AI at its best in World Economic Forum

Artificial intelligence was one of the hottest topics this year in Davos – especially at the various side events of the «unofficial Davos». Not only regarding climate change, but also in terms of digitalization, some of the most impactful actions happen outside of the Congress Centre these days. Being one of those the AI Session, on Thursday 23rd January. The AI Session brought more than thirty AI expert to share their knowledge with the Davos community. The event, that took place at the Seehof Hotel, counted with four main topics under the artificial intelligence hat. 

All Things Sensing

Mark Barton, Bloomberg anchor, as the event moderator opened the AI Session. Ria Persad, president of European Chamber of Digital Commerce and founder of StatWeather, had the first keynote speech of the day. Ria spoke about the need of business to invest in AI mainly with social and environmental topics as  climate change. She higlighted that companies “need to bring tecnology and AI down to earth in the B2B business”.

Connected to her speech, a panel discussion around ‘World tranformation to digital data on massive scale’ followed through with Mark Minevich and Alan Boehme, Global Innovation Officer from Procter & Gamble, had the future as the center word. Not a better place to talk about the future if is not Davos. The “technomania” mentioned by Sylvain Duranton, Managing Director from Boston Consulting Group, is leading companies and countries to fight for their competitive advantage. Carlos Larraín, Managing Partner at TRES60, affirmed that in Chile started making steps towards the AI research and implementation to be competitive advantaged in the South America scenario. Carlos also highlighted that having the right people will make the difference. Neville Teagarden, Managing Partner at AI Capital, ended the debate with “AI means massive investment and massive risks. But these are manageable risks! We need to take these manageable risks to be able to get into the future”.

All Things Connected

Jürgen Schmidhuber, Co-Founder of NNAISENSE, on his keynote speech pointed the potential of artificial intelligence in the future without specifying the concrete application as he said it will become common. “It is going to become more and more accessible for everyone. It is not going to be only for the privileged” stated Jürgen.

Later, Marco Tempest, Creative Technologist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory also known as the ‘Magician’ told the audience a history while he demonstrated with an AI assistante performance the capabilities of the newest technologies.

Ben Pring, Cognizant Vice-President, made strong affirmations about the future of the jobs. In his speech ‘The New Imperative’, Ben adverted to the fact that machines will take some of the jobs. Mainly the repetitives onces where thinking is not needed. But he finalized stating that those changes will occur only to make us better humans dedicated to the important things.

The All Things Connected part was wrapped up with ‘Building impactful AI companies in Europe’ panel. It was agreed that new challenges around AI will bring opportunities for hte companies that are willing to risk. “There are many opportunities. Expertise and data is there – we are just not there yet with technology to be able to combine these” said Nicole Büttner, CEO of Merantix. Merantix founders, Adrian Locher and Rasmus Rothe, together with Nils Regge, Co-Founder of Apollo Ventures, and Thomas Andrae, Managing Partner at Linden Capital, participated at the debate.

All Things Intelligent & Hyperconnected Humanity

Nicolai Wadstrom, BootstrapLabs CEO & Founder, spoke about minding the gap between hype and reality. He boosted the audience with the importance of high performing in designing technology affirming that “We are training computers. They are as good as we make them”.

Hyperconnected Humanity was AI Session last block. Filled with two discussion. One combined with only women talking about the need to trust technology and AI. Dalith Steiger, Co-Founder of SwissCognitive and CognitiveValley, said “We are afraid of something if we don’t know something. This is one of t things we do at SwissCognitive – expectation management: what is possible and what is not. We need to talk about challenges openly. Just because we don’t understand something it should not mean that we don’t discover what it offers to us”. Leila Toplic, Lead for Emerging Technologies NetHope, shared her experience with NGOs. “Tech can help 3rd world countries to have better access to education” and she stated that companies need to be transparent to bring value to their products. Ultimately, Marisa Tschopp, Swiss Ambassador for Woman in AI, rapidly answered that AI will rock because it will help us all.

The last session of the day, ‘When your Lamps, Heaters and Car start talking to each other’. Ezequiel Steiner, Board Member and President of Acronis, shared what Acronis is doing in cybersecurity and how anprotected is everyone. “Companies are vulnerable – but using AI we are able to tackle this problem”. Marco Tempest touched on the ethical part of techonology saying that “big brands will need to live up to their phylosophy. Organisations need to create the right narrative to their own emloyers, customers and peers”. And Nicolai Wadstrom finished saying that a lot has to be discovered yet.