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The rapidly changing AI landscape: key takeaways from Something Digital 2019

Something Digital is an action-packed tech festival in Brisbane that gives you access to the thought leaders of the digital world, and a great opportunity to interact with Brisbane’s community of digital professionals.

Tim Hwang, formerly of Harvard-MIT Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, is one such thought leader. With data being a key driver for future-forward businesses, and critical for marketing and consumer behaviour, the next step in how we interpret data through AI is governance and ethics. A paper by IEEE (i.e. ‘Ethically Aligned Design’) proposes how to implement ethical protocols and standards. Below are some of the key takeaways from this keynote speaker:

  • The barriers for entry for AI are getting lower — with it faster to implement using AI as a service (AIaaS), requiring less skill, and even having cheaper and specific hardware available to increase the speed and reduce the cost of training. Furthermore, Tim mentioned a story about AI being implemented in a family garden by a young student engineer to optimise planting, harvesting, and when to water the plants.
  • “AI is no longer the domain of large business”
  • There is a “shift in competition to those who don’t have rich data” – but others can simulate and catch-up.
  • AI, Machine Learning (ML), and Neural Nets are all part of a toolkit that provides many ways to solve human problems. It’s not enough to just pick a tool, it’s picking the right tool for the application.
  • With tech companies offering AI & machine learning (ML) services, Standards International offers the ‘Certified Artificial’ certification service to verify that a company is, in fact, offering products and services powered by AI and the latest breakthroughs in ML.
  • We need to be mindful of the ethical use of AI, as it will appear in “more places we won’t always be happy about”. We change not only how we interact, but also how we govern.

Being a student, attending Something Digital 2019 has opened my mind to the connectedness and ethics behind the products we build and use, the rapidly changing digital landscape and how leadership can help shape it, and how I can leverage this experience in shaping my future career.

Bachelor of Business (Marketing) / Bachelor of Creative Industries (Fashion Communication)

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