Meet Chris Duffey, Adobe’s head of AI innovation & business strategy

by Adobe Life Team

Posted on 01-23-2019

What makes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning exciting at Adobe? To put it simply, we leverage decades of experience intelligence in our domains of creativity, marketing and document management and take advantage of trillions of content and data assets. And we’re the only company that does this! But what makes this possible? Let me introduce you to Adobe Sensei.

To discuss more about Adobe Sensei and the future of intelligent digital experiences, we sat down with Chris Duffey, Adobe’s Head of AI Innovation and Business Strategy.

So, what initially drew you to Adobe, Chris?

When this role presented itself I had this moment of realization that I’ve been talking with Adobe for literally every day for hours on end since the mid 90’s when I was in art and design school. Back then I was experimenting with mixed mediums—photography, painting—and the power of Photoshop to merge this kind of creativity through technology is amazing. I’ve always been fascinated by how technology could amplify the creation process, so when I got the chance to work for Adobe, I jumped at it.

With your background in art history and graphic design, how does it feel to be in the world of artificial intelligence now?

Although the definition of creativity has changed throughout the years, I can’t help but think artificial intelligence is the natural evolution of art and science. We’re living in the AI revolution now, and there are so many possibilities.

In your words, what makes Adobe Sensei unique?

Every major tech company uses some form of AI and machine learning, but Adobe Sensei is the only comprehensive AI and Machine Learning technology that is 100% focused on powering digital experiences. By combining our unique data sources like Adobe Stock, Adobe Audience Manager, Adobe Document Cloud with Adobe world-class research in algorithms and deep understanding of customer challenges, Adobe Sensei can solve challenges that marketers, designers and knowledge workers experience in their daily work instead of grappling with more generic problems in machine learning.

What’s the future look like, and how’s Adobe getting there?

This year we’ll be dramatically accelerating the pace of innovation and strategic focus for Adobe Sensei across our solutions and new mediums – including AR/VR, 3D and voice. Second, as part of our overall vision for a unified cloud platform spanning all three clouds, Adobe teams are documenting our unified AI/ML approach and framework as part of Sensei. Finally, through Adobe Sensei services, we‘re working with our ecosystem of customers, partners and ISVs to extend Adobe’s industry leading cloud products and build custom solutions on top of them. It’ll be a good year!

And how about “emotion” in artificial intelligence? Do you think we’ll ever get there, or is that strictly human?

Human intelligence is so profoundly complex and hard to define. Emotion is similarly complex and hard to define, however in theory, emotions could be codified for systems to be empathetic to the user. We are seeing glimpses of that in voice assistance and chatbots and more is certainly to come with the incorporation of IQ + EQ in systems. Most successful experiences go back to personalization, which is what humans can do best.

Lastly, why should candidates consider joining Adobe?

Without a doubt, Adobe’s north star is invention through intelligence. For product managers, engineers, designers, marketers and more, this should be quite attractive in of itself! It’s exciting to see this vision come alive, and we have so many luminaries working here. People get wiser when they work with wise people.

Ready to take on your next challenge? Apply today on our career site.

Topics: Adobe Life, Employee Impact, Brand