AI Luminary Series: Andy Veluswami Discusses How AI Creates Positive World Changes

Artificial Intelligence Luminary: Andy Veluswami, Director of Analytics for Change.org

In this video, Andy Veluswami discusses the future of data science and how artificial intelligence can be used to amplify the voice of individuals and help change the world.

Read the transcript:
What excites me about data science is the sheer possibilities. It's like solving a puzzle, but a puzzle that's meaningful and that has real world implications, and that, as in the case of Change.org, can really help change the world.

Change.org is the world’s largest online petition platform. We use data science to amplify the voice of our users and make sure that no one in the world who wants to be part of a larger change does not have a voice. We reach our users through email and we send them what we call action alerts on things that might be similar to petitions they might have signed in the past. Many of the petitions on our site that have really gained traction and that critical mass of signatures has been because our algorithms have helped identify people that might be interested in an area that they might not have found otherwise. It’s part art, it’s part science.

The things that we can do today we couldn’t do 5 years ago. It’s only been enabled by computational power. You’re always gonna need more, you’re always gonna need to scale, you’re always gonna need to do it more effectively, so that the people that you have can focus on the next higher thing.

If you were to ask me what I think the big sort of opportunity is to take data science to the next level, I think you have to go beyond number crunching.

Teaching a machine how to do mathematics, we’ve done that. But teaching a machine good manners, we haven’t done that yet. We would never teach a child mathematics without teaching her or him also good manners, right? We’re going to have a day, and I hope it’s soon, where machines aren’t just smart but they’re also wise – and they have a context. Once we start getting there, and we already are, we’re going to start making a lot more progress.

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