AI Summit: In conversation with Allie Miller, AIconics’ AI Innovator of the Year

Amazon’s AI expert talks about innovation, diversity and success in the workplace

Allie Miller is an expert on artificial intelligence and the US head of AI business development for startups and venture capital at Amazon.

Last month, she was recognized as the Innovator of the Year at the AIconics Awards in San Francisco – the event celebrating the outstanding achievements of individuals, projects, teams and organizations that are responsible for harnessing breakthrough innovations in AI.

“It felt really nice to be included in that group. AI is all about innovation, so being able to think about our future, and have the trust and optimism in that future – just looking at those individuals, you realize that we’re in good hands,” Miller told AI Business.

“You realize how many people took a chance on you, said ‘yes’ when ‘no’ is so much easier to say,” she added.

So how do you become an AI innovator?

“I studied cognitive science in college, and I think that kickstarted my love for human thinking. How do we, as humans, think through decisions, what makes sense and doesn’t make sense?

“I ended up really wanting to get into tech and AI because of the impact. I think one thing that strikes me so much about AI and machine learning is, on the one hand, it’s incredibly technical, and then you have this other side which is immensely humanistic. I think people who have this combination of left brain and right brain really succeed in AI.”

Miller thinks that this industry continues to have serious issues with diversity and inclusion, but that these issues can be solved – as long as everybody gets involved.

“When you only have the under-represented group talking about inclusion, you can only go so far,” she said. “At Amazon, we learn and innovate all the time on technology, and it’s no different when it relates to diversity and inclusion.”