The Next Touch Point: AI and Culture-IQ

Davar Ardalan
Dec 17, 2019 · 6 min read

In 2020, enterprises will benefit from cultural intelligence in AI. Understanding audiences through the lens of culture will only make AI more inclusive and business engagements more authentic and effective.

AI experts and Storytellers from Pakistan, Mexico, Tonga, Fiji, Australia and the United States at “Cultural AI,” a daylong series of workshops and panels led by IVOW at the AI for Good Summit in Geneva, May 2019.

This year, we engaged with over 500 investors, corporate and civic tech leaders, policymakers, AI experts, testers, QA leaders, and storytellers from Tampa, Florida, to the Kingdom of Tonga. With each, we engaged on the promise of Culture-IQ and our work at IVOW AI.

Culture-IQ means using AI to mine massive quantities of public data to automatically identify and graph unique consumer audiences based on contemporary cultural and subcultural factors like food, holidays, music, arts, festivals, etc. — a commonly overlooked subset of psychographics.

Quest for Quality Summit in Dublin, Ireland. (L-R) Dejan Cusic of Comtrade Digital Services, Michael Clarke of Erudite Software, Tariq King of Ultimate Software, and Davar Ardalan of IVOW AI.

Enterprises stand to benefit from advancements in AI that enable them to (1) better segment, analyze, and understand their audiences, and (2) drastically improve and customize multi-channel consumer messaging for diverse consumer audiences.

Cultural segments and their respective media associations and keywords can produce tremendous insights for brand marketers in multiple verticals, including, but not limited to tourism, banking, media & entertainment, eCommerce and consumer packaged goods. In this way, IVOW’s AI advisor, Dr. Ali Khosh, points out that “Deep learning empowers a unique lens to unearth complex embeddings in cultural data that have long been invisible to the human mind.”

Civic tech leaders, AI experts, and innovators at an AIGrrls Mixer, IVOW’s networking event November 2019. (Top Row, L-R) Maria Dayton, Georgeta Dragoiu, Kristen Honey (Bottom Row, L-R) Wanmei Ou, Davar Ardalan, Jennifer Bonine, and Nina Bianchi.

As we end 2019, we welcome data scientist Meredith Pollock to IVOW, and share with you some of our journey in the words of our collaborators and advisors.

“IVOW has become a symbol for us at PinkLion of what we need to be aware of and support as we move forward and see the world adopting more AI at a rapid pace. We will always be aware and ensure we embrace and support women and create inclusion of cultures as we implement and humanize AI solutions for the organizations we are working with.” Jennifer Bonine, is CEO of and an internationally renowned speaker at major Testing, Agile, and Development conferences.

“I’m amazed at the level of progress and engagement IVOW is making. Concepts of Artificial Intelligence have existed as long as computers and have evolved and progressed while computers have become more powerful. State of AI will always demonstrate and display our own understanding of what intelligence is. Machines perform their add/count/move of zeros fast, and will get faster. But machine’s developing self awareness will always be limited by human beings’ understanding of our own intelligence and cognition.” Kamran Pechrak, strategist and implementation practitioner for companies such as Boeing, Kaiser Permanente, Deutsche Bank; currently serving as Field CTO for Cohesity.

QA leaders and Testers at #CONTestNYC workshopping Culture-IQ in AI, November 2019

“IVOW’s mission to generate culturally intelligent and adaptive content in the AI-driven space is not just a ‘nice to have’. It is imperative and critical for a successful, representative, and progressive AI-augmented digital society.” Nishan Chelvachandran, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert in Finland, and Fellow of the RSA.

“It was great engaging with the IVOW team at the AI for Good Summit in Geneva and understanding the power of cultural intelligence in AI. Artificial Intelligence is The New Cultural Heritage Indigenous Wisdom. All is One and One is All therefore Artificial Intelligence connects us All.” Uili Lousi is a Tongan contemporary artist and cultural ambassador.

(L-R) Emele Ugavule, Creative Director of Talanoa, Davar Ardalan of IVOW AI, Uili Lousi, Tongan contemporary artist and cultural ambassador at the AI Summit in Geneva.

“There is nothing more important to the story of our future than protecting the story of our past. Particularly for me as an African American, for a group of people who’s history has tried to be erased, preserving the truth of our stories will will ignite who we are to become. Thank you IVOW for holding the torch.” Lisha Bell, Business leader and member of Pipeline Angels.

“Our society requires a humanistic Artificial Intelligence, that is, an AI at the service of people. This can only be achieved through interdisciplinary work between the humanities, social sciences and computer science, as well as through a well-informed and critical society.” Rafael Pérez y Pérez specializes in artificial intelligence and computational creativity. He is a professor at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana at Cuajimalpa, México City.

“My collaborations with IVOW helped me focus some of my research, writing, and keynote talks on the impact of AI on humans, specifically in the area of culture and diversity. This is a critical aspect of existing and future AI-based technologies and I’m glad to join IVOW and others who are building awareness around it and trying to make a positive impact.” Raj Subrameyer, is a speaker, writer and tech career coach at ChaiLatte Consulting and an expert in software development and testing, artificial intelligence, and diversity and inclusion.

“Through the incredible experience I had working with IVOW as an AI research volunteer, from helping develop the foundations for a dataset challenge to presenting my journey through cultural AI at my TEDx talk, I had an extremely educational experience and am excited to continue working with IVOW and Davar to help pave the way for the future cultural IQ of AI Models.” Kashyap Coimbatore Murali, is an AI Researcher and high-school student in Princeton, New Jersey.

AI Researcher Kashyap Murali and Davar Ardalan, Storyteller in Chief at IVOW visualize what it looks like to introduce a mythical legend to a computer program. Presented at the AI for Good Summit in Geneva.

“We know that current datasets are lacking in information about many cultures and traditions. There’s no doubt that making AI more knowledgeable and sensitive to the wonderful diversity of human experience will mean better communication between citizen and machine, and more satisfying consumer interactions.” Kee Malesky is IVOW’s Director of Information and former NPR researcher.

“Seeing Davar speaking at the Test Leadership Congress in NYC in summer 2019 was an eye-opener for me. Nobody had captured my concerns and at the same time proposed a possible solution around known flaws of many AI models like that before, and I am excited to see how the future of AI can be a better, more inclusive, more culturally diverse journey than it has been so far.” Katja Obring, is a senior software QA engineer and vintage knitter.

AI Developer Inzamam Malik and IVOW Team members: Davar Ardalan, Nikki McLay, Kee Malesky and Robert Malesky at the AI Summit in Geneva, May 2019

As we continue building our technology team, we look forward to staying engaged with you. We feel strongly that enterprises will benefit from our advancements in AI that will enable them to better understand their audiences. Here’s to 2020 and continued success for us all!

Please let us know if you’d like to learn more about our work, our dataset challenges, and our AIGrrls networking events!

Senior Advisor Aprajita Mathur and IVOW Founder Davar Ardalan at Disneyland and STARWEST where Ardalan presented on Storytelling and Building Culturally Inclusive AI Models.

Davar Ardalan

Written by

IVOW Founder and Storyteller in Chief

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