Adopting a machine learning mindset: How to discover, develop, and deliver automation solutions company-wide

Abstract: As Machine Learning becomes a core component of any forward-looking company, how can we engage the entire workforce to help with ML and automation initiatives? This talk will cover how at Square we have adopted a "machine learning mindset" by 1. providing training to all employees (both technical and non-technical folks) on what ML is and how it works, including current applications and ethical considerations, 2. conducting structured brainstorming sessions to elicit automation opportunities, where everyone can contribute what ML could mean for their team or their customers, and 3. implementing a subset of those ideas by partnering with infrastructure, operations, and product teams, resulting in improved risk management, more efficient internal operations, and novel customer-facing product features.

Bio: Marsal Gavalda is a senior R&D executive with deep expertise in speech, language, and machine learning technologies. Marsal currently leads the Commerce Platform Machine Learning team at Square, where he applies machine learning for economic empowerment and financial inclusion. Previously, Marsal headed the Machine Intelligence team at Yik Yak, where he developed natural language processing and machine learning services to analyze the content of messages, discover trends, and make recommendations at scale and across languages. Prior to that, Marsal served as the Director of Research at MindMeld (acquired by Cisco), where he applied the latest advances in speech recognition, language understanding, information retrieval, and machine learning to the MindMeld conversational and anticipatory computing platform. Marsal has also extensive experience in the customer interaction and speech analytics space, as he has served as VP and Chief of Research at Verint Systems and as VP of Research and Incubation at Nexidia (acquired by NICE), where he developed disruptive speech analytics solutions for the call center, intelligence, and media markets. Marsal holds a PhD in Language Technologies and a MS in Computational Linguistics, both from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS in Computer Science from BarcelonaTech. Marsal is the author of over thirty technical and literary publications, thirteen issued patents, and is fluent in six languages. He is also a frequent speaker at academic and industry conferences and organizes, every summer, a science and humanities summit in Barcelona on topics as diverse as machine translation, music, or the neuroscience of free will.