mike_floutonA warm September morning found me standing at a crosswalk . The light was about to change and I was nervous – not about the new job I was about to start, but about what was waiting politely for me at the crosswalk. It was a self-driving car. I quickly dismissed images of John Connor battling SkyNet and walked bravely in front of the car as a fellow tech worker buzzed past me on an electric longboard – no doubt only a few release cycles away from Marty McFly’s hoverboard.

I was in California, but it wasn’t 1995 in Sunnyvale or 2015 in Hill Valley – it was 2016 in Mountain View, and my first day at DataVisor.

I’ve always been fascinated with the promise of computing solving big, complex problems that elude humans. As a child, I remember typing “how do I build a sailboat” into the DOS prompt of our 8088. As an undergrad, I was enamored  with simulation modeling, optimization, financial engineering and game theory – but frustrated to learn that real world applications remain limited. In my days in the security industry, I was encouraged with the promise of sandboxing’s ability to finally fix the malware problem, but discouraged to see how quickly the adversary adapted and found new ways to breach data.

We are at an inflection point with artificial intelligence in general, and in the fight against financial crime in particular. The tide is turning and we can win. For the first time in history, we have the computing power and data architectures available to harness machine learning on a massive scale. This is our industry’s “why now” moment.

But market opportunity is useless without a team that can execute. The team here, led by two brilliant researchers, is nothing short of phenomenal. It’s incredibly humbling being surrounded by such intellectual capital. There are plenty of companies talking about machine learning, but I’m not aware of anyone who is successfully deploying unsupervised machine learning at scale the way we are.

It’s rare in a marketer’s life to be able to tell a story that is not only new, but something you believe in. DataVisor is that opportunity for me. I look forward to telling this story, sharing the insights and data I see and hear each day, and making DataVisor a household name in fraud detection.

A few weeks in and the 5-10 self-driving cars I see every day don’t even register. I’m planning a Boosted Board purchase as soon as I can convince my wife it’s a “solid investment.” And even the Dr. Who style robots in the parking lot of the startup around the corner seem normal. But the culture of innovation here in the Valley still humbles me every morning, and I couldn’t be prouder to be joining this team.

Your move, SkyNet.