On Wednesday, November 6th, we had the chance to assist to all the WebSummit Centre Stage Conferences. With a presentation from Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, Tony Blair, ex-prime minister of the United Kingdom or Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, the WebSummit proved once again that it is a must to go event.
Artificial Intelligence at the center of the Websummit 2019
More than any other technology or subject, artificial intelligence was the keywords of this year’s WebSummit.
The president of Microsoft introduced it as one of the three key developments of the next decade. He shared his excitement but also his concern about how to control this new technology and the accumulation of data. “The more powerful the tool, the greater benefit or damage it can cause”. Brad Smith listed some of the challenges we will have to face such as: how to keep the balance between public safety and personal privacy? How to protect our countries, businesses or personal lives against cyber-attack?
The Hanson Robotics presentation was close to the image we have about robots and artificial intelligence. The 25min we spent with Sophia and Philip, the two robots created by Hanson, definitely got us in a futuristic movie like iRobot or the series Westworld. It was both impressive and disturbing to see these two human-like machines interact together and with the founder David Hanson.
On the AI matters, Werner Vogels finally took us in the actual application of machine learning for businesses. Of course, the CTO of Amazon presented Alexa, the tip of the iceberg concerning AI at Amazon. Machine learning though is in every aspect of Amazon services, from counterfeit good detection to consumer review quality management. Now the aim of Amazon web service is to democratizing machine learning to every developer. Helping them to create framework adapted to their own businesses thanks to their cloud platform, Amazon Sagemaker.
The Websummit is the perfect place to discover new exciting technologies. Once again the technology is catching up with our imaginary. Flying cars, mind control of a computer or drone deliveries… To assist the conferences felt like watching a futuristic movie.
In everyone’s dream since Back to the Future, flying cars are maybe around the corner. Lilium Aviation is pushing toward it, or more accurately, toward a flying taxi. Their five-seater air taxi prototype looks really impressive and could be the new mobility revolution. But can they really achieve their goals to be fully operational and available to the public by 2025?
CTRL-Labs was another technology that impressed us a lot. The neural control of computers and by extensions machine. The entire presentation was mind-controlled and the applications for this technology are seams endless. Nonetheless, we cannot help but wonder if the acquisition by Facebook will get the development in a good direction. While it could be life-changing for many cripple people, it will be more likely used for video controls or Facebook scrolling.
The impact of technology in society
More than only technology, The Websummit also covers a lot of different matters with exciting speakers. Politics, regulations, trends, success management.
Ro Khanna and Tony Blair discussed society’s need for technology regulation, the lack of policy and the unequal social growth that it causes. The CMO’s of Burger King and Lamborghini talked about the marketing trends for 2020 and the superstar Akon participate to talk about obsessions. If you are as much excited as we are about all these subjects and want to catch up with those conferences you can find some of it on the Websummit Vimeo channel