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What Atlanta Can Teach Tech About Cultivating Black Talent


Added 01-16-20 08:06:02am EST - “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.” - Wired.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Wired.com: “What Atlanta Can Teach Tech About Cultivating Black Talent”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

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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