Everything you ever wanted to know about AI… and then some

Author: Laura Grant

Everything you ever wanted to know about AI… and then some

Artificial intelligence – it’s arguably the most important technological advancement of recent years and is already having a fundamental impact on all types of industries from healthcare and finance to automotive and retail. And that’s the easy bit to grasp – how it works and the future implications it has for businesses, consumers and wider society are hugely complex subject areas, hotly debated by experts around the world.

So we absolutely weren’t daunted at all when we were tasked by our client omni:us to devise and execute the PR and social media strategy for their annual Machine Intelligence Summit in Berlin – a one day conference focusing on all things AI. This included gathering content while at the event for thought leadership articles, as well as inviting media and managing the company’s social channels plus paid marketing in the lead up to the summit and on the day itself. Copious notes, dozens of live tweets and speaker interviews later, we’ve emerged with more insight around this topic than we thought possible and below is just a snapshot of some of the key issues discussed on the day:

How will artificial and human intelligence work together?

Of course, one of the central themes discussed throughout the day was the impact AI and machine learning is having on industries, both currently, and in the future. This included how organisations and individuals will deal with these advances and how certain job roles will be disrupted long-term. A dedicated panel on the ‘future of jobs’ led by Ewa A. Treitz, expert advisor with the European Commission, looked at this subject in depth and explored how, with the right implementation, integrating AI and human intelligence could greatly improve productivity and efficiency within companies and help deploy people to higher value, more satisfying career roles.

The ethics of AI and questions of responsibility

As well as the huge benefits AI will bring to both companies and their employees, the risks were also discussed at various points throughout the day. This included discussion around what measures can be put in place to make sure AI is (and remains) ethical, who is making these vital decisions and how do we involve wider society to help people understand the implications of this game-changing technology. As leading data scientist, Sebastian Meier pointed out, AI is altering the way we live our lives and, therefore, we all have a responsibility to ensure processes are regulated and controlled in the best ways possible.

How AI is helping to solve real-world practical problems?

Many of the speakers and panellists reiterated the point that, in some way or another, every industry will eventually be impacted by AI as this technology progresses and many will be altered beyond recognition. David Roldan Jr., Head of Venture Capital and Startup Business Development at Google, boiled the fundamentals down to what young AI companies should be focusing on right now: using data and AI to solve real world problems. As an example of this, Martin Micko from omni:us explained in his keynote talk how the company is helping insurance businesses with the everyday but critical issue of processing huge amounts of arbitrary documents using AI and how this is revolutionising the way companies work.

Is Europe on track to produce world-class AI talent and businesses?

Another key topic of discussion which looked at the bigger picture globally, was how Europe can compete with the US and China and develop ‘global champions’ and cutting edge AI businesses. This subject was discussed in detail on the engaging panel ‘Doing and transforming business with AI’ which included the leading German entrepreneur Frank Thelen. The importance of both investment and education were raised as fundamental focus areas in supporting the European start-up ecosystem and the role governments must play in these measures was also highlighted. Nathan Benaich, Cofounder of London AI explained that as part of this, young companies also have a responsibility ‘to be innovative and attract the best talent by building companies to scale-up and create real change, not just exit at the earliest opportunity’.

So that’s a wrap for this year’s event but if you’re interested in AI and would like to find out more, hop over to the omni:us twitter channel where we will be posting more in depth updates from the summit over the next few weeks.