The Innovative Essence Of Will.I.Am
As technology evolves, the Casper & Casper team continues to anticipate the many innovations being developed. From smartphones to smart glasses and smart luggage, AI plays a dominant role in current technological advances. The term may still hold some sci-fi mystique, but artificial intelligence is already a growing part of contemporary human life and doesn’t just concern the individuals involved in their creation. Award-winning artist will.i.am understands the importance of AI and implements these values in his work and our founder Milla Maria has been following will.i.am’s progressive career with admirable curiosity.
will.i.am, born William Adams, is otherwise usually known for his musical career, but he has expanded his reach beyond music and towards STEM-related fields. He has a solid foothold in the consumer electronics industry by being a shareholder in Beats Electronics, is the Director of Creative Innovation for Intel, and has even dabbled in astronomical endeavours by being the first recording artist to send a song to Mars in conjunction with NASA’s Curiosity Mars Space Lab. He is a hands-on innovator and believer in the improved use of AI technology.
His new focus in the realm of AI is his company i.am+, a Hollywood-based technology company responsible for the Omega platform. The Omega is built to be “contextual and proactive”, providing tools to develop a more organic and conversational experience between AI systems and the people using them. It helps machines ‘understand’ human language by actively ‘learning’ through predictive analytics and usage patterns. For now, the Omega’s real-time analytics, sentiment analysis and an opinion system are being marketed towards enterprises in the hospitality, retail, travel, financial and entertainment industries.
Another exciting new development for individual consumers are the BUTTONS from i.am+. These Bluetooth headphones are not entirely cordless, but they are Siri-activated and have interchangeable ear-pads that ensure a custom fit, and magnetic disks to keep them organised and the nylon cable relatively free from complicated tangles. Its active battery life is 6+ hours, with a talk time of 6+ hours and a stand-by time of 120+ hours. While it may not rival AirPods on a grander scale, it has so far sold out all its units, and we can hope to see more from i.am+.
The tech entrepreneur has also recently invested in the Montreal-based tech company Stradigi, taking particular interest in their business-focused AI, Kepler, which provides business metrics and solves complex problems with advanced, layered AI modules. Security privacy and transparency might seem contradictory qualities of a business, but Kepler manages this with ease. will.i.am sees the importance of using closely-monitored and carefully-developed AI as a means to supplement human intelligence and understanding.
In a Rolling Stone interview, he imagines a futuristic 2038 where wall screens replace TVs and mirrors are “old-school technology”. However, he is not simply a wide-eyed tech aficionado – he also considers the regulations for security and the ethics of new and rising technology, indicating that they need to be put in place before this envisioned future becomes a reality that humans can feel secure in. will.i.am also addresses the concerns for AI that creates ‘from scratch’, indicating that fears of an AI that can create and imagine as humans do is misguided – instead of creating something ‘from scratch’, AI and other machine systems ultimately require human input, and that humans aren’t quite headed towards a Terminator-esque future.
As the Casper & Casper founder, Maria, puts it:
“Smart systems are already in place, they assist in streamlining and organising aspects of our daily lives, allowing us to use our time more creatively and effectively. The rapidly evolving AI systems are essential for our very own human expansion, it is quintessentially a necessary component in scientific and technological advances. However, I believe humans will fundamentally be the crucial navigator on how we use and implement AI, purely because throughout our own evolution and existence we are continually searching for more significant ways to enhance every facet of life on earth."
In the early 00s and during the rise of the Black-Eyed Peas, the thought of will.i.am becoming a tech innovator and investor, especially in the world of AI, would have seemed far-fetched. However, he continuously proves that he is more than his prolific music career. Alongside his involvement in the industry, his philanthropic donations towards providing children essential STEM education proves his commitment to the long-term advancement of the quality of human life. His innovative spirit cannot be overstated enough by the multiple entertainment and academic awards he has received, and the eager entrepreneurship fuelled by deep passions and beliefs.