Lef Filippakis


Lef – a Maker of tomorrow

Meet Lef – Full-Stack Data Scientist at Cybercom. Lef dreams of creating an AI that can decipher the music you imagine inside your head and play it out loud for everyone to listen.Photo: Philipp Arndt Photography
Photo: Philipp Arndt Photography

Tell us how you became a Maker. What sparked your curiosity to create new things with technology?

My father has always been a handyman. I grew up watching him spend his nights after work in our garage, building bikes and motorbikes, fixing cars, surfboards, and boats. When I was still very young, my uncle, who was very into computers, took me to his place where he kept a lot of them. He taught me how to dismantle, build, and setup windows computers. I was very fascinated by how all these bits and pieces could come together to make such a powerhouse of digital productivity. Once I got my first personal computer, I started spending endless nights in front of it. I spent most them recording and programming music, of which very little got to see the light of day. In the early morning, when I was done for the night, me and my dad would meet on the way to the bathroom, knowing that we both had been up till that time with our projects.

 

Being a maker of tomorrow – what is you dream project?

Oftentimes, complete songs form inside my imagination, as if a band is playing a concert in my head. What I noticed when I was writing my own music, was that I struggled to put those exact melodies into my computer. It never sounded exactly as I imagined it in my head. My dream project is to produce an AI that can decipher the music that you create in your head and put it in a digital form that can be played back by a computer. I dream of a sorting hat, like the one in Harry Potter, that can listen to your imagination. Maybe one day, we can walk around listening to our own spontaneously created music!

 

Have you been part of an interesting project that you would like to tell us more about?

I grew up in Greece and studied there with my friend Kostas, who is also a Cybercom employee. One hot summer day in 2014, Kostas and I were lying on the beach, enjoying a cold beer. When lunchtime came, we thought about what we were going to eat. Barbecues in the garden are very common in Greece, and that is what we were feeling for. However, there was a problem. We lived far away from the beach and the coal would take about 30 minutes to get ready. We thought that this was too inconvenient. Could someone else take care of lighting the coal while we hang out at the beach for 30 more minutes? The answer to this became RIBS! RIBS is a good old Weber grill to which we gave a new life. We equipped the grill with sensors, heating elements, blowing fans, and a digital brain which you can operate from a distance and request the time at which you wish the coal to be burning hot, ready for that juicy slice of meat.

 

What is a Maker to you?

Our brains love being stimulated. They constantly work without us noticing and they come up with brilliant ideas all the time! Everyone can create, but not everyone can see their creations through. It takes a certain kind of personality to make ideas happen, and someone with that personality is what I call a Maker.

Sometimes, your brain wanders away, like when you are staring out of the window in the distance during a sunny summer day. When it is wandering out there is when ideas are created! Most people, when they get back to reality, forget about the idea that they just had. A Maker however, keeps thinking about how to make their idea into reality. Some people are natural born makers, but the vast majority of Makers are waiting to be discovered. Next time you sit on a bus, listening to your favorite podcast, gazing outside the window, be cautious of that shy idea lingering in your thoughts! Take your pen out and write it down. If it gets you excited, do everything you can to keep that feeling of excitement strong. It will guide you through your own Maker adventure!