GLSEC 2019 Program & Schedule
May 20th, 2019

The Eberhard Center


7:30 AM Check in

8:00 AM Coffee and Light Breakfast

8:45 AM Opening Remarks

Danielle: Conference Chair


9:00 AM - 10:00 AM  Featured Speaker

Mary Brown: Past, Present, and Future Tense - Why Ethics in AI Matters


The lessons learned from the past can help us as a society to seize opportunities to learn how to do better, be better, and plan for a better future. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a mainstream reality in today’s society, but how should we view this new reality as it relates to the ethics of AI use and the replication of social inequalities in the digital world? How can AI help mitigate or eliminate present and future social challenges in areas such as health care? This presentation will explore the importance of ethics in design and use of AI technologies.

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM | Short Break

10:15 AM - 11:00 AM | Session Talks 

Jared Moore: Academia to Implementation: Applying Insights from Academia to Real-World Problems


Machine learning and artificial intelligence are driving advances across academia and industry.  Bridging the gap between academic research and concrete applications is challenging, and yet, ML approaches frequently produce effective solutions to common problems.  In this talk, both academic and implementation specific problems are discussed along with reflections from ongoing projects.

Janelle Shane: Lessons learned from machine learning gone wrong


Through weird and hilarious anecdotes, learn about things that give machine learning algorithms trouble (recognizing sheep, counting giraffes, telling jokes) - and the implications these have on deploying machine learning algorithms in the real world.

11:00 AM - 11: 15 AM | Short Break

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM | Session Talks 

Dean Whittaker: Predicting Corporate Behavior with A.I.


Trying to accurately predict behavior is an interesting business to be in. In a sense, we are all in this business. For economic development organizations, the pot of gold contains the names of companies poised to relocate or expand. Who are they? Where are they? What do they value? This session will include stories from the hunt, thirty years of applying artificial intelligence / data analytics to predicting corporate behavior, wonder about what’s next, and have some fun along the way.

Hannah Davis: Subjective Data: Emotional Experiments in Art and AI


What is subjective data? How does it contribute to the biases present in AI, and how can we use it to create artistic and emotional datasets? In this talk, we'll talk about identifying subjectivity in otherwise “objective” datasets, critically looking at how the datasets were created and what they contain. We'll talk about artisanal data and creating explicitly subjective datasets for artistic purposes, and how to capture abstractions like emotions and other subjective experiences in datasets. Most importantly, we'll discuss how a culture’s current set of values is a type of bias that gets captured in datasets, and how we can avoid bias retention over time. 

12:00 PM - 1:15 PM | Lunch

Grab your food and bring it into the Main Room for Rolf’s talk.

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM | Lunch and Community Discussion

Rolf Russell: Experiences of Organizations introducing Machine Learning


This talk relates stories from a number of organizations that have introduced machine learning and what they learned along this path.  How have organizations selected machine learning to solve a need?  What expectations should you have for an ML project that differ from a typical software engineering project?  What kind of investment is ML?  How can you iterate on it?  How can you set up a data scientist for success in joining an organization?

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM |  Session Talks

Tamara Faber-Doty: Data to Insights; Insights to Outcomes


We all have more data than we can use. How can we help our companies find the right data, make it widely available, and get value from it?

Manas Saksena: Developing Smarter Appliances with AI


The appliance industry is evolving to deliver more meaningful experiences to the consumer. This is especially true in our Kitchens where consumers are looking for the products to help them with great cooking experiences. The industry is responding by experimenting with using embedded computer vision and AI techniques to provide delightful experiences to consumers. This talk will present the journey that Whirlpool, a leading appliance manufacturer, has embarked on and the progress they have made on this journey. 

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM  Short Break

2:45 PM - 3:30 PM | Session Talk

Matt Jansen: "No" is the Beginning with AI Projects and Weird Ideas


Do you know why you come to work every day, or why your team exists? At the beginning of this story I didn't. Answering those questions led to an activation for myself and my team, and at this West Michigan foodservice distributor, we started a journey with aspirations to transform how customers, employees and suppliers interact with us digitally. We named our new digital assistant Gordon Now™ ( and it started small. Now we're scaling and frequently surprised at the regularity customers engage with Gordon Now and the level of sophistication in those conversations.

Artificial Intelligence can bring joy to everyday life, or alienate users making them feel unimportant. Here's our take on what's working and not, with examples from our ongoing Gordon Now project.

Gary Coburn & Adam Yatooma: Enterprise journey to ML through the Google lens


In this session you’ll learn from local Google Cloud subject matter experts exactly how other organizations have adopted machine learning to improve or differentiate their business. Using some of the key uses cases you’ll get some examples of where to start and any gotchas that others have faced. Bring your ideas and you can leave with ways to make them a reality.

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM  Afternoon Ice Cream Break

Come and get it! Love's Ice Cream 

4:00 PM - 4:45 PM | Featured Speaker

Ryan Johnson: Optimize Performance: Start Your Algorithm Development with the Sensing System


AI systems understand the world through sensors and algorithms. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the capabilities and performance of sensors and algorithms rapidly increasing. Combine this with the introduction of open source development tools, and today, deploying an AI system is easier than ever, allowing for rapid adoption and application.  One thing that hasn’t changed, is the difficulty in optimizing the performance of these systems in certain scenarios. To leverage the full potential of AI and overcome this difficulty, it’s important to understand the sensing system’s signal quality and how it drives algorithm requirements and capabilities. Whether improving the performance involves tuning sensor parameters or adding capability to the algorithm, it is the designer’s responsibility to navigate these relationships and trade-offs.

This presentation will use computer vision as an example to unpack the best practice of starting your algorithm development with the sensing system. This talk will teach the audience why having a system level perspective is important several techniques to enable the best practice. These techniques include:

  • An iterative design approach

  • The data driven development framework

  • Tools for the designer to nail down the highest impact sensor parameters first

Each of these techniques enable the designer to identify the appropriate balance between sensor capability and algorithm capability leading to the best solution for the application at hand.

4:50 PM | Wrap up and Closing Discussion

Danielle Cimek


5:00 PM Let's get the party started! 

Post Conference Mixer

Grand Rapids Public Museum. 

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is a very short walk from the Eberhard Center.  There will be food and beverages. Most importantly, interesting people and conversations.