Wyatt Roy’s grand new adventure in machine learning
Australian Financial Review, 2nd February 2017
It is no surprise that someone as tech savvy as former Liberal politician Wyatt Roy should end up at a technology unicorn involved in the hottest part of the technology spectrum – artificial intelligence.
Seven months after losing his federal seat of Longman in Queensland, Roy is joining Afiniti, a global tech company that uses machine learning to generate sales leads through contact centers.
Roy will be the general manager for Australia based in a new office being established in Sydney.
Experts say that artificial intelligence is best described as machine learning because machine-run algorithms are used to constantly learn from the analysis of data about clients.
These algorithms can process large amounts of data sourced from many different places, including social media feeds, voluntarily disclosed information and data found within companies.
The idea is that a company using the Afiniti software would be able to use information generated by the algorithm to offer partners warm leads. It claims to have a track record of lifting revenue by 3 per cent to 6 per cent at companies, which have used to software.
The company was founded by chief executive Zia Chishti in Washington. It now has offices in key cities in Asia and Europe.
Afiniti’s board of directors includes former leading politicians, including former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar and former US Treasury Secretary John Snow.
The advisory board includes Elisabeth Murdoch and former BP chief executive John Browne.
Afiniti is believed to be a unicorn, which is defined as a private company that has gone from zero in value to more than $US1 billion.
Roy reckons Chishti is “one of the most remarkable entrepreneurs on the planet”.
“He has built an incredible company, at the forefront of technological advancement,” he said. “There’s no other provider with similar technology of comparable breadth of service offering, experience or scale.”
Roy said a good example of how Afiniti’s technology worked could be found in the latest statistics from September. “In September, Afiniti paired 19 million calls with commercial partners,” he said.
“To date we have paired over 450 million calls with over 100 deployments across four continents.”
He says Afiniti processes more than one billion calculations a second and every day its algorithm processes approximately two petabytes of data.
“Our technology constantly learns and improves,” he says.
Following the loss of his seat in federal parliament in the last election Roy had a sabbatical that read like a boy’s own adventure. It included a controversial trip to the Middle East and a motor bike ride through parts of South America.
He recently visited Afiniti offices in Washington, Hong Kong and London.
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