Hybrid Work Models in Finance with Michael Lynch at Symphony.
Michael Lynch of Symphony discussing Hybrid Work Models in Finance, as it is trending.

Collaboration, Regulation, and AI with Symphony’s Mike Lynch

Episode Overview

Episode Topic:

Welcome to an insightful episode of PayPod. We get into Hybrid Work Models in Finance with Michael Lynch, the Chief Product Officer at Symphony. The discussion sheds light on how the financial sector is adapting to hybrid work environments, balancing in-office and remote work. Lynch shares his experiences from both personal and professional perspectives, offering valuable insights into the challenges and benefits of hybrid models. He emphasizes the role of technology in enabling flexible work arrangements and highlights Symphony’s strategies to ensure data security and compliance in a dispersed work setting. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in the evolving landscape of work in the financial industry.

Lessons You’ll Learn:

Listeners will gain a deep understanding of the dynamics involved in Hybrid Work Models in Finance. Michael Lynch discusses the critical aspects of implementing hybrid work models, such as maintaining productivity, ensuring data security, and fostering collaboration among teams. You’ll learn about the technological advancements that facilitate remote work and how companies like Symphony are leading the way. Lynch also shares practical advice on managing remote teams, balancing work-life integration, and the future of hybrid work in regulated industries. This episode provides actionable insights that can help businesses navigate the complexities of hybrid work environments effectively.

About Our Guest:

Michael Lynch is the Chief Product Officer at Symphony, a company renowned for its secure, cloud-based communication and collaboration platforms tailored to the needs of global markets and financial firms. With a background that spans architecture and fintech, Lynch brings a unique perspective to the conversation about Hybrid Work Models in Finance. His journey from aspiring architect to fintech leader is filled with valuable lessons and experiences that shape his approach to product development and team management. Lynch’s expertise lies in creating innovative solutions that address the specific needs of highly regulated industries, making him a thought leader in the field.

Topics Covered:

The episode covers a wide range of topics centered around Hybrid Work Models in Finance. Key points include the evolution of hybrid work environments, the importance of data security and compliance, and the technological tools that facilitate effective remote collaboration. Michael Lynch shares insights on Symphony’s approach to hybrid work, including their integration with platforms like WhatsApp to ensure seamless communication. We also explore the broader implications of hybrid work in the financial sector, touching on trends, challenges, and future prospects. This comprehensive discussion provides listeners with a holistic view of hybrid work in the financial industry.

Our Guest: Michael Lynch – On the Evolution of Hybrid Work Models in Finance

Michael Lynch is the Chief Product Officer at Symphony, a company renowned for its secure, cloud-based communication and collaboration platforms tailored to the needs of global markets and financial firms. Lynch joined Symphony in 2021, bringing with him a wealth of experience in product strategy and management from his previous roles. Before joining Symphony, he was the Head of Digital Workplace Product Strategy at Goldman Sachs, where he was instrumental in driving digital transformation and innovation within the company. His tenure at Goldman Sachs equipped him with a deep understanding of the financial sector’s complexities and regulatory requirements​​​​.

Prior to his time at Goldman Sachs, Michael Lynch spent 12 years at Bloomberg, holding multiple leadership positions, including Head of Product for the communication and collaboration products on the Bloomberg Terminal. During his tenure at Bloomberg, Lynch honed his skills in product development, user experience, and strategic planning. His experience at Bloomberg provided him with a robust foundation in managing large-scale, complex projects and working with cross-functional teams to deliver innovative solutions tailored to the needs of financial professionals​​​​.

At Symphony, Lynch is responsible for overseeing the company’s product vision, design, and development, ensuring that Symphony’s offerings remain at the forefront of the industry. He plays a critical role in steering the company’s strategic direction, partnerships, and professional services. Under his leadership, Symphony has continued to innovate, integrating advanced technologies like AI and machine learning to enhance its platform’s capabilities. Lynch’s background in both architecture and fintech gives him a unique perspective on problem-solving and product design, making him a valuable asset to Symphony and a thought leader in the fintech space​.

Episode Transcript

Michael Lynch: Yes. I’ve never been, my wife’s whole family is a SEC family. So I’ve gotten myself better educated on real college football throughout the world I grew up with.

