Briana Brownell

Briana Brownell
Futurist,
Tech Entrepreneur,
Data Scientist,
Speaker, Author

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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ABOUT ME

I am a data scientist turned tech entrepreneur, futurist and innovator. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to explore many areas of data analytics and business strategy.

 
 

EXPERIENCE

I started my journey of entrepreneurship after 10 years as a data scientist in the marketing research and finance industries. 

Currently, I am founder and CEO of PureStrategy.ai, a technology company that creates and deploys AI coworkers into the enterprise so employees can make faster, data-driven decisions.

I am a frequent speaker and author on AI technology, data science, and machine learning. 

 

 

What's New

Wondering what's new?  Here are a few things I've been up to lately.  For more, check out my Press & Interviews page.

 
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June 3, 2019

Delighted to announce that I have been elected Vice-Chair of Canada’s Mirror Committee to for ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42 Artificial Intelligence. Looking forward to creating foundational standards for AI applications that will be used by businesses around the world.

 

June 3, 2019

I had a great time speaking with Anne-Marie Hardie about the use of artificial intelligence in the manufacturing industry. Nowadays, the increase in computing power is a game changer for optimization in planning, scheduling, and automation.

 

May 29, 2019

My latest feature article in Towards Data Science was featured by Medium’s Technology, Future and Artificial Intelligence curators. So glad that so many folks are finding the analysis insightful.

 

May 29, 2019

In this feature article for Towards Data Science, I reflect on the recent conversation at Stanford between two giants: Yuval Noah Harari, historian and author of Sapiens and Homo Deus; and Fei-Fei Li, engineer and professor, who is one of the most prolific researchers in AI today.


 

May 10, 2019

I had a great conversation with the folks at Dropbox about what artificial intelligence means for the future of work.

 
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May 8, 2019

Absolutely honored to be among the many accomplished and visionary women nominated for a Women of Distinction Award.

 

April 25, 2019

Ethics in Artificial Intelligence is an imperative to anyone working in the tech industry. InformationWeek interviewed me to get my thoughts on Ethically Aligned design - something I truly believe is of the utmost imporance for any organization that prioritizes customer experience.

 

April 15, 2019

When Springboard asked me to comment about what I look for in a resume for Data Analyst and Data Scientist positions, I was happy to comment.

I want to see examples of the kinds of problems that the candidate has tackled and how well they are able to ask questions about the data source and analysis methods.

 
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April 10, 2019

Absolutely thrilled to be a finalist for WESK's Innovation Award. I've always loved creating new things and I've been so proud of the new analytical methods, visualizations, and cognitive technology that my team and I have developed in data science. Most people don't think of data science and AI as a creative field but I disagree - it requires a great deal of originality and out-of-the-box thinking to create a new technology.

 

March 29, 2019

I had a wonderful conversation with BrainStation about what it’s like to be a data scientist and my views on the future of the field, including how companies can hire effectively and why I think Excel will never die.

 
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March 6, 2019

Today I gathered with 100,000 other women worldwide for Stanford's Women in Data Science Global Conference. There were events held all around the world in cities such as Helsinki, La Paz, Riyadh, Perth, and London, where I attended.

It was humbling to be part of such a forward-thinking event where we discussed the state of the art in deep learning, techniques for validating natural language processing methodology, data visualization best practices, and hardware optimization for doing machine learning at scale.

 

March 3, 2019

My comments in Technotification on Narrow AI and why this presents a limitation on what AI can do.

 

March 1, 2019

CMS Wire asked me to comment about the state of the art in AI, including Narrow AI and transfer learning. Does this mean AI is “stupid” at most things? Yes, but it also means that it far exceeds human abilities at many others. Transfer learning holds the promise of being able to retain the success of an AI system and apply it to another domain. I’m excited to see the progress in this area of AI.

 
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February 28, 2019

Doesn't the Canadian delegation at MWC Barcelona look sharp? So glad that PureStrategy.ai had a chance to be part of such a great conference and trade show.

 
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February 25, 2019

Wow, what a whirlwind first day at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Me and over 100,000 others swarmed the pavilions for the latest in (mostly folding) smartphones, artificial intelligence, IoT and network technology. What I'm finding most exciting are the developments in smart cities and autonomous vehicles, both of which seem to be well on their way to changing the way we live our everyday lives.

 

February 3, 2019

The State of AI report was full of interesting insights. IT Pro Today asked me to comment on what I found to be some of the most interesting and compelling parts of the report. What really stood out to me is how quickly research teams keep exceeding the benchmarks in areas like image classification and speech recognition.

 

January 31, 2019

Creativity is an essential skill for any data scientist. While discussing the essentials of Big Data, Go Skills included my commentary on the topic.

 

January 25, 2019

I speak on a ton of panels, so when InformationWeek asked me to comment about the things I love and hate about being a part of a panel, I had a LOT to say. It’s hard to get right, but these tips are really crucial to having a great discussion and bring a lot of value to the audience at your event.

 
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January 23, 2019

It’s always a pleasure to work with the TED organization so when I got the storyboard from the TED Ed animators in my inbox I was thrilled!

