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AMT Tech Trends: I'm Here to Help

Episode 118: Ramia is back from her travels in Japan, and the tech friends pick her brain about the trip and her culinary experience. Stephen didn’t appreciate a clickbaity title from a NASA article. Elissa reports that NASA has a new Chief AI Officer.
Jun 03, 2024

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Produced by Ramia Lloyd

Ramia Lloyd:

Sections Podcast, where we discuss the latest manufacturing technology, research and news. Today's episode is sponsored by Modern Machine Shop's Made in the USA Podcast. I am Ramia Lloyd, and I'm here with?

Elissa Davis:

I'm Elissa Davis.

Stephen LaMarca:

Stephen LaMarca.

Benjamin Moses:

Benjamin Moses. What's up everyone?

Ramia Lloyd:

Hey.

Benjamin Moses:

Ramia, I hear you're coming back from a trip. I hear you went to Japan.

Ramia Lloyd:

I did.

Benjamin Moses:

I hear things.

Stephen LaMarca:

This is also really exciting, because this is the first time we've all seen Ramia. It's been a long time.

Ramia Lloyd:

That's true. It's been a little bit. I'm officially Japanese.

Benjamin Moses:

You've been indoctrinated.

Ramia Lloyd:

I've been indoctrinated. I'm moving. I'm seeing you guys never again.

Benjamin Moses:

Bye.

Stephen LaMarca:

There was a song about that from the 80s. I think it was canceled.

Ramia Lloyd:

That sounds about right. Okay. It was so much fun. Eight days of probably entirely too much family time, but it was a good time.

Stephen LaMarca:

Sometimes you need that.

Ramia Lloyd:

Just being completely immersed in a city where you've never been and just living with the locals was probably my favorite part besides the food. The food was amazing. The sushi, the ramen, the teppanyaki.

Stephen LaMarca:

Tell me about-

Ramia Lloyd:

Takoyaki.

Stephen LaMarca:

Tell me about the 7-Eleven.

Ramia Lloyd:

Oh my gosh, if I could go into a 7... I came home and there was a 7-Eleven in one of the airports. It was a convenience store and I was like, "This is not the same." I am bougie now.

Stephen LaMarca:

So how many days were you in Japan?

Ramia Lloyd:

Eight days.

Stephen LaMarca:

And out of those eight, how many did you eat at the 7-Eleven?

Ramia Lloyd:

Seven. And the eighth day I couldn't do it, because I was in the airport. But I tried.

Stephen LaMarca:

You wanted to.

Ramia Lloyd:

Every day there was something that I needed either in a 7-Eleven, a Family Mart, I was in there. Or Lawson's. Me and Lawson's are tight.

Benjamin Moses:

Oh, that's a lot.

Ramia Lloyd:

I can't say the word. Onagori?

Elissa Davis:

Onigiri.

Ramia Lloyd:

Onigiri. Amazing. Rice, seafood or seaweed.

Stephen LaMarca:

That's the triangle thing?

Ramia Lloyd:

Yeah. It's a little triangle of rice and there's seafood wrapped around it. And I got tuna and mayo, salmon, fricking roe. I was like, this is my favorite thing. I never want leave here.

Stephen LaMarca:

What kind of roe? Like, masago?

Elissa Davis:

Salmon.

Ramia Lloyd:

Salmon. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

Is that masago?

Benjamin Moses:

Sure.

Ramia Lloyd:

I'm not sure.

Benjamin Moses:

So did you get in trouble for walking and eating at any point?

Ramia Lloyd:

We tried not to. I was trying to be the most respectful American in Japan. My parents were trying to go. They were like, "We're going to miss our train." I was like, "Another one will come. You're going to sit here and eat your ice cream. We're not going anywhere. You put your trash in your bag and we shut up."

Elissa Davis:

The one thing you can rely on is said a train will always come.

Benjamin Moses:

The train will show up.

Ramia Lloyd:

They are on time.

Elissa Davis:

Another will come.

Ramia Lloyd:

Oh my gosh. They are packed, though. And they will look at it and be like, oh, you know who can fit in here? Me and 17 other people. I'm like this, trying not to encroach people's space. Me and my backpack that's on my front because again, I'm a respectful American, and I'm like this and they just keep coming. And I'm like, "Mm-hmm. My bad."

Stephen LaMarca:

Is that something that you should do out of courtesy as well? Put your backpack in front?

Elissa Davis:

It's just taking less space.

Ramia Lloyd:

[inaudible 00:02:49] don't hit them. Yeah. And also, so you're not hitting people that you don't know-

Elissa Davis:

And yeah, you know where it is.

Ramia Lloyd:

Yeah. And everyone's so respectful. If an elderly person comes, they're standing up. If a woman with a baby comes, everybody in the whole train is like, "Do you want to see it?"

Benjamin Moses:

That's a mistake. Just kidding. That was their choice.

Ramia Lloyd:

He's like, equal rights. We believe in equal rights. But 10 out of 10 trip. Will return to Japan again.

Benjamin Moses:

Nice. Actually, there's a lot of Japan trips. I'm going to be going in about a month.

Elissa Davis:

Really?

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah.

Ramia Lloyd:

Do all the things.

Benjamin Moses:

I'm going to do all the things. I'm going to eat all the 7-Eleven food.

Ramia Lloyd:

I'm telling you.

Benjamin Moses:

I'm excited for it.

Ramia Lloyd:

Chicken meatballs in the little store.

Stephen LaMarca:

Are you going on vacation?

Benjamin Moses:

Two weeks.

Stephen LaMarca:

It is vacation, though?

Benjamin Moses:

It is a vacation trip.

Stephen LaMarca:

Okay. I thought I was missing out on a work trip.

Ramia Lloyd:

I was like, me too?

Elissa Davis:

No, if there's a work trip trip to Japan, I would like to be invited.

Benjamin Moses:

Guys...

Ramia Lloyd:

Same.

Elissa Davis:

I'm just saying.

Benjamin Moses:

... I'm going on a trip without Steve to Japan. It's personal.

Stephen LaMarca:

It's okay. It's okay.

Ramia Lloyd:

Poor Steve.

Benjamin Moses:

But before we wrap up, tell us about the train ride. What did you see on the train ride?

Ramia Lloyd:

Oh my gosh. So we're taking the bullet train, and bullet train, I expected it to be fast. I've seen the movie. But I can't remember...

Benjamin Moses:

That's a different experience, I bet. That's a good frame of reference.

Ramia Lloyd:

The only person I remember in that movie was Bad Bunny because I was like, "Why is Bad Buddy in this movie?" He's killing it, but why are you here? I was like, this is going to be fast. There's also going to be a mascot that runs up and down. There was not a mascot.

Benjamin Moses:

No mascot.

Ramia Lloyd:

But it was fast.

Stephen LaMarca:

And no Bad Bunny.

Ramia Lloyd:

No Bad Bunny. I looked everywhere, though. Sorry. Next time. Finnito. Next time. We're on the train and I'm sitting at the window, and it's probably 8:00 AM we're just up at the crack of dawn for no reason. 8:00 AM's not the crack of dawn, but whatever. I'm sitting in the window.

Benjamin Moses:

For Millennials and younger, yeah.

Ramia Lloyd:

I'm just saying, it was a rough time. But I'm sitting at the window staring at the pretty views of Mount Fuji. And all of a sudden, between Tokyo and Osaka, there's this giant orange billboard. I'm like, huh, Mazak. I was screaming and tapping my mom and I was like, "Mom, look, I know them." And she's like half asleep and she's like, "Cool, cute. Stop drinking." And I'm like, "[inaudible 00:04:52]. Look, it's Mazak." And no one's paying me attention, but I'm just in awe. My phone was charging so I didn't have the time span to get it out and take a picture. So now I'm ready, waiting. If anything else I see, I'm snapping pictures of just countryside waiting to see something else. And then I see Fanuc Robotics. I'm like, oh my god. I didn't get a picture of that either. I was too excited and I'm slow. But my life is complete. I can't wait to go home and tell all of my work friends that I saw them and no one's going to believe me because I didn't get a picture.

Benjamin Moses:

You found people who'd appreciate that story.

Ramia Lloyd:

Yeah. No, my mom and my brother and my dad were just like, "Mm-hmm. Cool. I'm glad you're enjoying this train ride."

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah. I get the same experience.

Ramia Lloyd:

For two and a half hours, they're like, "Oh, stop talking."

Benjamin Moses:

That's pretty good. So it was two and a half hours from Tokyo to Osaka?

Ramia Lloyd:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

That's not bad.

Ramia Lloyd:

It was solid. It was solid. And my dad... So we took the bullet train there with no ticket back knowing we had to fly back on Friday. This was Wednesday. So we took the train and then Thursday we're trying to figure out how we're going to get back. And my dad was like, "Oh, can we drive?" And my brother's like, "It took us two and a half hours on a bullet trip. So how long do you think it'll take us to drive and with what car?" My dad was like, "Just price out the Uber ride." And my brother just looked at him and was like, "No." All of our luggage had already shipped back from the hotel we did the service, so they ship it from your hotel to your other hotel. So we're just walking around Japan with these backpacks and my dad's like, "How much is the Uber?" My brother's like, "We're going to the trade station." It's like 137,000 yen. My dad's like... We're all trying to do conversions. My brother's just like, "Stop. It's too much."

Benjamin Moses:

That is one thing that I think is purely Japanese is hotel luggage. Hotel to hotel luggage transport.

Stephen LaMarca:

No way.

Benjamin Moses:

At the airport-

Ramia Lloyd:

That is so cool.

Benjamin Moses:

... they have a service where you take your luggage there, say what hell hotel are you going to. It'll transport-

Ramia Lloyd:

From the airport?

Benjamin Moses:

Airport's a big one, but hotel to hotel.

Ramia Lloyd:

It's called Black Cat.

Benjamin Moses:

Yep. Black Cat's a big one.

Ramia Lloyd:

It's really nice.

Stephen LaMarca:

No way.

Ramia Lloyd:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

And that's one thing that's nice about it is you just send... So getting to the train station is difficult sometimes because there's stairs everywhere.

Ramia Lloyd:

Oh my god. So many stairs.

Benjamin Moses:

And that's one thing I read about is people carrying their big-

Ramia Lloyd:

I swear I lost five pounds. [inaudible 00:07:06].

Stephen LaMarca:

I love hearing all of this, but I can't help but also feel like I must be the worst traveled person ever.

Benjamin Moses:

I watch a lot of-

Stephen LaMarca:

I love learning all of this stuff and I'm learning so much from hearing about people's travels, but man, I've been nowhere. Frankfurt is a very nice place, and Monterrey, Mexico. They are not nowhere. I've been to some amazing places, but that's it.

Benjamin Moses:

You need to up your YouTube game on travel.

Stephen LaMarca:

Okay. I follow Japan Eat.

Benjamin Moses:

Oh, that's a good channel.

Ramia Lloyd:

Oh, yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

That's a fun channel. That guy's super monotone. But he says every now and then, he just throws in a quick, just a statement. There's like, what did he say?

Ramia Lloyd:

I could have started one of those just for 7-Eleven foods. Convenience store foods around Japan-

Stephen LaMarca:

I think he's done it.

Benjamin Moses:

He's done it.

Ramia Lloyd:

Dang.

Elissa Davis:

They don't have the best food. They're like department stores. They have everything in them. It's like a Walmart.

Stephen LaMarca:

That's amazing.

Benjamin Moses:

7-Eleven?

Elissa Davis:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

Wow.

Elissa Davis:

The convenience stores there have everything.

Stephen LaMarca:

Truly convenient.

