#PublisherPOV: Leveraging the Power of AI w/ Burhan Hamid, SVP, Data, Product, Engineering at TIME

In the lead-up to #PubForum Austin, AdMonsters hosted a LinkedIn Live with keynote Burhan Hamid, SVP, Data, Product, Engineering at TIME, who offered a unique perspective on the power of leveraging AI for publishers.

The rapidly evolving landscape of AI and its integration into the publishing sector was the highlight of AdMonsters recent discussion with Burhan Hamid, a pivotal figure in the media and ad tech ecosystem.

Hamid’s journey — from his extensive experience in data engineering and media to his passion for specialty coffee roasting to leading innovations at Time.com — underlines his distinctive approach to technology and media and also shapes his viewpoint on the intersection of AI and publishing.

Before diving into the main event, AdMonsters Content Manager, Yakira Young, and Hamid held a lively discussion about virtual kitchens and fusion cuisine, as well as Hamid’s obsession with coffee. That passion led him to learn everything about the origins of roasting coffee, from learning how to roast coffee himself to launching a coffee editor and running that business out of his brother’s virtual kitchen in Maryland.

But guess what? Hamid doesn’t drink coffee. “Some people who know me might be surprised by this, but I drink tea every morning. I have something called Chai every morning. My body handles tea a whole lot better than it handles coffee. So I save the coffee for special occasions,” he shared.

Introduction to a Tech and Media Visionary

Young also asked him which song best describes his leadership style, to which he responded Incubus’, “Are you in?” “The words in there are really, ‘It’s always better when everyone is in.’ And that’s my leadership style,” he explained. “I like to have everybody commit and be collaborative and all in on the work they’re doing. We have a small but really close team, where everybody is in.”

Considering over the past six months Hamid built a data engineering and martech team from the ground up to re-platform TIME.com,  he really needed a lot of teamwork to make the dream work — rejiggering the front end, back end, and pretty much all of the infrastructure.

Reflecting a deep-seated curiosity and a knack for innovation, Hamid set the stage for his insights into the AI realm, where his dual roles in tech and media provide a balanced viewpoint on emerging technologies.

AI in Content Personalization and Recommendation

A key focus of the discussion was the role of AI in personalization and improving content recommendation, areas where Hamid’s team has been pioneering at TIME. He highlighted his team’s efforts in employing machine learning to enhance user experiences, emphasizing the potential of generative AI to revolutionize content creation and delivery.

Addressing AI Challenges and Ethics

However, Hamid also addressed the challenges and ethical considerations in deploying AI, particularly in content authenticity and verification. The conversation delved into the complex relationship between AI technologies and the journalistic content they rely on, emphasizing the need for licensing and attribution models to maintain integrity and trust in journalism.

AI Misconceptions and Workforce Impact

Addressing common AI misconceptions, Hamid emphasized that AI tools are meant to augment human work, not replace it. AI, he says, enables more effective and efficient work. He envisions AI as a democratizing force in knowledge access, democratizing information beyond traditional search engines.

Looking Ahead to PubForum Austin

Hamid expressed excitement to delve deeper into AI’s ethical considerations and practical applications across various media roles in his upcoming keynote at PubForum Austin, during his keynote, The Publisher’s AI Advantage: Leveraging the Power of AI to Stay Ahead of the Curve. His collaborative leadership style, inspired by the ethos of the song “Are You In?” by Incubus, promises a session of engaging and insightful discourse.