TiE Houston’s Evening of Networking & Moderated Discussion: Artificial Intelligence

From left: Dr. Peter Torrione, Dr. Zahra Timsah, and Dr. Arun Pasrija.

From left: Dr. Peter Torrione, Dr. Zahra Timsah, and Dr. Arun Pasrija.

HOUSTON: On November 6, TiE Houston presented Artificial Intelligence: Maturing to create opportunities for entrepreneurs at The Cannon Houston. While the term artificial intelligence is commonly known, there’s still so much mystery around the topic and it’s applications. They welcomed panelists Dr. Peter Torrione (CTO, CoVar Applied Techonologies, Inc.) and Dr. Zahra Timsah ( Co-Founder and COO, Ward Medication Management) for an evening of networking and moderated discussion with Dr. Arun Pasrija (TiE Houston President).

There was a buzz in the room to get the conversation started. Some attendees came out of curiosity while others came to see how they might be missing an opportunity to integrate AI into their own business. Thankfully, the evening began with networking which allowed the guests to get immediate access to the speakers and ask in depth questions.

TiE Houston Executive Director, Ana Rojas Bastidas, began the evening by welcoming everyone and highlighting all of their upcoming events and updated on their TiE Young Entrepreneur program. Guests also got to hear from a representative from The Cannon Houston.

As the actual panel event began, Dr. Arun Pasrija gave a broad overview of the history of Artificial Intelligence, how it began and just how far it has to go.  He share how AI has infiltrated the daily conveniences of modern life but how infantile the technology can be with the most basic tasks.


Dr. Zahra Timsah shared her insight of how AI is being used in the healthcare industry. With 13 years of experience in healthcare and healthcare technology, Dr.  Timsah specializes in oncology, geriatrics and pharmaceutical management. he holds an executive degree from MIT in Artificial Intelligence and has successfully developed AI platforms for multiple medical and drug-development purposes. She is currently the Chief Operation Officer at Ward Medication Management with a mission to end medication-related harm through effective medication management. The role of AI can be seen in the assisting of monotonous tasks, mining medical records, chatbots, treatments, image recognition, and drug creation. She believes that “As AI continues to improve and grow it will undoubtedly make an impact on healthcare. Understanding the need, advantages, and method of integration are key elements to its implementation.”

Next, Dr. Peter Torrione shared his lessons learned in deploying AI, how to avoid the pitfalls, and how to prosper. Pete has worked on machine learning, data analytics, and computer vision applications for almost 20 years.  He received the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering for his work developing artificial intelligence algorithms to detect buried explosive threats for the U.S. Army.  As an Associate Research Professor at Duke University, he lead a team of graduate students to bring cutting edge machine learning to field deployed, mission critical systems.  Since then he has worked closely with subject matter experts in additive manufacturing, oil & gas (drilling, completions, and production), and remote sensing to develop state-of-the-art machine learning and computer vision technologies to improve safety, increase efficiency, and save money. The audience was then given an opportunity to ask any question they wished. The questions were aimed to understand what the implications of AI are for different industries and what they could do to stay ahead of the curve. AI has moments of great interest but Pete forewarned of the AI Winter that has plague the community for decades. There are still many unanswered questions and speculation on the future of AI but the event clearly shows the interest spans various industries and Houston’s entrepreneurs are determined to lead the way.

TiE’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship through mentoring, networking, and education.  TiE has 56 chapters across 17 countries with 11,000 members and 2,800 charter members. Charter Members, who are successful entrepreneurs and/or business executives, make the pillars of each chapters. They commit their time to help next generation of entrepreneurs – a “leveraged give back” which creates jobs, economic activities and wealth in the community.  Houston chapter has a strong and vibrant charter member community-helping meet’s TiE’s mission and making it a meaningful part of Houston’s start up eco system.

For more information on upcoming events visit www.houston.tie.org