Ramia Lloyd:

You can buy an entire bottle of Jack Daniels for 20 bucks. I'm not going to say I did it. Once or twice, but-

Stephen LaMarca:

Wait. American whiskey is cheap in Japan.

Ramia Lloyd:

Yes. Japanese whiskey is also fantastic.

Stephen LaMarca:

I've heard great things.

Ramia Lloyd:

Oh my gosh. We went to a Tokyo whiskey library. But when I tell you there was a book of whiskey. And you can do a vodka tonic. They have a highball, so it's whiskey and tonic. I thought it was going to be gross. I drank like six.

Benjamin Moses:

To be fair-

Ramia Lloyd:

I was like, "Wow, I'm having a good time." And it's in a can.

Stephen LaMarca:

To be fair, we do have something like that here actually in DC. There's a place called the Jack Rose Dining Saloon and they have a leather-bound 46-page whiskey menu, 11-point font, and every wall is covered in whiskey up to their twenty-foot ceiling. And they have the little ladder that has wheels around. That's really good place to go. If you're ever in DC, you got to... Shout out to the Jack Rose.

Benjamin Moses:

Ramia, how about today's sponsor?

Ramia Lloyd:

All right. Tune in for Modern Machine Shop's Made in the USA Podcast, to explore manufacturing issues faced by companies making an intentional choice to manufacture in the US. Featuring commentary from OEM leaders, Made in the USA blends its nearly century-long expertise with a unique audio storytelling experience to shine a spotlight on the past, present, and future of American manufacturing. Find Made in the USA on Apple Podcast, Spotify and all major podcast platforms. Follow Modern Machine Shop on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Benjamin Moses:

Thanks, Ramia.

Ramia Lloyd:

Anytime.

Benjamin Moses:

Stephen. Testbed's moving.

Stephen LaMarca:

We have some testbed updates. So we know that the robot moves and we know how to use the Pocket NC CNC machine-ish, but we finally got, $150 later... That's actually not even... It's probably more than that. $150 later and we have a cable to connect the industrial gripper to the collaborative robot, which I also realized now defines our collaborative robot as no longer being a collaborative robot because it doesn't have a collaborative gripper on it. So this was a thing that I learned.

Benjamin Moses:

That's a plot twist.

Stephen LaMarca:

But it's got a working gripper now. It took us a minute to figure out how to actually work it. God bless Chloe for doing that. But the next step is actually programming a motion and something that's repeatable. And to open and close the Pocket NC, that'll be the first step. But we're no longer in a hold of waiting for new hardware. All the hardware that we need is here, with exception to some custom fabbed soft jaws for the gripper, which Kyle Saleeby at Georgia Tech will happily provide for us once we provide him with a design. So everything's on us now. Again, finally, the way things should be.

Benjamin Moses:

Actually I was going to mention that-

Stephen LaMarca:

We are the bottleneck.

Benjamin Moses:

... I'm excited for our next testbed session where after you get it moving a little bit is start designing the soft jaws for it. It's going to be like a multifunction, we want it to be able to open the door, be able to grip the part, the raw material, then grip the finished part.

Stephen LaMarca:

In my mind, I'm picturing these soft jaws looking like Leatherman plier grippers, how they have different sections of the depth of the plot. Because they're like needle-nose pliers out front. But then a little bit in, you have a cap crimping and then a little bit more in, you have regular pliers and then a little bit more in, you have wire cutters and then a little bit more in, you have cable cutters. We're probably not going to do that much, but it'll probably be like a small cavity to grab onto the handle of the enclosure and then a larger cavity, like one-inch diameter cavity in the jaws to actually grab our one-inch bar stock.

Benjamin Moses:

Yep. Yep. It's going to be exciting. Looking forward to that.

Elissa Davis:

So wait, if it's not a collaborative robot anymore, is it an uncollaborative robot or is it just a robot?

Stephen LaMarca:

Now it would just be considered a limited capability industrial robot.

Elissa Davis:

So an unhelpful robot.

Stephen LaMarca:

These are shots fired. I don't quite know how to dodge these bullets.

