Hosting Talks by Seattle AI researchers, engineers, and startup founders

Hi all,

I noticed that Seattle has a lot of AI researchers and engineers (UWash, AI2, Microsoft, Amazon, etc.) but I don’t know of any meetup groups that hosts events where they could give a talk and interact with interested people. In contrast, San Francisco has meetups that regularly hosts talks and interviews prominent researchers and AI company founders that are open (sometimes with permission) to the public. I think it would be a great way for the AI Society to allow for dialogue between leaders in the field and those who what to learn more about it.

Any thoughts @payne? If this peaks your interest, I would be more than happy to help out with this. I have experience organizing similar events.

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We’ve talked about this in the past and have been reticent to eliminate the activity format, though, it keeps coming up and we have tried bringing in speakers on a couple of occasions. It always feels like a 50-50 split on feedback afterwards.

Do you have specific researchers/engineers you’d like to hear from, @tedfuji ?

The way to move forward with this now, @tedfuji, would be for you to contact any of the chapter directors and see if they want to work in a guest speaker into their lineup, for either the full time, or part of the time (I know hustlers want to leave time at the beginning of each meeting to hear about people’s work, e.g.).

A second thing to consider… we eliminated Socialites a few month ago, maybe we just bring a “Special Guest” night into the rotation? Would want to hear what the chapter directors think about that, though.

I can discuss it with the chapter directors.
If they’re on board with the idea, we can start with early career researchers at UWash or Allen Institute for AI who might be more open to attending and interacting with the group. Since Seattle AI Society seems mostly interested in NLP/LLMs, it’s hard to do better than those two organizations. We could ask them to give a talk on their research that was accepted at top machine learning conferences. I also know of some people at my own lab (PNNL) who have published at NeurIPS in recent years.

As long as the chapter leads are on board, I can take care of reaching out to the speakers.