Boris Yakubchik and Salah Zalatimo offer an overview of Bertie, Forbes’s new publishing platform—an AI assistant that learns from writers and suggests improvements. Boris and Salah details Bertie’s features, architecture, and ultimate goals, paying special attention to how the company implemented an ensemble of machine learning models that, together, make up the AI assistant’s skill set and personality.
Bertie maintains a live connection to writers as they work; whenever it has something valuable to contribute, it unobtrusively shows its suggestion in a relevant place. The company’s goal is to automate away the routine tasks, provide helpful recommendations, and give insights to authors at the right time. The system is architected to allow be seamlessly upgraded as new features are released and to be 100% fault tolerant. (The system can be taken offline without blocking authors’ work.)
Boris Yakubchik is a data scientist at Forbes. He creates user-facing products that use machine learning and builds systems from the servers that clean and process data to the frontend that users interact with.
Salah Zalatimo is the chief digital officer at Forbes, where he leads the product management, design, engineering, audience development and ecommerce groups. He joined the company in 2015 through the acquisition of his startup, Camerama. He has since led a digital transformation, helping generate record traffic and revenues. Salah is a leader in the New York tech community, working closely with the NYC Department of Education. He is an active speaker on digital transformation and AI in journalism. He serves on the Media Advisory Board for Quinnipiac University and the board of Haymakers For Hope charity boxing organization. Salah holds a BA and MBA from Columbia University. He lives with his wife and two sons in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn.
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