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AI Education takes center stage at O’Reilly New York Conference
18 May 2018

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) adoption gathers pace, few businesspeople seem to really understand what it is or how companies can use it. This is why organizations that use AI to innovate and compete needs a solid understanding of the latest breakthroughs and best practices in AI for business. Luckily, some world-famous Artificial Intelligence (AI) conferences are taking up the challenge. At a recently held O’Reilly Technology Conferences in New York, business decision-makers, computer scientists and developers gathered to learn more about the types, capabilities and use cases for AI.

The New York conference is one of four events that O’Reilly holds yearly to educate diverse audiences about the business application of AI. Natalia Ryabinina, Technology Marketing Manager at ABBYY was one of the 2800 people that attended the latest O’Reilly Technology Conferences in New York. She shares her insights with ABBYY Blog.
 
“It is high time we shed light on the essence of AI,” Ryabinina said. “Many vendors talk about AI without getting into any technical details, implying that AI is some form of magic that can help solve any problem. Yet, representatives of companies that came to invest into the technology were constantly asking for clarifications.”
 
One of the most interesting presentations and speeches at the conference was delivered by Kristian J. Hammond, a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwest University. He dedicated his long speeches to explaining the different types of AI and how these different types can be applied in real-life scenarios. “People want to understand what can be done with AI. It’s not about the algorithms, but about use cases,” Ryabinina quoted Hammond as saying.
 
Professor Hammond believes that companies in the US are in awe of technological miracles that brought success to Amazon and Google. They want to replicate the same in their respective companies but have no idea how and where to implement it. Today, many businesses appeared to have gotten over the hype of big data and now ready to buy AI, NLP and deep learning. Some AI vendors have been taking advantage of the situation, to sell products that look interesting but lacks innovative or proprietary technologies.
 
“One of the central challenges plaguing AI adoption, according to many participants at the conference is the lack of good quality data for machine learning and lack of experts who know how to work with the technology”, Ryabinina says.
 
Microsoft and SAS presented reports on how image recognition can help farmers water their plants in harsh weather conditions and how the same technology can help keep track of endangered animals. “This is a good example of how technologies can save the environment, not just humans,” Ryabinina said.
 
A separate workshop was devoted to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at the conference. “The talks were focused more on the technicalities of storing and deleting personal information, rather than on providing solutions for compliance,” Ryabinina said. “This left many participants wondering how to deal with machine learning models that use personal data should a customer ask that his or her personal information be removed from enterprise resources.”
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