Welcome to DataFramed, a weekly podcast exploring how artificial intelligence and data are changing the world around us. On this show, we invite data & AI leaders at the forefront of the data revolution to share their insights and experiences into how they lead the charge in this era of AI. Whether you're a beginner looking to gain insights into a career in data & AI, a practitioner needing to stay up-to-date on the latest tools and trends, or a leader looking to transform how your organization uses data & AI, there's something here for everyone.
Join co-hosts Adel Nehme and Richie Cotton as they delve into the stories and ideas that are shaping the future of data. Subscribe to the show and tune in to the latest episode on the feed below.
#165 Data & AI for Good, with Marga Hoek, Founder & CEO, Business for Good
There's often a debate in technology ethics on whether technology is neutral or not. On one hand, critics have rightfully pointed out examples of technology exacerbating the climate crisis, amplifying bias as we've seen in our recent episode with Dr. Joy Buolamwini, or contributing to the spread of misinformation and disinformation. Conversely, we cannot deny the many wonderful things technology has given us, from better healthcare outcomes, to the ability to communicate wherever we are in the world, or to elevate the quality of life of everyone on the planet.
It is this duality, that today's guest, Marga Hoek, points to as to why technology is neutral, and why it is in our hands to use it for good.
Marga Hoek is a true visionary on sustainable business, capital, and technology and a successful business leader. As a three-time CEO, Board Member, Chair, and Founder of Business for Good, she applies her vision on how business can be a true force for good in practice. As a bestselling and multi-award-winning author, member of Thinkers50, and one of the most in-demand speakers on sustainable business and ESG investment, Marga Hoek has inspired many companies and leaders worldwide. She is also appreciated as a global voice for G20 and G7 Intergovernmental forums, international climate meetings and COPs, and many other prestigious global conferences.
In the episode, Adel and Marga explore the fourth industrial revolution and the eight technologies that combine to build it, the ethical application of technology and how it can be the biggest lever to combating climate change and building a sustainable society, how data and AI enable real-time information sharing leading to better early warning systems related to the environment, use cases of tech for good initiatives, how collaboration can bridge the gap in investment for sustainable business ventures and a lot more.
Links Mentioned In the Show:
Tech for GoodAzure FarmBeatsCapgemini in the Mojave DesertReDeTec 3D PrintingFramlab 3D Printed Homes for the Unsheltered
#164 Driving Data Democratization with Lilac Schoenbeck, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Rocket Software
The consequences of data not being easily accessible within an organization are profound. Good decision-making often relies on good information, and with crucial insights locked behind closed doors, decision-makers may have to rely on incomplete information, stifling their ability to innovate through a lack of comprehensive data access or an inability to leverage data to its full potential. The ramifications of this are not merely operational – they extend to the core of an organization's ability to thrive in the data-driven era. However, democratizing access to data is only the first hurdle in driving a data led organization, employees need to feel confident in their ability to use data, try new tools and adopt new processes. But who is best to show us the benefits of accessing and utilizing data currently, and the cultural benefits it can bring.
Lilac Schoenbeck is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Rocket Software. Lilac has two decades of experience in enterprise software, data center technology and cloud, with wider experience in product marketing, pricing and packaging, corporate strategy, M&A integrations and product management. Lilac is passionate about delivering exceptional technology to IT teams that helps them drive value for their businesses.
In the episode, Richie and Lilac explore data democratization and the importance of having widespread data capabilities across an organization, common data problems that data democratization can solve, tooling to facilitate better access and use of data, tool and process adoption, confidence with data, good data culture, processes to encourage good data usage and much more.
Links mentioned in the show
Rocket SoftwareWhat Does Democratizing Data Mean? Unlocking the Power of Data CulturesDemocratizing Data in Large Enterprises[Course] Introduction to Data Culture
#163 Upgrading Company Culture Using The Geek Way with Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management
We are all guilty of getting excited about shiny new toys in whatever guise they present themselves to us. For many of us, lots of the recent shiny new toys have been ways of utilizing AI to update and iterate on the ways that we work. Leadership teams have been looking for ways that their organizations can incorporate AI solutions into their products, regardless of whether they might be the most valuable use of the company's time. A company that fails to incorporate new tools and technology will stagnate and fail altogether right? A failure to adapt to the new state of play will surely stop the company from becoming a high performer? Or will it? What sets apart high-performing organizations from their non high-performing counterparts?
It’s not shiny new toys. It’s culture. Counter to conventional wisdom, the norms and beliefs of an organization, and not the technology and tools it uses, is what drives its performance.
Andrew McAfee is a Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management, co-founder and co-director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, and the inaugural Visiting Fellow at the Technology and Society organization at Google. He studies how technological progress changes the world. His book, The Geek Way, reveals a new way to get big things done. His previous books include More from Less and, with Erik Brynjolfsson, The Second Machine Age.
McAfee has written for publications including Foreign Affairs, Harvard Business Review, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He's talked about his work on CNN and 60 Minutes, at the World Economic Forum, TED, and the Aspen Ideas Festival, with Tom Friedman and Fareed Zakaria, and in front of many international and domestic audiences. He’s also advised many of the world’s largest corporations and organizations ranging from the IMF to the Boston Red Sox to the US Intelligence Community.
Throughout the episode, Adel and Andrew explore the four cultural norms of the Geek way, the evolutionary biological underpinnings of the traits high performing organizations exhibit, case studies in adapting organizational culture, the role of data in driving high performance teams, useful frameworks leaders can adopt to build high performing organizations, and a lot more.
