Big picture

I may not always understand them, but I find humans fascinating. Almost all of my work and personal interests are geared toward better understanding how humans work and how technology is created and evolves to augment them. My interests typically integrate my understanding of human cognition with my experience with machine learning- and all that combination can enable. What can we build to enable humans to quickly adapt and thrive?

I’m in this for all humans and so a lot of what you’ll find here, while not directly solving for societal shortcomings, involves critically examining the ethical implications of what’s being built. One of my big picture goals in my work is to raise awareness and strive for greater access, representation and fairness both for those creating and consuming.

This page will grow over time, but reach out if you’re interested in any particular topic. I’m happy to share my thoughts and to learn from others.

Brains

As wearables have become more prevalent and edge computing becomes more feasible, there’s a huge opportunity for us to leverage neural data to not only build “smarter” products but to give humans insight and control over their own (often hidden) mental processes. I’m particularly interested in how to build products that give people more control over where their attention is being allocated, given the recent focus on building products for the “attention economy”. What if we were able to give humans some access to their own attention and help them to decide whether to let their mind wander or not?

Humans + Machines

Many of us already spend a lot of our days alongside machines of some sort (even if you simply own a smartphone). More and more we’re using different algorithmic approaches that allow those machines to “learn” from human behavior in an effort to pick up the slack where possible. As we see things like automation accelerate, what does that mean for the humans whose work was automated? As we build tools to enable inhuman feats, how do we shift our thinking about what’s possible? What can we be building alongside different technological advancements that will improve quality of life rather than minimizing it?

Creativity

I’m continually astounded by our ability as humans to create things that weren’t before. As we move through school and then later into adulthood, many of us lose the ability to “be creative”. I see this loss as a byproduct of us learning from our environment (and other humans) to stem our natural curiosity to fit whatever normative behavior is socially modeled. But, we all do that learning in different ways and to varying extents. What if we could allow one person to take on the mindset of another person (at least in some small way!) and allow them to benefit from some of that expanded context?