Abstract: The biggest challenge with the democratization of content is how to make sense of the scale. In the last decade, curation of content has consolidated into the hands of a few of the largest technology companies. Today, that curation takes the form of machine learning — often dubbed algorithms by the media. Thomas helped build and introduce the most controversial algorithms of Instagram: non-chronological feed and personalized recommendations. He will discuss challenges from the perspective of an engineer in the control room as Instagram scaled to serve over a billion people. Thomas will share a few of his thoughts about future directions as we start to form a dialogue about the responsibilities of platforms operating at a global scale.
Bio: Thomas Dimson is the original author of “The Algorithm” — the recommender systems behind Instagram's feed, stories and discovery surfaces. He joined Instagram as one of it's first 50 employees in 2013, working for seven years as a principal engineer and eventually an engineering director. In that time, he also invented products such as the stories polling sticker, Hyperlapse and emojineering and was named one of the top ten most creative people in business by Fast Company. Thomas graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor's of mathematics and received his master's in computer science from Stanford with a specialization in artificial intelligence.