AI to the future

How many events can claim to partner with Amazon, Microsoft, Google and the BBC? The AI Summit London, for one.

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When you ask George Kipouros, event director of The AI Summit London, how he feels about potential competitor events, he is supremely unconcerned.

 

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is such a ground-breaking and life-changing type of technology, there is a need for more than one event in one city each year,” he explains. “It’s absolutely normal that people would want to launch more.

 

“It’s exciting for us to see the market recognise the importance of AI, but we were there in 2014, before the hype. We’ve got long-standing relationships with business leaders and vendors, and that’s what sets us apart.”

 

Kipouros isn’t exaggerating. The event, which launched two years ago as a trade show specifically showcasing AI for business, boasts an impressive roster of tech partners, media partners and high-power visitors.

 

“I think that’s one of the things that makes us stand out,” he says. “If you look at our website you can see our industry partners. The 2017 partners are sponsoring every event that we do globally throughout the year.”

 

The show is organised by AI Business, which set up an online news portal and community in 2014, dedicated to examining the impact of AI on the business world. Three years later, there are AI Summits in cities as diverse as London, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Zurich, to name but a few. At a time when most AI events were geared towards research and academia, AI Business was running shows exploring the practical uses of artificial intelligence in business – now, not in the future.

 

“AI is not new in its own right,” explains Kipouros. “But recent advances in artificial intelligence have made it central to the conversation around how businesses are becoming digital, and more embedded into technologically-advanced conversations.

 

“The focus is on very large corporates, and within them the people responsible for technological or organisational transformation. Artificial intelligence is still a very expensive operation; there needs to be quite a bit of decision-making involved with it.”

 

Along with potentially buying technology at the event, visitors can also experience some of the latest AI technology. The 2017 London event will feature AI Beer (“coming soon to a pub near you”), music composed by AI and AI-powered networking for exhibition attendees.

 

“It’s a combination of your traditional networking system that most exhibitions have and artificial intelligence,” explains Kipourus. “It’ll look a bit like the dating app Tinder.

 

“Rather than having to go through lists of delegates and work out who might be a good fit for you to meet, you will be able to get suggestions of people who match your profile and interest areas. The more you swipe left or right, the more the algorithm will learn, and find commonalities between the people you said yes to.”

 

Microsoft will also be showcasing new AI technology capable of using images and voice recognition to read the emotional state of attendees (something that EN finds rather alarming!). Whether or not we’re moments from an artificial intelligence utopia is unclear, but what is clear is that The AI Summit London is onto a winning formula. EN just hopes the role of event organiser remains firmly in human hands.

 

The AI Summit London took place on 9-10 May at the Business Design Centre.

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