Martin Ford – Author and Futurist

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Martin Ford is a prominent futurist, New York Times bestselling author, and leading expert on artificial intelligence and robotics and their potential impact on the job market, economy and society. His 2015 book, "Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future" won the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award and has been translated into more than 20 languages.

In this episode, Martin discusses his best-selling books and describes some of the themes he writes about. For instance, in Rise of the Robots he talks about “The Triple Revolution” which was a report presented to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson fifty years ago that argued this would be a dramatic change to the economy; however, it never really panned out. Martin’s argument for artificial intelligence started back in 2009 after writing his first book titled The Lights in the Tunnel. Ultimately, artificial intelligence will become so powerful that it can have a significant impact on employment that will compete with a large fraction of the workforce.

Then, Martin discusses the impact of jobs, the economy, privacy, and democracy with the influx of automation. There was a recent announcement from OpenAI stating they have created a sophisticated deep-learning system that was able to generate narrative content. In other words, the system can create reviews, articles, and poetry proving AI can be creative. The company withheld the technology because of fear people would use the system to turn the internet into garbage full of fake news and fake reviews.

Later, Felipe and Martin discuss the most common occupational error, driving. Self-driving cars will threaten Uber drivers, taxi drivers, and truck drivers. It may take a bit longer than some people are saying, the technology will be coming within ten to fifteen years. Martin believes the hardest jobs to automate are in three categories: genuine creativity, relationship-building, and skilled trade jobs. We put so much emphasis on going to college; however, the safest jobs are going to be the electrician and plumber. Many people do not thrive at university, half of them are not finding jobs that leverage their education after graduation. Then, Martin explains universal income; giving everyone a minimal level of income to allow them to survive in the absence of a traditional job that would provide money. Stay tuned to hear Martin discuss deep learning, data banks, and the negative implications of artificial intelligence.

Enjoy the show!

We speak about:

  • [02:50] Martin’s background

  • [05:45] The themes behind Martin’s writing

  • [08:35] Machine learning is when algorithms can make decisions  

  • [12:00] Amazon is susceptible to automation

  • [16:45] The most common occupation error is driving some kind of vehicle   

  • [18:15] The type of work that will be left for humans  

  • [21:45] Universal basic income  

  • [28:55] Building explicit incentives to earn more income; paying people more to pursue education

  • [33:25] Artificial intelligence will be the primary force shaping our futures

  • [38:35] The solution is not to teach everyone how to code

  • [41:30] Architects of Intelligence: The truth about AI from the people building it

  • [46:00] Deep learning is the biggest thing to happen to artificial intelligence  

  • [52:20] Controlling data and an entirely new industry called data banks

  • [53:15] Negative implications of artificial intelligence

  • [64:40] You do not want to be doing something predictable


Martin’s Website:

Martin’s LinkedIn:

Martin’s Twitter:

TED Talk:


Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

Architects of Intelligence: The truth about AI from the people building it

The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future


  • “It would be a huge mistake to assume only blue-collar workers will be impacted.”

  • “Education is not going to be enough in the long run.”

  • “The last thing we need is a dumbed down population and less informed voters.”

  • “I believe artificial intelligence will be the best thing to happen to humanity.”

Now you can support Data Futurology on Patreon! 

Thank you to our sponsors: 

UNSW Master of Data Science Online: 

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Martin Ford is based in Sunnyvale, California.

And as always, we appreciate your Reviews, Follows, Likes, Shares and Ratings. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy the show!

Annie South – General Manager, Data

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Annie South is the General Manager of Data at ME Bank. She is an Information Management professional with twenty years’ experience of complex information environments spanning the full spectrum of structured data to unstructured information. Annie has in-depth technical knowledge of various specialisms, including metadata, data warehousing, data governance, data quality, enterprise architecture, data lineage, Big Data, data analytics, and regulatory requirements.

