About Tom Gruber

Tom Gruber About Tom Headshot

Tom Gruber is a product designer and entrepreneur who uses AI technology to augment human intelligence, individually and collectively. He was cofounder, CTO, and head of design for the team that created Siri, the first intelligent assistant for everyone. In 2010 Siri was purchased by Apple and remains central to the user experience of all Apple products. Today, Siri is used more a billion times a day in dozens of languages around the world.

Tom’s professional career spans four decades, from graduate school during the classical AI period, through research at Stanford during the dawn of the Web, through founding a series of companies, to his present incarnation as speaker, writer, and impact advisor. Throughout his career Tom has pursued the question of how technology can help us live better lives. Applying ideas from artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and design, Tom’s work explores how connecting people and machines can foster collaboration, learning, knowledge sharing, and getting things done. Many of the innovations Tom created or influenced are taken for granted today, woven into the pattern of our digitally mediated lives.

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As a speaker, Tom has a unique ability to break down complex ideas into stories and concepts that everyone can understand. A true polymath, he leverages his diverse experience to spot trends and make connections across artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and design. His primary focus is Humanistic AI and the power of collective intelligence to effect positive changes in our culture and the planet that sustains us. Audiences leave Tom’s talks with their minds expanded, their assumptions challenged, and an optimistic view of where our minds and our technology can take us.

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Tom Gruber, Impact Advisor, Assistive Neurotech
Assistive Neurotech
Tom Gruber, Impact Advisor, Mental Health Care
Mental Health Care
Tom Gruber, Impact Advisor, Covid Prediction
COVID Prediction
Tom Gruber, Impact Advisor, Clinical Medicine
Clinical Medicine
Tom Gruber, Impact Advisor, Gaming for Self Care
Gaming for Self Care
Tom Gruber, Impact Advisor, The Digital Commons
The Digital Commons
Tom Gruber, Impact Advisor, Semantic Computing
Semantic Computing
Tom Gruber, Impact Advisor, Intelligent UI
Conversational AI
Tom Gruber, Impact Advisor, Privacy Protected Machine Learning
Privacy Protected
Machine Learning
Tom Gruber, Advisor, Adaptive Music
Adaptive Music

Impact Advisor

As an AI innovator and serial entrepreneur, Tom uses the guiding principles of Humanistic AI to curate his advisory portfolio. The companies and organizations he advises use AI for human benefit, augmenting or collaborating with people. The products of these companies help people understand themselves, communicate with others, learn from collective knowledge, enjoy personalized AI services, and live more healthy lives. Read on to hear a few of their stories, and learn now they’re making a difference in the world today.

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Tom Gruber Innovations The Virtual Virtual Assistant Paradigm


A driving force in Tom’s work has been applications that augment human intelligence, individually and collectively. People need better ways to communicate, remember, learn from each other, and access the world’s knowledge. If you use Siri on your phone, learn from a threaded discussion on the web, collaborate with colleagues in a virtual workspace, or use a computer to help you speak, it is likely that Tom helped invent it, influenced its development, or was designing an early version of it before it entered the mainstream.

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Tom Gruber, Ocean Advocate, The Generation That Will Save the Ocean, TEDx Mountain View, April 28, 2016

Ocean Advocate

The ocean is a truly global commons, owned by no one and benefiting everyone. But life in the ocean is in peril — serious near-term peril. Fossil fuels are destroying the reefs, plastics are killing the wildlife, and industrial fishing is pillaging the commons. Tom believes it’s worth fighting hard, now, to save the ocean during our lifetimes. As a technologist and entrepreneur, he’s working to ignite a change in global awareness, and a fundamental shift in the way we view our relationship with the ocean.

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For Tom, photography is both a creative passion and an essential mission. He is privileged to travel around the world to dive in places where marine life still thrives. Through the medium of underwater photography and video, he hopes to create an empathy and connection with the natural world. As William Shakespeare once said: “One touch of nature, one beautiful image, can remind us that we are all kin.”

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John Markoff 257 Sq
John Markoff | Pulitzer-prize winning NYTimes writer and author of several books
“I met Tom Gruber in 2008, long before the current wave of commercial artificial intelligence transformed Silicon Valley. At the time I was struck by the fact that he was both a researcher in the field of AI and someone with a close connection to the work of Doug Engelbart who had coined the term Intelligence Augmentation, or IA. Engelbart’s philosophy was based on extending rather than replacing the human with computer systems. Tom went on to help design Siri, an important example of what he describes as humanistic AI, an effort to deploy AI techniques in the context of shared human values. His perspective is even more vital today when AI technologies are being widely deployed by both corporations and governments.”
Tom Gruber testimonials, Mark Zusman, Editor and Publisher, Willamette Week, Founder, TechfestNW
Mark Zusman | Editor and Publisher, Willamette Week, Founder, TechfestNW
“Tom Gruber is the rare practitioner who can lucidly explain how things work — and what they mean for us. His understanding of the social impacts of digital innovation is built from the ground up and he brings to the stage an unusual insight into A.I. and a strong sense of how designers and engineers can change digital systems to better confront the ethical challenges that this new age poses. A passionate and profound observer of digital life, Tom is in the first rank of public speakers on emerging technologies and how humans can manage them for maximum benefit.”
Tom Gruber Testimonials Philip Shepard CEO Lifescore
Philip Sheppard | Co-Founder and CEO Lifescore Music
“From our very first conversations more than a decade ago, Tom proved that he is a transformative being. He is rightly famous as a visionary technologist, but this is founded upon his being an artist on many levels. Artists see order and potential in the immutable and chaotic, rendering coherence and beauty from what is around them. That is Tom’s superpower.

Simply put, Tom sees connections and potential everywhere. Not for personal gain, but for the sheer joy and art of taking the initial glow of an idea and stoking it into solid existence. We’ve been friends for years and over that time his advice and encouragement personally changed me from being just a musician into a CEO of a music tech company. He can light up a room with optimism for the human race through his visions for the future, but also takes the time to advocate for oceanic conservation whilst being an explorer and world class photographer. I don’t know how he does it all, but I’m so glad he does. LifeScore simply would not exist without Tom.”