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28th Annual Webby Awards January 4, 2024

On Your Rubric: Tonya Custis, Director of AI Research at Autodesk

A look at what Tonya Custis, Director of AI Research and one of our newest Webby Judges, expects to see in this year’s competition.

We’re excited to introduce one of our newest Webby Jurors, Tonya Custis, the Director of AI Research at Autodesk, a global leader in developing software for builders and designers. Custis has contributed to the growing understanding of the new tech, with over 15 years of experience in applied AI research. Leading a team of researchers, Custis is steadily building knowledge on machine learning, generative AI, language processing and more. 

We spoke with Custis to gain insight into the expertise she’s bringing to our Judging Academy and what she’s looking to see in the 28th Annual Webby Awards. Read on for a closer look at her rubric and her forecast on the emerging tech that will shape the future of the digital industry. 


For those who don’t know, tell us a little about your background. 

I lead the AI Lab in Autodesk Research. We do fundamental and applied research in AI and machine learning that’s relevant to the Media & Entertainment, Architecture, Engineering & Construction, and Design & Manufacturing industries. 

What particular expertise are you bringing to the Academy? 

The expertise I bring is in 15+ years of doing research to advance the state of the art in artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing and information retrieval. 

What are you most looking forward to about the 28th Annual Webby Awards? What new or fresh ways are you excited to see entrants harness the Internet and technology?  

There are so many new and creative ways people are using AI to enhance and augment human communication. The web is a great place to showcase that. 

What’s on your rubric for this year’s competition? What are you looking for among entries?

I’m looking for entries that solve a problem in a creative and useful way. 

What emerging technology or trend do you think will have the greatest impact on the creative industry?   

Generative AI technologies for video generation and animation generation will, I think, have. a huge impact on the creative industry.

The Extended Entry Deadline for the 28th Annual Webby Awards is Friday, February 9th! 

Since 1997, The Webby Awards has stood as the largest proving ground for digital excellence. This year, we’re celebrating creators who take the Internet a step further through art, new technology, and impact. When you win a Webby Award, you demonstrate the quality of your work and prove you’re driving innovation. 

Don’t miss your last chance to win big at the 28th Annual Webby Awards. Submit your work before the Extended Entry Deadline on Friday, February 9th!