1.What is your educational background?
I have a degree in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.
I started programming in high school and it immediately felt like play to me. I quickly knew that’s what I was going to do in the future.
2. What do you like most about working in AI?
AI is very broad and no single person can master all of it.
If you enjoy the theoretical aspects, there is an immense amount written about it and an even greater amount of work left to be done. Same with the practical/implementation aspects of it, or the performance aspects. And it’s applicable to so many verticals each with their own specific challenges, such as automotive in our case.
It’s a field with an unlimited leeway for more learning and exploration, and for taking it in whatever direction you want.
3. What brought you to this company/how did you get started?
In the early 90s I worked with Ron in a small Japanese startup where we created a hit digital life simulation product AquaZone. It was a very exciting time to be creating digital content in Tokyo.
We branched out in our respective directions. I spent several years in the gaming field and had further success leading the development of another huge hit product, “Seaman”, for Sega’s short-lived Dreamcast platform.
Later I went freelance for a period. Even during that period I had some fantastic and disparate projects, ranging from a robotic arm control system for a university, to a suite of games for Sanrio based on their Hello Kitty universe!
All the while I kept in touch with Ron, and admired what iNAGO was doing. I would help out at times, and finally joined full-time in 2011.
4.What makes the work at iNAGO so special?
One thing that excites me, yet ironically also makes our work more difficult to explain, is that we not only create digital assistants but offer a platform for creating assistants.
Even when I worked in games, I often found myself gravitating toward creating a base or platform that facilitates content creation for others. Likewise, in iNAGO, I’m not an expert on cars but I find it satisfying to create a conversational AI platform that can benefit automakers. And of course any other OEMs or content providers, with their respective fields of expertise.
The daily work itself draws upon both logic and creativity. Switching between the two is challenging, and challenge is what it’s all about.
Above all, what makes work at iNAGO special is the team. It’s a privilege to work with such an intelligent and thoughtful group of people.