Kevin Rosenquist: Hey, welcome to PayPod, where we bring you conversations with the trailblazers shaping the future of payments and fintech. My name is Kevin Rosenquist. Thanks for listening. Today I’m chatting with Michael Lynch. He’s the chief product officer at Symphony, a company that provides secure, cloud-based communication and collaboration platforms tailored to the needs of global markets and financial firms. They focus on the financial sector as well as other well-regulated industries that need to ensure that their data is secure We will have a great conversation about fintech product development, and since he’s a self-proclaimed techie type of guy, we will discuss AI as well. Joining me from New York City, Michael Lynch. Is the Harvard-Yale rivalry thing still a thing? When you meet someone from Yale, do you guys have to rumble?

Michael Lynch: We don’t have to rumble. But there’s a momentary tension. They’ll say, no, it’s a good rivalry. The Harvard-Yale game is a fun weekend. My favorite nerdy thing that happens is the Yale side all chance to the Harvard Tigers. It’s always the Saturday before Thanksgiving. School’s on Monday, because Harvard still had school. So Harvard Chance Back Safety School. So real cool kid stuff.

Kevin Rosenquist: You guys know how to insult each other.

Michael Lynch: Oh, Yes.

Kevin Rosenquist: I’m sure the same taunts are at the Alabama-Auburn game,

Michael Lynch: Yes. I’ve never been, my wife’s whole family is a SEC family. So I’ve gotten myself better educated on real college football throughout the world I grew up with.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, it’s a little different down there than you guys are focused on different things up east northeast.

Kevin Rosenquist: So you got a Bachelor of Arts in visual environmental studies What did you envision doing with that? What did you want to be when you grew up?

Michael Lynch: I was gonna be an architect. So with the visual environmental studies degree, it’s sort of a mouthful that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but what it allowed me to do was kind of create my own academic track that allowed me to take a lot of classwork at the Graduate School of Architecture and Design at Harvard. So my plan was to do that I also spent a summer at Columbia, studying in their kind of architecture program. So I was going to go my life plan at 22 was to go work for a couple of years in an architecture firm and then go back and get my master’s and then get licensed. That would be my dream. I ended up spending a year in an architecture firm and just realized that dream wasn’t my reality and had a bit of an early midlife crisis at 22 and, changed tracks.

Kevin Rosenquist: Was finance and or fintech an interest of yours?

Michael Lynch: Has always been an interest of me, of mine. The finance part was not my original interest. but what happened was I went on and looked at my network from my the gaudy age of 22 and found myself at Bloomberg in sort of their entry-level sales program as sort of a really interesting technology company that taught me all the finance I needed to know to kind of be productive there and got super interested in the kind of beautiful complexity of it all. So found myself having built a career in fintech, from there.

Kevin Rosenquist: What was it about architecture that sort of lost you? Was the reality different than the way that it felt when you were in college?

Michael Lynch: Yes, I think architecture is an amazing profession. Still, I can give you sort of how I rationalize my career path from there versus what I planned. But yes, I think what I discovered was the life of a working architect is very different from the life of a person studying architecture, Building models in the studio and thinking about creative opportunities is very different from the challenge of working in a real-life architecture firm where you’re bouncing engineers, customers, budgets, etc. Through that, I had a number of architecture people that I knew, and they kind of said that if you can, unless you love this and it’s the only thing you can imagine yourself doing, you should see if there’s something else out there for you. That’s what I did, and I found something else. I look at what I do now in terms of product management and architecture, there are a lot of overlaps in sort of why I get excited, If you’re an architect, you’re trying to solve a problem for a customer in as creative and innovative a way as possible. That’s what I do now. I’m just doing it with code versus bricks. That’s sort of like the mindset. It’s very much inherently a client-facing problem solving, but innovation throughout kind of a career. So that’s why I think I find it so satisfying.

Kevin Rosenquist: I think architecture to some degree has an art artistic element about it. A lot of times with anything artistic, whether it’s architecture, painting, or music, the art of it is a lot different than the business of it.

Michael Lynch: 100%. But I still, as a product manager, you have that left-right brain balance of the economics, ROI, and technology side of things, but also how do you make a beautiful product that people just love to use every day? And how do you work with your designers to make that reality? So it has that same balance of art and science that I love.