In this episode, Annie explains the things she does to ensure her career is future ready because nobody can predict what jobs will look like years from now. Do not specialize in a particular technology but specialize in a capability. The technologies that you are using today will not be the technologies they are using tomorrow. If you specialize in a particular technology set, and it is decreasing in popularity, you will end up with fewer opportunities in the market. Annie tells people wanting career advice that when people look at your resume, they are looking for a consistent arc. That could mean staying consistent in an industry or constant engagement in the workforce. Another thing Annie looks for in applicants is kindness, this quality is something that cannot be taught.

To have any sort of success in an organization, you need to have immersed yourself in their environment for a significant amount of time. It has taken Annie a lot of time to grasp her organization’s culture and be able to manage her team efficiently at ME Bank. Annie refers to her team as the librarians, and data scientists are the people who come and read the books. Data is all about human beings being paired with information and knowledge; it helps people live better lives by pairing them with relevant and essential tools. Annie strongly encourages data scientists to follow their passions and continue to look at different opportunities in the field. Later, Annie discusses diversity in the workforce, overcoming discrimination in the workplace, and explains the importance of LinkedIn for social networking.

Enjoy the show!

We speak about:

  • [01:20] How Annie got into the world of data

  • [10:00] Insight for people starting in the data space

  • [12:50] Organizations are not predictable  

  • [14:50] Annie’s team at ME Bank

  • [27:50] Turning recruitment on its head

  • [33:20] Transitioning from teaching to general manager

  • [39:05] Sort out your personality and experiment with leadership

  • [46:30] Imposter syndrome  

  • [49:10] Experimenting with diversity in the workforce

  • [53:30] Challenges with discrimination in the workplace   

  • [61:10] Define yourself; do not be defined by others


Annie’s LinkedIn:

ME Bank:

IT Jobs Watch:


  • “You are not going to be able to predict the roles that will exist in twelve months.”

  • “Sometimes, a job is better than no job.”

  • “Organizations are extremely complex, quite random chaotic things.”

  • “You will never get ahead by being excellent at what everyone else is doing.”

Now you can support Data Futurology on Patreon! 

Thank you to our sponsors: 

UNSW Master of Data Science Online: 

Datasource Services: or email Will Howard on 

Fyrebox - Make Your Own Quiz!

Annie South is based in Melbourne, Australia.

And as always, we appreciate your Reviews, Follows, Likes, Shares and Ratings. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy the show!

Pavel Pleskov – Data Scientist & Kaggle Grandmaster

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Pavel Pleskov is a data scientist at Point API (NLP startup) and currently ranks number 3 out of 109,624 on Kaggle, making him a Grandmaster. Pavel has started companies in the past and has worked in many different industries before becoming a data scientist and Kaggle Grandmaster.

In this episode, Pavel explains his background and how he started in the data science space. When Pavel’s girlfriend went to pursue her master’s degree in London, Pavel began interviewing for a quantitative research job nearby. Turns out, the company was a rival of his current employer, causing him to get fired from his job the next day. Former employees of this job contacted Pavel to ask if they would join their new trading firm and be head of their research team. After doing his job for two years, Pavel knew he was capable of doing it on his own. The company works remotely, and after spending time in bitter Russian winters, Pavel looked to work elsewhere. The ideal country turned out to be Vietnam and was Pavel’s first time outside of Russia.

Then, Pavel started taking machine learning courses and found the platform Kaggle to practice what he has learned. Practically, Kaggle is much more helpful than homework or any online course. The most significant part of his success was spending full-time on Kaggle rather than working another job. Then, Pavel explains the difference between machine learning engineers and researcher data scientists. Later, Pavel reveals his intention behind becoming the very best at his work. The key to success is to find something you like and become the very best at what you are doing. If you are doing something that you do not enjoy, then there is no way you will become the very best. The only way to overcome your obstacles is to enjoy what you are doing.

Enjoy the show!

We speak about:

  • [01:50] How Pavel started in the data space

  • [09:50] Vietnam is an ideal space for working remotely and teaching English

  • [21:40] The moment Pavel found Kaggle

  • [24:20] How Pavel became a data scientist

  • [28:00] Difference between machine learning engineers and researcher data scientists

  • [31:50] Why is it essential to be the very best?

