Nothing Artificial – real people and real challenges
This year’s Conference at the National Convention Centre had delegates laughing, sad, humble and intrigued in a roller coaster of emotions. Who would think that this year’s theme of Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work could be so emotional?
Featuring a fantastic line up of speakers topics ranged from how Department of Human Services is using AI and Machine Learning Technology, through to Artificial Intelligence in games from the professionals at Academy of Interactive Entertainment the conference clearly tackled some challenges in a future world of machine language and greater automation as well as advances to Artificial Intelligence.
Microsoft put a jolt of excitement through the Conference with an opening Keynote by Chief Technology Officer Mr James Kavanagh on the topic of “The Gravity of Data and Emergence of AI” with a further announcement of the partnership with Canberra Data Centre and an investment into the Canberra ICT sector as it grows its commitment to the local economy and the Federal sector with the setting up of the Microsoft Assure cloud facility.
President of the ACS Mr Anthony Wong walked the crowd discussing the challenges of AI for our profession and the global implications of what our sector is doing. Just because we can create AI, do we need to build AI and what are the legal and ethical implications.
International guest Professor Mike Hinchey, President of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) gave a global view of some of the future challenges for our industry with a fun filled galactic presentation on the topic of “The Robot ate my homework”.
This was a great intro to the final keynote presentation for the day with the inspirational comedian and artist Anh Do, who reminded us about our lives and the need to appreciate all the opportunities we have with our training in ICT. Delegates were stunned at the hardships of coming to Australia and in awe of the can-do attitude shown by Anh Do as he and his family overcame many of life’s challenges.
The day concluded with an address at dinner by the Chief Minister Mr Andrew Barr MLA, about the ongoing commitment to Canberra as the smart city and the opportunities we have as we grow our direct global engagement and invest in the skills to best benefit from the digital age.
The Chief Minister concluded the dinner with the presentation of the Pearcey Foundation award to joint winners this year of Mark Riley, co-founder and CTO of ContentKeeper and Phillip Williamson co-founder and Chief Innovator at Intellidox. Also awarded at dinner was the Leoni Warne Medal to Dr Su-en Williams for her work on supporting young women into ICT and the setting up of the Girl’s Programming Network as a tremendous success in Canberra.
The conference will focus on how new technologies may move into the work environment, supplementing and supporting the work of ICT professionals, and perhaps eventually replacing them. Possible streams that arise within this broad scope are:
Technology and the future of work
To what extent will intelligent assistants actually assist in the workplace? How will our jobs change and adapt as artificial intelligence (AI) is applied to more complex activities; activities that involve judgement and decision making? Is the role of a programmer doomed if computers are learning to do things through AI approaches and not formal programming? What are the leading developments in artificial intelligence, and what problems are they solving?
The discussions in this stream will tackle these issues and encourage delegates to consider what the future of their field will look like and they can adapt and thrive in a future ICT industry.
To what extent can we rely on AI to manage security? Will AI entities become frustrated with the constant need to change their passwords too?
The discussions in this stream will explore the evolving cyber security landscape, including the policy environment and encourage delegates to understand their role in a cyber future.
Are we heading to a future where teams of people are led by AI? How does one give orders to an intelligence that learned its skills through unsupervised learning? How do we instill in machine learned algorithms the necessary characteristics of followership or leadership?
The discussions in this stream will encourage every delegate to become a thought leader in this area and understand the possibilities AI leadership can have on our future workplaces and lives.
Can AI be teachers? What special skills or knowledge do future ICT professionals need to have to create and work with AI? What role can AI/machine-learning play in improving our current understanding of education and educational processes? How do we educate (in contrast to train) machine-learning entities?
The discussions in this stream will excite ICT professionals and educators about the possibilities of AI for the educations sector, including the potential positive impacts on future generations and globilisation.
Ethics and professionalism
What are the ethics of relying upon AI for diagnosis (medical, or other)? To what extent do/can unsupervised learning based AIs develop a moral code? Is that code harmonised with a human one?
The discussions in this stream will challenge delegates thinking. While the technology is and will continue to develop, can policy and ethical guidelines keep up? How do we maintain an ethical society in an increasing autonomous environment?
Analysis and design
To what extent are classical methods of understanding requirements for (work) systems changed by the introduction of AI as a system component, especially one that learns for itself? To what extent are work systems designed and implemented differently when AI are included in the systems?
The discussions in this stream will explore our increasing capacity for analysis and responsive design in a big data and AI environment.
The understanding of data is central to the ability analyse and derive value using AI techniques. What is required is a clearly understood information architecture to make sense of data, understanding what data is available, prioritise the right data programs, and keep pace with emerging technology.
The discussions in this stream will look at what are the best practices in developed such an architecture? What should it encompass?