Developing ML-Driven Customer-Facing Product Features

As Machine Learning becomes a core component of any forward-looking company, how can we weave ML-driven functionality into the products and services we offer? This talk will explain the methodology we follow at Square when developing ML-driven customer-facing product features, which is based on paying close attention to four key and interdependent aspects: Design, Modeling, Engineering, and Analytics. Design is concerned about the usefulness and remarkability of the feature, and thus cares about the overall functionality, ease of use, and aesthetics of the experience. Modeling is concerned about the accuracy of the ML model, and thus cares about the training data, the features and performance of the model, and —crucially for a customer-facing product— how the application behaves in the face of the mistakes the model will inevitably make (false positives, false negatives, lack of predictions above a certain confidence). Engineering in turn is concerned about running the ML model at scale, and thus cares about the latency, throughput, and robustness of the inferencing service. Finally, Analytics is concerned about the adoption of the feature, and thus cares about the instrumentation to capture detailed usage, the definition of success metrics and dashboards, and the collection of feedback in a manner that the ML model can learn from, and thus keep improving over time. When all these aspects align, we can create remarkable ML-powered experiences that delight our customers.

Marsal Gavalda, Head of Machine Learning at Square

Marsal Gavalda is a senior R&D executive with deep expertise in speech, language, and machine learning technologies. Marsal currently heads the Commerce Platform Machine Learning team at Square, where he applies machine learning and automation for Square's overarching purpose of economic empowerment. Marsal holds a PhD in Language Technologies and a MS in Computational Linguistics, both from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS in Computer Science from BarcelonaTech. Marsal is the author of over thirty technical and literary publications, thirteen issued patents, and is fluent in six languages.

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