Kevin Rosenquist: So as you mentioned, you went to Bloomberg, you, you got started as a kind of an entry-level person there. Did you have a plan at that point, or were you more just like, I’m just fascinated by going because you went from one extreme to another? I know, there’s some synergy there, but it’s sort of like when I talk to someone who, like, went to law school and they’re like working they owned a deli. You’re like, how did that happen?

Michael Lynch: Yes. No plan at the beginning, admittedly, but after because I started in sales, and I’m a firm believer of starting in sales is just a great place to be in terms of learning the customer, you learn how to ask questions, you learn how to turn unmet needs into solutions, etc. So I spent a couple of years in sales, realized that I wasn’t going to find a career path in sales, but started to work more and more with the marketing and product team at Bloomberg found my way into a marketing role, and then realized that product management was my path or what I wanted to do. So sort of built a career inside of Bloomberg, from sales to marketing to product. From there, I kind of did more and more product kind of areas as I continued my career.

Kevin Rosenquist: That makes sense. Sales to marketing to product, that’s a logical trajectory. To your point, earlier you said your education in the visual environment has to be beneficial just because of the creative thinking, problem-solving, and understanding of the impact of design, and aesthetics. It makes sense that you do that in sales and marketing and then of course, in product, too.

Michael Lynch: Yes. Exactly. It’s not fame not well-known like premed or anything, but there are certain requirements for architecture and undergrad. I took math and physics like I took a lot of calculus and physics classes in addition to design. So I had both sides of that.

Kevin Rosenquist: Calculus was the most was my favorite C I ever got in college. I patted myself on the back. I was like celebrating my accomplishment. That was the hardest class I’ve ever taken in my life.

Michael Lynch: Yes We had, I remember, it was our physics midterm. I think I got a 17 out of a hundred and that was a delight to us. I was like, wait, what? The test was just designed for everybody to be in tears for an hour or as like, oh.

Kevin Rosenquist: That’s what I feel like every class was for me. I was just sitting there and like, what? No, this isn’t how math works.

Michael Lynch: Yes.

Kevin Rosenquist: Forget everything you ever knew or learned about math.

Michael Lynch: Yes, 100%.

Kevin Rosenquist: Let’s talk about Symphony When Symphony first started, was it kind of like a slack for the financial world? Was that sort of the model?

Michael Lynch: Yes. At a high level with a key kind of piece of that is around security. I think especially in finance, capital markets, and world data security, compliance is central. So what Symphony brought was a patented end-to-end encryption, an end IT approach to end-to-end encryption that allowed each firm that uses Symphony to own its own encryption keys. So not only is it end-to-end encrypted, but the only people who have the ability to even decrypt the data are the participants or the firms that participate in that conversation. So it’s sort of providing that security layer was critical for Symphony from the beginning, on top of the collaboration, workflow, automation, bots, etc., that had sort of grown up over the years on top of it.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. Then that was gonna be my next point. You guys grew into like a whole collaboration workflow automation, where workflow solution, it’s very robust When I was digging into it, there were a lot of lot of offerings What are the core offerings of Symphony and talk a little bit about the need for the financial specific product based on the security and regulations.

Michael Lynch: Yes. So we started our primary product of Symphony of the first I’d say seven years. I’ve been here now for three years and we’re about a ten-year-old company. Its messaging product is focused on intra-firm so colleagues can speak to each other. But the value prop is the open community of Goldman Sachs can speak with Blackrock etc. We’ve expanded the messaging product to also now allow users to use Symphony to have conversations on other what we call off-channel platforms like WhatsApp, standard texting, WeChat, and Line in Japan. That was very much born out of a regulatory need, where our customers have a record retention requirement, where every conversation has to be recorded, but especially the areas like private wealth, their customers weren’t using Symphony, didn’t want to be seen in emails anymore, so they needed to be able to WhatsApp them, but they couldn’t do that compliantly. So we provided a solution for that, and we built that up over the last couple of years to compliment three of our core messaging businesses. In addition to that, we’ve expanded into three other platforms, as we call it, mostly, actually through acquisitions. So we acquired Cloud Nine, which is the Trader Voice company, back in 2021 We acquired a company called Street Links also in summer 2021, which is a directory roster exchange product. Then more recently, in November 2022, we acquired Amundi Analytics, which is an AI, NLP company. That we closed that acquisition, the day before ChatGPT was announced. So, good from a market strategy point of view.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, definitely. That worked out, right?