Although I can’t share it yet (Nope, that picture isn’t from the video), My TED Ed lesson on Machine Learning will be coming soon. Can’t wait!

 

January 13, 2019

Pure Strategy will be joining the TechWest Canada delegation at the Mobile World Congress in February 2019. What a great chance to see all the newest tech all under one roof — with 107,000 of your closest acquaintances.

 

January 9, 2019

Singular asked me to comment on the results of their survey of 200 CMOs. It’s time for marketers to focus on renew the trust that has been lost with the consumer and rebuild honest connections between brands and consumers: The biggest challenge in 2019 and beyond will be to create a new normal between marketers and consumers.

 
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January 7, 2019

My article discussing my favorite 5 non-data-science books I read in 2018 really resonated with many members of AIDL, the largest online AI group which boasts almost 200,000 members worldwide. As a result, the article was featured in the group’s weekly newsletter. With hundreds of positive reactions and comments, a great discussion followed, and I loved seeing all the messages telling me that they picked up some of these picks on my recommendation.

 

December 31, 2018

Most of you know I'm a voracious reader - and I love to read books in a wide variety of fields. I find that the more I read out of my areas of expertise, the easier it is to piece things together within it.

With that in mind, I wrote a feature for Towards Data Science reviewing five books I read in 2018 that helped me as a data scientist.

 

December 20, 2018

I had a delightful conversation with Dataquest about the job market in data science and how, while technical skills might get you in the door, it's really your communication skills that will make you succeed in data science as a career.

Data science teams within organizations risk becoming marginalized if they can't communicate their value to the C-suite and if they collaborate poorly with other functional areas in the enterprise.

 
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December 17, 2018

Delighted to announce that Pure Strategy has been invited to be part of Harvard University’s Innovation Lab which, as they put it “assembles the world's most prestigious data and analytics talent.”

Through this partnership we have the opportunity to solve analytics challenges with top brands like Duracell, Macy’s, Keurig Green Mountain and many others.

 

December 3, 2018

I’ve been working on an art collection created with the help of some AI tools. These are inspired by the vibrancy of cities I’ve visited.

Numbered fine art prints will be available in Early 2019.

 

November 23, 2018

I’m delighted to be featured in Spiceworks’ 2019 State of IT report on future trends in tech with comments on automation and machine learning. Check it out here!

 
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November 10, 2018

I had a great time presenting at The International Future Computing Association’s Immersed 2018 Conference about AI use cases for customer experience in media and entertainment companies. I believe the future of AI is especially bright in this area.

And, of course, what about XR? AI as it has to do with XR technology is going to be all about generative methods, and not just taking a backseat and filling in the details.

 
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November 6, 2018

That red circle looks little from this picture but it was HUGE for me. Not only did I meet many fascinating people at TEDx Navigators, but I got to present with my mom, my husband, and many friends in the audience. This is the first time my mom has seen me speak at an event, and the smile on her face after the talk made it unforgettable on a deeply personal level.

After all, our lives are profoundly meaningful both inside and outside of the workplace, and the best moments are the ones we can share with those important to us.

 
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October 27, 2018

My talk at TEDx Navigators “Can an artificial mind see the Man in the Moon?” is only a week away.

Looking forward to sharing the story of how a 3-million-year-old pebble, a picture of Mars, a page of handwritten digits, and yes, the Man in the Moon, can help us understand an artificial mind, and ultimately understand ourselves.

 
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October 24, 2018

My collaboration with fashion brand Shenova is out! It shows the hidden layers of a fully connected artificial neural network.

I am so excited to be wearing this custom-made dress for my TEDx Navigators talk about artificial intelligence on November 3rd.

It will be available in Shenova's fall collection soon for the stylish, smart women in your life.

 
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October 18, 2018

Delighted to have been chosen from over 300 applicants to receive an award from Evolocity’s Women Founders Fund for Women-led businesses in STEM, not to mention having the opportunity to tell everyone at Startup Canada Day on the Hill why I am so positive about the future of AI in Canada!

 
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October 13, 2018

Had a wonderful time celebrating with WIRED magazine for their 25th anniversary! Especially enjoyed hearing Jill Tarter’s insights about the SETI program and her thoughts on space exploration.

 
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October 11, 2018

Soaking in the last bit of the 2nd Plenary of the JTC 1/SC42 on Artificial Intelligence in beautiful Sunnyvale, California. With almost 150 delegates from over 20 countries it was fascinating to work with people around the world who are passionate about AI.

Excited that over the coming years, I will be a liaison to the JTC 1/SC 37 Biometrics committee, where we will discuss AI as it applies to facial recognition, fingerprint and retina scanning, and prevention of identity theft.

 
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October 9, 2018

What an amazing discussion about women on corporate and non-profit boards of directors tonight at the Silicon Valley Capital Club. Here we are toasting to the passing of SB 826 which will give many women the opportunity to be an important part of the success of California companies through board work.

What a wonderful night with a fantastic and inspiring group of women!

 

October 5, 2018

My cover story for the October issue of Quirk’s Magazine is on newsstands now!

