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Getting Ahead with Mark Kelly, Founder of AI Ireland

  • Publish Date: Posted about 1 month ago
It's clear that you have a passion for all things AI-related - what originally ignited this passion for you, and how did you take your first steps into the field of AI?

My passion for AI was ignited by the boundless possibilities it presented in tackling complex challenges that seemed insurmountable. Over a coffee with a university professor, I got to hear about the possibilities of AI. This was a light bulb moment for me. I was hooked by the potential of data to predict outcomes, personalise experiences, and automate tasks. I started to interview academics and applied professionals, which allowed me to apply theoretical knowledge in practical settings, laying the foundation for my career in AI.

Q1. I'm sure this wasn't the career path you imagined or planned as a child – what path did you take to bring you to where you are today?

​After completing my studies in business, my fascination always lay in applying theoretical knowledge to solve real-world problems. My career in the staffing industry, particularly in technology recruitment, spanned over a decade. During this time, I found my passion in connecting talent with opportunity, effectively acting as a matchmaker in the tech world. In 2018, I made a strategic pivot into AI staffing. This move into executive search within the AI sector opened doors to engaging with leading AI professionals across Europe and North America. These interactions have been instrumental in keeping me abreast of the latest advancements in technological innovation. My diverse experiences across various roles in tech companies have not only broadened my skill set but also led to the founding of AI Ireland. Through AI Ireland, I aim to promote the untapped potential of AI within the nation, fostering a community that drives forward technological progress and innovation.

Information Technology Industry Worker

Q2. Your book, "AI Unleashed," has gained much attention. What key messages or insights do you hope readers take away from it?

I was genuinely taken aback by how well the book was received; admittedly, I viewed it as a solid resource that laid down the fundamentals for AI leaders. It has been incredibly humbling to learn that it has inspired readers to initiate AI projects and implement diverse AI policies. My core belief is that AI should be accessible to everyone, and fostering digital dexterity is crucial for societal advancement. I hope that readers will grasp the transformative potential of AI and how it can be leveraged responsibly to improve lives and tackle real-world challenges."AI Unleashed" was designed to clarify AI concepts, making them understandable to a broader audience while advocating for ethical and mindful application. I stress the importance of closing the gap between AI's technical aspects and its societal impact, championing a future where AI is crafted with a focus on human-centric values.

Mark Kelly giving a presentation on AI at Collins McNicholas' Company Conference

Q3. What emerging AI trends do you find most exciting or, indeed, most challenging?

The trends in generative AI and natural language processing are particularly exciting, as they have the potential to revolutionise content creation, automate routine tasks, and improve decision-making. However, these advancements also present challenges, especially in ensuring data privacy, security, and ethical AI use. Balancing innovation with these considerations is vital for the sustainable advancement of AI technologies.

Q4. Mentoring plays a crucial role in career development. Have you had any influential mentors in your career journey, and what one piece of advice do you have for those seeking a career in the AI field?

Nearly 10 years ago, I created a podcast called What I Know Now. The premise was if you met your 18-year-old self what advice would you share? I interviewed 50 people from all walks of life and asked them that question. The insight I received changed my life and provided me with the confidence to get going. I have been fortunate to have mentors who've navigated me through the complexities of technology and entrepreneurship. Their wisdom and support were invaluable. For those aspiring to a career in AI, my advice is to work on personal projects and tap into the community of meeting groups.

AI is a rapidly evolving field, and keeping close to the latest research and technologies is crucial.

Q5. What's the best career decision you've ever made?

The best career decision I ever made was reading Strengths Finder and figuring out my strengths and weaknesses. I then made the decision not to work on my weaknesses. Focus on my strengths. I have learned that if you surround yourself with people who have complementary skills and personalities to you, that's when the magic happens. 

Q6. If you were entering the workforce again, do you think you would do anything differently?

I would do more internships and personal projects to build up experience that could help an employer.

Q7. And lastly, have you a favourite AI tool or AI app that you can't live without?

Synthesia is a fantastic tool for creating avatars and audio. It's a great way to do training videos.


​Thank you Mark for sharing your insights into your experience with AI and AI Technologies.

If you'd like to hear more from Mark Kelly, visit aiireland.ie. If you're a jobseeker looking for a career in Tech, reach out to one of our Consultants or view our current IT jobs.

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