Michael Lynch: Yes. Well, it’s been an exciting ride for us because for us, what we’re trying to do is solve more and more problems for our financial market community and sort of adjacent areas like insurance and private wealth. But at the core, the principles that we go with are data security. Number one, automation and workflow efficiency, external connectivity, and a sort of modern approach to kind of community building are really what’s critical for how we approach all of our offerings.

Kevin Rosenquist: So you guys integrate with things like WhatsApp. It’s not an enclosed space where you can use other tools along with Symphony.

Michael Lynch: Yes, exactly. So the idea is we allow our Symphony community to speak with obviously one another. We allow our Symphony users to talk with their users sort of outside of the community via products like WhatsApp. We also have various other models where users can do what I call kind of bring your own customer where they can kind of create curate experiences for users that aren’t on Symphony, but it’s almost a white label experience where they’re using Symphony when the context of our customer’s web application. So, if you’re thinking of a lot of our especially bank customers have sort of a storefront type application for whether that’s capital markets business or if you’re as basic as your banking account page at Bank of America. But if you’re a wealth private wealth client or, or an asset management client, you have that same experience. That embedded communication component is Symphony underneath the covers. So that’s kind of bring your customer kind of model for us.

Kevin Rosenquist: Got it. So what would people do, are they in WhatsApp in that scenario or are they in Symphony but using WhatsApp within Symphony?

Michael Lynch: Well, in that case, it could be Symphony to Symphony, or they could be or in that case, there could be a WhatsApp component, but that gives it generally Symphony to Symphony. Okay. but the key thing is that Symphony is in the context of their other experience.

Kevin Rosenquist: Okay, got it. being that you finance specific, you did mention or not finance specific but geared more towards that. you mentioned that the insurance and something else like what other industries benefit from something like Symphony that’s got the extra layer of security on it.

Michael Lynch: We’re very much kind of what I’ll call finance and finance adjacent. So we built I grew up sort of primarily in large multinational banks. but asset managers hedge funds are big customers of our increasing firms like private equity firms, but also, private wealth insurance. both what we call kind of institutional needs, where it’s kind of you need communication on both sides that’s institutional grade, but also where you have regulated users who need to extend outside into a kind of a non-institutional market. That’s where our WhatsApp and texting solutions comply. The original idea of Symphony was to potentially expand across the government healthcare and sort of other regulated industries. Right now that’s on our plan. You know we think there’s a lot of wood for us to chop both with our messaging products and with some of the other products that we now have to solve a much broader suite of market needs in finance and finance adjacent areas.

Kevin Rosenquist: Data security is a huge, huge topic of concern these days and many, many different aspects of life. If you’re on any collaboration tool, I think you hope that your data is secure and encrypted and all that. How do you guys attack that problem differently? How do you how do you maintain a a higher level of security?

Michael Lynch: I think the key is, for us, a lot of firms that we see in our space grew up else like kind of in other markets, and have had to kind of bolt on some of the security and compliance requirements to their products after the fact. For us, we were fundamentally building the collaboration stack on top of an embedded encryption capability. It sounds a bit like a marketing blend, but it’s true. We have security at our core and everything we do is built on top of that sort of underlying unbreakable expectation that everything we’re going to do is, is sort of security first. So that is how we do it. We have a great team. We have a chief information security officer, we have a great team of folks that are always working with us to make sure we’re leveraging the latest encryption models that we’re looking at the market for best practices. It’s not easy, but we’ve seen it enough to know that if you lose the trust of your customers, you’re done.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, especially with their money.

Michael Lynch: Yes. Exactly. I guess there are other platforms in our market that monetize the data of customers in different ways and they are like, we don’t see the data, so we can’t do it. So there’s a certain level of not just data security, but also ensuring that our customer’s data is their data and only for their use.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, only for their eyes.

Michael Lynch: Yes.

Kevin Rosenquist: That’s an important piece.

