Blaise Agüera y Arcas is mar­ried to Adri­enne Fairhall, and they have two chil­dren, Anselm and Eliot. Blaise runs a ~600 per­son team focus­ing on dis­trib­uted, eth­i­cal, and on-device AI at Google’s Seat­tle office and oth­er loca­tions world­wide. Some pub­licly vis­i­ble projects from his team include Fed­er­at­ed Learn­ing, Artists and Machine Intel­li­gence, Coral, Hol­ly­wood gen­der equal­i­ty work with the Geena Davis Insti­tute, the Google Clips cam­era, Google’s first “AI device” pow­ered by local neur­al nets, and many AI fea­tures in Pix­el and Android. In 2016 he wrote a wide­ly read essay explor­ing the rela­tion­ship between art and tech­nol­o­gy, and in 2017 he co-authored anoth­er pop­u­lar essay on phys­iog­no­my and bias in AI and a refu­ta­tion of claims that facial struc­ture reveals sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion. The group also works on basic research and new tech­nolo­gies and ideas for Android and Pix­el, var­i­ous Google ser­vices, and next-gen­er­a­tion devices.

Until Decem­ber 2013, Blaise was at Microsoft, where he served in a vari­ety of roles, from inven­tor to strate­gist, and led teams with strengths in inter­ac­tion design, pro­to­typ­ing, com­put­er vision and machine vision, aug­ment­ed real­i­ty, wear­able com­put­ing and graph­ics. His team’s tech­nol­o­gy pow­ered a num­ber of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts. He was also at var­i­ous times the Archi­tect of MSN, Bing Mobile and Bing Maps. He joined Microsoft when his start­up, Sead­rag­on, was acquired by Live Labs in 2006.

Short­ly after the acqui­si­tion of Sead­rag­on, Blaise direct­ed his team in a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Microsoft Research and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, lead­ing to the first pub­lic pre­views of Pho­to­synth sev­er­al months lat­er.  He has giv­en wide­ly viewed talks at TED on Sead­rag­on and Pho­to­synth (2007), Bing Maps (2010), and cre­ative neur­al net­works (2016).  In 2008, when he was still in the flower of his youth, he was award­ed the TR35.  In 2011, he was knight­ed a Dis­tin­guished Engi­neer at Microsoft. At Google he is a Dis­tin­guished Sci­en­tist.

Blaise has an aca­d­e­m­ic back­ground in com­put­er sci­ence and applied math, but he has worked in a vari­ety of fields, often with an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary focus. In the late 90s and ear­ly 2000s he col­lab­o­rat­ed with Adri­enne on com­pu­ta­tion­al neu­ro­science projects, focused on the rela­tion­ship between the phys­i­cal descrip­tion of excitable mem­branes and their com­pu­ta­tion­al prop­er­ties. In 2004 he worked with the Library of Con­gress to dig­i­tal­ly recon­struct Sergey Prokudin-Gorski­i’s ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry col­or pho­tog­ra­phy; and in 2001 he received press cov­er­age for his dis­cov­ery, using com­pu­ta­tion­al meth­ods, of the print­ing tech­nol­o­gy used by Johann Guten­berg.  This work was done in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Paul Need­ham, the Schei­de Librar­i­an at Prince­ton.  Blaise and Paul’s work on ear­ly print­ing was the sub­ject of the BBC Open Uni­ver­si­ty doc­u­men­tary “What Did Guten­berg Invent?”.

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  1. Pingback: The familiarity heuristic and Connecting, Basset & Partners’ film about interaction design and HCI

  2. Pingback: The 2016 Kavli Futures Symposium: Ethical foundations of Novel Neurotechnologies: Identity, Agency and Normality – Bioethics Research Library

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