August 24th, 2017 by Rob

I’m happy to announce that I’ve joined CrowdFlower as VP of Machine Learning!

I’ve been a fan of CrowdFlower since 2010, when I was helping respond to the earthquake in Haiti. At the time, I was managing 2,000 members of the Haitian diaspora to translate, categorize and geolocate emergency messages from the Haitian population, so that a plain text message in Haitian Kreyol could be used as a structured English report by the international response community. We used CrowdFlower as the technology for this work, so that we could pull out the most important and time-critical pieces of information. This was something that we launched in just 48 hours, showing how quickly the right technology can be deployed for a positive impact on the world.

Since 2010, I’ve used CrowdFlower in at least 5 or 6 different contexts, from other disaster response and epidemic tracking initiatives, to tech companies looking to leverage human annotation for machine learning. The original data from Haiti also became part of my Stanford PhD, where I researched how AI can be used to better process and prioritize time-critical information at scale during disasters and for health, especially in languages outside of English.

A presentation I gave about data and machine learning at a CrowdFlower conference in 2015

Today, CrowdFlower is the top company for providing human input to train AI systems. From the biggest research labs in multinational companies, to individual researchers and 9/10 self-driving car companies, CrowdFlower provides the human-in-the-loop technology. In other words, CrowdFlower is at the forefront of more advances in Artificial Intelligence than any other company right now. I believe that the interaction between humans and AI is the most important next step in technology for humanity.

I’m proud of what I achieved at Amazon AI in the time I was there. I lead product for Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Translation at Amazon AI, taking Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) first suite of NLP products from conception to internal launch. There’s not many people who get to say they launched the first products in their area of expertise on the world’s largest cloud provider, and I am thankful to everyone that I worked with at AWS!

The opportunity to lead Machine Learning at Silicon Valley’s most successful AI startup was simply too good to pass up, so I’m happy to be joining the company after working with them for so long! Thanks also to Venture Beat for sharing this announcement.

Please stay tuned to hear more about what we are building at CrowdFlower!