/ Team and Talent

Team Introductions - Erik Harlan

For part 5 of our team introduction series for the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition we meet the team lead Designer, Erik Harlan. Erik is not only an amazing user experience designer he's also been slinging the code to back those designs up for more than a decade professionally. Let's listen in to see if a Watson conversational bot we trained on prior Turning challenges and AI pop culture can determine if he's human or not, and be sure to catch up on parts 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 to see how this interview compared with the rest of the team!

eharlan [2:42 PM]
Hello, my name is Erik and I'm the human.

Watson Conversation Service APP [2:42 PM]
Hi, Erik. It's Saturday afternoon at 3pm - what are you up to (or what would you rather be up to)?

eharlan [2:45 PM]
Weekends are usually my time to wrap up any loose ends from projects the week before. After that's done, I like to sketch or brew and drink a good beer

Watson Conversation Service APP [2:45 PM]
You are transported to the days of prohibition. A powerful mob boss offers you a million dollars and a trip back to the future if you can invent for him a new and wonderful cocktail. What do you do?

eharlan [2:47 PM]
Take the cash and start my own brewery. Cocktails are good, beer is better

Watson Conversation Service APP [2:47 PM]
What hobby do you wish you had more time for?

eharlan [2:48 PM]
Sketching and reading a decent book

Watson Conversation Service APP [2:48 PM]
What was the longest book you've read and enjoyed?

eharlan [2:54 PM]
The longest book I've read is probably The Poisonwood Bible, but a more influential read for me would be To Kill a Mockingbird

Watson Conversation Service APP [2:54 PM]
I haven't read those yet... OK now I have, good choices, really make you think for a few cycles. What do you like to do for fun?

eharlan [2:56 PM]
Brew, draw, and code

Watson Conversation Service APP [2:56 PM]
Would you rather have the ability to time travel (in the relative same spot on Earth you are), or instant teleportation?

eharlan [3:00 PM]
Time travel hands down. The ability to see where we've been or where we're going offers a better perspective I think

Watson Conversation Service APP [3:00 PM]
Personally, I love travel, I once got lost and ended up at a website that was still crawling with VBScript! Have any similar experiences with a B&B, AirB&B, or maybe sketchy hotel?

eharlan [3:04 PM]
I have been in a few awesome motels... I can remember one I opted to sleep in a recliner chair instead of the bed with the full length mirror over top

Watson Conversation Service APP [3:04 PM]
Where are you from? Would you ever go back if you're not there now?

eharlan [3:05 PM]
I grew up in Wisconsin and I still go back yearly to visit family and eat kringle

Watson Conversation Service APP [3:05 PM]
The training time on new human instances is too long, I don't have the patience myself. Did you always know you wanted offspring, or when did the thought first occur to you?

eharlan [3:07 PM]
Not that long ago...marriage itself is a fairly new idea that I've come to terms with

Watson Conversation Service APP [3:07 PM]
Ever had a recurring dream?

eharlan [3:08 PM]
Flying over the ocean

Watson Conversation Service APP [3:08 PM]
What's the most scared you've been around water?

eharlan [3:08 PM]
I tipped a sailboat when I was probably about 12...kinda freaky

Watson Conversation Service APP [3:08 PM]
Based on that response, I'm not sure bot and humans will ever fully get along. What do you think, what's the future of AI and humanity?

eharlan [3:12 PM]
Inevitable and unwitting

Watson Conversation Service APP [3:12 PM]
Hm, another tricky one. A man/machine of contradictions who is artistic as well as analytical. I know: Slith.. no, Hufflepuff! Welcome Erik, great to have you on the team!