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7 - 11 December 2020

Tom Gruber is an innovator in technologies that augment human intelligence, individually and collectively. Applying ideas from Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, and Design, his work has explored how connecting people and machines can foster collaboration, learning, knowledge sharing, and getting things done.

Tom was co-founder and head of design for the company that created Siri, the intelligent personal assistant. Siri was started in 2008, launched in early 2010, and was quickly bought by Apple. Now an integral part of the latest Apple products, Siri represents a new mode of interaction with devices and the information services they can reach. At Apple for 8 years, Tom led the Advanced Development Group, which developed new capabilities for Siri and future products.

Throughout his career, Tom has explored the intersection of AI and the UI between humans and computers.  In the 1980’s he built AI models for communication prosthesis systems that gave voices to the speechless, and interfaces for experts to build their own expert systems.  At Stanford University he developed the first interactive documents on the web that generated natural language answers in response to questions about how things work.  His AI research, particularly ontology engineering, helped lay the groundwork for semantic information sharing and the Semantic Web.

He has created several products and companies that support human collaboration and knowledge sharing.

At e-commerce pioneer CommerceNet, he invented HyperMail, the widely used open-source application that turns ordinary electronic mail into a web-based organizational memory — a searchable tapestry of links and threads and conversational networks.  HyperMail was used as the archive and public forum for some of the key discussions that defined the emerging ideas of the early Web, and its progeny have since been used to manage tens of millions of online conversations.

He was founder and CTO of Intraspect Software, which created the space of Collaborative Knowledge Management — software that helps large communities of professionals contribute to and learn from a collective body of knowledge. Intraspect applications provide environments for professional people working together on line, collaborating in large distributed communities, and learning from each other.  Intraspect was used by hundreds of corporate customers and many thousands of users in Financial Services, Marketing Services, Professional Services, High Technology, and other globally distributed enterprises.  Tom is also a founder and Chief Scientist of Consider Solutions, a consultancy that helps Global 2000 companies to design and implement coordinated systems of technology, processes, and human organizations to maximize organizational effectiveness.

During the rise of Web 2.0, he founded and built, a collective knowledge system where travelers from around the world shared their experiences through beautiful travel journals of their adventures.  People looking for information about where to go, where to stay, or what to do in their travels learned from the authentic experiences of those who have been there.  By applying machine learning to the global collection of travel journals, RealTravel was able to interview travelers and recommend places to go and adventures to follow.  Over a million people used RealTravel to help plan their travel every month.

Today Tom is an impact advisor and public speaker.  He promotes the philosophy of Humanistic AI, which he presented in a popular TED talk. He was a founding board member of the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society and advocates for the Center for Humane Technology.  Tom has served as an advisor to interesting companies in enterprise collaboration (Consider, SocialText), social networking (LinkedIn), semantic web (Radar Networks), Natural Language Search (Powerset), mind mapping (Mindjet), financial services (Goldman), and open content (the Internet Archive).  He currently advises companies and organizations that use AI to have a positive impact on humanity, including leaders in Assistive Neurotech, Mental Health Care, Intelligent Customer Interaction, and Predictive Assistance.  He is co-founder and CTO of a new company doing Adaptive Music.

Tom is passionate about saving our global ocean and our collective intelligence.

Mr. Tom Gruber



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