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Chris Benson

Chris Benson is Principal Artificial Intelligence Strategist at Lockheed Martin. He came to Lockheed Martin from Honeywell SPS, where he was Chief Scientist for Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning. Chris built and operationalized Honeywell’s first dedicated AI team from the ground up. Before that he was on the AI Team at Accenture.

As a strategist and thought leader, Chris is among the world’s most in-demand professional keynote speakers on artificial intelligence, machine learning, emerging technologies, and visionary futurism. His inspirational keynotes are known for their passion, energy, and clarity. He is a seasoned storyteller who delights in captivating his audiences with inspiring narratives and insightful analysis at conferences, broadcasts, interviews, forums, and corporate events around the world.

Chris is an innovative hands-on solutions architect for artificial intelligence and machine learning - and the emerging technologies they intersect - robotics, IoT, augmented reality, blockchain, mobile, edge, and cloud.

He is Co-Host of the Practical AI podcast, which reaches thousands of AI enthusiasts each week, and is also the Founder & Organizer of the Atlanta Deep Learning Meetup - one of the largest AI communities in the world.

Chris and his family are committed animal advocates who are active in animal rescue, and strive to make strategic improvements on specific animal welfare issues through advocacy for non-partisan, no-kill, and vegan legislation and regulation.

Chris Benson’s opinions are his own.

Atlanta · Twitter · GitHub · LinkedIn · Website

Practical AI Practical AI #237

Automating code optimization with LLMs

You might have heard a lot about code generation tools using AI, but could LLMs and generative AI make our existing code better? In this episode, we sit down with Mike from TurinTech to hear about practical code optimizations using AI “translation” of slow to fast code. We learn about their process for accomplishing this task along with impressive results when automated code optimization is run on existing open source projects.

Practical AI Practical AI #235

Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights

In this Fully Connected episode, Daniel and Chris kick it off by noting that Stability AI released their SDXL 1.0 LLM! They discuss its virtues, and then dive into a discussion regarding how the United States, European Union, and other entities are approaching governance of AI through new laws and legal frameworks. In particular, they review the White House’s approach, noting the potential for unexpected consequences.

Practical AI Practical AI #234

Vector databases (beyond the hype)

There’s so much talk (and hype) these days about vector databases. We thought it would be timely and practical to have someone on the show that has been hands on with the various options and actually tried to build applications leveraging vector search. Prashanth Rao is a real practitioner that has spent and huge amount of time exploring the expanding set of vector database offerings. After introducing vector database and giving us a mental model of how they fit in with other datastores, Prashanth digs into the trade offs as related to indices, hosting options, embedding vs. query optimization, and more.

Practical AI Practical AI #233

There's a new Llama in town

It was an amazing week in AI news. Among other things, there is a new NeRF and a new Llama in town!!! Zip-NeRF can create some amazing 3D scenes based on 2D images, and Llama 2 from Meta promises to change the LLM landscape. Chris and Daniel dive into these and they compare some of the recently released OpenAI functionality to Anthropic’s Claude 2.

Practical AI Practical AI #232

Legal consequences of generated content

As a technologist, coder, and lawyer, few people are better equipped to discuss the legal and practical consequences of generative AI than Damien Riehl. He demonstrated this a couple years ago by generating, writing to disk, and then releasing every possible musical melody. Damien joins us to answer our many questions about generated content, copyright, dataset licensing/usage, and the future of knowledge work.

Practical AI Practical AI #231

A developer's toolkit for SOTA AI

Chris sat down with Varun Mohan and Anshul Ramachandran, CEO / Cofounder and Lead of Enterprise and Partnership at Codeium, respectively. They discussed how to streamline and enable modern development in generative AI and large language models (LLMs). Their new tool, Codeium, was born out of the insights they gleaned from their work in GPU software and solutions development, particularly with respect to generative AI, large language models, and supporting infrastructure. Codeium is a free AI-powered toolkit for developers, with in-house models and infrastructure - not another API wrapper.

Practical AI Practical AI #230

Cambrian explosion of generative models

In this Fully Connected episode, Daniel and Chris explore recent highlights from the current model proliferation wave sweeping the world - including Stable Diffusion XL, OpenChat, Zeroscope XL, and Salesforce XGen. They note the rapid rise of open models, and speculate that just as in open source software, open models will dominate the future. Such rapid advancement creates its own problems though, so they finish by itemizing concerns such as cybersecurity, workflow productivity, and impact on human culture.

