross-issue and cross-regional team that helps clients understand and assess the risks generated by the complex intersection of politics, technology innovation, security threats, and the changing global regulatory environment. Paul is also a China Digital Economy Fellow (non-resident) at New America, a regulator contributor to the DigiChina blog that tracks key issues around China’s digital economy, and is a columnist with SupChina, where he also does podcasts on cutting edge tech issues. His twitter feed @pstAsiaTech, helps define the scope of geo-technology challenges companies face. Paul is quoted frequently in the media, including the New York Times, Economist, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, BBC, Wired, and other outlets on global tech issues, and US China trade and technology competition.

Chao Jin, Game Designer, Dots
Jin Chao is a game designer at Dots where she designs and prototypes new stylish mobile games. Jin is her last name, Chao is her first name. Prior to Dots, she was trained at NYU Game Center where she focused on experimenting immersive technologies in games, game development, and fast prototyping skills. She also worked with Tilting Point, NYC Media Lab, ESPN, and Viacom during her master’s study. Before she came to the United States, she was a game designer at Tencent where she worked on an online basketball game with 2K sports and a card RPG mobile game, both were released on the Chinese market. She is also a fan of translating books from English to Chinese, previously worked on How Games Move Us: Emotion by Design, currently working on Families at Play.

4:45PM: Keynote Discussions: Automated Journalism

Moderator: Chris Collins, Senior Executive Editor, Breaking News at Bloomberg

Nick Diakopoulos, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University; and Author, Automating the News: How Algorithms are Rewriting the Media
Nicholas Diakopoulos is an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies and Computer Science at Northwestern University where he directs the Computational Journalism Lab. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech where he helped launch the field of Computational Journalism. His research is in computational and data journalism with active research projects on algorithmic accountability and transparency, automation and algorithms in news production, and social media in news contexts. He is author of the forthcoming book, "Automating the News: How Algorithms are Rewriting the Media" from Harvard University Press. 

Meredith Broussard, Assistant Professor, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, New York University; and Author, Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World
Meredith Broussard is an assistant professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and the author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. She is an affiliate faculty member at the Moore Sloan Data Science Environment at the NYU Center for Data Science, a 2019 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow, and her work has been supported by the Institute of Museum & Library Services as well as the Tow Center at Columbia Journalism School. A former features editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, she has also worked as a software developer at AT&T Bell Labs and the MIT Media Lab. Her features and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, Vox, and other outlets. Follow her on Twitter @merbroussard.

5:45PM: Cocktails and Networking

7:00PM: Close