Dr. Ryan Carr serves as CTO and VP of Engineering at Enveil, the pioneering Privacy Enhancing Technology company protecting Data in Use. With experience in leading engineering efforts at institutions such as the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Carr’s fields of expertise include large scale analytic systems, distributed algorithms, artificial intelligence, game theory and social learning, and applying cloud computing techniques to simulate and analyse complex interactions among large numbers of autonomous agents. His research in these areas has been published in highly competitive venues such as Proceedings of the Royal Society, AAAI, and AAMAS. Carr holds a PhD/BS in Computer Science.
What is one unique initiative that you’ve employed over the last 12 months that you’re really proud of? Over the last year we’ve been building an encrypted training capability for our ZeroReveal Machine Learning product, and we released the first version in June 2022. This capability allows our customers to train machine learning models over data sets that reside in environments they wouldn’t normally trust to see the model, and allows data owners to let external parties train over their data without exposing any of the raw data to them.
Which emerging technology are you most excited about the prospect of? I’m going to focus specifically on the technologies that fall under the umbrella of Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) because it’s a really fascinating field to be working in at the moment and I think this category is on the threshold of broad market significance. The most exciting developments relate to homomorphic encryption (HE) and secure multiparty computation (SMPC). Both are accelerating at an incredibly fast rate, allowing people to work across numerous datasets they otherwise couldn’t access before. This means we are constantly seeing new use cases and ways to help people across multiple industries.
Are you leading a digital transformation? If so, does it emphasize customer experience and revenue growth or operational efficiency? If both, how do you balance the two? Yes, I would argue that we are helping lead a digital transformation. The purpose of the ZeroReveal software is to allow customers to use new datasets that they otherwise would not have access to, which opens a new realm of possibilities. It enables businesses to leverage machine learning models to securely and privately derive insights from datasets across multiple jurisdictions. For example, banks can leverage the software to help catch people trying to launder money or involved in fraudulent activity.
What is the biggest issue that you’re helping customers with at the moment? From a big picture perspective, we’re helping our customers overcome barriers that are preventing them from most effectively leveraging data. We allow them to share and collaborate between entities, jurisdictions, and other organizational data silos in ways that are otherwise not possible because of regulatory or security restrictions. This ability to securely and privately use the data you need, within existing workflows, is enabling organizations to make better, more efficient decisions across a wide-range of verticals.
What predictions do you have for the role of the CTO in the future? CTOs, especially those working in the startup arena, need to foster an interesting mix of skill sets: technical visionary, strategy advocate, team leader, delegator, motivator, educator, company spokesperson, and recruiter. I think it’s the mix of these that keep it interesting, but it also is the recognition that you won’t always get to spend your day doing what likely drew you to the field in the first place: working with interesting technologies to solve hard problems. There will still be time for that one occasion, but the role of CTO shoulders a much broader scope of responsibilities.
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