Those familiar with the adventures of Tintin will no doubt remember the brilliant and eccentric Professor Cuthbert Calculus. He was the archetypal absent-minded professor, known for his ridiculous inventions and poor hearing. However, only the most devoted Herge fans would know that Professor Calculus was based on a real person, the taller yet equally eccentric Auguste Piccard.
Piccard was in every sense a pioneer of technology. First and foremost a professor in physics, he was also an explorer, and invented and piloted a special hot air balloon that took him higher than any human had previously been. He later invented a special submarine that took him deeper than any man before.
Piccard combined deep scientific knowledge with a sense of adventure and willingness to take risks and go further than anyone before. He was committed to using technology for the betterment of humanity, and his voyages helped pave the way for commercial air travel.
In many ways I see myself as much inventor as entrepreneur; I love creating new and useful things. I'm inspired by the potential AI has for solving pressing problems of all kinds. That's why I've given up the stable, well-paying engineering job I worked hard for, in order to step into the unknown and start Piccard.
I'm excited by the possibilities and rapid progress we're seeing in AI. Last year, an AI program (AlphaGo Zero) beat a state of the art chess program called Stockfish. This chess program took a decade to develop and even stumps chess grandmasters. AlphaGo Zero didn't even know how to play chess, but it managed to beat Stockfish in just one day. This is just one example of the boundless potential of this technology.
Thomas Edison's workshop was famously reputed to stock every material known to man. My dream in starting Piccard.ai is to build up an AI workshop to rival Thomas Edison, not by accumulating physical materials, but by building up a team of people with comprehensive expertise in AI technology in order to create inventions that solve real world problems.
The Piccard vision is to be on the forefront of technology, always inventing and challenging ourselves to go beyond what has been done before. Our field of exploration may be different, but like Auguste, our commitment is to advancing technology for the betterment of humanity.