In it, I discuss the technical side of natural language processing, including how computers understand human language, challenges in the state of the art technology, and why natural language understanding is essential for large companies.

 

September 28, 2018

Delighted to to have been invited to speak on a panel about building and serving on a board of directors at the Silicon Valley Capital Club on October 9th. Serving on boards has been a major source of education and experience in my career and I am looking forward to helping get others started on their journey.

 

September 24, 2018

Thrilled to announce that I will be doing a TED talk at TEDx Navigators this fall!

I’ll be talking about the ways our brains are biased in favor of seeing patterns that are not really there, and how machine learning applications sometimes have this kind of bias too. These quirks affect the technology we build in systematic and surprising ways. The implications of these issues run deep, and left unchecked can lead to unintended consequences that affect us all.

 

September 17, 2018

As part of The Enterprisers Project’s retrospective on technology changes within the last five years, I comment on the massive shift in the accessibility of data analysis tools to quickly build, test, and deploy machine learning models. Thanks to tools like Spark and Tensorflow, these capabilities are within reach of even small startups.

 

September 9, 2018

This weekend, I was featured in the Sunday Edition of Austria's Die Presse, where I talk about my experience trading just before the Global Financial Crisis.

It brought back some great memories. Here's my favorite part: Brownell left the Industry, today she operates a company dealing with data analysis and artificial intelligence. "You can say, I said goodbye at the right time," says the 35-year-old.

 

September 6, 2018

I spoke with Rassmussen College about what students need to do to prepare for changes in the job market as a result of artificial intelligence.  Read it here.

 

September 2, 2018

Many businesses come to me to figure out how to benefit from the technological advances in AI.  In this article, I give some of my best tips for how to get started so you don’t get left behind.

 

August 30, 2018

Are you an aspiring data engineer?  In this article from TechRepublic, hear from myself and others about what questions to expect on your interview.

 
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August 24, 2018

Thank you to TED for inviting me to design a lesson on machine learning for the TED Ed platform!  We will be talking about the Perceptron, one of the first learning machines, and how it paved the way for deep learning. The lesson is designed for high school students, and my hope is that it will encourage students to consider a career in data science.

 
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August 24, 2018

Look for my feature article on Natural Language Understanding in this October's issue of Quirk's Magazine on Customer Experience.  I will review what CX professionals should know about the science in natural language understanding, what it can and can’t do, and where it may go over the next 5 years. 

 
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August 14, 2018

What are the biggest tech trends on the horizon? Make sure to check out the discussion about automation and machine learning in Spiceworks’ 2019 State of IT report where I discuss how businesses can take advantage of underutilized data to increase ROI on capital and marketing investments.

 

August 1, 2018

How should data scientists validate their models?  Can bias be monitored algorithmically? I share my point of view with Workflow Magazine on how to monitor model prediction errors for bias.

 

July 25, 2018

Thank you to the International Future Computing Association for inviting me to speak at their Immersed 2018 conference!  I will be covering some real-life case studies how AI will impact businesses in the not-so-distant future.

 

July 18, 2018

I shared my story with WinTech’s series “Voices of Women in Tech” including how I got started in tech, what my average day looks like, and how to build a strong community around you.

 

July 17, 2018

I had a wonderful time chatting with David Bellerive in the Phoenix Group's Lessons Learned in Marketing Podcast about how AI can apply to marketing in getting a handle on customer experience data and beyond.

 

July 10, 2018

Alteryx featured Pure Strategy as one of the top ways that AI can be used by airlines.  This article looks at how our ANIE technology uses AI for feedback analysis and ultimately helps companies make informed decisions and meet customers’ expectations.

 

June 21, 2018

Ethics in AI is a hot topic and will become increasingly important within the next decade. I share my point of view on the issue as a part of this article.

 
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June 15, 2018

Thrilled to have been invited to spend a week in Silicon Valley as part of the Canadian Women’s Network inaugural launch cohort of the top female-founded Canadian tech companies.

 

 
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June 1, 2018

Honored to have been elected as Canada’s Head of Delegation for the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42 Study Group on Computational Methods in Artificial Intelligence. The group provides guidance to the development and publication of international standards for companies who are developing artificial intelligence applications.

 

Pinned News

Older news that still bears mentioning.

 
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April 10, 2018

Truly honored to have been invited to be part of the TED organization’s annual conference and being able to be among greats like Ray Kurzweil, Max Tegmark and Gwynne Shotwell. What a remarkable organization!

 

March 12, 2018

I had an amazing conversation with Mike Delgado at Experian about one of my favourite topics - unsupervised learning.  Learn why I think this is the most interesting and under-appreciated areas of machine learning.

 
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November 22, 2017

Proud to have been asked to represent Canada as a delegate for the newly formed ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42 committee on Artificial Intelligence.  We will be working hard to create standards for organizations building AI systems around the world.

 
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October 17, 2017

I was thrilled to have spoken at the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan’s (APEGS) Fall PD Breakfast.  To the dozen or so people waiting at the door to see if you could still get in, despite that it was sold out - you really made my day!