Michael Dougherty, CEO & Co-Founder of Remix AI, a free-to-use app for exploring creativity with AI. The app allows users to create, share, and get inspired in a community full of artists and creative minds.
Tell us about your journey in technology.
I have always been excited about advanced platforms that combine new platforms and advanced technologies with creation, media, and music. I started out working for one of the earliest digital music platforms when the Internet was just taking off. We built the first global platform for mobile music downloads. It was a new concept, we built up a huge catalog including licensing, and were acquired by Nokia who needed to compete with iTunes.
From there I joined Tellme Networks, a company started by Netscape and Microsoft engineers who had developed the first consumer voice platform for speech recognition. Tellme Networks is a forerunner for what we see in AI platforms today, combining the machine learning models of speech, large data sets to help train and tune those engines, and consumer design to help users delight in using these powerful technologies. Tellme was acquired by Microsoft, and we inspired the creation of another company, like Siri, which was eventually acquired by Apple to compete with Tellme and Microsoft
Next, I co-founded a company in the audio space called Jelli. We built the largest audio advertising platform for radio. That company was eventually acquired by the largest radio company in the US, iHeartMedia.
Big companies need to tap new tech to evolve and expand their own businesses—identifying those technologies early and rapidly developing them into something special is my passion.
When did you first realize that you had the entrepreneurial bug?
I’ve always been an optimist about the potential that technology can do for our society. I grew up during the PC era, started my career at the dawn of the Internet, and co-founded my first company at the start of the mobile revolution. In all these phases, I have been excited to see how we all can make a contribution to these inflection points that have shaped our world.
For me, the generative AI epiphany came when I saw digital artists experimenting with new generative AI creation tools like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion to create images that looked like photography but were uncanny—these artists saw that AI could collaborate with humans to reflect back things about our world which were new and exciting. As a user, I realized it would open up creativity for anyone and lead to an explosion of creative content, the way smartphones made us all photographers, some of whom morphed into influencers.
I have no doubt that people using gen AI will end up creating trillions of images and videos, and these will shape our culture in ways we can’t predict today.
Could you share the genesis story behind Remix AI?
As we saw digital artists experimenting with AI creation, we began to try these tools out ourselves. The magic of being able to create images and videos in ways that weren’t possible before got us excited.
Some of our investors and advisors built Instagram, and we saw analogies to how AI enables people to create and share in new ways, like Instagram created for mobile digital photos. We brainstormed how we could enable new experiences in this new category. We believed (and still do) that AI creates new categories of consumer apps, unlocking experiences for us all.
For that to happen, we thought of designing a new kind of app with AI from the ground up, to help everyone learn how to create using generative AI, and share their creations with their friends. This thought process led to the idea of Remix AI.
Remix AI is defined as the social app for your imagination. Can you elaborate on how it enables users to remix content?
When you use Remix you can scroll through a feed of creations by other users. An easy way to start creating is by simply remixing a post someone else has created, by hitting the remix button and adjusting the subject or the style or action of the post.
You can review the prompt that created it, the raw ingredient—that is a learning experience in itself—to change some aspect of it. You can make subtle or radical changes of all kinds. We offer “filters” like those on Instagram for gen AI. You can add audio and music, too. In unlimited ways, you can riff off the original creation. Remixes are like our “retweets”—they take a concept someone else posted and allows it to echo-forward in fascinating ways, as themes, stories or funny memes
One interesting social component are the “Remix” daily challenges, how was this initially conceived and how does it work?
Every day we have a Daily Remix challenge, based upon a cool creation that a community member had made before. As a Daily Remix, all of the community can choose to remix that original post, taking the concept in hundreds of directions. This is a fun and easy way for the community to interact with each other daily, to learn about AI creation, and to spark their own creativity.
Remix AI users have a feed that is powered by machine learning. Could you share some details on how the recommender engine works?
The Remix AI “For You” feed was designed to become better at showing you the personalized content that you like, using ML. In this way, we were inspired by Tiktok’s approach to their feed. We can use the data generated from the reactions of people to each creation, and your own behavior and preferences to personalize the feed. You don’t have to think, just swipe and go. That will become even more important as generative AI creates a flood of new content creation. We currently are training our ML feed and as more people join Remix and use our app, our platform becomes smarter
What is your vision for Remix AI?
We believe strongly that video is next, and that generative AI video technology is only 18 to 24 months behind image generation. Video is so engaging, and for all of us to be able to create like we have a special effects studio in our back pocket, will unlock a new era for content creation.
This will affect our culture deeply across art, music, entertainment, and fashion. The “remix culture” we have seen in the last couple of decades will only accelerate now that anyone with a mobile phone can create with generative AI. It’s exciting to see what this will do as more can unleash their creativity.
Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit Remix AI.
The post Michael Dougherty, CEO & Co-Founder of Remix AI – Interview Series appeared first on Unite.AI.