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Radhika Dirks

It’s time for us to expand our concept of intelligence to become superhuman. This is the Rage of AI.

CEO & Co-Founder of XLabs | Physicist & Entrepreneur

Contact Radhika For Booking
Radhika Dirks | CEO & Co-Founder of XLabs | Physicist & Entrepreneur
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

A quantum physicist-turned-entrepreneur, RADHIKA DIRKS is CEO and co-founder at XLabs: the only company in the world making AI moonshots a reality. Her enterprising work proves that we can combine human intelligence with artificial intelligence to enhance, rather than displace, our humanity. Named one of the Top 30 Women advancing AI today, Dirks also dives into the state of diversity in the AI sector. Drawing from personal experience, she addresses the industry’s glaring gender imbalances—women make up only a quarter of AI positions—and outlines the necessary steps for change. Armed with first-hand examples of tech she has built, Dirks argues for a future that fits our biggest ambitions—and makes the world a better place while we’re at it.

“We will start to see AI built to tackle hard, meaningful problems. AI built to help us humans do what we cannot, as opposed to simply attempting to mimic our abilities.”

— Radhika Dirks

AI is the new Renaissance, says Radhika Dirks. The 15th century saw a revival of new thought—the rebirth of culture, technology, and philosophy that brought about massive change from within. This is what AI is doing right now, and will continue to do: enhancing and diversifying human capability in ways we could’ve never imagined. In her brilliantly interrogative technology talks, Dirks pushes us to rethink the terms of AI and its ambiguities, seeing in it an opportunity for a new framework. The AI we’re currently most comfortable with works to make certain things easier for humans: manipulation of large numbers; connecting people and marketplaces;  locomotion, even. All of these mimic aspects of human intelligence. But what if we created different types of artificial intelligences that are different from humans, asks Dirks. Ones that can elevate, empower, and super-power us? This type of technology isn’t redundant. Instead, it complements our human skills to make us more than we thought possible. Dirks, with striking clarity, persuasion, and real examples of AI she has built, shows audiences how much more hopeful, ambitious, and trailblazing we can be if we employ these new intelligences.


Dirks also goes beyond the possibilities of AI to address the elements that are hindering its progress—namely, the gender disparity of the sector as a whole. As a recent collaborator and key feature in Deloitte AI Institute’s new ‘Women in AI’ report, Dirks has an intimate understanding of the barriers obstructing women’s advancement in the field. Amongst the report’s interview participants, a shared experience shines through: women in AI, regardless of position or seniority, are faced with resistance, questioning, and judgment from their male peers and superiors. “People tend to pattern match to what has been successful in the past, and leaders historically have looked a certain way,” says Dirks. If these patterns aren’t disrupted, we miss a crucial opportunity to improve the design and functionality of AI systems. Effective AI urgently demands diversity—it’s necessary to benefit the populations it was designed to serve. A more diverse workforce is better equipped to identify and remove AI biases as they interpret data, test solutions, and make decisions.

 

Prior to co-founding XLabs, Dirks was CEO and founder of Seldn, an AI that predicts global socio-economic disruptions. She has also co-led cleantech deals as a founding member of Shell’s venture capital group, and was COO of Rotary Gallop, a game theory-based fintech firm. She has been named as one of the top rising women entrepreneurs in the US. Dirks has a Ph.D. in quantum computing and a M.S. in nanotechnology from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She has authored 22 peer-reviewed publications and has more than 290 citations on next-gen computing and technology. Dirks frequently advises Heads of States and technology executives at Fortune 100 companies on the future of disruptive technologies. She is responsible for having built the world’s best source of entangled photons for quantum computing, and her doctoral thesis featured a whole chapter on teleportation.  

Speech Topics

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
The State of Women in AI Challenges & Solutions for the Industry's Future
Despite demand for AI growing daily, the female talent pool in the industry remains largely untapped: only 26% of data and AI positions in the workforce today are held by women, finds a new report by the Deloitte Institute. Their landmark ‘Women in AI’ report surveyed both men and women active in the field to discover what is driving the gender disparity, and how we can address it. Featured in the report is entrepreneur and Lavin speaker Dr. Radhika Dirks, named one of the top 30 women advancing AI today.
 
In this riveting talk, Dirks tells a unique story: the experience of a woman leading a cutting-edge AI company. With thought provoking and humorous real-life examples, Dirks unpacks the roots of the underrepresentation problem in AI and addresses its direct consequences. Underrepresentation hurts the generation of ideas, stalls innovation, and sets AI and other tech industries back. The people that build AI must be as diverse as the populations that it will serve, says Dirks. Addressing the gender problem is critical to improving design, functionality, and most importantly, battling the biases within AI systems themselves: “Some of our biggest problems will remain unsolved if we don’t fix this core issue.”
 
There’s significant work to be done, from addressing implicit biases in recruitment to creating opportunities for mentorship and community support to eliminating pay gaps and establishing a gender-inclusive culture. AI remains a nascent field, with many companies at the very beginning of their journey. There is still time for these organizations to close the gender gap—not only bringing gender equality to the field, but more value to their business. This talk will show them how.
Innovation
Chasing Novelty The New Rules of Innovation
With new technologies pushing the frontiers of what’s humanly possible, it’s understandable that the rules of innovation have changed. What’s less clear is how we can stay ahead in times of ambiguity and flux. In this thought-provoking talk, Radhika Dirks walks us through the three mindsets we need to cultivate in order to keep forging ahead. With clear examples from her own lab, Dirks discusses how to know when the existing tools for innovation are no longer applicable, and how to swap them with new, next-generation methods. Audiences will leave with a fresh perspective on how businesses can stay fresh, smart, and relevant—even in a period of rapid change and rising uncertainty.
Artificial Intelligence
The Rage of AI The Megatrends Shaping the Future of Machine-Learning
As the CEO of XLABS, the world’s first moonshot factory for AI, Radhika Dirks has a unique perspective on the future of artificial intelligence. In this provocative talk, Dirks walks audiences through the megatrends driving the third-wave of machine learning. How can we harness the potential of AI today? And what are the new applications that will soon become possible? Smart, crisp, intuitive, Dirks balances her technological knowledge and depth with actionable strategies and clear functions. Powerful and insightful, this talk is the perfect introduction to AI strategy for Fortune 500 leadership. 
Artificial Intelligence
Pushing Through to New Realities Moonshots of the Intelligent Age
In this dynamic keynote, Dr. Radhika Dirks introduces you to fundamentals of solving the impossible through moonshot thinking—something she does on a daily basis at XLabs, the “moonshot factory for AI” that she co-founded in 2017. We stand at the brink of a new era, says Dirks. The Intelligent Age. We have access to emergent exponential technologies that harness vast knowledge from nature and humankind. We can amplify human potential as never before. But how can you wield this technology to help usher in a next phase for humankind? As Dirks shows in this talk, it’s through conceptualizing and actualizing moonshots. Dirks defines a moonshot as an something that changes the perceptions of reality’s limitations and therefore changes reality itself. In this powerful talk, Dirks elucidates moonshot thinking and two fundamental emergent technologies, AI and quantum computing. Most importantly she will prepare you to redefine reality and become the leaders of the incoming Intelligent Age.