Co-founder & Head of AiLab: Dr. John Flackett


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is Dr. John Flackett's passion and has been an integral part of his career via teaching, research, business and education. A leader in his field, John has been working in AI for nearly 30 years and achieved his PhD in Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP)) in 2005.

John is interested in numerous aspects of AI and cognitive science, in particular, representational adequacies, Natural Language Processing, feature extraction, signal fusion & hybrid systems for applied AI.

The co-founder and head of AiLab, John leads AiLab’s workshops and masterclasses that help organisations across the globe learn about AI, use and transition into the AI space, pre-vendor planning and strategy development.

A noted international Artificial Intelligence speaker, John also speaks at events around the world presenting key insights on AI and emerging technologies future impact on society and the workforce. As an AI advisor with contributions in government, education, industry and community, John is regularly called upon to share his perspectives and frequently contributes to media interviews, radio discussions and publications. John also currently serves as a member of the Australian Federal Government’s Artificial Intelligence Action Plan Committee.

Passionate about creating environments where people can learn about AI, John's love for education came from 10 years as senior university academic teaching masters and undergraduate Artificial Intelligence and undergraduate Computer Studies and Software Engineering at a UK University. He has also worked in a wide range of industries and sectors developing commercial grade software for use in major corporations around the world (including solutions used in retail, oil and gas, education and IT. John's received various awards, including from the British Computer Society (BCS). His academic and business career was also featured in the UK's Million Plus 'Think Modern' campaign that launched at the Palace of Westminster.

John is also the AI Specialist in Residence and AI Ambassador for AUT for Auckland University of Technology (AUT), and as part of AiLab’s expansion into New Zealand, John launched an AiLab at the university (‘AiLab at AUT’). Additionally, John is a PhD Supervisor to university students researching AI.

Along with AiLab, John has also co-founded another business; the smart web specialist company koolth that empowers businesses with next generation online tools and delivers cutting-edge technology solutions and consultancy to a host of industries across the globe. John is also the co-founder and organiser of the popular Adelaide Artificial Intelligence Meetup (Adelaide AI) event series, which is the largest AI networking community in South Australia.

A champion of diversity and inclusion in technology, John also enjoys assisting with hackathons and social good initiatives, as well as mentoring individuals and businesses in the tech community (including in underdeveloped countries). Passionate about his craft, John has helped thousands of people and businesses around the world in their AI journey and is dedicated to building AI awareness and helping everyone to develop AI skills, capability, and knowledge.

Education & Academia

John has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP)), a PgC in Research and BSc. (Hons) Computer Studies (1st class honours). John’s research concentrated on connectionist systems that could encode and represent symbolic structures in distributed, compositional representations. His PhD produced a hybrid symbolic/connectionist natural language parsing system that showed it was possible to start scaling such systems.

As well as his role as a senior academic teaching MSc and BSc Artificial Intelligence, BSc Computer Studies and BSc Software Engineering at the University, John had a lead role in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) and was a Cisco Java Instructor. Additionally, John was Year Tutor for all Level 2 BSc (Hons) Computer Studies and Software Engineering students. He also supervised and coordinated the final year undergraduate and postgraduate student projects and developed and managed the annual end-of-year Technology Degree Show.

A Few Other Highlights & Roles

John is a currently a member of the Advisory Group for the Women in AI Australia and New Zealand Awards , as well as the Women in AI Asia-Pacific Awards. He was also on the judging panel for the Women in AI ANZ Awards in 2021 and 2022. John contributed to the book ‘The Essence of Neural Networks’ by Rob Callan and was chosen as one of the ‘Emerging Tech Inspirations for 2017 by DevDiner readers. John was part of the team that won three awards at GovHack – the annual open government data competition held all over Australia and New Zealand. The awards included the South Australia Premier's Award, the National People's Choice Award and the Building on Science, Research & Environmental Data Award. John was also featured in the UK's Million Plus 'Think Modern' campaign that launched at the Palace of Westminster, where his academic and business career was profiled and highlighted. As well as a mentor in the AI/Tech community, John is also board advisor for start-ups and businesses.

Dr. John Flackett: Artificial Intelligence Speaker

Please see the scrolling list below for a summary of some of John's keynotes, lectures and talks around the world. You can also visit the AiLab Event Journal for some of the event details and the AiLab Testimonials page for feedback from people we have worked with.

Dr. John Flackett: Media Interviews

Please see John’s interviews page.

Dr. John Flackett: Publications/Contributions

Please see John’s publications page.

If you would like to interview John for your publication or would like John to facilitate a workshop or speak at your next event, convention or conference, please drop us a line.