  • [34:20] Machine learning and mathematics

  • [36:45] The early days of Pavel’s Kaggle journey

  • [40:00] Pavel’s favorite part of Kaggle

  • [47:20] The role of automation in Kaggle   

  • [49:40] The steps when approaching a new Kaggle competition

  • [52:55] Think twice before you commit to data science


Pavel’s LinkedIn:

Pavel’s Kaggle:

Pavel’s Twitter:


  • “It is tricky to work remotely as a data scientist.”

  • “It takes a lot of time to find your passion in life. People spend too much time on things they do not enjoy.”

  • “When I first started Kaggle, I entered any competition and tried to improve my score on the leaderboards.”

Now you can support Data Futurology on Patreon! 

Thank you to our sponsors: 

UNSW Master of Data Science Online: 

Datasource Services: or email Will Howard on 

Fyrebox - Make Your Own Quiz!

Pavel Pleskov is based in Moscow, Russia.

And as always, we appreciate your Reviews, Follows, Likes, Shares and Ratings. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy the show!

Danielle Timmins – Chief Data Analytics Officer

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Danielle Timmins is the Chief Data Analytics Officer for Free Range Creatives. Free Range Creatives is a digital marketing agency that is deeply rooted in data and analytics. They have a different view on agency life and challenge the existing ways of working. They believe that work should be fun (well, at least most days) and that our work must be insightful, inspirational and effective.

In this episode, Danielle tells us how she did not start in the data space but initially wanted to be a doctor. Danielle ended up getting a Master’s in Economic Psychology, during which she concentrated on the digital side of marketing. This is where Danielle got her exposure to data and started to understand it. Danielle got her first start at an NGO in a marketing position. She would shoot mini-documentaries for television and then moved into a more traditional marketing role. Danielle’s first job as a strategist was down in South Africa where she worked with several different clients. This is when she would start to work with data and incorporate it with strategy.

Danielle says that her most significant learning curve has been communicating related data information to people that do not understand data. She recalls how she was in a meeting and wondered what to do with the numbers that were presented and challenged people on what the data meant and how it was presented. Danielle says that these questions were not really asked at the beginning and said that they only came about once she got into a higher position. She loved sharing how she got to the data and the process, but she learned that most people do not. This opened her eyes to make sure that data is broken down into something exciting and easy to understand.

Later, Danielle explains how her style is more visual than number driven or a standard PowerPoint, she uses a TED Talk presentation. This method utilizes visuals that create excitement; the brain works better with visuals. Usually, there are specific questions that we are trying to answer, and we can help answer these questions with visual stories. There are multiple presentations for different audiences, and you must know this to tell the visual story.

Enjoy the show!

We speak about:

•    [01:45] How Danielle started in the data space

•    [03:20] Background and career  

•    [06:20] Deciding what problems to tackle first on the job

•    [08:35] Evolution of marketing   

•    [13:35] Favorite failure

•    [16:50] How to communicate data

•    [18:30] Visual presentation style

•    [19:45] How Danielle creates a story

•    [21:30] How do you structure visuals for executives?

•    [23:10] How do you think people can get better at this skill?

•    [24:45] What is a strategist for data?

•    [27:40] What is the role outside of data?

•    [29:00] The main challenges for Danielle’s clients

•    [32:30] Working with clients on case-by-case basis

•    [33:30] Qualities of a great data scientist  

•    [35:30] What do you think makes a good data leader?

•    [36:15] Current challenges in the data space

•    [37:40] Future challenges for the data space

•    [42:40] Advice for future data scientists and leaders


Sexy Little Numbers

Free Range Creatives:

Danielle’s LinkedIn:


•    “There are many different audiences, and you must adapt your story for each one of them.”

•    “Data can sometimes be abused during storytelling, but I hope that over time, this will change and only be used to help support someone.”

