Former vice president of google speaks on businesses, machine learning


Taylor Blum/Iowa State Daily

Brian McClendon, a former Vice President at Google talks about how a machine motivated him and another group of people to start a company on April 5 in Howe Hall.

Brian McClendon, former vice president of Google, gave a lecture Friday regarding the importance of machine learning and its impact on current businesses as well as his past experiences.

McClendon has spent his career at a number of companies such as Google, Uber and Silicon graphs, working with 3D graphics mapping technology that has lead to applications like Google Earth and Google Maps in addition to working with Uber to develop their mapping program.

While at the company of Keyhole Inc., McClendon discussed how his time there included their development of early 3D world-viewing and being able to see the actual location on an image with high detail and accuracy.

McClendon said that same system was used on CNN in the early 2000s to cover the war that was going on in the middle east.

McClendon said he wants to show people all the different ways that machine learning can be applied to the business world and how it can be used as a benefactor for any variety of companies.

According to the SAS institute, the concept and study of machine learning came from the theory of machines becoming so advanced that they can learn without being programmed to perform the task it is assigned.

“I was thinking about how compact a machine learning can be, but what it takes to do is that you have to have very good data,” McClendon said. “Sometimes you have to look out in the world and say what problems already have good data and you can collect good data for it, they could then solve something that wasn’t solved before.”

While working for Uber, McClendon gave an example and mentioned the effect of applying machine learning to this kind of vehicle service, saying how it allows people to be more productive with their cars overall and the current climate of car ownership.

“Your car is parked 96 percent of the time and only used four percent of the time, there are three parking spaces for every car in the United States which is a huge waste of real estate,” McClendon said. “Uber allows a single driver to share their ride with not just one but maybe more that one person to pick up, drop off, pick up, drop off … 25 percent of Americans overall would be better off not owning a car and just using Uber or Lyft.”