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May 6, 2019 | By

AI IRL Podcast Episode 18: What Conducting Orchestras Can Teach You About AI


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What can conducting a symphony orchestra teach you about AI?

Plenty, according to Lukáš Kovařík, symphony orchestra conductor and CEO & Founder of the AI consulting firm Bohemian AI.

Going Beyond the AI Hype

AI hype is everywhere. For Kovařík, the problem is baked into the name itself.

The word intelligence in AI is unfortunate because it makes you expect something human. In fact, AI sucks at being human. It’s just software.” — Lukáš Kovařík

You don’t often hear someone in any industry begging for the creation of a standards board to give the industry some needed transparency, but that’s what Kovařík believes will help educate the marketplace.

I truly wish AI products had labels that would clearly say, this is how it works, this is the data we use, this is how you use it, here are the results measured by an independent testing lab. That would cut a lot of marketing fluff.” — Lukáš Kovařík

People can’t tell the difference between real AI and fake AI. They need marketing that’s grounded in reality.

Hiring Your AI Team

Because AI is slowly developing tools on top of the core technology layer, your hiring needs may soon be changing.

In the future, you’ll probably see very little need for hardcore AI researchers in AI. Instead you see a lot of practitioners who just use the tools without understanding the underlying science.

We are moving from an era where programmers built their desktops by hand to a world today where most programmers don’t know how their laptops work yet can still write powerful code.

We’re in that in-between stage where if you are hiring, you still need to look for people with a general problem solving and strong math background. General use tools haven’t really been developed yet. But just wait and that will change.

The pace of change in AI is a thousand times faster than PC development and it’s accelerating.

Not even AI researchers and top experts can follow everything that’s happening because it’s all moving so fast. The core ability you need is being able to constantly relearn things.” — Lukáš Kovařík

What Conducting an Orchestra Can Teach AI Entrepreneurs

Both conductors and entrepreneurs need to respect their teams. A conductor can’t play all the instruments by himself. You very quickly learn that people are your instruments.

But there is a big difference between the two worlds. The music world isn’t shy about giving the boss real time feedback when necessary.

According to Kovařík, there was a 24-year old famous conductor who was invited to conduct the Czech Philharmonic for the first time. Five minutes in to rehearsal, the principal violinist stood up, closed the conductor’s music book with his bow, and said in front of 90 people, “Young man, do yourself a favor and come back when you actually learn this score.”

There was no discussion. He left right away.

“You don’t get that kind of feedback in your own company,” said Kovařík. “Or if you do, it’s usually too late.”

This AI discussion with Lukáš Kovařík, symphony orchestra conductor and CEO & Founder of Bohemian AI was taken from our podcast. If you want more AI: In Real Life, check out our podcast on iTunes here.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can use this link here.


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