Michael Lynch: Yes, it is. It allows us to be able to be used in areas, some of the most sensitive areas of the financial world that other platforms just aren’t able to be done because they can’t do what we do.

Kevin Rosenquist: The pandemic greatly changed the way companies and people in general use online collaborative, collaboration software. How did it affect you guys as far as the need for your services? I think you said you weren’t there yet, or were you there during the pandemic?

Michael Lynch: At that time I was at Goldman Sachs. So I was a customer of Symphony. but I think every collaboration platform that enables sort of remote work, it was a boom in terms of usage and deployment and a sort of partnership with customers in a crazy time for the world to be able to help desks and users stay connected. it’s interesting, even with our Cloud Nine product, if you’re familiar with Trader Voice, it’s a software and cloud approach to the traditional big telephone that you might see on a trading desk. Even still today that product sort of grew incredibly quickly during COVID-19 when trading desks were all of a sudden dispersed. We still see about 15% of our users are still working remotely. Even in a world where we think everyone, especially in finance, is back to the office. If not, there is still a kind of distributed nature that is different than what it was pre-2020.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. I was going to ask that. As more companies accept the work-from-home or hybrid models, the new normal or what employees want. How does that affect the way you guys approach your growth, and approach your future?

Michael Lynch: We build for both. Given our market, we have firms that say everyone’s in five days a week, early morning late night and kind of gone very much back to the way the market was before. Then we have other firms that have gone much more fully hybrid or fully or hybrid or fully remote. So for us, it’s being able to our we are an awesome solution for both. But like a hybrid firm where we have our products are inherently flexible. Cloud-native software-based, we have an inherent ability to solve for kind of the remote trading desk or the remote financial market in addition to the office group. So it’s a good space for us because of the flexibility that we offer in terms of how we can be used.

Kevin Rosenquist: What do you what do you think’s going to happen? Do you think more and more people are going to be working from home or do you think it’s going to be more of a return to the office? Because I see empty office space everywhere.

Michael Lynch: Yes, I think Symphony is a solidly hybrid organization. I think what has happened is the need to work from home has been to some extent normalized, which I think is a good thing for humanity. The fact that if I need a doctor’s appointment, that’s fine. I don’t need to get permission to go have a doctor’s appointment. When I was growing up, that was an unreal thing. So totally the normalcy of not needing, not having to be in the office every single day is a good thing. I do think we will generally see people kind of gradually come back a little bit more here and there into the office. But I think the hybrid reality is here to stay. I don’t think that’s going.

Kevin Rosenquist: I don’t want to be back in an office 40 hours, 40 plus hours. So I can tell you that.

Michael Lynch: Yes. No, it’s such an interesting combination of personality, commute where you work, how you work, and what nature of your team. For me, product management is a great is one of the great roles for hybrid work. I’ve got a whiteboard right next to me where I could grab some of my team members, like, hey, let’s work through this problem together in a really fast, collaborative way. We could make a decision and then we can go back home the next day and write out the full spec of what we decided in a focused, sort of quiet way. When you have both that are highly collaborative but highly focused at differing depending on what part of the job you’re doing. Other roles are different. You need to focus 95% of the time, and sometimes that’s better from home than the office.

Kevin Rosenquist: Sure. Some people I feel like work better at home. I always kind of thought I couldn’t work from home because I’d have too many distractions. I’ve got an Xbox over there. I’ve got this over there, you know what I mean? There’s enough stuff to do where I’m just like, oh I could do that, or I could just hang out outside with my dogs, but I do think that now having been working from home and you just have to have this self-starter kind of like motivated sort of approach to it. As long as you have that, I feel like you can do it.

Michael Lynch: Well, Yes. I think people have it all out. It was pretty chaotic in every single way in March, April, and May of 2020. But I think the world has sort of figured out how to operate, which is great.

Kevin Rosenquist: You briefly mentioned, AI and machine learning a little bit ago. Not surprisingly, we talk a lot about AI on this podcast. It’s a fascination of mine personally. I think it’s really interesting to watch where the way it’s going in the fintech space. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes since it’s such a highly regulated industry. As we discussed, I think that adds a different layer. How are you guys developing AI? How are you going to use it? How are you using it?

