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TechConnect: Artificial Intelligence for Startups

English TechConnect Video


French TechConnect Video


Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming more impactful in the lives of everyday people. Whether it is ordering household products, conducting internet searches, playing music, providing weather forecasts, or any of the other hundreds of purposes AI can serve, people are becoming increasingly dependent on it to assist them with day-to-day activities. Entrepreneurs all over the world are also embracing the benefits AI can provide to their businesses by improving efficiency and making their products more user-friendly and accessible to consumers.

Join us for an interactive webchat on August 8 at 8:00am EDT to learn how artificial intelligence can add a range of new capabilities to your products and services - whether you’re an early-stage startup or an established business. To participate in the conversation, visit or submit your questions on Twitter by using #GISTTechConnect.

Amazon Web Services is also giving away $20,000 worth of AWS credits to participants in this GIST TechConnect. To qualify, organizers must submit a picture of their viewing party where participants can be counted. The 10 largest viewing parties will each get $2,000 worth of AWS credits. Photos can be submitted by using #GISTTechConnect on Twitter.


Why Participate?

-Listen to a panel of experts explain how AI can be a powerful tool for entrepreneurs

-Ask the experts questions about AI and its applications to your business

-Learn how AI is becoming cheaper and more accessible, and what that means for businesses and consumers



Hassan Sawaf

Director, Artificial Intelligence at Amazon Web Services


With nearly 20 years of expertise in language technologies, Hassan Sawaf is well-recognized in the field of machine translation, speech recognition and machine learning. In 1999, he cofounded AIXPLAIN AG, a company focusing on speech recognition and machine translation. His partners were, among others, Franz Josef Och, who eventually started the Google Translate team, and Stephan Kanthak, now Group Manager with Nuance Communications, and Stefan Ortmanns, today Senior Vice President, Mobile Engineering and Professional Services with Nuance Communications. Hassan also spent time at SAIC as Chief Scientist for Human Language Technology, where he worked on multilingual spoken dialogue systems. He holds a Master of Science degree in computer science from Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen, and attended the university for his Ph.D. studies.


Joseph Spisak

Head of AI Partnerships at Amazon Web Services


Joseph has experience driving strategies and technical/business engagements around Machine Learning based Cloud workloads such as Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Video Summarization and Analysis, and Speech Recognition. Joseph has more than 15 years delivering products and services in Digital Video, Cloud-based Media Transcoding, Image Processing, and Machine/Deep Learning in the consumer mobile, broadcast, and cloud segments. Joseph holds a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University, an MBA and MS in Finance from the University of Denver, and is a proud graduate of the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Certificate program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.


Ben Snively

Specialist Solutions Architect, Data and Analytics at Amazon Web Services

Ben Snively is a Specialist Solutions Architect on the Amazon Web Services Public Sector team, where he specializes in big data, analytics, and search. Previously, Ben was an engineer and architect on DOD contracts, where he worked with Hadoop and big data solutions. He has over 11 years of experience creating analytical systems. Ben holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science from Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s in computer engineering from University of Central Florida.



Stacey Wood

Global Business Development Manager at Amazon Web Services


Stacey joined Amazon Web Services Worldwide Public Sector (AWS WWPS) in April from the U.S. Department of State where she was a Foreign Service Officer for 8 years. As the Global Manager for Startups, Stacey leads AWS WWPS’s outreach efforts to early stage companies, with a particular focus on supporting social entrepreneurship and civic tech.  While with the State Department, Stacey lived and worked in China and in Ghana, and helped shaped government policy around innovation, entrepreneurship, and the digital economy. Stacey speaks Mandarin and has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.