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A Day In The Life Of: CTO And AI Lead Who Are Building The Next-Gen Language Platform


A Day In The Life Of: CTO And AI Lead Who Are Building The Next-Gen Language Platform


In our column ‘A Day In The Life Of’, we are trying to step into the shoes of awesome techies from various organisations who are working in Emerging Tech areas like big data, data analytics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things, among others.

This week, Analytics India Magazine decided to talk to Akshay Deshraj, Co-founder and CTO at Vernacular.ai, and Abhinav Tushar, AI Lead at Vernacular.ai. We spoke to them about their daily routine, aspirations and future plans.



Akshay Deshraj

Akshay begins his day at 9 am in the morning, beginning his long office hours from around 10 in the morning. Having realized the importance of mental health in holistic living, Deshraj tries to meditate everyday. He said

“I am trying to train myself to not get agitated and in general react less to the ups and downs that are a part of my job. It’s still a work in progress.”

As the CTO of the company, Deshraj states that he has never considered his work life and personal life as separate entities. As a founder, he wishes to do justice to his work, dedicating himself to his job to ensure the success of the company.

Deshraj is an ardent lover of home-cooked food, preferring it over ordering out or eating snacks at work. This gives him the fuel he needs to oversee the big picture approach of Vernacular’s product and tech teams.

His job mainly involves assisting these teams in task prioritization and setting up monthly Objectives and Key Results. This is an integral part of his role as the CTO; making the teams more efficient at their tasks and automating repetitive ones.

Currently, Deshraj is working on the deployment for their Voicebot product for some really large enterprises. He is on the ground setting up processes and workflows to ensure that every subsequent deployment takes lesser time.

Deshraj says the most fun part of his day is interacting with customers. He stated:

“Talking to customers who have started reaping the benefits of our solutions. It’s really fun to brainstorm with them on new ways in which we can add value.”

However, he hates doing any kind of legal work, calling it the worst part of his day. Even as he has no fixed work timing, he feels like there is still a long road ahead for him in the company. With a robust roadmap and a solid vision, Deshraj continues to work every day to help the company reach its goals.

Over the next 5 years, Deshraj has the plans fleshed out. He stated, “On a 5-year horizon, I want Vernacular.ai to evolve into the de-facto language platform that our customers and partners can use to build any voice-first solutions across languages. We are set to sail to grow both horizontally and vertically, aiming to go global, add more languages and provide solutions across sectors and use cases.”

Abhinav Tushar

The AI lead at Vernacular.ai is one of the more dedicated employees we’ve featured on this column. Abhinav Tushar begins his day at around 10 am, with office hours starting from 12:00 to 8 - 9 PM.

Even though this leaves with him with lesser free time, Tushar works on his personal projects like writing and updating his blog. He also loves reading and spends his time finishing up his reading list which has grown in size of late.

A budding cook, Tushar makes most of his meals for himself when at home for breakfast and dinner. For his meals in the office, he orders in from his favourite restaurant.

He is hands-on with his work, which involves a lot of programming with a varied collection of languages and tools. As an AI lead, Tushar is also tasked with thinking about software and ML architectures, while reading researches and code bases to increase his knowledge. He elaborated:

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“My job also involves reviewing peer code. Working with customized products means a lot of work on the side of understanding failure modes and defining metrics for those. This, in turn, affects the way we think about and build our machine learning models.”

Currently, Tushar is working on everything involved in building Vernacular’s voice solutions. This includes performance and accuracy of the models making up their speech recognition, language understanding and active learning systems.

The best part of Tushar’s workday is a research paper reading session conducted with the rest of the team. He said:

“We pool up a list of research papers and notes and discuss them. It’s a really quick way of catching up on ideas, new and old, and helps us connect our work with others’ and improve.”

He still feels as though there is a lot he can contribute to the company, as he thinks he has a lot more to offer based on whatever he is doing today. In addition to this, he also thinks that he will be able to contribute something in the future that he does not know about today.

Indeed, his future is full of self-improvement and understanding the basics of building intelligence. One of the important points that he wants to point out is language, as it stretches over various parts of AI. He went on to say:

“Languages are the standard way of communicating and looking at explanations and causality, implicit or explicit, which puts weight behind their exploration. My short-term goal is to understand, streamline and generalize the way we think about machine conversations.”



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