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Meet Susan Westwater, Scot Westwater, Ronald Schmelzer, and Kathleen Walch: MAICON 2021 Speakers

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Welcome back to our MAICON 2021 speaker series. We’re introducing you to our speakers, telling you a little about why they’ll be at MAICON, what resonated with us in articles or resources of theirs, and how to connect with them prior to the event.

Meet Susan Westwater

Susan WestwaterSusan Westwater is the CEO and co-founder of Pragmatic Digital. She helps clients solve marketing and customer-experience problems via customer-centric approaches to plan and create useful and usable voice experiences for their audiences.

Westwater has presented and authored a number of talks, workshops, articles, and ebooks focused on the role voice technology plays in marketing and business strategy.

She co-authored Voice Strategy: Creating Useful and Usable Voice Experiences with her husband Scot. Westwater is a co-founder of Voice Masters, an online education program designed to teach innovative business teams about voice and voice strategy. She also is an ambassador for the Open Voice Network and an advocate for Women in Voice.

Meet Scot Westwater

Scot WestwaterScot Westwater is the CCO and co-founder of Pragmatic Digital. He focuses on developing useful and usable voice experiences to help businesses provide value to their audiences.

He has created numerous videos, and has written articles and ebooks focused on the intersection of business strategy and voice technology.

Late last year, he and his wife Susan released Voice Strategy: Creating Useful and Usable Voice Experiences. Westwater has presented talks and workshops at a number of events, including VOICE Summit 2019 and Project Voice 2020. He also is a co-founder of Voice Masters and an ambassador for the Open Voice Network

Meet Ronald Schmelzer

Ronald SchmelzerRon Schmelzer is principal analyst, managing partner, and founder of the AI-focused analyst and advisory firm Cognilytica.

He is also the co-host of the AI Today podcast, SXSW Innovation Awards Judge, founder and operator of TechBreakfast demo format events, and an expert in AI, machine learning, enterprise architecture, venture capital, startup and entrepreneurial ecosystems, and more.

Prior to founding Cognilytica, Schmelzer founded and ran ZapThink, an industry analyst firm focused on service-oriented architecture (SOA), cloud computing, web services, XML, and enterprise architecture, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in August 2011. 

Meet Kathleen Walch

Kathleen WalchKathleen Walch is a serial entrepreneur, savvy marketer, AI and machine learning expert, and tech industry connector. She is a principal analyst, managing partner, and founder of Cognilytica, an AI research and advisory firm, and co-host of the popular AI Today podcast.

As a master facilitator and connector, who is well connected in the technology industry, Walch regularly meets with innovators in key markets and gets the opportunity to see the latest and newest technologies from game-changing companies.

Walch is a regular contributor to both Forbes and TechTarget where she covers topics related to AI, machine learning, data science, and best practice AI methodologies.

Some of Their Work

3 Ways Brands Can Optimize Their Mobile Experience To Better Serve Their Customers by Susan Westwater   

An excerpt: Because of how explosive consumer smart speaker adoption has been, there’s been a tendency to think about smart speakers as the only way brands can engage with Voice. However, the reality is that Voice goes well beyond smart speakers. With 500 million active monthly users on Google Assistant on mobile and Siri having a major amount of consumer mindshare, it's time for brands to take a serious look at voice-enabling their mobile applications. 

Why we like it: As marketers, we may immediately think of optimizing written content like digital ads and blog posts when leveraging AI to better reach our target audiences. But as Susan points out in much of her work, voice technology has rapidly grown into a widely used medium for consumers—especially through mobile devices. Are you providing your mobile customers with an optimized voice experience?   

6 Questions for Scot Westwater (Voice in Health Part 2)  

An excerpt: I’ve spent the better part of the past 10 years working in the healthcare and pharmaceutical space, primarily for websites, apps and medication tracking tools. Voice is a natural extension of that work and has massive potential to improve patient outcomes while providing healthcare professionals with some much-needed relief.

Why we like it: In an interview with Dain Fitzgerald, Scot shares his insight on the role voice technology plays in the healthcare industry. Understanding how AI impacts other industries offers the perfect opportunity to learn and adapt these solutions to your own needs. For example, patients are typically more comfortable revealing medical issues to an AI than a real person—could the same be said for providing product feedback to your organization? 

AI Today Podcast Education Series: Fundamentals of AI with Ron and Kathleen   

An excerpt: This podcast episode provides a snippet of Cognilytica’s AI and ML education from the Cognilytica Education Subscription. In their education, Ron and Kathleen go into great detail explaining and breaking down AI, including fundamentals of AI including actually learning the terms and concepts of AI and how it all fits together. This podcast is an excerpt from the Cognilytica Education course “Fundamentals of AI”. In this clip Ron and Kathleen discuss: What is intelligence? It’s not necessarily what you think it is. 

Why we like it: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re huge advocates of AI education—how can business leaders and everyday marketers expect to adopt AI solutions if they don’t first understand them? In this episode, Ron and Kathleen dissect the essence of human intelligence and how it contrasts to the current bandwidth of artificial intelligence.    

Combating Racial Bias in AI by Kathleen Walch  

An excerpt: When left unchecked, biased data creates skewed or inaccurate machine learning models that perpetuate social prejudices and injustices. This can present a challenge to organizations, which increasingly rely on data for many operations. 

Why we like it: Ethical AI and bias has been a serious concern since the advent of artificial intelligence and will continue to be a major responsibility for the companies investing in these smart solutions. Kathleen will talk more about the key role ethical frameworks play in today’s AI solutions during her MAICON breakout session this year.   

Connect with the Speakers

Susan and Scot's Breakout Session at MAICON

7 Stats Marketers Should Know about Voice

In April 2021, Susan and Scot Westwater were part of the Voice Consumer Index research project, which surveyed consumers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany on how they think about, use, and learn about voice assistants and applications. It’s the largest study of its kind, and we now know that consumers are using voice in ways that very much align with the marketing funnel. In this presentation, they will share seven key stats that illustrate how voice has quickly become a new consumer channel that marketers cannot afford to ignore. 

Ron and Kathleen's Breakout Session at MAICON

Current State of Ethical AI Frameworks

Organizations are increasingly making use of AI systems to power their operations and enable a wide range of applications from the trivial to the mission-critical. Many of these systems are being put into applications that can potentially impact people’s daily lives and livelihoods. Making sure that these AI systems don’t result in adverse outcomes is incredibly important.

Increasingly, as part of best-practice AI methodologies, organizations are putting into action ethical AI frameworks that guide those building and running AI systems, and those using those AI-enabled systems.

In this presentation, Cognilytica shares the latest efforts on ethical AI frameworks, a walk-through of a comprehensive Ethical AI Framework, how ethical AI frameworks play a key role in best-practice AI methodology, and how such frameworks can be adopted to guide the use and development of AI systems as part of a comprehensive best practice methodology such as the Cognitive Project Management for AI (CPMAI).

Join us at MAICON 2021 on September 13-14, 2021 to hear Susan, Scot, Ron, Kathleen, and 20+ other AI and marketing leaders. BLOG20 saves 20% off current prices.

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