Benjamin Moses:

So I think Elissa does bring up a fair point. The reclassification in terms of a risk assessment for a robot, that is a common problem where you thought everything's going to be collaborative. But the common discussion we had is if you give a collaborative robot a knife, it's clearly not helpful, to your point. It's going to be deadly. And now that we've actually got our gripper working, which is not a collaborative gripper, therefore that cascades to the entire arm not being collaborative.

Stephen LaMarca:

Right. Right.

Benjamin Moses:

It's interesting.

Stephen LaMarca:

Even if you have a collaborative gripper, if it's holding a gun, it's not a collaborative gun.

Benjamin Moses:

Who's in charge if it has a gun?

Elissa Davis:

It's an impressive robot.

Stephen LaMarca:

It shouldn't be me.

Benjamin Moses:

So I think-

Stephen LaMarca:

Truly American.

Benjamin Moses:

... our next series of articles is going to be heavy government related. I've got one from the manufacturing institutes. Do you guys know what the manufacturing USA institutes are?

Stephen LaMarca:

Si.

Ramia Lloyd:

No, but I would like you to tell me.

Elissa Davis:

Wait, this is going to sound really stupid. Is Lyft one of those?

Benjamin Moses:

Lyft is one of those, correct.

Ramia Lloyd:

Good job.

Benjamin Moses:

Congratulations, Elissa. So it is... I got a lot of notes here.

Stephen LaMarca:

We love all of them.

Benjamin Moses:

So the reason I bring it up is they published a summary of what they've been doing for the past bunch of years. They've got a pretty good summary. So it's basically 2012, American Banks was one of the earlier ones and of course, their focus is additive. So what they did a bunch of years ago, the government said we need to focus on technology development. And it's not just technology development, but it's technology development to get to a use case. So if you look at universities, you're going to do something to say, does this equation work? Does that translate into a product? Most likely not. 90% of that stuff exists to further research that gets to a product eventually. What the USA institutes are focusing on is we have innovation, but that doesn't necessarily cascade into an actual product where I can do something with.

So their focus was, okay, you got these ideas, these concepts, these technologies that are dwindling. Let's get them into in the hands of people that actually need them and foster that technology development, but also workforce development. So they have a bunch across the US and the goal is to, I wrote down notes here, help get innovation out of the lab into products, manufacturing the US instead of other countries. So their focus is US based manufacturing growth. And they have a bunch of interesting processes and technologies. I'll go over some of the overall technologies, but the summary from the past bunch of years, they have 670 applied research and development projects, 63% of the institute members, so you have to be a member of one of the Institutes, are manufacturers. So it's not just our members, so not just OEM creators, but companies that are looking to produce finished goods. And then a ton of investment into workforce development itself.

So this has been a 25% increase in workforce amount spending from past years. Also, to give you a sense of the areas, you mentioned Lyft, they're one of the many. They're based out of Detroit. So now not only geographically placed with some design but also design around the institutes themselves. And there's going to be overlap of course. So Lyft could do stuff on additive, whatever America makes focus on. But Lyft, to be honest, they're focusing is on lightweight, making and finished product lightweight. But realistically, their focus on advanced materials.

Stephen LaMarca:

Right.

Benjamin Moses:

If they can focus on the materials, make things lighter. There's one on integrated photonics, sustainability manufacturing, advanced composites down in Detroit, or up in Detroit. One of the newer ones is cyber security manufacturing, and they're based out of Texas. American Makes is out of Ohio. Although if you notice, most of them are around the perimeter of the US. I think with manufacturing growth in Wisconsin, Minnesota, we're going to see a shift of manufacturing places, centers of excellence towards this empty area in the US. So interesting summary. It's pretty long. It's like a...

Stephen LaMarca:

It was super long.

Benjamin Moses:

It was long.

Stephen LaMarca:

I didn't even feel like cutting and pasting all that in a ChatGPT. Thankfully, Cathy Ma gave us a nice summary too.

