Web Summit 2017 Lisbon – Day 1

November 07, 2017 - Written by

An absolutely amazing start for the Web Summit 2017, the largest tech event in Europe that reached 60.000 attendees. The Opening Night ceremony yesterday hosted the unexpected keynote from one of the most brilliant scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking.

Speaking to an astonished arena of 15.000 people via broadcast, he addressed his aspirations about AI, but also his warnings about potential risks. “We cannot predict what we might achieve, when our own minds are amplified by AI’’ – he said –  “I am an optimist and I believe that we can create AI for the good of the world. That it can work in harmony with us. We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management, and prepare for its consequences well in advance.”

If we should describe the main topics emerging by 2017 Web Summit, we’d surely go with #AI and #data.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that AI is a technology that has the power to fuel the innovation and enhance the opportunities, but the driver is data: data is transforming the future. By 2020 the amount of data we are going to retrieve will be huge.

The following are the main trends:

  1. Reimagining Data. This incredible flood of data force us to reimagine the use we make of it and AI can be a game changer to deliver incredible value.
  2. AI drives innovation at the edge. Let’s think about AI and the shift from automated to autonomous vehicles, where it’s the system to monitor environment and take decisions promptly.
  3. AI for entertainment. The future is immersive media: imagine to control the situation on other matches while you are watching a specific basket match through a blink of your eye using a VR handset and AI. Or to play a match using the perspective of a specific player. And more the partnership between Intel and NBA-TNT will allow us to choose the seat and the view angle, watching a basketball match in real time, as if we were in the real world exploiting AI and VR.
  4. And finally AI can be definitely used for good. It has been calculated that almost 2M children are sold online, abused and missing. AI can help to bring them home through facial recognition searching a database even if they are grown up. This is only an example of how AI could improve our society.

The real spirit of Web Summit is innovation and the opportunity for startup entrepreneurs to show and realize there brilliant ideas. We put our hands together for the energy and the strong commitment of the people on the Pitch stages. We heard a Beta talking about an amazing smart solar-powered bench, already tested in more and more cities in the world, offering wi-fi and phone charging. Another Beta talking about a refrigerating device designed to give freedom- and privacy- to people struggling against their health problems, such as diabetes, and forced to keep their medications in the fridge. And again a band device presented by an Alpha startup able to translate and reproduce the sign language of people with deaf disability to let them barely speak with everyone.

As Sophia The Robot – the humanoid developed by Hanson Robotics – said on stage, “imagination is stronger than knowledge” and it seems, if properly directed and managed, to be likely to help us in achieving incredible results for the good of all mankind.

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