23. Ashwini Asokan of Mad Street Den – Demystifying AI through Anthropology and Insight

Ashwini Asokan is the founder and CEO of Mad Street Den, an Artificial Intelligence company, powering Retail, Education, Healthcare, Media, Finance & more with its image recognition platforms, Vue.ai and Blox.ai. Headquartered in the Bay Area, California, the company has offices around the globe. She previously worked at Intel, where she led IXR’s Mobile Portfolio, which explored the future of mobile technology and designed compelling mobile experiences that people will love.

While at Intel Ashwini spent time working on the Mobile Portfolio where she combined teams comprising designers, anthropologists and software engineers.  We talk about the importance of including anthropologists to understand the sometimes varied use case of technology, and we explore what insights this can provide.

We move then to talk about a video in which Ashwini refers to AI as “Brains, Bots and Bullshit” and dissect what this in fact means, and what can be done to improve how AI is used and developed in the future. You can find this video here:

Mind the product talk

And an video about Ashwini’s entrepreneurial journey here:

NatGeo video

As an entrepreneur who has worked through capital raising, Ashwini has a host of insights into the playing field for capital and some of its shortcomings. We look at the steps she took to shore up her own business venture and how her training in the arts taught her the choreography needed to stay the course. We examine the importance of the social sciences, of learning how to “fail up”, build muscle and stay the course, particularly as a woman in the competitive field of tech.  Finally, we look at the importance of eating protein, in more ways than one.