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Tom Allen, Founder, The AI Journal

The AI Journal: One Platform for All Things AI, and Beyond

“Mediocrity will be the death of art. A painting, a poem, a sculpture, a symphony; all art forms are prone to extinction if mediocrity becomes a calamity. Are we on the same page when I say that a human being is also a piece of art? I don’t intend to use sarcasm. You might also think I am going off-topic. I don’t intend to do that either. I want to bring to your attention the profound irony conceived when a piece of art—YOU—resorts to mediocrity. My point stands; the death of art.”
Would you believe us if we said that these lines were manufactured using the Generative Pre-Training Transformer 3, ‘an autoregressive language model, which uses artificial intelligence and deep learning to produce texts that simulate human writing’, as defined by OpenAI, the company that created the GPT-3.
From being a thing of fiction to writing fiction, artificial intelligence is metamorphosing into any imaginable possibility in every imaginable way. Even so, do we really know enough about AI? Have we exhaustively studied its capabilities? Some say AI is a threat, while others say it’s not greater than human intellect. Who’s got the right answers? Or better, who’s asking the right questions?
We know these questions are regular visitors to your think-box whenever you hear the words artificial intelligence. The most important question being, ‘is there a platform available to get the right information from the right people?’
We believe, The AI Journal—a platform for all news, events, reports, insights, and career opportunities within the field of AI and emerging technologies—is the answer.
Founded by Tom Allen, The AI Journal gets information from people across the world in relevant roles to share insight into everything related to AI. In this process, the platform is democratising the way people learn about this technology.
The AI Journal is a free, open-source information hub for users, with no firewalls or limited readability. “We publish free reports to give prime examples; connect people with the best people to learn from, such as the free list of people to follow, so readers can integrate these ideas and pick it up with their social channels from people who consistently post around related topics,” says Tom.
The Prologue
We asked Tom on what gave him the idea of founding The AI Journal and about his vision for the platform going forward, to which he said, “As one of my roles in an engineering company, we supplied various automation solutions that would use a mixture of technologies such as machine vision combined with physical robotics of various sizes. I went into this role with little knowledge on the topics, which was a hurdle to get over, as was writing up articles, case studies, and writing press-related materials. This naturally led me to look at and learn about topics such as AI, automation, computer vision, and robotics in my spare time.”
“I’m not saying it didn’t exist at the time, but I couldn’t find real insights from people that were actually involved in these projects. The content available was always focused on exploding topics such as which business got the largest funding round or from a journalist on ways a company was innovating. I wanted to understand from the people who were in the trenches, what the frameworks were, best uses, challenges to watch out for – from people who have experience. That is what led me to the idea of The AI Journal.”
“My vision with the platform will always be to educate as many people in the universe on AI and emerging technologies as possible. User engagement and user experience will always be the two core values for The AI Journal. We’re bringing in various new service offerings to connect people, help businesses gain new clients that trust them, educate people in a way that is digestible and accessible, continue building a collaborative community that uplifts each other with support, and most important of all – make the platform fun and memorable for all users!” Tom adds.
Tom has been at the helm of The AI Journal’s early success. Sharing details into his professional journey so far, he says, “I’m a marketer at heart. Connecting a person with a story, so they have that emotional attachment is an area I enjoy. I also love connecting people together to create a network with opportunities for success and results between people and businesses.”
“Majority of what I am yet to contribute is ahead of me and will be fuelled by the ongoing success of The AI Journal. I’m confident that we’ve helped democratise the sharing of knowledge by reducing the cost to high-quality access and reports that you have to pay other businesses tens of thousands of pounds for. And having made people aware of all the conferences that are available to them to learn from.”
“We’ve helped brands through our new audience to reach people consistently with messages that are relevant to their audience. And we plan for that to grow alongside The AI Journal’s engaged audience,” states Tom.
Overcoming Adversities
Giving insights into the challenges impose on The AI Journal by the COVID-19 pandemic and the way he and his team pivoted from those challenges, Tom says, “We started at the beginning of the pandemic, just as people were hearing and learning about the word COVID-19. It’s been a silver lining for us as the world has been more accessible to connect with, which will have likely been harder to connect with the people and businesses we now have super relationships with, including places such as San Francisco, Washington, Nashville, New York, Santiago, Belfast, Berlin, Geneva, Paris, Dubai, Singapore, and Sydney.”
“It’s horrible what’s happened with the pandemic. If I could manipulate time, so the pandemic never happened, I would. Would never value a business—regardless of its valuation, product, value to the marketplace, or all businesses in the world combined for that matter—as more important than a human life. But there have been positives that have come out of it for The AI Journal, as I’m sure there have been with countless other businesses of all sizes, and we’ve embraced and continue to embrace as many of the opportunities as we can. We’re a remote team with the strategy to continue hiring people across the world to reach our global audience. Don’t want to think what The AI Journal’s climate footprint would be in ten years from now if we were all based out of London, going to different parts of the world on a regular basis to get face time with people.”