Benjamin Moses:

But it is useful to eyeball this to see where they're focused and then see if you're interested in being part of that focus group. So if you're a manufacturer that's doing stuff on automotive, aerospace, defense, most likely they're doing something with Lyft to reduce weight, why not be part of that membership to see if you can be part of their project development. And what they'll do is often they'll set up project calls, so they'll have a specific problem that they're aware of either from the government or from industry. Set a project call and see who wants to be partners or who can develop a team to solve that problem. Or they're willing to take projects too. So if you have a specific problem, just go to them and see if they're willing to help support development of finding a solution. So I thought that's interesting. Good summary. Steven.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yes, sir.

Benjamin Moses:

I hear you don't like things about NASA super alloys,.

Stephen LaMarca:

Oh, right. I like NASA. I like space.

Benjamin Moses:

Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:

Degree in physics. Might be bachelor's, but still it's degree in physics. I like space. And even though a long time ago, NASA thought that of mechanical watches, self-winding ones wouldn't be effective in space because no gravity when in fact what wines and mechanical watches is not so much gravity but inertia. It's okay. They don't have a good grasp of physics apparently.

Benjamin Moses:

They screw up our units all the time.

Stephen LaMarca:

But I promise I like NASA. They published an article and when NASA publishes something, people listen because they are somewhat accredited. NASA published an article recently. This isn't verbatim, but the title is something along the lines of NASA's new super alloy is 3D printable and will make the American economy better. It's a super bold statement and my immediate... I broke that title down into two things that bother me. The easy low-hanging fruit is the end of that statement, the end of that title, which is make the economy better. It just sounds like a buzzword. You're throwing things in to get people's attention. That's weak.

Benjamin Moses:

Well, it was effective.

Stephen LaMarca:

It was effective. It was effective. It bothered me. It got me to read this article and I actually did read it.

Elissa Davis:

Clickbait.

Stephen LaMarca:

But then the first part of it, which was NASA's new super alloy, makes 3D printing, or it's easy to 3D print. And the article starts off talking about this super alloy pretty vaguely about in aerospace and with space travel, we need these super alloys that are thermally and chemically resistant to corrosion and whatnot, and it just so happens that this one is easier to 3D print than it is to machine conventionally. It's like you just described, the 90-plus-year-old Inconel. You just described Inconel. Literally, every super alloy ever is easier to 3D print than it is to machine. Not even Inconel, this describes all nickel-based alloys. Nickel is the perfect canvas, the perfect backbone of any alloy that you are looking to 3D print. So it's like this doesn't sound new, this just sounds new to you. And if this is new to you and not new to me, this is a problem because not even all that... I'm not all-knowing.

But what talked me off the ledge, the good part into the meat of the article was NASA has licensed this new alloy to four private companies that will research this alloy to see if it's actually all that NASA thinks it's cracked up to be. Which again, I am betting it won't be because we have Inconel and nickel-based alloys. But two of those companies really stood out to me. I forget the one, but the one that really stood out to me was Elementum 3D...

Benjamin Moses:

Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:

... which they are our boys. They are our people rather. And they're really tight and they know a thing or two about material science. And I'm really excited to hear what these four licensees have to say about this new super alloy and if it's actually new or anything special or anywhere near as good, if not better than a nickel-based alloy.

Elissa Davis:

So the article is about how they're going to be proving the title that they put on the article?

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah, we haven't proved it.

Benjamin Moses:

There's two concepts that I got from this conversation. One is I am concerned about prior knowledge of manufacturing in general. To your point, Steve, we have a long history of other things that have existed for a while. Why is this better than all the other solutions? And to your point, it's a statement that NASA did this thing and now they're going to hire these other companies to prove it right.

Stephen LaMarca:

And I didn't even call out the fact that they threw in additive and 3D printing as buzzwords specifically to generate traffic to this article.

Elissa Davis:

It's obviously a clickbait title. They have a good marketing department it seems like, so that's probably what it is.

