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The city is rich in opportunity for African Americans, who are largely underrepresented in the industry. It's also poised to become a hotbed for AI innovation.
Inside the Gathering Spot, a posh members-only club in Atlanta that serves a diverse set of entrepreneurs and innovators, Travis and Troy Nunnally—better known as the Tech Twins—are holding court.
After discovering a love of engineering by building soapbox derby racing cars as kids, the brothers have launched a few different companies in Atlanta. Holding two master’s and a doctorate from Georgia Tech between them, the twins are cofounders of Brain Rain Solutions, which builds augmented-reality, internet-of-things, and technology-based products for companies. Their most recent product, FaceMD+, uses dermatologist databases and machine learning to create a customized skin-care tracker—with algorithms providing customized data for each skin tone and type.
The Nunnally brothers specialize in applying machine learning to a variety of problems, and their growing business means that they spend a lot of time hiring employees and contractors.
But as two black men on the forefront of the machine-learning revolution, they are also concerned about the readiness of black tech talent: Machine learning requires knowledge of Python coding, algorithmic optimization techniques, and advanced math like calculus. “The first step into the pipeline is a developer,” Troy says. “Once you have that base, you can add on the skill set. In the African American community, [the funnel] gets narrow and even more narrow.”
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