“It’s important to me that the business operates on a 4-day week (with exceptions to attending conferences from The AI Journal’s amazing media partners) and keep flexibility to our operations as its important to put the team’s health and wellbeing first. An aspect that a 4-day week supports. I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge, but something we noticed is that without the team’s wellbeing, and if they are drained of energy, the business, friendliness with clients, and productivity suffers as a result. That’s not good for anyone or any business, community, individuals we engage with and something that we want to never be present in The AI Journal, internally and externally.”
Critical Opinions
When asked for his opinion on the impact of adopting artificial intelligence within the media and entertainment space, Tom said that it has barely touched the sides and that AI is still in its infancy. He also believes that the inclusion of AI in this industry will help remove a lot of headlines that are not accurate and lower the amount of fake news that we see, eventually helping people significantly to get the information they need to make decisions.
Talking about the possible future of the media and entertainment industry in terms of leveraging AI, Tom says, “We’re already trialling software robots or AI writing stories and making films, it’s not currently that great although impressive, and that’s where it seems to be going. Businesses will be able to maximise generating content that is relevant to what they need, matches with their content calendar and trending information, for example.”
“I doubt there will ever not be journalists, film directors, actors, producers, and so on as they can emotionally react to a situation that provides creativity for new situations, ideas, and stories. In contrast, AI is largely driven by data and past events, making it derivative, and this makes it tricky for AI to come up with new ideas that might not match the data but be a great new angle of thinking.”
“I do see AI sparking the human creativity as well with new angles of looking at a situation or deciding what type of film a Hollywood studio should do next with what cast and crew to match that film or series to increase chances of a box office hit. However, I can see bots and AI doing the tasks that are last on people’s to-do lists or might be a nuisance to do and not taking much cognitive thinking while taking time. Leaving more time for creativity and better use of human cognitive thinking and focus on other more important tasks.”
Bequeathing the Keys to Success
As advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the media and entertainment space, Tom says, “If you want to do it, you should do it or try it. Ignore pessimists who look at every reason why you can’t do it; they’re not much fun to be around. Best way to learn is by doing. And by running a business, you do a lot of things. It makes your skillset more valuable while giving you a wider basic understanding of concepts. I’m a marketer and never thought I’d be in publishing. One thing’s for certain, life is bound to end someday. Might as well spend that time working towards something that you’re aspiring to do, such as a media or entertainment business.”
“I’d absolutely love for all my team members to have a side gig that they do in spare time or on a Friday, whether that’s an eCommerce store, blog, pet walking service, travel review site, etc. Shows they have a passion for something, I can learn from them (which is what every owner should aspire to do, have people surround them that can teach them and own the things they can’t), and they can be trusted with their own interests. Can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s exactly what we want team members to have at The AI Journal. If the business does well, I’ll encourage my team to tell me; I’ll happily be the first one to look at investing in it!”
“When you’re in entertainment and media, you need to think where you’re going to get engagement and attention. Sure, every business wants that, but a company selling software, in my current opinion, which could be wrong, is measured on aspects such as the product, how it integrates with their platform, and how it will get a task done quicker. The entertainment and media industry is based on other aspects as getting the clients name in front of relevant brands. How can your business generate leads? How can your platform get their brand in front of the large audience you’ve amassed for something as specific as rating movies? How are you going to entertain your audience?”
“Starting small, measuring what’s working, following your gut feeling, and taking huge amounts of action to what you’re picturing in your head or what outcome you want, are the aspects that will make you unstoppable. Don’t even bother spending your time looking at competitors. The more time and energy you give them, the less time, energy and focus you’re giving your business and passion. You can’t control what they do, and you should be for fair competition whatever industry or niche you’re in. Focus on your team, customer, user base, and you’ll be flying ahead of the competition. With a lot more energy and focus as well.”
The Epilogue
When it comes to his vision for scaling The AI Journal’s operations in 2021 and further, Tom says that through 2021 the platform is adding support to the operations it currently has. He says that his team is always aiming to look three years ahead to meet the bigger 10, 15-, and 20-year vision. He adds that there are aspects that have worked, such as the awards, reports, and webinars are offerings that they will continue to roll out, and there have been aspects that haven’t worked or weren’t at the right time.
“We look at ourselves as an information hub, not a publication. Any route or strategy where we can get more impactful information, help companies get that information they need, give users the insights to succeed or become more knowledgable, and engage businesses, communities, and individuals with the relevant audience, is something we’re always going to follow,” Tom expressed.
“We’ve got goals to hit with an initial roadmap to integrate with universities and help students get better access to training from the pros in the field. We are also aiming to help investment companies, VCs, and angel investors make better and increasingly accurate decisions with finding companies, individuals, and opportunities that are a sound investment and additionally analysing the market landscape. It’s an exciting time, and I’m grateful for everyone that has been a part of, and will become a part of, The AI Journal,” he concluded.