Stephen LaMarca:

Well, they should focus less on marketing and more on rockets and hypersonic travel.

Elissa Davis:

If I learned anything from the right stuff and all these movies about when the space program became a thing originally, it's that good PR is what it all comes down to.

Stephen LaMarca:

Okay.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

Also, one thing that we do forget about is NASA will license out everything that they have. So in terms of-

Stephen LaMarca:

That's okay, nothing wrong with that.

Benjamin Moses:

... not duplicating other people's work, it is, I think, very useful to, I think Russ called it understand prior art or previous history of what already exists. What do we not need to duplicate again? So searching NASA's technical resources guide is actually fairly straightforward and I definitely recommend. If anyone's interested in material science or just understanding what did NASA do? Just search their technical repository.

Stephen LaMarca:

Okay. The four companies. Elementum 3D, we know they're tight. I am really going to be listening to what they have to say. Runner-up, Carpenter Technology, they're huge and especially in powder metals, and powder metals is 3D printing. Used to be just knife steels or powdered metal. But then additive came along and be like, we can use powder metal for more than just knives. Linde Advanced Material Technologies and Powder Alloy Corporation of Loveland, Ohio.

Benjamin Moses:

Nice. That's a good group.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

Thanks, Steve. Elissa, tell me more about NASA.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah, so a different-

Stephen LaMarca:

Say something nice.

Ramia Lloyd:

Balance.

Elissa Davis:

I don't know if it's nice, but it's more of I think a broader discussion. Obviously, a lot of the articles I feel like I've brought recently have been about AI, but it is what it is. But NASA appointed a new chief AI officer. So it is their former chief data officer, which his name is David Salvagnini. And so this is fulfilling a requirement that was laid out by the White House and laid out also in President Biden's executive order on AI. So they need someone who's in charge and manning the ship on guiding AI. The article goes on to talk about how a lot of chief data officers are stepping into the role of a chief AI officer. AI is going to be around for a while, but part of me is like, are we really going to build an entire position around it? And then that's their only... I feel like it makes more sense to call it a chief data officer and have AI be part of that than to just call it a Chief AI officer because that narrows the scope so much.

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah, I definitely agree with that architecture of roles of responsibility. I feel like AI is part of data, understanding data sets and having... Because one thing we do talk, what's missing in the conversation is the pipeline of data required to support a decent algorithm. So it is interesting, but at the same time, I think you hit on a point earlier, I think some of this is just positioning.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

Just marketing. They want to show there's so much effort into artificial intelligence and one way they can demonstrate that at the leadership level is say, "We got a guy for that."

Elissa Davis:

That's true.

Benjamin Moses:

Assigning a chief or chef in this case, AI. It's interesting. And also we did... I know NIST is putting a proposal together for another manufacturing US institute to focus on artificial intelligence also.

Stephen LaMarca:

No way. That makes sense.

Benjamin Moses:

So there's a lot of things coming together for the government agencies to focus on AI. And I did see a article. So this conversation came up in one of our committee meetings where the question of how do I play AI to a classified manufacturing facility? So if I'm producing finished goods that are in the classified space, there's certain security requirements, like air gap is a pretty big common technique. But how do I apply a tool that requires the entire internet in an air gap situation?

Stephen LaMarca:

Right.

Benjamin Moses:

So Microsoft just released potential ideas on air gap solutions for-

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah, they're working on an air gap... I called it in the tech report, Spook GPT. But an air gapped AI for security intelligence. And I feel like you're programming, with using the most advanced technology in AI, you're programming an artificial luddite. Because it's not going to have connection to the internet, it's not going to be able to learn anything new.

Benjamin Moses:

No. No.

Stephen LaMarca:

Unless it's spoon-fed the new stuff. But I guess that's the intention.

Benjamin Moses:

That's the intention, right? Is to filter out potential risk factors. So that's interesting. So one question to you. Do you think that person feels that's a promotion?

Elissa Davis:

I'm going to say no just because it's still a chief something officer. It's a lateral move.

