Author - Stipe Lelas
Stipe Lelas
February 14, 2020.

Top 10 Speakers at Shift AI 2020

We’re always proud to tell people we’re bringing some of the most prominent names in the industry to the conference. But, names are hard to remember, especially if there isn’t a story behind them. We’ve put this list up in order to give you more background about certain speakers so you can get to know them a little bit better. Find out how they started their journey, what they went through and where they are now.
Michael Lanzetta at Shift AI

Michael Lanzetta
Lead, Applied ML Engineering

In his more than 20-year career in the software industry, he’s worked in domains as varied as circuit design and drug discovery and in languages from JavaScript to F#, but his primary focus has always been scaled-out server-side work. Michael has a background in demand forecasting from Manugistics and Amazon and machine learning from Bing; he has spent the last few years building intelligent services on Azure using everything from Spark to TensorFlow and PyTorch.
Kathy Baxter at Shift AI

Kathy Baxter
Architect of Ethical AI Practice

Kathy develops research-informed best practice to educate Salesforce employees, customers, and the industry on the development of responsible AI. She collaborates and partners with external AI and ethics experts to continuously evolve Salesforce policies, practices, and products.
Prior to Salesforce, she worked at Google, eBay, and Oracle in User Experience Research. She received her MS in Engineering Psychology and BS in Applied Psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. The second edition of her book, "Understanding your users," was published in May 2015. You can read about her current research at
Ashish Bansal at Shift AI

Ashish Bansal
AI Leader

Ashish Bansal is an AI/ML leader, well-known speaker and astute technologist with over 20 years of experience in the field. He currently leads engineering teams at Twitter that build AI/ML systems at a billion tweet scale.
Ashish has also been published in Forbes, CIO Review, CIO Applications, and the Financial Post. He has co-founded the IIT AI/ML forum, a worldwide special interest group of IITians working in the field of AI/ML. Ashish grew this group to over 1000 members in 2 years.
Julie Shin Choi at Shift AI

Julie Shin Choi
VP, AI Product Group

Julie is responsible for marketing the Intel portfolio of hardware and software products for building enterprise scale AI solutions. She is driving the AI marketing strategy across Intel, helping customers, developers, and the ecosystem understand Intel’s rich set of AI offerings.
Prior to joining Intel, she led product marketing at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Mozilla and Yahoo, focused on developer and enterprise audiences. Julie holds a bachelor’s degree from MIT and a master’s degree from Stanford, both in Management Science.
Mark Weber at Shift AI

Mark Weber
Strategy & Operations Lead

MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, a $250 million partnership funding over 200 scientists making fundamental breakthroughs in AI. Through the lab’s corporate membership program, which he runs, Mark works closely with global leaders across multiple sectors on the creative challenge of bridging fundamental science to real-world impact.
Mark’s current applied research includes neuro-symbolic generative modeling for construction monitoring, graph deep learning for anti-money laundering, and supply chain demand forecasting. Mark also oversees strategic engagements with IDEO and the International Monetary Fund.
Prior to IBM Research, Mark was a graduate researcher at the MIT Media Lab and a fellow at the MIT Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship while he earned his M.B.A in finance from MIT Sloan. There he led the development of an open-source protocol called b_verify for verifiable records in supply chain finance.
Before his foray into technology, Mark spent the first chapters of his career focused on political economy and development. He produced three documentary films on these subjects, most notably the critically acclaimed film Poverty, Inc. In his personal time, he is an avid reader and an ultramarathon trail runner.
Sebastian Wieczorek at Shift AI

Sebastian Wieczorek
Vice President of Machine Learning

In this role, Sebastian is responsible for development teams in four European and Asian locations. In addition, he is a key spokesperson for AI and member of SAP’s AI ethics steering board which provides company-wide guidelines on how to apply AI in a human-centric way.
Sebastian is member of the Enquete Commission on AI of the German Bundestag, board member at Bitkom’s AI working group, member of the steering board of the EU-project SHERPA, which conducts research on ethical questions in regard to the use of AI, and serves as an academic expert and reviewer for the European Commission and the German Ministry of Education and Research.
In previous positions at SAP, Sebastian coordinated all startup engagement activities of the SAP Innovation Center Network, including the scouting of companies for partnering and M&A, the mentoring of startups at accelerators like TechStars, Startupbootcamp, Seedcamp and, as well as representing SAP at the German Startups Association. While at SAP Research, Sebastian managed EU-funded research projects and led the "Application Engineering Group".
During this time, he was an organizer and member of various scientific program committees for peer-reviewed conferences and workshops, conducting lectures on Web Engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt, and published numerous papers on software engineering.
Kairan Quazi at Shift AI

Kairan Quazi
AI Research Mentee

Kairan Quazi is a Research Collaborator with Intel Labs’ Anticipatory Computing Lab. His current project is focused on the next generation development of the Stephen Hawking ACAT. In the fall, Kairan will be entering 5th grade and his 2nd year at Las Positas College, where he is working toward his Associate degree in Mathematics.
Kairan is an extroverted learner with a passion for current events and all things STEM. He is an advanced Python programmer with proficiency in over 12 coding languages and interfaces. He also enjoys reading, gaming, collecting Pokémon cards, traveling, and making friends. Kairan is a Davidson Institute Young Scholar and a member of the Johns Hopkins Study of Exceptional Talent.
Kairan has been featured on Good Morning America, Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and numerous local and international media outlets. You can follow his adventures by subscribing to his YouTube vlog, “Kairan Quazi - Let’s Go Molecular!”
Lin Huang at Shift AI

Lin Huang
Director of Data Science & Engineering

Lin is an established data science executive with more than a decade of expertise in building, leading and growing multiple world-class teams of data scientists and ML engineers. He has proven track record in driving state-of-the-art ML/AI solutions in companies at different stages.
Most recently, Lin leads Data Science & Engineering Org at Reddit, the 5th most visited site in the US. As the scientific backbone of Reddit, his horizontal teams deliver transformative experimentation capabilities and data products for all Reddit product areas to define and capitalize on company growth opportunities.
Before Reddit, Lin headed data science teams in Microsoft then LinkedIn, across a wide range of domains, including search, recommendation, feed and ads. Lin is a University of Michigan trained statistician and his research has appeared in leading academic publications, including Advances in Consumer Research and International Symposium on Forecasting Proceedings. Lin is a frequent public speaker on business and technology.
Ashley Casovan at Shift AI

Ashley Casovan
Executive Director

Ashley is an engaged and innovative public servant. Throughout her career she has been curious about the intersection of new technologies and data, and its impact on service delivery. As Director of Data and Digital for the Government of Canada, she leads research and policy development related to data, open source, and artificial intelligence.
Before joining the Government of Canada, Ashley was the open government lead for the City of Edmonton, where she designed the city’s open government strategy and the Citizen Dashboard. Ashley is a graduate of the University of Alberta, followed by enterprise architecture at the University of Toronto.
Hassan Sawaf at Shift AI

Hassan Sawaf
Director of AI Research

With more than 20 years of expertise in bringing cutting edge technology from academia to market, Hassan Sawaf is well-recognized in the field of applied science and machine learning, with applications in machine translation, speech recognition, computer vision, natural language understanding and dialog, process optimization, and other fields.
Hassan is currently Director, Facebook AI with a focus on building machine learning technology to leverage multimodal signals for comprehension, machine induction and personalization across various applications in various domains, among them applications in the augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) field.
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