Who’s Wearing the Sunglasses? Reflections from ACL

Networking, Recruiting, and how DNN demands will drive our future growth

This past week, I had the tremendous opportunity to travel to Melbourne, Australia for the 56th annual meeting of the Association of Computational Linguistics (ACL). This is the single largest gathering for the NLP and ML communities in the world, which meant a busy week for Daniela and I. We made great new contacts, attended a fascinating keynote address on the development of Deep Neural Networks, and met some brilliant talent spread across enterprise and the academy that will drive AI into the future.

With three years of steep growth under our belt, this year’s ACL was a chance for us to define our leadership role in driving this industry toward that future. Our booth had a steady stream of visitors, many representing some of the biggest names in AI on the planet. We weren’t surprised. It’s been a bit of pattern for us this year as we’ve formed a wide array partnerships and rapidly expanded our client roster in 2018.

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More businesses are realizing the value of sourcing high-quality, scalable training data (and the high costs of settling for anything less). We’re uniquely positioned to provide exactly that, which means we’ve been having some fascinating conversations with some incredible companies lately. As always, stay tuned for more on this soon!

For now, as we return to our bases in Seattle and Lisbon we’ll certainly be discussing Anton van den Hegel’s invited talk, “Deep Neural Networks and what they’re not very good at.” As Daniela’s been saying for years, Deep Neural Networks (DNN’s) have long been the “holy grail” of machine-learning development, as they offer the clearest path to self-learning AI that can truly improve on-the-fly.

DNN’s are already responsible for major breakthroughs in fraud detection and manufacturing optimization. But, for all they’ve accomplished, DNNs still fall short in tasks that require contextual interpretation.

Take the image below:

Who's wearing the sunglasses?
Photo By Heather Shwartz, sourced from Unsplash

 

If I asked you, “Who’s wearing the sunglasses?” You’d say “the pineapple” without second thought. DNN models? Not so much. They’re not capable of integrating the linguistic, visual, and contextual understandings necessary to come up with the correct response. At least… not yet.

As always, the barriers to these capabilities are falling. The brilliant scientists and engineers we met at ACL are…well… brilliant after all.

But, for DNN’s to obtain these contextual reasoning and interpretation capabilities, they’ll need incredibly precise, accurate and complexly structured data. DefinedCrowd is the only firm that can deliver the kind of job-tailored high-quality data necessary to train and test these kinds of models. It’s an exciting time to be here!

Which brings me to my final point. As more demand for our data grows, our team will too. Actually, it already is. Right now, we have 23 open positions across our offices in Seattle, Lisbon, Porto, and Tokyo. We met a lot of great talent at ACL. To all of you who stopped by our booth, it was a pleasure. If you passed on a resume, you’ll hear from us soon.

And if we missed you? There’s still time! Go to our careers page to see how to come build amazing things with us.

DefinedCrowd at APDC 26º DIGITAL BUSINESS CONGRESS

It was an honor for me, and I think I can speak for all present team, to participate in the 26th Digital Business Congress at CCB in Lisbon. Besides the exhibition opportunity of our product, I found the event a very interesting platform for discussion, reflection and mobilization issues and decisive initiatives of ICT and Media in general.

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In addition to the large Portuguese companies represented, such as RTP, ANACOM, PT, VODAFONE, NOS, CTT and others, I found very interesting the will and interest shown by APDC in “give voice” to emerging startups. Speaking about the future and the current landscape of ICT and Media in Portugal, namely in Lisbon, without reference to all the efforts and strategies of these new companies is really a challenge and APDC realized it in time by including a number of initiatives throughout the congress. These initiatives included panels on “Digital Transformation of Business” where startup companies make a structural difference, an exhibition space that was attended by more than 10 startups, as well as the competition “Startup Powered by APDC” (which DefinedCrowd WON! I will talk about it in more detail further down).

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These days, Lisbon is the hub to a new way of thinking and doing business and it can count on this entrepreneurial spirit combined with a growing national investment. Throughout the sessions, new paradigms around the Portuguese technological landscape were discussed, from national investment to the daily challenges, from large companies as well as startups betting on technological development made in Portugal, not to mention the discussion around the Websummit in Lisbon in November this year. Future projections about the top well paid jobs in the next 10 years were made. Topics such as Data Analysis, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and User Experience were certainly on the agenda, which reinforces and re-validates our position in the future of ICT.

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We were honored with the presence of the President of Portugal in this event and Joao Freitas, DefinedCrowd’ CTO, had the opportunity to present in detail our product and our company the same.

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And since I speak of media attention, I am proud to explain in more detail the contest “Startup Powered by APDC” that  we ended up winning. There were 49 startups in the race, 12 of which were invited to attend the congress in CCB. The next challenge was on stage, where a three minutes pitch with Q&A would have to be delivered to a jury of relevant ICT guests. It was with great honor that DefinedCrowd received the award for “Startup Powered by APDC,” and we had the opportunity to once again pitch our product to the big CCB auditorium inserted in the panel “State of the Nation Communications” for more than 1500 attendees. It was a fantastic opportunity, and despite the initial stress, the pitch went very well and we had a fantastic feedback.

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It was indeed a very rewarding and enriching event for the whole team, where in addition to great media exposure, we had the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss issues with large companies as well as all the other startups who accompany us on this journey.