About Me

Hello, world! I’m Andy. I work at Microsoft. I’m a natural language processing researcher, entrepreneur, VC, and activist. I like to write, but I’d rather build things. I’m fascinated by the ways that technology (when carefully applied) can bring about real impact. I hate injustice.

Things I think I think

I think bringing early-stage technologies to market is hard, but worthwhile. I’m a Principal Group Program Manager at Microsoft working on bringing new natural language processing technologies to enterprises of all sizes. I’m not just a product guy: I’m also part of the exciting NLP research and development work happening here at Microsoft. I previously was the Chief Product Officer for the Intel® Saffron™ Cognitive Solutions Group in Hillsboro, Oregon.

I think success should be measured in terms of global impact. I was a Senior Director for Innovation at Vulcan Inc., where I led teams that tackled some of the world's most important problems, from climate change and clean energy to biodiversity and global health. I co-founded the Vulcan Proving Ground (an early-stage technology incubator) and worked closely with Paul Allen as his Executive Technical Advisor.

I think that small teams can accomplish amazing things. I've founded (and run) three consumer-facing startups: A.R.O. Inc., Swingly, and Extractiv. I also served as CEO of Language Computer Corporation, an amazing natural language processing company that built some of the best systems in question-answering, information extraction, and textual inference in the early 2000s.

I think that hard problems are fun to solve. I've led research in natural language processing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and ubiquitous computing. I even publish (sometimes). My work can be found in the proceedings of AAAI, ACL, SIGIR, and NIPS.

Images

Random headshots from over the years:

Interests

An ever-growing list of things I’d like to learn more about:

  • Neuroscience

    • Neuromorphology, neural structure and function

    • Brain Mapping

    • Neurobiology of decision making, especially reasoning under uncertainty

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

    • Generative models for language, image, and video

    • Automated training models based on synthetic sources of data

    • Computational perception, including computer vision, digital olfaction

    • Explaining predictions of machine learning-based models

    • Modeling/anticipating sources of bias

    • Semi-supervised learning, active learning, machine teaching

    • Acquisition of common sense knowledge (and other kinds of knowledge)

    • Computational creativity

  • Natural Language Processing and Linguistics

    • Recognition of false and/or contradictory knowledge (“fake news”)

    • Multi-turn dialog agents

    • Computational approaches to inferring discourse structure

    • Machine reading and textual inference

    • Automatic question-answering (including answering complex questions!)

  • Robotics and autonomy

    • Required infrastructure for autonomous vehicles in developing world

    • Quantification of ethical risk / ethical reasoning (“Creepy Trolley”)

    • Robust strategies for locomotion

    • Sensor fusion and SLAM

    • Soft Robots

  • The evolution of cities, and urban planning

    • Traffic design and transportation planning

  • Resource planning, especially under unreliable/scarce supply

  • The evolution of governments and representational systems

    • Tracking changes in government and policy

    • Catalyzing engagement

  • Organizational Psychology, especially operations theory, business process redesign

  • Economic and behavioral incentives, game theory

  • Innovation at scale

    • Incentives for sponsoring cutting-edge R&D, opportunity zones

    • Alternatives to startup incubators, etc.

  • Policy vs. global pandemics

  • Computational biology

    • Gene discovery and editing

    • Automatic discovery of synthesis pathways

  • Conservation and biodiversity

    • Large-scale remote sensing for resource preservation

    • Ocean health; countering ocean acidification and pollution

    • Counter-IUU policy

    • Economic incentives (or dis-incentives) for conservation