Michael Lynch: So we are, at our core, a pretty small company where I’ve sort of pointed us in terms of our strategy towards very specific problems where not every one of their mother is going to try and solve those problems. I know enough about this world to know. I see the rapid evolution of the capabilities of these models, the scale of the major platforms, like we’re not playing in that space. What we’re trying to do is leverage this new and evolving toolset to help kind of shine light on data that our customers have never been able to kind of take advantage of. So the the main area that we’re focused on from an AI point of view is actually around trader voice analytics. So again, with our Cloud Nine product, we are a phone for a trading desk and if you’re on a trading desk and listening to the conversations that they’re having around whatever that might be, whether they’re trading equities, bonds, a lot of these, if you just have this, it doesn’t sound like English. It’s language.

Michael Lynch: It’s got lingo, it’s fast, it’s noisy. Today, a lot of those users record that data for regulatory purposes. It’s sort of an unstructured data set that they have to sift through what they need to do a compliance investigation or understand a trade issue. What we’re trying to do is turn that unstructured voice data into a structured object for our customers so they can start to identify, of the 200 hours of calls that we had this week, those seven were transactions and this type of product. I need to go listen to those calls for whatever reason market intelligence, risk management, compliance, so we can start to turn that incredibly complex data set into something that is, into something intelligible for our customers. So that’s for us, that’s where we can solve a problem because it’s highly tailored to what we’re good at, what we understand, and what our customers need without I see a lot of firms. I feel like trying to boil the ocean right now, or, frankly, delivering products that are going to be not differentiated in a year because the broader kind of tech sort of base is rising so fast in the AI world right now.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, that’s an interesting point. About the boiling the ocean and I think everybody’s making this mad dash to like, how can we implement this? We gotta implement this or we’re going to be left behind. It’s like instead of sitting down and strategically thinking like what you mentioned is a great use case, that kind of data that is so tedious to try to get through to try to organize that in a meaningful way, it’s really smart.

Michael Lynch: Yes, it’s exciting that we just had our big, kind of annual product launch event two weeks ago in New York. It was exciting We’re at the point where we can transcribe a phone call and at the very least, basic say, hey, we know a deal happened in this phone call. I was like, okay, that’s step one. My roadmap has the next ten steps. But even just being able to say, hey, I can now find a deal that happened on that call is incredibly helpful for our customers. It’s exciting when you realize in the product like the number one problem, the number one job of a product manager is to find a problem that your customers need you to solve. They may not have realized they need you to solve it. Then once you’ve got that sort of buy-in to say, yes, solve that problem for me, it’s just a matter of sweat, equity, technology, and energy to kind of solve it as fast as you can.

Kevin Rosenquist: Do you think that a lot of companies, especially in the financial space and highly regulated industries are doing a good job of maintaining compliance when it comes to AI? Do you think people are too cavalier with it as they implement it?

Michael Lynch: I don’t think it is necessarily too cavalier. Yes. I think everyone is trying to grapple with the balance of compliance and risk management in an incredibly fast-moving space when the regulatory framework, especially in the US, is not clear yet.

Kevin Rosenquist: So kind of non-existent.

Michael Lynch: Yes. So not clear. Non-existent. So further ahead on that front. There are firms that are pushing forward in a thoughtful way to kind of drive toward business results. Others are more wait-and-see. I think it is just a matter of finding the right balance. The world is going to hurt us. This technology, full stop. It is happening. It will continue to happen, It’s just identifying the use cases that are most impactful, but ensuring that you’re doing it in a way that’s thoughtful and secure about not just. The data that’s going in, but where does the data go when it comes out? Where do you where do your IP rights around that data? What is what are the use cases that you’re solving for? So we’ve had a lot of conversations you can imagine with our legal and risk teams internally as we sort of work through use cases, and which platforms and products that we use to deliver those to make sure we’re being thoughtful around ensuring that we’re doing the right thing.

Kevin Rosenquist: As the technology evolves, how do you manage new threats and more advanced hacking techniques without disrupting the user experience? Because you guys are so focused on security and safety, it’s got to be just a fight.