Practical AI Practical AI #228

From ML to AI to Generative AI

Chris and Daniel take a step back to look at how generative AI fits into the wider landscape of ML/AI and data science. They talk through the differences in how one approaches “traditional” supervised learning and how practitioners are approaching generative AI based solutions (such as those using Midjourney or GPT family models). Finally, they talk through the risk and compliance implications of generative AI, which was in the news this week in the EU.

Practical AI Practical AI #226

Accidentally building SOTA AI

Lately.AI has been working for years on content generation systems that capture your unique “voice” and are tailored to your unique audience. At first, they didn’t know that they were going to build an AI system, but now they have a state-of-the-art generative platform that provides much more than “prompting” out of thin air. Lately.AI’s CEO Kate explain their journey, her perspective on generative AI in marketing, and much more in this episode!

Practical AI Practical AI #225

Controlled and compliant AI applications

You can’t build robust systems with inconsistent, unstructured text output from LLMs. Moreover, LLM integrations scare corporate lawyers, finance departments, and security professionals due to hallucinations, cost, lack of compliance (e.g., HIPAA), leaked IP/PII, and “injection” vulnerabilities.

In this episode, Chris interviews Daniel about his new company called Prediction Guard, which addresses these issues. They discuss some practical methodologies for getting consistent, structured output from compliant AI systems. These systems, driven by open access models and various kinds of LLM wrappers, can help you delight customers AND navigate the increasing restrictions on “GPT” models.

Practical AI Practical AI #224

Data augmentation with LlamaIndex

Large Language Models (LLMs) continue to amaze us with their capabilities. However, the utilization of LLMs in production AI applications requires the integration of private data. Join us as we have a captivating conversation with Jerry Liu from LlamaIndex, where he provides valuable insights into the process of data ingestion, indexing, and query specifically tailored for LLM applications. Delving into the topic, we uncover different query patterns and venture beyond the realm of vector databases.

Practical AI Practical AI #222

The last mile of AI app development

There are a ton of problems around building LLM apps in production and the last mile of that problem. Travis Fischer, builder of open AI projects like @ChatGPTBot, joins us to talk through these problems (and how to overcome them). He helps us understand the hierarchy of complexity from simple prompting to augmentation, agents, and fine-tuning. Along the way we discuss the frontend developer community that is rapidly adopting AI technology via Typescript (not Python).

Practical AI Practical AI #220

Causal inference

With all the LLM hype, it’s worth remembering that enterprise stakeholders want answers to “why” questions. Enter causal inference. Paul Hünermund has been doing research and writing on this topic for some time and joins us to introduce the topic. He also shares some relevant trends and some tips for getting started with methods including double machine learning, experimentation, difference-in-difference, and more.

Practical AI Practical AI #219

Capabilities of LLMs 🤯

Large Language Model (LLM) capabilities have reached new heights and are nothing short of mind-blowing! However, with so many advancements happening at once, it can be overwhelming to keep up with all the latest developments. To help us navigate through this complex terrain, we’ve invited Raj - one of the most adept at explaining State-of-the-Art (SOTA) AI in practical terms - to join us on the podcast.

Raj discusses several intriguing topics such as in-context learning, reasoning, LLM options, and related tooling. But that’s not all! We also hear from Raj about the rapidly growing data science and AI community on TikTok.

Practical AI Practical AI #218

Computer scientists as rogue art historians

What can art historians and computer scientists learn from one another? Actually, a lot! Amanda Wasielewski joins us to talk about how she discovered that computer scientists working on computer vision were actually acting like rogue art historians and how art historians have found machine learning to be a valuable tool for research, fraud detection, and cataloguing. We also discuss the rise of generative AI and how we this technology might cause us to ask new questions like: “What makes a photograph a photograph?”

Practical AI Practical AI #217

Accelerated data science with a Kaggle grandmaster

Daniel and Chris explore the intersection of Kaggle and real-world data science in this illuminating conversation with Christof Henkel, Senior Deep Learning Data Scientist at NVIDIA and Kaggle Grandmaster. Christof offers a very lucid explanation into how participation in Kaggle can positively impact a data scientist’s skill and career aspirations. He also shared some of his insights and approach to maximizing AI productivity uses GPU-accelerated tools like RAPIDS and DALI.

Practical AI Practical AI #216

Explainable AI that is accessible for all humans

We are seeing an explosion of AI apps that are (at their core) a thin UI on top of calls to OpenAI generative models. What risks are associated with this sort of approach to AI integration, and is explainability and accountability something that can be achieved in chat-based assistants?

Beth Rudden of has been thinking about this topic for some time and has developed an ontological approach to creating conversational AI. We hear more about that approach and related work in this episode.

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