Brian Eriksson on Making Creativity Easier

by Adobe Life Team

Posted on 10-17-2018

Can you imagine a world where your creativity is enhanced through artificial intelligence? For Brian Eriksson, Manager for Applied Research and Machine Learning, that’s exactly what he and his team are working to accomplish. Working on a project in Creative Cloud and can’t get enough inspiration to finish your next masterpiece? Don’t worry, with Adobe Sensei Agents—an AI-based assistant technology—you’ll be given recommendations on how to move past your “creator’s block.” To get a closer look at what this future of technology will look like, we tapped Brian into explaining more about his Sensei Agents team.

What is your current title and what is your team in charge of doing?

I’m a manager for applied research and machine learning on the Sensei Agents team. My team is tasked with building a platform that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to incorporate intelligent assistant experiences into Adobe products. These experiences range from leveraging user data to make our products easier to use, to automating redundant and time-consuming tasks in the creative workflow, and building an AI-centric interface for Adobe products.

What initially drew you to Adobe?

A few reasons. First was the important and challenging problem of using AI/ML to help people be more creative. Second was the prior significant investment in Sensei, which made Adobe credible that they are serious about using AI/ML and building teams in this space. I had interviewed at a few other companies where they talked a lot about using AI/ML in their products, but found that they weren’t as invested as they said. And finally, the open-ended nature of the Agents problem we are working on – which is the technology space I enjoy working in.

What makes AI & ML at Adobe unique compared to the competition?

If we succeed at our jobs, we have made creativity easier for people using our AI/ML technology. At other companies, success may look like increased engagement or more hours people watch television. To me, getting people to watch more television is not difficult. It is not difficult to convince me to sit on my couch and watch another episode of TV. Getting people to create things they are proud of, that is very difficult. Creativity is a bruising process, we want to make it easier.

What’s the top priority your team is working on right now?

Besides hiring out the best possible team, we are concentrating on exploring the massive amounts of user behavior data, determining what novel experiences we can build today and envisioning the products we want to build for tomorrow.

For those interested in joining the team, what are some of the top skills they should have?

Strong skills in processing, cleaning, pipelining, and extracting insights from massive amounts of data. We are particularly looking for individuals that can work in an ambiguous environment where no one is perfectly clear what we are building in six months. We will build and iterate, and build and iterate, and build and iterate. So not being afraid to fail (and learn from failure) is a major characteristic we look for and require.

What does the future of Adobe technology look like?

Continuing to have best-in-class products, but products that are hyper-tailored to individual users by leveraging AI/ML. Products that learn from your behavior, understand your creative intent without asking, and make the process painless and pleasant. This has the potential to change everything from what people can expect to create using our products, to the user experience, to how creatives distribute their works.

What’s one word you’d use to describe your experience at Adobe, and why?

Well-positioned. There is a great alignment between the challenges the company face and the new advances in state-of-the-art AI tools. Sensei Agents is one approach to tackling these challenges, and combined with other Sensei initiatives, this will allow everyone from research, to the product groups, to third parties to contribute their solutions and push Adobe products to be AI/ML/data-centric. There is no shortage of interesting problems to solve.

Ready to help make the creative process easier and create experiences that matter? Apply today on our career site.

Topics: Adobe Life, Employee Impact, Brand