Review of the first AIxIA Conference in Karlsruhe, Germany

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Artificial intelligence is one of the most exciting technologies of our time. As the economic and social impacts of AI technologies increasingly influence our lives, ethical questions regarding the technical possibilities and the permitted practicability are the subject of much debate, especially in Europe. What can we achieve with Artificial Intelligence? And: What is ethically justifiable to achieve with AI? These are two questions that form a good framework for the contents of the discussions at the AIxIA conference. 

At the beautiful ZKM - Centre for Art and Media - in Karlsruhe at the beginning of October, Europe's AI experts met for the first Franco-German Conference on Artificial Intelligence, with the theme, "Let's get real about AI"

German and French politicians and entrepreneurs spoke about the current AI projects in various companies and how European companies, states, and start-ups can work better together. The basic tenor: we have to do more in order not to lose the connection to the advanced players in the world. 

Applying European DNA to the field of AI

China, USA, and Europe: Three key players in strong competition for market share, innovation and the smartest minds in the competitive market of Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Artificial Intelligence. The application areas for the most diverse industries, including logistics, medicine, marketing, and autonomous driving, are developing at a rapid pace. 

In the first keynote of the event, Jean-Louis Quéguiner, Head of AI at the French cloud provider OVH, pleads for applying European DNA to the field of AI. Local characteristics of European cultures must be taken into account. Additionally, data, algorithms, and research should remain in Europe so that the development of AIs is not completely left to the financially strong players in the USA or China. Or as Jean-Lois said: “The oil should stay in our tanks”.

Human Resources and AI: The open battle for talent

In addition to algorithms, data and business models, the global AI market is also primarily concerned with the War for Talents. We’ve spoken on our blog about the importance of combining human expertise with AI. European companies, start-ups, and research institutions must ensure that clever minds do not migrate to companies in the US or China. It is absolutely essential to create incentives and retain talent here - that has been the tenor of the panel discussion on the global situation of AI on the AIxIA stage.

Linkfluence presents Danone Case: AI-driven Trend Detection

"Predicting the next superfood with AI-controlled Social Data Intelligence": Felix Scherrer, COO of Linkfluence Germany, presented at the AIxIA conference how we successfully implemented this for our customer, Danone. In a nutshell: In the agile market environment of the food industry, it is a central task to quickly predict reliable consumer trends and then take advantage of the knowledge advantage. Together with Danone we faced this challenge. Our AI-supported systems analyzed the voices of consumers in social media worldwide. This is how we identified the Trending Ingredients 2020. 

Linkfluence at AIxIA 2019-2

New business models around AI

Especially exciting for me at the AIxIA conference were the numerous presentations and pitches of various startups that already work with AI technology, Natural Language Processing or Machine Learning. Two examples:

UnderstandAI is a start-up company from Karlsruhe, Germany, that supports companies in training their machine learning models for autonomous driving. In fact, an incredible amount of human manual work is still needed to create data that trains these models and algorithms. For example, countless photos of road traffic situations are marked by hand. What is a car, what is a tree, what is a building? This way, autonomously driving cars should be able to recognize other road users correctly and act accordingly. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are already installed in many cars, for example, Lane Assist, Distance Control, and Parking Assistance. However, there is still a long way to go before the driver can drive safely and autonomously.

Linkfluence at AIxIA 2019-3

Zana is also an exciting company that wants to revolutionize the medical field. An App, a Smartwatch-Wearable and an intelligent Voice Assistant will make the lives of patients and doctors easier and more comfortable. One example: After surgery or an accident, patients can use the Zana app and the Voice Assistant to answer standard questions for their own well-being that would otherwise be asked by the doctor personally. The app with the Voice Assistant guides the patient through this catalog of questions and logs the answers. A great project. But even more than with fitness trackers, the question of data protection always resonates with new technologies, especially in the medical field. So the question quickly arises: where is this data stored? Who has access to the data? Only the doctor or also your health insurance? 

Linkfluence at AIxIA 2019-4

So we are back to the big ethical questions that always move us in connection with new disruptive technologies.

  • What is technically possible?
  • And what is ethically justifiable?

One example of this: When will the benefits of AI technology exceed data protection concerns? What do you think?

I think that AIxIA has been a very valuable conference in order to bring together people, who are working on AI every day and make exchange about this topic easier across borders. For me, it was a great way to catch up on the latest discussions about AI and new business models

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