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ICT Spring 2019: AI/Digital Summit


Luxembourg, May 27th, 2019 – A new edition of ICT Spring was held on May 21st & 22nd, with more than 150 experts sharing their knowledge and discussing the latest Digital, FinTech and Space trends. ICT Spring, a two-day event created in 2007 aims at facilitating the meeting of minds, encouraging emulation and networking with industry leaders, took place at the European Convention Center Luxembourg, at the very heart of Europe. More than 5,000 professionals attended this two-day conference, during which Artificial Intelligence was one of the burning topics. Experts discussed different topics such as “AI in everyday life”, “Unleashing Human potential” and “Tech all over: From trends to fashion”.



AI in Everyday Life

On May 21st, more than 5,000 participants gathered at the European Convention Center Luxembourg to attend a new edition of ICT Spring. This year, Artificial Intelligence was one of the burning topics addressed by international experts. The first morning session was entitled "AI in Everyday Life".

Day 1 of the AI/Digital Summit was opened by Master of Ceremonies Jean Rognetta, Editorial Director of Forbes France. He opened his welcoming speech by declaring that it is “an honour and a pleasure to chair the first part of the summit” and went on to say that as a journalist he wanted to “talk about the impact of AI on my everyday life ... which is almost nothing” saying that he “represents an industry that is directly threatened by AI”.

He then went on to talk about divergence, or the lack of it, and complained that increasingly the tech world is now split between the USA and China. He quoted the statistic that there have now been over 200 Unicorns launched in the USA, 150 in China
Mr Rognetta also spoke about the study by MMC Ventures that suggests that as many as 40% of European AI companies do not actually have AI in their software, and speculated that it would not be much different in the USA.

In closing he pointed out that although AI is now everywhere “except press and journalism”, it is most ubiquitous in marketing (23%) then customer service and IT, each with 16% market share, and before handing over to the next speaker, Bruno Zamborlin commented that the biggest single use of AI is in “Chat Bots” and wryly observed that “Artificial they may be ... intelligent they certainly are not!”

HyperSurfaces – Merging the Physical and the Data Worlds with edge AI
Bruno Zamborlin, founder of HyperSurfaces, started his presentation by saying that “We all live our daily lives spread across a physical world and the digital <<data>> world” and that these are “two parallel universes, connected only through little wormholes like touch screens and smartphones”. He then told the audience that he “dreams of completely merging these two universes”.
His vision is of a world of intelligent materials, where every object of any shape or size can become data enabled via its surface ... Glass, wood, plastic, panel, steering wheel” can all understand physical interactions between physical (people) and the object
He developed “edge AI” as the technology that allows it to work. Chips are embedded in objects and sensor data is used to record events and process in real time (< 20ms latency) to understand the events.

Mr Zamborlin then showed a video demonstration of a “hyper car door” in which 3 vibration sensors, costing just a few dollars, can detect more than 35 different events when various parts of the door are touched, opened, closed and pointed out that the technology can equally be used for smart homes, smart security, smart shops etc. as the end user defines the event sthat they want to be detected. All of this takes place without WiFi so that the data remains private, and he believes that HyperSurface is the first data company for physical interaction data.

Neurosciences x AI = Superpowers
There followed a very entertaining presentation by Professor Diana Derval, Chair and Research Director of DervalResearch, who stated that, before we can talk about artificial intelligence, we have to understand intelligence itself, and posed a simple audience participation question.
“You have a normal bear, a normal monkey, and a normal banana, you must put them in two groups”. It transpires that how we group these three items, and how quickly we group them, demonstrates different types of intelligence and thought processes ... and that these different kinds of thought processes have a parallel in the AI world that favour different kinds of AI situations ... expert systems, pattern recognition and so on.

Professor Derval related the story of the first autonomous car ... that confused a garbage bag for a pedestrian ... both of them complex irregular shapes, and suggested that the problem was that the AI system was trying to emulate human thought, when other senses that many animals have ... night vision, infra-red may be more appropriate. Why emulate pattern recognition when all you need is a heat sensor?

She concluded that the advanced technology in cars may make us think that they are bringing us superpowers, but that this Is quite illusory. As she concluded, “when you develop an AI system, who is the target customer? Different applications need different styles ... neural science can help define patterns ... the natural world can provide us with other intelligence cues, and perhaps realistically we should strive for Enhanced, not Artificial Intelligence”

Emotion AI for the better relationship between human and machine
Hazumu Yamazaki, CSO of Empath, started by telling the audience the humorous anecdote of how, as a philosophy and literature student, he had never thought about starting an AI company, but then he met the co-founder in a bar and when he was drunk he signed a contract and has been stuck with it ever since! It has been quite successful, and Empath won last year’s ICT Spring pitch competition, as well as a further 8 pitching events globally in 2018.
Empath technology recognizes emotion in voices, primarily joy, anger, calm and sorrow, in real time, and currently its main uses are in robotics and in call centers.

Looking at the case study of call centers, the two important ways in which it is helping are in training operators, and also in providing real time alerts to bring supervisors in to help their staff with customers who are starting to get frustrated, before they get angry

Yamazaki San raised some ethical questions that are prompted out of some more sinister request for the use of Empath technology “Can we use Empath as a lie detector, or to see if our partner is cheating?” He challenged AI companies to challenge themselves ... to ask themselves to imagine the worst kind of dystopia that could come about from negative use of their products, and said that “We private companies developing AI should be honest enough to think about the dystopia ....”
He gave four standards that he feels AI companies should observe: Think about our own technology and ethics, open up discussion to the public, speculative design as a framework and an artist as a team member. And finally asked “Can you be brave enough to think of a dystopia that you can create?”

Artificial Intelligence for Good
Anita Huang, Project Manager, Perspicace, talked to the audience about her company’s WiFi motion and bio detector. She introduced the company motto “AI For Good” and was proud to talk about their relationship with Microsoft as a strategy partner. The technology works on the principle that, like radar, Wi-Fi generates a noise which can be disturbed by objects moving in it. So a person walking, jumping, falling, breathing all create their own pattern of disturbances which can be detected.
Obvious applications of this technology are in monitoring old people in their homes, where any fall, rapid or irregular breathing etc can be monitored and an alarm sent out. It is already widely used in nursing homes. It is also being used by emergency services for detecting people in fire or disaster zones, and for greatly enhancing evacuation efficiency, as well as in smart hotels for energy reduction based on peoples’ activities.

Several Chinese white goods manufacturers are also incorporating the technology in their appliances, and Mrs Huang closed by saying that traditional IR and motion devices normally have blind spots ... their technology does not, and it is private.

More about the conference in the document attached.

About ICT Spring
ICT Spring is a Global Tech Conference hosting an array of international professionals. This two-day yearly event is held in Luxembourg City, and offers the participants a unique opportunity to deepen their Digital Knowledge, capture the Value of the fast-growing FinTech Industry, and explore the impact of Space Technologies on Terrestrial Businesses, through exhibitions and demonstrations of the latest Tech Trends and Innovations. ICT Spring is also the perfect place to network with peers and future business partners.

ICT Spring is organized by Farvest Group, the leading marketing & events agency in Luxembourg.

More information & registration: www.ictspring.com

Text by John Chalmers Photos by Marion Dessard

Finyear is a media partner of ICT Spring

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Tuesday, May 28th 2019
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