The PRQL: Synthetic Data and Self Driving Cars with Omar Maher of Parallel Domain

July 3, 2023

In this bonus episode, Eric and Kostas preview their upcoming conversation with Omar Maher of Parallel Domain.


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Eric Dodds 00:05
Welcome to The Data Stack Show prequel where we replay a snippet from the show we just recorded. Kostas, are you ready to give people a sneak peek? Let’s do it. Wow Kostas, what a conversation with Omar Maher from Parallel Domain. I mean, it’s almost impossible not to have fun if you’re talking about synthetic data to train, you know, AI models that are driving, you know, learning for self driving cars and other imagery. Use cases. I mean, just unbelievable. So I loved it. I think one of the biggest things that stuck out to me was, you know, when you scan Hacker News, when you see news headlines, especially related to chat GPT, and all these other AI technologies, they tend to be extreme. Right? He is taking away jobs or, you know, you know, we need to stop AI, you know, we need to slow down, you know, we have all these, you know, people who signed a, you know, a letter, Omar was so balanced, you know, he just, it almost felt personal to him where he felt like he could stop a self driving vehicle from, you know, hitting someone in the street, because he can provide better data, it felt very personal, it felt very practical. There was no mystery. And he had a level of confidence that I think, you know, just really, to me and validated just a lot of the headlines that we see. I mean, he’s really doing work on the front lines with, you know, companies who are building cars that are trying to drive themselves, you know, and yeah, what was that encouraging to me, I think that’s my big takeaway is that he’s balanced. He’s brilliant, obviously. But he’s very confident that this is a way to make things safer. Even using synthetic data. We shouldn’t be scared, we actually should be excited. Now, that was a big takeaway for me. Yeah, 100%,

Kostas Pardalis 02:19
I think, like a big difference between what Omar is doing and like, what is happening with things like subjectivities that, in numerous case, like, the use case is very explicit, right? Like, we know, like, we understand exactly what’s the output of like, improving these models, right, it’s like more safety. It’s yeah, like, we’re not going to have so many accidents, we are not going to be worrying, like if a child is going to be hit by a car. And like all that stuff. And, by the way, it’s not just the self driving cars, right? Like, as he said, many of these models are used like today, as part of like other sensors that cars have, like, you know, like, the regular cars that we all like drive, like to make sure that if an accident going to happen, like the car can help you react faster and stuff like that, right? So just like the extreme of having, like, fully autonomous car, right. And on the other hand, you have like CPT, which is like a very impressive and very accessible technology, right? Everyone can go and type on this thing. You don’t easily go and get the fully autonomous car and like, see, like, right. So but people are the same, they see something big, something great there. But they don’t necessarily understand what the impact is going to be. We’re still trying to figure out theories, right. And that generates fear. So I think that’s like one of the reasons that you see like, sounds like a diverse, let’s say reaction between like the different technologies. And at the same time, like I agree with Omar like at the end, like we are going to see like something similar happening with all life, which adds up to a kind of technologies. That’s one thing. The other thing that I’m going to keep, like from this conversation that we had is that there’s so much overlap between, like the state of the art that’s in Omar’s domain and things like virtual reality CGI games, all these things and like, I can’t wait to see how these industries are going to be using whatever is happening like in synthetic data today and generative AI to create even more innovation.

Eric Dodds 04:46
So at least we are going to have fun, but that’s willing eight gets a minimum we’re going to have fun. Yeah. And I think people like Omar are the right people to be working on this, because of their disposition and value system and so on. Thank you for joining us again on the datasets show. Many great episodes coming up if you liked this one, and despite we have so many more good ones coming out soon if you haven’t subscribed, subscribe on Spotify, Apple podcasts, whatever your favorite network is, and tell a friend if it’s valuable to you, and we will catch you on the next one.