Benjamin Moses:

Lateral move. Sure.

Elissa Davis:

And personally, like I said, I think data is a little more all-encompassing than AI. So I would feel a little bit like it's a demotion.

Stephen LaMarca:

You think so? [inaudible 00:27:00]. But this is NASA, and NASA is super academic. And the more specialized you are in academia, the higher up you are.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah. But AI is... Part of me worries that... AI is not going anywhere and I know that, but is it just in a really... It's in its fad phase right now?

Stephen LaMarca:

Definitely is. It definitely is.

Ramia Lloyd:

It's just a buzzword.

Elissa Davis:

And so being Chief AI officer is something-

Stephen LaMarca:

Good luck. Let's see what you do.

Elissa Davis:

It's like someone being Chief MySpace officer back in 2007, right?

Stephen LaMarca:

Oh, yeah. What's that mean now? Nothing.

Elissa Davis:

MySpace was a big thing...

Benjamin Moses:

That's a callback.

Elissa Davis:

... and MySpace is gone.

Benjamin Moses:

It'll be in my heart forever, though.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

Who was the guy that we were all friends with?

Elissa Davis:

Tom.

Stephen LaMarca:

Tom.

Elissa Davis:

Tom. [inaudible 00:27:44].

Stephen LaMarca:

Pour some out for Tom.

Elissa Davis:

I think it's a lateral move and I'm sure that they see it that way. But like I said, I think calling it data is a lot more general, and I understand it's probably also because they have to do this because of the things laid out by the government with the fear of AI that's becoming very real. And so they have to have someone who is in charge of AI specifically. But someone else is going to be a chief data officer. Still going to have a chief data officer, it's just not going to be that guy.

Benjamin Moses:

Create a new role. So...

Elissa Davis:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:

I think the article at the beginning said that they have multiple chief data officers. Or did I misread that?

Benjamin Moses:

Could be.

Elissa Davis:

I t's NASA, so they have a lot of data.

Stephen LaMarca:

But David Salvagnini. Good Italian boy.

Benjamin Moses:

What? How did that come up?

Stephen LaMarca:

That's his name.

Benjamin Moses:

Oh, the chief.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah, chief AI officer. It's like a mouthful, though. That's so many vowels in a row. Chief AI officer.

Stephen LaMarca:

Oh, I thought you were talking about the Italian name.

Ramia Lloyd:

I was like, I don't think he can help it.

Benjamin Moses:

It's better than chief artificial intelligence officer.

Ramia Lloyd:

True.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah, I guess. It's just it's hard to say. Chief data officer is easier to say.

Benjamin Moses:

Ramia, where can they find more info about us?

Ramia Lloyd:

amtonline.org/resources. Like, share and subscribe.

Benjamin Moses:

Bye, everyone.

Stephen LaMarca:

Bing Bong.

PicturePicture
Author
Benjamin Moses
Director, Technology
Recent technology News
Episode 117: Speaking of amusement parks last episode, the tech friends will be at MFG in Orlando this year for a live podcast! Ben gets into machine learning for robots. Elissa shares a new found excitement for robot vision ad object recognition.
Episode 116: The gang shares their love for amusement parks. Stephen is happy to announce that there are a lot of testbed updates. Elissa presents further evidence that Elon Musk is dumb. Ben closes with an allegedly new method of 3D printing.
Episode 115: The gang talks about dogs and other furry friends. Elissa reports that Japan’s about to land on the moon. Ben discusses stainless steel corrosion. Stephen closes with an “ICYMI” on everything we may have missed with the Boeing situation.
Episode 114: Steve talks about jarred tomato sauce and hardware store struggles. Elissa reports on Boeing’s purchase of Spirit AeroSystems (not to be confused with the airlines). Stephen found out what the next milsurp machine tool is.
Episode 113: The team discusses what works and what doesn’t with the sales of Girl Scout Cookies. Ramia shares her excitement as the team’s new studio is coming together! Elissa talks about how women could get burnt out in STEM.
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