Michael Lynch: Yes. The frequency, the sophistication are always increasing, only accelerating. So it’s not the best answer, but it’s being vigilant. It’s being thoughtful. It’s not compromising. In some ways, it’s almost a cultural item because we have a lot of people at power to deliver capabilities to our customers ensuring that everyone knows that security first. The way that we’re delivering is the safe way that we have the checks and balances internally to make sure that we’re not cutting any corners.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. It’s difficult. It’s just so fast. I’m old enough to remember when the internet came out and social media and all that. This is different in my mind. It just feels different, the speed of it.

Michael Lynch: No, it’s parabolic and the speed at which we’re moving at this point. I figured I’d loop in the calculus conversation.

Kevin Rosenquist: Hey, hey, I didn’t see it. I didn’t even know that. So it shows you that I just barely made it through. So as a tech guy, outside of your profession where you are professional, what are you just most excited about as far as AI is concerned in the broader scheme scope?

Michael Lynch: That’s a good question. So outside of my professional life, I am continuously excited about how the world of information in general is going to become increasingly accessible in a way that just changes the way human knowledge operates, and who knows what? I have two, two small girls. Are they ever going to go inside a library? Are they ever how are they going to acquire information? Are they going to understand knowledge? I’m not even talking about whether are they going to use a bot to write their papers. Hopefully, not. How are you using technology to distill knowledge? And how is that going to transform the way human intelligence has to operate? Because it’s going to be less and less about regurgitating data. It’s going to be, I think, creativity and is going to be increasingly important as an asset in what makes humans more important in the world.

Kevin Rosenquist: I like that.

Michael Lynch: What questions you ask and how you combine things are going to be more important than knowing things,

Kevin Rosenquist: Than just reciting something you memorized the night before.

Michael Lynch: Exactly. I remember I did rote memorization. I don’t like that for real. Is that going to happen? I don’t know.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. My wife and I talk about that all the time because we have a three-year-old and like what’s high school gonna look like for him? It’s gonna be so different. The library I don’t know if he’s gonna see the inside of a library. He’s certainly not going to know what the card catalog is.

Michael Lynch: Right. No, definitely.

Kevin Rosenquist: How about the flip side of that? What are you most fearful of? What are you most nervous about, I guess?

Michael Lynch: People are misusing it whether it’s impersonating others to steal data, to leverage it to create false information. I think this is inherently the biggest risk of this. The more we can do to understand digital fingerprinting, whatever it might be to make sure that there are the right controls around this and there’s not gonna be an easy solution. But I think that’s what we as a world have to be vigilant for.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes. For a while there, I feel like a lot of people were concerned about job loss and things like that. That seems to have quieted down a little bit. But as the younger people come up and you see them coming in and maybe join in Symphony or you’re working with them and the goal, the real thing they need to make sure that they understand AI and they know how to implement it in order to stay relevant. Or do you not even think that’s all that important?

Michael Lynch: I think it’ll become increasingly important for people to understand maybe not what AI is or how it works, but like how to use it. For me, all of these technology revolutions since the beginning of time, as they’re less about job loss as much as job evolution and skill evolution. There will be some jobs that no longer exist because AI can do it. There’ll be newer jobs that are created because they’re needed to train the AI, do the lights. It’s going to be skills will evolve, new jobs will be created that will offset kind of anything that was changed essentially. We see that throughout time as new technologies come across. We need less people driving horse drawn carriages. We need more bus drivers and more train drivers. That’s how the world sort of evolves.

Kevin Rosenquist: Well, we’ll see if the Terminator 2 scenario.

Michael Lynch: My optimistic view.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, if the Terminator 2 scenario comes out we might be going back to horses and carriages, Mich.

Michael Lynch: Yes, fair enough. I’m a glass-half-full guy on the front.

Kevin Rosenquist: Honestly, most, most tech people I talk to are and I think that’s because they understand more about what it’s doing, and a lot of people only see headlines on Facebook or whatever news source they get and they don’t necessarily understand that it’s not as dire maybe, as it might seem.

Michael Lynch: Yes. I agree with that. Hopefully.

Kevin Rosenquist: There’s still the Terminator 2 scenario.

Michael Lynch: That was the Terminator 2 scenario.

Kevin Rosenquist: Always. All right, Mich. It was great talking to you. I really appreciate your insight. The website is symphony.com and thanks for being here, man. I really appreciate it.

Michael Lynch: Awesome. Kevin, thanks so much for your time. It was great talking to you.