Humans For AI: Crafting Humanity’s Journey in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

by February 10, 2018

Reflecting on the rapidly increasing adoption of artificial intelligence and – building an environment to foster innovation, Humans For AI was formed. Humans For AI is a non-profit organization composed of volunteers across business, engineering, science and from various industries from tech to banking to retail to education. The organization believes AI’s pervasive impact will require humanity to control the pace to which it is woven into the fabric of our lives. Through education, community, and inclusion, Humans For AI wants to demystify AI to enable and empower the workforce of the future to be AI-savvy and to be as diverse as the real world.


The B•O•L•D Approach Humans For AI:

BROADEN the pipeline of minorities currently in tech careers, seeking to move to careers in AI by being the go-to-destination for all things AI. It is their belief that diversity of thought and opinion ultimately builds better products.

Create an OPEN and inclusive community of people interested in AI by facilitating interactions with experts, practitioners and thought leaders in the field.

LEVERAGE AI to release a set of free products built by this community to further our mission to bring increased diversity to AI.

DEMYSTIFY AI by providing a basic understanding of the concepts, thinking and events in AI for novices and non-technical people interested in how AI will impact their lives and their jobs.


Leadership: The Source of Inspiration

Humans for AI was founded by Beena Ammanath, who is currently Global VP, Data, Artificial Intelligence and New Tech Innovation at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Prior to that, she was VP of Data Sciences and Innovation at General Electric.

Beena is an award-winning senior executive with global experience in digital transformation, artificial intelligence, big data and the IoT space with awards such as 2016 Women Super Achiever Award from World Women’s Leadership Congress and induction into WITI’s 2017 Women in Technology Hall of Fame. She has been honored by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the 2017 Most Influential Women in Bay Area and by the National Diversity Council as one of the Top 50 Multicultural Leaders in Tech.

In 2016, Beena won and Drexel University’s first-ever Analytics 50 awards for being one of the top 50 global innovators in data science and was also listed as one of the Top 8 Female Analytics Experts from the Fortune 500 by Forbes.

Beena’s depth of experience and knowledge spans across e-commerce, financial, marketing, telecom, retail, software products, services and industrial domains with companies such as HPE, GE, Thomson Reuters, British Telecom, Bank of America, E*TRADE and a number of Silicon Valley startups.


Technology to Transform Different Industries

Beena believes that Artificial Intelligence is going to change life as we know it today! AI will be as pervasive as the Internet and Mobile Technologies. AI’s influence is not going to be restricted to tech roles – it is going to change how nurses, pilots, physical therapists, small business owners, investment bankers and farmers all do their jobs.

Humans For AI has over 70 volunteers coming from professions with an increased focus on building AI into the organization. The organization represents companies in start-up AI tech and industries like CPG, Airlines, Retail, Banking, Security, Manufacturing, to name a few. With seasoned experience in enterprise, tech, start-ups, across all industry verticals, the leadership team of the organization includes:

  • Raman Grover as CTO
  • Hessie Jones as CMO
  • Sirisha Suri as CFO
  • Payel Chowdhury as COO
  • Danielle Apgar as CPO


Future Plans: To Build AI products for the Community

Humans For AI aims to build the diverse workforce of the future leveraging – existing AI technologies. The organization’s mission is to attract more women and minorities from industries: banking, legal, retail, manufacturing etc into tech industry by demystifying core AI concepts and nuances, so they can be the future product managers and product designers for the AI products specific to their industry.

Talking about plans ahead, Beena said: “We will also release a set of free AI products built by this community to support our mission and retain and grow women and minorities already in tech careers”.The organization is pursuing opportunities that include building comprehensive programs for AI education for the high school classrooms, as well as for industry domains. Humans For AI is in the process of developing strategies for these curriculums that will allow students and professionals interested in AI to develop their skills through a measured learning process.

The goal is to fill the gap that currently exists in the marketplace and provide access to information and tools not typically developed for non-technical users. “No one is attempting to do this yet. We want to take on this challenge head-on”, says Beena.


Overcoming Obstacles

AI is still nascent. Humans For AI still face the challenge of complacency, with increased resistance to change. Many companies fear change and the inevitability of digital disruption.

Social networks, over a decade ago, have opened the floodgates and have allowed the consumer a stronger voice, an unfiltered opinion, the opportunity to select, to create and be the author of their own stories. AI will only accelerate this as people will seek to increase their social footprint in exchange for convenience, better information, more customization – essentially better lives.

As AI moves into the mainstream, the “demand for AI solutions” will outweigh the supply of talent that can fulfill them. Google is already in the process of developing an AI to develop AI. They understand that only a few have the talent to build scalable AI solutions.

“We believe that humans, not machines, must be integral to building the AI solutions. Just like companies who have been slow to change, humans who want to thrive in the AI world will also need to learn and understand how they can facilitate AI within their industry and their jobs. We feel this needs to start now and we want to influence this change”, Beena said.


AI in the Times Ahead

Beena feels that AI is destined to change the game for consumers, industry, the workforce, and society at large. The promise of AI has massive potential to enable today’s workforce through more productivity via automation and bring more leisure at the same time.

Amidst the excitement of AI also looms a hesitancy to fully embrace its potential. Data, as the new currency, will annihilate those who don’t leverage its insights. AI will compound the problem and further increase the divide between those who have the resources and those who do not. Traditional professions like lawyers, teachers, and accountants, our impressionable youth, education, government and industry which have not evolved with the times – they are all vulnerable to role displacement in the wake of AI.

Humans for AI believes that the next economy will be shaped by humanity. There is no profession, industry or country immune to its effects. However, domain expertise, through human-assisted AI, will become more important for better and safer AI products in the future. The organization wants to attract women and minorities to be able to bridge the gap between their domain and tech.

“We need to start the conversation: To understand people’s fears, AI’s impact on people’s jobs, their livelihood, their kids’ futures, and ultimately, their purpose. We want honest discussion – the fears, the opportunities, the impediments and the changes that need to happen. It needs to start TODAY”.