July 19, 2022

What Really Matters in an AI Career

When Michael Wilson welcomed his first child into the world, he immediately reevaluated what mattered to him in his life and career. Michael had studied Civil Engineering in school and since graduating had worked in the AI and robotics space, most recently managing a team at Amazon for 10 years. Now, at the drop of a hat and with a new baby in tow, he began to rethink his career.

The outcome? Michael decided it was time to change jobs. His own life had just been transformed forever, and he needed to find a position that was just as transformative. So Michael sat down and wrote down 3 tenets that he wanted his new position to attain:

  • His new job should allow him to provide customers with a positive, memorable experience,

  • His new job should provide personal growth opportunities,

and perhaps most importantly:

  • Michael’s new job needed to have a significant impact on the world.

Just 3 tenets, but each quite lofty. Still, Michael was determined. And after a bit of searching, he stumbled upon a position he believed fit the bill: Director of Artificial Intelligence at Axon.

As he interviewed at Axon, Michael found the company’s extended mission to protect truth, accelerate justice and build diversity, equity and inclusion in all areas of the business resonated strongly with him. Michael got an offer and didn’t look back.

“I expected my manager at the time to be disappointed that I was leaving, but instead, he told me that this new challenge I was taking on was very noble and impactful.” Now, more than a year into his role, Michael sees just how closely Axon fits his personal vision for his career as he leads his team to deliver ethical and innovative AI solutions.

The Customer Impact

Remember the first tenet Michael wrote down when he began looking for a new position?

  • His new job should allow him to provide customers with a positive, memorable experience.

“We give our direct customers - public safety officers - the tools they need to safely and effectively perform their job functions while also protecting the safety and well-being of our end customers - the general public. While transparency is a top priority in all that Axon does, we also focus on giving public safety officers solutions to improve the efficiency of their workflows so they can spend more time engaging with their communities,” said Michael.

Customer interactions play a significant role in enhancing Axon AI technology to meet the changing needs of public safety professionals. Michael and Axon’s AI team consistently challenge themselves to expand AI use cases in ethically-sound, privacy-preserving ways. From speech transcription and computer vision solutions to automated data analysis, AI can touch more aspects of public safety’s work than one might think.

“We get regular messages from customers sharing their successes using Axon technologies, whether it is recovering a stolen car or missing person using license plate recognition technology or reducing the burden of paperwork and being able to spend more time in the community.”

Personal Growth Opportunities

Michael’s second tenet for a new job was:

  • His new job should provide personal growth opportunities.

At just over 2,000 employees, Michael cites Axon’s unique mix of a startup mentality and seasoned leaders as the main reasons for growth opportunities at Axon:

“We’re small enough that everyone has an impact on innovating and influencing the company culture. Yet, Axon is well-established enough that we feel safe as we learn from our mistakes while growing our tech offerings.”

Regular one-on-ones with leadership, team-building events and a collaborative culture have provided Michael with chances to grow as a person and leader. His long-term goal at Axon is to motivate and grow the AI team to make a bigger impact on public safety and transparency globally.

Greater Societal Impact

Which brings us to Michael’s final tenet:

  • Michael’s new job needed to have a significant impact on the world.

Axon’s mission is to Protect Life. The technical work that follows a mission that large is challenging, especially in the AI space, where Axon needs to work as efficiently but ethically as possible.

“Axon puts ethics and privacy first, even if that’s the harder road to implementation. While challenging, the impact we can make in the world and the opportunity in front of us far exceeds anything I’ve ever been a part of.”

From transparency on how our license plate recognition technology is used by law enforcement, to determining that facial recognition technology should not currently be implemented into body-worn cameras, Axon leverages a diverse set of opinions in order to make sure we prioritize the ethical needs of the general public in all that we do.

Join Us

Axon’s AI team is hiring, and so are many departments at Axon. Michael and his teammates seek motivated individuals who care about their impact on teams, tech and the world.

Like many at Axon, Michael sees a long future for himself at the company. He is passionate about continuing to ensure safe communities through evolving products for law enforcement, and creating opportunities for his team to enjoy the satisfaction of creating measurable global change.

Michael’s path to Axon began with the birth of his first child. After a year with the company, Michael reflects on the world his children will grow up in:

“Every day, I can turn on the news and see Axon’s impact on the world. Once you’re in, it’s easy to see yourself here for a long time because great challenges and opportunities are here.”

Axon Careers

We are on a mission to Protect Life. We’re building technology to change the world, pursuing society’s most formidable safety and justice issues with our ecosystem of devices and cloud software. If this sounds like a mission you would like to be a part of, check out our resources below: