Our highlights from 2 days at the World Summit AI.
On October 11–12, part of our team was in Amsterdam for the yearly World Summit AI, the largest conference about Applied Artificial Intelligence in our industry. What were the most interesting speakers and sessions according to us and what can we learn from this 2 day deep-dive? Read all about it below.
- We’re starting to see the impact of AI in our daily life
Dr. Athina Kanioura, Global Data Science Lead @ Accenture, warmed up the crowd on the first conference day with a look into her daily life and how an AI helps her plan and combine her busy professional and family life. The intelligent planner integrates information from all kind of sources (agenda’s, fitness tracking devices, e-mail, weather data, …) and helps her organize, prioritize and reschedule both professional and personal activities (from her international meetings to weekly fitness sessions and birthday parties). It was especially interesting to see Athina’s presentation sparked a discussion about how much of our life we want to outsource to an AI.
2. The healthcare industry will be one of the biggest consumers of AI in years to come.
Dr. Joseph Sirosh (Corporate Vice President Artificial Intelligence & Research at Microsoft) already showed it in his keynote presentation, where he gave the example of SmartARM, winners of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2018. Other presentations (such as the Panel Discussion about the health AI revolution with Stefan Germann — founder at Botnar, and Dr. Bart Geerts of Healthplus.ai) throughout the conference confirmed that there is a growing trend for AI in the healthcare industry.
3. AI is on the peak of the hype cycle, yet we tend to underestimate the long term effects.
During his presentation, Itamar Friedman (Head of Alibaba Israel MV Lab) summarized the current state of the AI industry perfectly with the following quote (Amara’s Law): “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run”.
4. Conversational AI is ready for industry-grade applications.
As part of their Digital Transformation program, AkzoNobel has recently launched a virtual advisor(chatbot) to help customers choose the right paint products. The first results are immensely positive (+60.000 conversations and 2.300 ‘hot leads’ in only a couple of weeks) and roll-out of the chatbot in other markets has already been foreseen. This example shows once again that the chatbot market is definitely still growing and that there’s room for chatbots beyond the proof-of-concept phase.
5. A mixed technology-data science-business team leads to successful projects based on a value-driven approach.
One of my personal highlights of the conference was the enterprise storypresentation by Ciarin Jetten, Manager of the Center of Excellence Advanced Analytics @ The Heineken Company. His talk dealt with their approach to successfully build an Advanced Analytics team and the way they define and execute AI projects to improve operations, marketing, advertising and the customer experience.
6. AI can be fun
I had been looking forward to Gilad Lotan’s (VP, Head of Data Science at BuzzFeed) presentation for a while. I was curious to find out how AI can help a company like BuzzFeed and it’s readers/viewers. Gilad’s presentation showed that AI doesn’t always have to be ‘serious stuff’ and that it’s OK to work on fun projects as well. BuzzFeed for instance had worked on an AI that can automatically generate recipes for their ‘Tasty’ channels. As you can see, it still needs some tweaking :)…
On day two of the summit, Danny Lange from Unity gave a presentation on the role of gaming for the further development of AI. As a 3D game environment developer, Unity helps AI companies by creating virtual environments where Machine Learning Agents can be tested in a safe virtual environment.
7. Let’s not forget about ethics
The first couple of hours of day 2 of the summit were largely dominated by the ethical aspect of AI. I personally found Professor Luciano Floridi’s (University of Oxford & Digital Ethics Lab) presentation to be one of the highlights of the day. His eye-opening perspectives about what AI could and should do and what could happen if we over- or mis-use AI were interesting to hear.
Professor Floridi’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion on bias and inclusion. It’s clear ethical principles for the further development of AI are necessary and there’s a growing awareness at AI companies like ourselves that we have an active role to play in a society where AI becomes the norm.
8. Video Analytics have a future in the B2C market
In his presentation, Vasilis Giagkoulas from Shell gave a great example of how video analytics can be used for the B2C market. Shell has +40.000 retail locations across the globe, mostly fuel stations. To improve the safety of visitors and personnel at these locations, they have been training an AI to flag dangerous behavior registered by CCTV camera’s.
9. Netflix is the king of personalization and recommendation
Dr. Tony Jebara’s (Director @ Netflix and Director of the Columbia Machine Learning Laboratory) talk was definetly thé most anticipated presentation of the summit for me personally, and he didn’t disappoint. The way Netflix has been working on personalization and different types of recommendation since 2006 is simply mind-blowing.
He started his presentation with a ‘short’ list of what they’ve been working on, and continued to highlight 3 of those: Collaborative ranking, Causal learning and Image Personalization.
In conclusion: the World Summit AI was definitely worth the trip. With a mix of technical deep dive sessions, more business-case oriented presentations and great network opportunities, this event makes for a must go for anyone who’s in the AI & Data Science field.
Thank you World Summit AI, and see you next year.
This post was originally posted here.