Sunethri, one of our consultants, tells about her last experience at the Viva Technology 2018 where she discovered the new innovations of today’s industry.
Viva tech is the biggest innovation conference held in France every year. It is held over a span of 3 days and hosts start-ups, executives, investors, students and academics to celebrate the advancements in innovation. This edition is a very special one for Viva Tech because the CEO of tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, Uber and many others were present to talk about their initiatives in AI in France in particular.
His Excellency President Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic gave the opening keynote to talk about the technological advances in the world and how France is keeping up with it.
He invited companies around the world to invest in France because of the incredible resources available in the country and France’s desire to become a world leader in innovation. He gave a bilingual speech in English and French. He spoke in English to address the various international companies present to encourage them to invest in France and switched to French when he addressed the local French companies and students to motivate them to dream bigger and work harder to make France the world’s rendezvous point for innovation.
After the president’s passionate keynote, Ginni Rometty the chairman, president and CEO of IBM took to the stage to speak about achieving exponential Impact-AI in the era of responsible tech.
She said that resource management is an important issue to address in developing countries. For example, there is only one Oncologist for every 1 600 people in developing countries. With the impact of AI 100% of today’s jobs will change. It’s therefore crucial to prepare for this change.
- To make this transformation inclusive, IBM coined a word: “New collar” which are jobs in new technologies. New collar does away with the segregation that we created with categories like white-collar and blue-collar. They are jobs somewhere in the middle between professional careers and trade work, meaning they combine technical skills with a knowledge base rooted in higher education.
- For the AI transformation to be safe and positive for everyone it is crucial for us to follow principles around trust and transparency.
- A parallel transformation will take place with the AI transformation. This transformation will be around education. 50% of the education systems are not working today. It’s important to align the business needs with the outcome of the education systems.
- Not everyone needs a university degree to access careers in AI. IBM has created curriculums like Pathway to technology in schools across 4 continents; North America, South America, Europe and Asia to help with training, internships and jobs. She said soon just a high school degree and 2 years of specialization should make people ready to work in AI !
- In Africa, IBM has started a program called Digital Nation Africa: DNA to bring digital skills to Africa with free, Watson-Powered skills platform. Thanks to DNA 25 million African people will specialize in new technologies to later join the workforce to help in the development of their countries.
She stressed on the fact that skills will clearly be the number one issue of our time. Hence, it’s important for us to start preparing for the change.
Ginni announced that IBM will hire 1800 people in Paris/France in new technology domains. To end her keynote, she said this is a wonderful time of Exponential impact on business and society. This must be an inclusive era so that, no one feels left behind. We need to create more “new collars” in the workforce.
Lastly, she quoted Marie curie “Nothing in life is to be feared, its only to be understood “.
Ginni’s talk was absolutely inspirational. It provoked fresh new hope and thoughts to dispel fears of most people who fear the drastic changes that will be brought about by AI and help them overcome the fear of being left out.
The next keynote I attended was that of Satya Nadella CEO of Microsoft who spoke about the Impact of AI with Microsoft.
He started his speech with a quote by Mark Wiser that says “Most profound technologies disappear”. We become so accustomed to these technologies that they became a part of our daily life. And that is exactly the future he sees for AI. Today there is more GPU power in an autonomous car than there was ever in a data centre from a few years ago. That is the kind of progress we have made just in a few years and it’s not stopping here. With such great power also comes great responsibility. This great power needs to be regulated to ensure three important aspects: Privacy, Security and Ethics.
The GDPR is an excellent start because privacy is a human right and data protection is the first step in achieving that. One has to remember the future is a result of choices we make today!
For this era to be inclusive Microsoft is offering open source software like Microsoft Ubiquitous: cloud provider and APIs in Azure for every developer to learn and innovate. For example thanks to the open source APIs in Azure a group of researchers have succeeded in detecting cancerous tissue right when one is going through MRI at a hospital. Developers are also working on Quantum simulators available on Microsoft graph that is capable of mapping with voxel level data. China has Azure AI Xioice that is today capable of making open ended conversations with EQ (Emotional Quotient/Intelligence).
Satya lastly showed a video about the advancements made with Marcel, Publicis’ AI powered task managing platform since they started their partnership earlier this year. It will help more than 80 thousand Publicis employees work closely together.
For a technology enthusiast like me, VivaTech 2018 was a perfect opportunity to learn more about the booming ecosystem of AI. The keynotes I attended, be it the President’s speech of encouragement or Ms Ginni’s talk about the transformation of education or even Mr Satya’s talk about the importance of ethics in AI make me a lot more positive and assured about our future with AI. My interaction with big and small companies present at the convention was very useful and provided me access to resources. I was thrilled to discover all the new products and innovations, some of which are not yet available in the market today. All I could think of, while leaving VivaTech 2018 was, how eager I was for the next edition to see the progress we will make !
For another testimony about VivaTech, you could read the publication of Hippolyte concerning the new innovations of the Transport sector :
Sunethri is an Innovation Consultant at Devoteam Management Consulting. She is a business graduate from HEC Paris and graduate engineer from INSA de Lyon. She has 3 years of experience in telecommunications engineering and now works as an Innovation Strategy consultant helping companies to leverage emmerging technologies to innovate.