Connect with us


Igor Jablokov talks AI at the PoweredUp Tech Fest

Cora Quantum (AI)



Igor Jablokov on stage at the Mahaffey Theater. Photo by Joe Hamilton.

The annual PoweredUp Tech Fest was back at St. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater Wednesday. The event is one of several initiatives orchestrated by Tampa Bay Tech, a technology council established to bring together diverse sectors of the technology and business communities to explore cutting-edge advancements and network with industry leaders. 

Igor Jablokov, a prominent figure in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and founder of the innovative AI company Pryon delivered the keynote speech. 

Jablokov focused on the transformative power of AI, illustrating his points with personal anecdotes and industry insights. He highlighted the significance of AI in enhancing community well-being, stressing that technology must remain relevant and accessible to all sectors. He reminded the audience that AI is not a new concept but rather a continuation of humanity’s age-old endeavor to distribute and access knowledge more efficiently. From cave paintings to printing presses and now to AI, Jablokov illustrated how innovative technology has always been about bridging the gap between knowledge and people.

Reflecting on his journey, Jablokov recounted his early career at IBM, where his persistent enthusiasm for AI eventually led to his spearheading significant projects in automotive technology, including the technology behind the GM OnStar system. He noted the importance of AI for safety, accessibility, and bridging cultural divides through machine translation. His innovative approach extended beyond automotive applications, as he detailed experiments with AI in diverse environments such as Miami Children’s Hospital, college campuses, and even Epcot Center at Walt Disney World.

One of his most compelling career highlights is Jablokov’s work on the development of voice-activated technologies. He discussed his “secret” project with Sony and Toshiba that eventually led to the integration of voice recognition in the PlayStation 3. Despite initial skepticism from colleagues, his vision materialized into what is now a commonplace technology.

Continuing his voice recognition work, Jablokov co-founded YAP. Its groundbreaking work in voice-to-text applications caught the attention of Amazon, leading to its acquisition in 2011. Jablokov’s work formed the core functionality for Amazon Echo, which later became Alexa, the now-ubiquitous virtual assistant. Alexa is Jablokov’s sister’s name, although Amazon claims the name was chosen for its soft sounds. 

In a poignant moment, Jablokov highlighted the practical applications of AI in military settings, such as the development of a translation app to assist U.S. soldiers in Iraq. This technology allowed for real-time communication, mitigating misunderstandings and enhancing safety for both soldiers and local villagers.

Jablokov also delved into the technical aspects of AI, explaining the evolution from rule-based systems to advanced machine learning and deep learning models. He underscored the significance of natural language processing (NLP) and the rise of large language models, which have revolutionized human-computer interactions.

As Jablokov looked to the future, he envisioned AI as a “knowledge cloud” that would democratize access to information and transform organizations into intelligence agencies. He outlined a phased approach for AI integration within companies, starting with information retrieval, progressing to workflow automation and eventually achieving full-scale automation of complex processes.

Jablokov closed his talk emphasizing the necessity for businesses to adapt to the AI-driven future in order to thrive beyond 2030. He encouraged the audience to embrace AI, not as a daunting technological leap but as a natural progression in humanity’s quest for knowledge and efficiency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment, I have read, understand and agree to the Posting Guidelines.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

Email us: spark@stpetecatalyst.com

Subscribe for Free

Share with friend

Enter the details of the person you want to share this article with.