For many people, artificial intelligence (AI) may seem like something out of science fiction novel. For the employees of Fusemachines, including Bates alumni Nate Levin ’16 and Sameer Maskey ’02, AI technology is simply a part of a regular day at the office.
In a partnership with the Career Development Center, Levin returned to Bates to talk to students about Fusemachines and provide information about a summer internship opportunity at the company’s New York City Office.
Levin began his presentation by discussing the services that Fusemachines provides as well as their overall philosophy. The company rents out engineers capable of working with AI technology, who are paid on a month-by-month basis. According to Levin, this business model allows Fusemachines to reach out to start ups and other smaller businesses who might not have the money to hire an AI engineer on a full time basis but still want to implement the technology.
“Our mission is ‘Democratize AI,’ meaning that we make artificial intelligence accessible to everyone,” said Levin.
Fusemachines carries the ‘Democratize AI’ beyond the clients that they attempt to attract. The company also actively looks to train engineers from parts of the world that typically don’t have a large presence in tech industry. Though based out of New York City, the majority of Fusemachines’ employees are based out Kathmandu, Nepal. The company is has also recently opened offices in Rwanda and the Dominican Republic. To train engineers at each office, the company provides a math test to candidates. Those who pass are given a year-long online training course. The decision to take an international approach to hiring came from Maskey, the company’s founder, who grew up in Nepal before attending Bates.
According to Levin, working for a company with employees spread out across the globe is not without its challenges, especially when it comes to timing and communication. Several steps have been taken in each office to try to bridge the gap.
“Our Nepal office runs for about twenty hours a day with a dayshift and a nightshift,” said Levin.
Levin concluded the presentation by discussing a summer internship opportunity available for Bates students to apply to. Levin, himself a former intern for Fusemachines, spoke positively of the experience. He noted that the internship deals mostly with sales and marketing and that no engineering experience or knowledge is necessary. The internship is based out of Fusemachines’ New York City office, where Levin said that because of the office’s small size, day-to-day tasks could vary widely.
“Until shortly before [the internship] starts we may not know the areas of need,” said Levin.
After addressing the work that the company does, as well as its international approach, Levin moved on to discussing some of the projects that the company’s engineers have been working on recently. These projects varied widely: from using AI technology to help makes sales databases more efficient, to designing an autonomous drone to deliver medicine to rural towns in Nepal.
Fusemachines was founded by Maskey after he finished his undergraduate degree at Bates and then graduate school at Columbia University. Previous to founding the company, Maskey, who grew up in Nepal, created the first ever Nepali speech-to-text program.