The exec who co-leads Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research team, Serkan Piantino, believes that New York City will make “a big mark” on tech in the next decade.
During a question-and-answer session on the site Quora, someone asked him why NYC doesn’t “
produce extremely ambitious technology (e.g. self driving cars) in the same way that Silicon Valley does.”
As the founder of the Facebook’s New York office (which has grown from 1 person in 2012 to 350 people today), Piantino naturally has a lot of faith in the city’s potential for exciting innovation.
Although he writes that Silicon Valley has a density of technology specialisation and a “healthy infrastructure and ecosystem for turning ideas into products and sustainable companies,” New York’s much more varied make-up gives it strength.
As the tech sector continues to explode in New York (thanks in part to increasing VC money, successful local exits, like Etsy going public last year, and big companies like Facebook and Google putting down roots), diversity is one of the city’s biggest advantages.
“I would expect big ideas, particularly ones that address problems in the world like health care, government accessibility, education etc. to grow here and for NYC and the diversity here to make a big mark on tech and entrepreneurship over the next decade,” he said.
In its own office, Facebook is making sure that its taking advantage of opportunities around it.
“Almost all of our big teams are centered around products that specifically benefit from being in New York,” he says. “Local, News and Publishers, AI Research and Mobile Infrastructure all are either teams working closely with local industries, products that address the experience of an urban environment, or center around talent that is abundant on the east coast (like AI Research or Mobile Engineering).”