Link mentioned in the show:
The Geek Way: The Radical Mindset That Drives Extraordinary Results by Andrew McAfeeThe Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Andrew McAfee and Erik BrynjolfssonThe Planning FallacyAnnie DukeSteven PinkerAdam Grant
#162 Scaling Data Engineering in Retail with Mohammad Sabah, SVP of Engineering & Data at Thrive Market
Poor data engineering is like building a shaky foundation for a house—it leads to unreliable information, wasted time and money, and even legal problems, making everything less dependable and more troublesome in our digital world. In the retail industry specifically, data engineering is particularly important for managing and analyzing large volumes of sales, inventory, and customer data, enabling better demand forecasting, inventory optimization, and personalized customer experiences. It helps retailers make informed decisions, streamline operations, and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving market. Insight and frameworks learned from data engineering practices can be applied to a multitude of people and problems, and in turn, learning from someone who has been at the forefront of data engineering is invaluable.
Mohammad Sabah is SVP of Engineering and Data at Thrive Market, and was appointed to this role in 2018. He joined the company from The Honest Company where he served as VP of Engineering & Chief Data Scientist. Sabah joined The Honest Company following its acquisition of Insnap, which he co-founded in 2015. Over the course of his career, Sabah has held various data science and engineering roles at companies including Facebook, Workday, Netflix, and Yahoo!
In the episode, Richie and Mo explore the importance of using AI to identify patterns and proactively address common errors, the use of tools like dbt and SODA for data pipeline abstraction and stakeholder involvement in data quality, data governance and data quality as foundations for strong data engineering, validation layers at each step of the data pipeline to ensure data quality, collaboration between data analysts and data engineers for holistic problem-solving and reusability of patterns, ownership mentality in data engineering and much more.
Links from the show:
PagerDutyDomoOpsGeneCareer Track: Data Engineer
#161 Fighting for Algorithmic Justice with Dr. Joy Buolamwini, Artist-in-Chief and President of The Algorithmic Justice League
In 2015 an MIT Researcher set out to build a mirror that would augment their face to look like those of their idols. The execution of this went well, until it came to testing. When the researcher came to use the mirror, no face was detected. The researcher was not detected in the mirror, until that is, she put on a white mask, at which point, the mirror worked as expected.
Three years later, a paper named ‘Gender Shades: Intersectional Accuracy Disparities in Commercial Gender Classification’ was published by the same researcher. Its release started a wider conversation about bias within AI-based facial recognition systems, and about bias within AI in general. Work to fight against algorithmic bias, or ‘The Coded-Gaze’, has been ongoing since. But who spearheaded this work and highlighted these issues to the AI and tech community?
Dr. Joy Buolamwini is an AI researcher, artist, and advocate. In 2023, she is one of Time’s top 100 most influential people in AI. Joy founded the Algorithmic Justice League to create a world with more equitable and accountable technology. Her TED Featured Talk on algorithmic bias has over 1.5 million views and in 2020 Netflix released the documentary ‘Coded Bias’ following Joy’s research into the flaws of facial recognition systems. Her MIT thesis methodology uncovered large racial and gender bias in AI services from companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon. Her research has been covered in over 40 countries, and as a renowned international speaker she has championed the need for algorithmic justice at the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. She serves on the Global Tech Panel convened by the vice president of European Commission to advise world leaders and technology executives on ways to reduce the harms of A.I.
As a creative science communicator, she has written op-eds on the impact of artificial intelligence for publications like TIME Magazine and New York Times. Her spoken word visual audit "AI, Ain't I A Woman?" which shows AI failures on the faces of iconic women like Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Serena Williams as well as the Coded Gaze short have been part of exhibitions ranging from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to the Barbican Centre, UK. A Rhodes Scholar and Fulbright Fellow, Joy has been named to notable lists including Bloomberg 50, Tech Review 35 under 35, , Forbes Top 50 Women in Tech (youngest), and Forbes 30 under 30. She holds two masters degrees from Oxford University and MIT; and a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Fortune Magazine named her to their 2019 list of world's greatest leaders describing her as "the conscience of the A.I. Revolution."
In the episode, Richie and Joy discuss her journey into AI, the ethics of AI, the inception of Joy’s interest in AI bias, the Aspire Mirror and Gender Shades projects, The Algorithmic Justice League, consequences of biased facial recognition systems, highlights from Joy’s book (Unmasking AI), challenges in AI research such as misleading datasets and the importance of context, balancing working in AI and data while being an artist, and much more.
Links mentioned in the show:
Unmasking AI by Joy BuolamwiniAlgorithmic Justice LeagueGender Shades ProjectThe Coded Gaze
#160 Adapting to the AI Era with Jason Feifer, Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine
I think it's safe to say that we are in the peak of the hype cycle with generative AI. Almost every week now, we see new startups with exciting new GenAI use-cases and products. However, exciting doesn't necessarily translate to useful. And now more than ever, it's important for leaders, whether at incumbents or startups, to adapt and drive value with generative AI and focus on useful use-cases. So how can they adapt well to these tectonic changes?
Jason Feifer is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine and host of the podcast Problem Solvers. Outside of Entrepreneur, he is the author of the book Build For Tomorrow, which helps readers find new opportunities in times of change, and co-hosts the podcast Help Wanted, where he helps solve listeners' work problems. He also writes a newsletter called One Thing Better, which each week gives you one better way to build a career or company you love.
In the episode, Jason and Adel explore AI’s role in entrepreneurship, use cases and applications of AI, the effectiveness of certain AI tools, AI’s impact on established business models, frameworks for navigating change, advice for leaders and individuals on using AI in their work and much more.
Links Mentioned in the Show:
Build for Tomorrow by Jason FeiferOne Thing Better NewsletterHeyGenBurger King Accepting Credit Cards in the 90s[COURSE] Implementing AI Solutions in Business