•    “All audiences need to be comfortable with what we are doing as data analysists and sharing their work.”

Now you can support Data Futurology on Patreon! 

Thank you to our sponsors: 

UNSW Master of Data Science Online: 

Datasource Services: or email Will Howard on 

Fyrebox - Make Your Own Quiz!

Danielle Timmins is based in Essen Area, Germany.

And as always, we appreciate your Reviews, Follows, Likes, Shares and Ratings. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy the show!

Peter Elger – Founder and CEO

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Peter Elger is the founder and CEO of four Theorem; his focus is on delivering business value to his clients through the application of cutting edge serverless cloud architectures and machine learning technology. His experience covers everything from architecting large-scale distributed software systems, to leading the internationally-based teams that built them.

In this episode, Peter tells us how his first real passion was in physics. After graduating with a BSc in Physics and a master’s degree in Computer Science, he worked for several years at the Joint European Torus (JET), the world's largest operational magnetically confined plasma physics / nuclear fusion experiment. They were doing big data, but at the time they did not refer to it as such; they dealt with around four to five terabytes of scientific data. Peter then transitioned to Indigo Stone as a Senior Technical Architect. Indigo Stone was a software disaster recovery firm which exited in 2007 to EMC.

Peter explains how it is essential to keep your technical skills up-to-date and why some of his favorite days are when he gets to code despite being the CEO of his company. If you can actually be the bridge between the business and the technology, you are an invaluable asset to any company. The freedom to innovate is what led Peter to his entrepreneurial ventures; previously, he had no real experience being his own boss. Peter says it is dangerous to think you can do everything; you have might a broad skill set, but you need to recognize that you have gaps. This is why Peter has always started businesses with co-founders. Currently, his co-founder is a world-class technologist and someone who understands the human dimension. All of his current co-founders and people Peter has worked with previously.

Later, Peter explains why he wrote about applying AI to existing platforms in his book, AI as a Service. He also recently wrote a chapter on how to apply machine learning to existing systems and the patterns that arise within two systems. Then, Peter describes why you do not need knowledge of AI to use AI as a service. In the past, everyone wanted their own security department; however, people already have the same technology that is vastly better than your own. This applies to how you can utilize AI within your existing business systems. Peter wants people to be interested in machine learning, but only a basic understanding is essential to use it within a business context. Finally, Peter discusses his approach to finding the most capable team members, being open and upfront with all staff members, and removing the ego to allow his team to perform their best work.

Enjoy the show!

We speak about:

  • [01:45] How Peter started in the data space

  • [06:50] Transition to disaster recovery  

  • [08:55] Interactive radio and marketing applications

  • [13:40] Maintaining a grip with technical skills

  • [16:20] The entrepreneurial bug came organically to Peter

  • [18:40] Transition to entrepreneurship  

  • [21:45] What to look for in a co-founder

  • [26:00] Building analytics with machine learning

  • [29:00] A tale of two technologies

  • [33:00] Applying AI to existing platforms

  • [35:10] Knowledge of AI is not necessary to use AI as a service  

  • [37:50] Capable team members are difficult to find

  • [40:10] Sharing management meetings with all staff members  

  • [44:05] Experiences with handling politics in organizations

  • [48:50] Removing ego + allowing the team to do their best work

  • [50:30] Scheduling work to maximize the impact


Peter’s LinkedIn:

Peter’s Twitter:

Peter’s Book: AI as a Service


  • “Computers don’t lie, and they do what you tell them.”

  • “In order to sell to someone, you need to understand what their problems are.”

  • “Business is all based on delivering value and building relationships.”

  • “Good software engineers have been doing things before they had a name.”

Now you can support Data Futurology on Patreon! 

Thank you to our sponsors: 

UNSW Master of Data Science Online: 

Datasource Services: or email Will Howard on 

Fyrebox - Make Your Own Quiz!

Peter Elger is based in Ireland.

And as always, we appreciate your Reviews, Follows, Likes, Shares and Ratings. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy the show!