Described by Forbes in 2019 as “the world’s most influential AI summit”, WSAI is an annual event bringing the global AI community together, including enterprises, startups, investors, scientists, and policymakers, to discuss the latest developments and challenges in AI.
This year, the World Summit AI event took place in Amsterdam, featuring more than 200 speakers, 100 exhibitors, and an anticipated 10,000 attendees with the theme “AI for humanity”, a clear focus on how we can use AI to address pressing global challenges such as climate change, poverty, health, and education.
InspiredMinds! is a global tech and science strategy group that aims to create platforms for positive change and innovation, the spirit of which is wonderfully captured by every opening speech given by CEO and founder of the company, Sarah Porter, who set the mood of the 2 day WSAI conference in saying:
“We are InspiredMinds!, which means we are not afraid to stage the difficult conversations - we are here to inspire but we are also here to create impact and change”
After attending the Intelligent Health Summit in Basel earlier this year, also hosted by InspiredMinds!, I was looking forward to the experience of an event that Tech Xplore described as “the epicenter of global innovation” in 2020. And I was certainly not disappointed. Here is my takeaway of the event.
Speakers and Topics
Hosted across multiple buildings at the Taets Arts Park, WSAI 2023 featured world class key-note speakers on the most pertinent topics in genAI today. The event app provided by InspiredMinds! is honestly a super useful tool and navigating the jampacked program across a complex floorplan was very straightforward.
The opening keynote was delivered by Dr. Simon See, chief solutions architect and Global Head for NVIDIA AI, on the topic of “Exploring the application of Generative AI to climate issues”. Dr. See gave an impressive example of how genAI has been used to reduce the computational time of complex processes like windfarm modelling from 40 days to just 15 minutes: one of many saving a lot of computational time and energy.
This level of rapid development in technology was found throughout the remaining headliner talks, from the future of racing in hydrogen race cars with Forze, to Neuroscience and Divya Chander's eery illustration of how AI can be used to distort human memories, raising a question that I never imagined I would be asking myself: do we have the right to the privacy of our own thoughts?
The quality of speakers was honestly outstanding, with thought leaders from tech giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, Mastercard, and X, to leading consulting firms and companies in this space such as Accenture, EY, and SAS, along with numerous leading universities. All talks had an opportunity for Q&A at the end.
The verdict from all these talks was that no single career or profession will be left unaffected. Even psychologists will be replaceable with chatbots that offer cognitive behavioral therapy. The discussion of regulation was as present as always, but the content has evolved since the topic came up at VivaTech in July. This time I found myself hearing the words " data governance" , "control" , as well as "responsible" and "ethical" AI murmured in abundance while eavesdropping conversations as I walked through the event exhibitor stands.
Panels and Workshops
My favorite part about the event was the number of presentations and workshops that had an obvious practical application to all of them (at least those that I attended). IBM, a main sponsor of the event, drew a huge crowd to their workshop on AI governance and the use of watsonx.governance, a platform promising to help you "break open the black box with AI governance".
Speaking of black boxes, one of the event stages, humorously named the "white box", which saw informative presentations on relevant topics like how to navigate ChatGPTs privacy concerns and deploying AI models with MLOps at scale. But more importantly, there was a notable increase in the amount of presentations and workshops addressing the core of all AI applications: data. The event had multiple workshops and presentations on how to deal with data issues, how to source data and ensure quality data, as well as talks exploring the possibilities of synthetic data and the potential this has for unrepresentative data sets.
Excellent panels were also chaired by a diverse range of insightful and experienced panelists, with a great level of accessibility for audience members to pose questions. My favorite thing about ImagineMinds! events is how accessible people are for you to talk to, if not on stage through posing a question, then after their talk as they join the crowd of spectators.
Exhibitors and Startups
Being a world class event, some major big players such as IBM, Ernest and Young, Microsoft, Canoncial, and HP were there, among others. But there were equally smaller yet entirely relevant exhibitors that I was happy to discover for the first time, such as credo.ai, TrueEra, and UbiOps.
The summit showcased some of the best and brightest startup talent in the field of AI, with a dedicated track for startups to pitch their ideas, products, and solutions to a panel of judges and investors. An entire floor section was dedicated to the startup exhibition titled "Startup City", with a strong pavillion coming from the Netherlands. Some quirky ideas I found were giskard.ai, who offer an opensource testing and monitoring framework for ML models, Skendy, your personal administration assistant, and Alphadoc, a feature rich developer experience platform (worth checking out if you're a dev!).
All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful event with a great atmosphere and ample catering. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, and would recommend this event to anyone looking for their eyes to be opened and their questions to be answered. I continue to be impressed with the quality of events by InspiredMinds!, whose track record of MC host quality remains undefeated. Oh, and before I forget to mention it – a big thank you to the event organisers for the free coffee. Thats right. At an event with 10,000 attendees: there was free, quality coffee.
Find Emer Butler
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