Speaker Spotlight: Tejas Kumar

What excites and what worries you the most about AI at the moment?

What excites me is that it enables a whole new level of productivity. We're able to move a lot faster with always-available assistants that keep learning orders of magnitude faster than us. It's incredible to see the velocity increases across the board using AI help. 

What worries me is the fact that AI does have potential to make a number of people, and potentially all of humanity, redundant. The dystopian apocalypse looks pretty real within our generation.

What is an AI engineer, and what can we expect to take away from your talk?

An AI engineer is one who solves problems with the application of AI. This is to distinguish from ML (machine learning) engineers, who are primarily tasked with building AI. Building with AI is AI engineering, building AI is machine learning. About my talk: We can take away clarity around the space and motivation/inspiration to grow as an AI engineer.

Without giving too much away, can you bust one or two common AI myths for us?

Sure! For starters, the big myth about AI engineering is that you need to be good at mathematics, statistics, or data science and machine learning. This is far from the truth given our definition in the previous answer. Another myth is that we're all "safe" from being made redundant. This is unfortunately not true, as I've personally had multiple conversations with founders downsizing in favour of AI. The sooner we get ahead of the curve, accept, and prepare for this new reality, the better we're positioned to succeed and adapt.

What have you been using generative AI for in your work so far and what lessons have you learned?

I've used generative AI mostly for inspiration. I'm pretty horrid at staring at a blank canvas and not knowing where to start. AI often provides useful starting points from which I can jump off and do my best work. Probably the biggest lesson I've learned is that AI needs human verification at this point in time as it is often confidently wrong.

You tweeted that AI impresses you every day. Can you give us a few examples of use cases that have made an impact on you recently?

Absolutely. The greatest example of this I've seen is tldraw's "make real" feature, where somebody can sketch out a web UI on a whiteboard, and with the click of a button, turn it into React components. Figma and Builder.IO have similar features, as does v0.dev. These are exciting because they drastically accelerate the velocity by which we ship great products.

      At Pixel Pioneers Bristol, Tejas Kumar will be talking about AI and practical prompt engineering. The conference will also cover modern CSS layouts, how not to kill your design system, design fundamentals for developers, accessibility practices to avoid, and more. Get your ticket today!