A Day in the Life – Mycroft Support Team – Kris 'Gez' Gesling


#1

Originally published at: http://mycroft.ai/blog/a-day-in-the-life-kris-gesling/

In this edition of our “Day in the Life” series, we’re introducing one of our newest team members, Director of Developer Relations, Kris Gesling – also known as Gez.

Gez has just joined the team, taking over from the wonderful work of Kathy Reid, supporting the Community and feeding suggestions and improvements back to the team.


So Gez, where are you from?

I’m another Australian, like Kathy. However, I live in Darwin, a city in the far north. I’m actually much closer to Indonesia than to any of our capital cities. The Northern Territory is known as the land of crocodiles, red dirt, and beautiful sunsets.

What were you doing before joining Mycroft AI?

Most of my past work has been working with young people, particularly around mental health and wellbeing. Technology often gets blamed for the rise in mental health concerns. However, new technologies also enable us to connect with others like never before. There are so many potential uses for technology to support us in whatever challenges we face. As humans, we need technologies that meet our needs, not the needs of the companies that made them. The best way we can do that is designing them openly and transparently, in partnership with Users.

Why did you get involved in Mycroft AI?

I started looking at Mycroft because I believe that voice interaction is quickly becoming the dominant way that people across the world are interacting with technology. I am also a big supporter of Free and Open Source Software like GNU/Linux, and I want to make sure that we all have the option of an open platform for voice interaction. Openness means that anyone can use it without having to hand over all your private information, or the fear of being locked out down the track. Thanks to our Mycroft Translate platform, it also means that we can work toward making the technology accessible to everyone, whether you speak English, Turkish or Yolŋu Matha (an Australian Aboriginal language).

What does your role now involve?

My role is focused on how we can create the best experience for the Community that continues to grow around Mycroft AI. A big part of that are our Community developers who create the Skills to enable new functionality, as well as contributing code to Mycroft’s core functionality. Mycroft AI wouldn’t be where it is today without them!

Mycroft’s future is broader than developers though. We are always looking at the different ways that anyone can get involved, regardless of their coding skills. We want to build an open source AI for everyone, and that means we need everyone’s input. So why not:

If there are other ways that you would like to contribute, I’d love to hear about them too!

Where can the community find you?

You can generally find me hanging out in the Community Forums and Chat. If I don’t respond, chances are that I am sleeping, annoying my neighbours with terrible ukulele tunes, getting lost in the bush, or physically endangering myself in some other way… But I will get back to you soon.

What sort of physical danger are we talking about here?

Well at the moment I’ve started getting into mountain biking, which is both less and more frightening than I expected. It’s not as bad as the videos, watching some pro flying down a track and launching off trees, but if you take a wrong turn… things get scary very quickly… I also love rock climbing, hiking, even mountaineering and ice climbing when I get the chance to go somewhere with actual mountains.

Anything else you want to add?

I have just been amazed at how open and welcoming the Mycroft Community and Team have been. I’ve seen the Community support developers with decades of experience, through to people who have just bought a Raspberry Pi and are using Linux for the first time. Everyone is at a different stage in their learning, but everyone has a place at Mycroft. So I’m absolutely stoked to be able to dedicate myself to supporting this community full-time!


It’s great to have Gez on board. He comes highly recommended and has already done quite a lot to fill the shoes of Kathy. It’s also great to keep our Aussie quota! Stay tuned for our next team member profile soon!


#2

I would like to give you a HUGE big thumbs up for this statement! Exactly as I see it and hopefully more and more will start seeing it like that.


#3

Thanks j1nx, I was pretty sure that others here might feel the same way :grin:

One of the reasons I love Mycroft is that we can not just tell people about these possibilities, we are enabling anyone to create those possibilities in a way that makes sense for them.

It’s interesting because in some ways open source is thought of as making things for others, however I think it can also be about letting people take responsibility for their own needs. If I don’t like how something happens, I have the power to change it for myself. In many cases I need to be supported by the broader community to do that, but if I don’t care enough, it just won’t happen.


#4

Man, I’m exited about Mycroft since I joined their last Kickstarter campaign. I really have to crack out some time now to get into the project and get to know the people a bit more :slight_smile:


#5

Is there anything in particular that got you interested in Mycroft to begin with? Any special project in mind, or just keen to get a general assistant / smart speaker going?


#6

Most interesting aspect was to run a speech recognition system “on my edge” as people like to buzzword it now. The plan was to wait for the Mark II, but I’m becoming impatient :slight_smile: I’m curious where the journey goes, especially with the ongoing attempts to reduce computing overhead for AI devices.


#7

Did I write AI? Man, they also got me. ML I mean :wink: