Organizing Midwest talent to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to combat societal challenges like income inequality could be a powerful tool for a new generation of problem solvers, said Brian Curry.
“I truly believe in the possibility of artificial intelligence for changing the way we look at jobs, income, capitalism, poverty, wealth disparity, disease and many other things that we face in modern society,” said Curry, founder of the Kansas City AI Lab (KCAIL).
The talent cooperative, which has grown to include more than 900 industry professionals since its conception in 2016, most recently partnered with Kansas State University to conduct research using machine learning for drug discovery effort and has several other partners in the pipeline for further into 2018, he said.
“We have an estimated $3 million worth of talent in our group already,” Curry said.
The building stages
While experimenting with machine learning in 2015 to solve marketing and advanced analytics questions, Curry quickly realized its potential, along with artificial intelligence, as a solution for real world issues, he said.
He first organized a small meetup group, which grew into the idea for a cooperative that could more effectively use the passion and talent of its members.
“As I thought about ways to possibly disrupt what I view as an antiquated higher education system and broken business funding model, I came upon the idea of reverse engineering the entire education and business startup process,” said Curry.
Coordinating the expanding group and funding the concept have been the biggest challenges so far, he said, but Kansas City has lent its significant talent base, it’s low cost of doing business, and supportive community.
Revolutionizing the human experience
Curry hopes the group will work on bigger issues as it further develops to better realize the full potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning, he said. The cooperative’s focus will shine a spotlight on age-old problems like poverty, humans as labor, and particularly wealth disparity, Curry said.
Closing the gap between poverty and riches is a particular passion project for Curry, he said, noting most of the world’s wealth is concentrated with small percentages of people, many of whom are inheritors, overpaid founders and executives.
“From my perspective, this is a broken and inefficient system that is ripe for AI disruption,” Curry said. “The illusion of a meritocracy in that kind of system has the potential to be disrupted using machine learning and AI to determine systemic inefficiencies in capital and income flows using value-added modeling and other tools.”
KCAIL’s plan for the future also includes building the skills of its members, solving problems for their partners, and giving back to Kansas City.
“We hope to find partners who want to help us continue our mission and expand our footprint while also building up the Midwest as an AI and ML hub,” said Curry.