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Primer with John Bohannon


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Description: The Google Cloud Platform Podcast, coming to you every week. Discussing everything from on Google Cloud Platform from App Engine to Big Query.

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Primer with John Bohannon

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Michelle and Mark are together again this week to talk with John Bohannon about AI startup, Primer. His goal is to build systems that continuously read documents and write about what they discover. He discusses his recent work building a self-updating knowledge base and the research his team just published.

Perhaps most interesting is the circuitous path he took to get to Primer. Hear about his adventures along the way to becoming a data scientist specializing in natural language processing. How does a microbiologist who developed a pregnancy test for fish get distracted by Python? What does contemporary dance have to do with establishing AI policy? Join us as he weaves a common thread along his career path: encountering interesting problems and discovering creative ways to solve them.

John Bohannon

John Bohannon is the Director of Science at Primer, an AI startup in San Francisco. Until 2017 he was an investigative journalist and data scientist writing mainly for Science magazine and Wired. He spent the first half of his career as a foreign correspondent, including as a Fulbright scholar in Berlin. His reporting from Gaza won the Reuters-IUCN Media Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting from Europe. While embedded with military forces in Afghanistan he engineered the first voluntary release of civilian casualty data by NATO and the United Nations. As a visiting scholar in the Program in Ethics and Health at Harvard University he focused on the involvement of doctors and social scientists in the US government’s torture program. He was also the scientific advisor to Isabella Rosselini for “Green Porno” (winner of 4 Webby awards) and “Animals Distract Me” (official selection, 2011 Sundance Film Festival). He is the author of a peer-reviewed study of people’s inability to distinguish pet food from paté, which inspired Stephen Colbert to eat cat food on television. He has a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Oxford.

Cool things of the week
  • Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone book
  • Next ‘19 Recap video
  • I/O ‘19 Recap video
  • All I/O Sessions videos
  • Michelle’s Favorites:
    • Session: Taylor Wilson interviewing Michio Kaku on the future of humanity video
    • Sandbox: AI on the Edge by Gabe Weiss, Noah Negrey, Yu-Han Liu, and Luiz Gustavo Martins
    • Codelab: AI on a microcontroller with TFLite and SparkFun Edge site
  • Primer site
  • Primer Blog blog
  • Headline Generation: Learning from Decomposable Document Titles paper
  • BERT site
  • Ngram Viewer site
  • Google Books site
  • Dance Your PhD 2018 WINNER - Superconductivity: The Musical! video
  • Kinetech Arts site
  • John Bohannon’s Website site
Question of the week

How can we be like John?

Where can you find us next?

Michelle will be at Kubecon Europe and CERN. Mark Mirchandani will be hanging around the bay area. Mark Mandel is in Tokyo. Gabi is in France. John is in NYC. Brian will be in Boulder, Colorado.


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