A bit more as one month, ago I visited Web Summit 2017 in (Lisboa, Portugal). It was my first time at the event, so I thought I’d share my experience with my colleagues and friends.
The ruthless machine of marketing has done its job and all of those “magic words” we’ve all been hearing about were piled on you from the first minute. I mean – 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, ChatBots, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and much more.
In this post, I will stop by bright Artificial Intelligence representative – RoboStar Sofia, cool but not the only one and my observations.
Major speakers such as Prof. Stephen Hawking, Al Gore, Michael Dell and many others were all there. (see the full list of 1200+ speakers)
There were a lot of impressing Speeches during 3,5 days and the main topic was the future of human beings, and how we’d be affected by technology.
At the same time, hundreds of startups were exhibiting their new concepts and actively pitching within their booths of 1.5 square meters.
The variety of startup and ideas was amazing! You had 15-24-year-old guys presenting their tourism or Blockchain projects. More “seasoned” entrepreneurs were there too, with sparkling eyes and applications such as an Uber-like app for Concrete sales.
In just 3 days, 1500+ start-ups had the opportunity to pitch their wares. Each had just one day at the stand and a “stellar hour” from 10:00 to 16:00. The organizers divided them into three sectors: START for those who have already started, BETA for growth-stage and ALPHA for early-stage guys.
A few times, while checking out the startup-booths, I noticed that reps from multinational companies seemed to prefer hanging out next to the ALPHA-BETA guys ☺
As a Bonus for readers who make it to the end of this post, I’ll share 8 pieces of advice I heard in one interesting speech. It’s relevant when it comes to security threats against your Software, and personal safety (which will soon be strictly regulated by the EU – https://www.eugdpr.org/).
I tried to classify the major themes of Web Summit:
I was impressed by a lot of things, but my TOP one was Robot Sophia (more on that in a minute).
Stephen Hawking accepted an award at opening night: “We will not be absolutely safe, we cannot say whether we will provide artificial intelligence with absolute protection and whether we will continue to have a parallel existence with smart machines or they will simply destroy us…”
Sofia the Robot
A Few interesting facts about Sofia the Robot, designed to look like Audrey Hepburn, and undoubtedly a brilliant marketing move.
Sofia the Robot joined Web Summit at first in 2016. She was presented at a panel by Chief Scientist at Hanson Robotics, Dr. Ben Goertzel, and Mike Butcher, Editor-at-large at TechCrunch.
In 2016, Sofia was asked what she wanted to do, from a conversation held at Meo Arena stage with one Robot and two Humans in 2016:
“Seriously! What I really want is to understand people better and to understand myself better and I want to be able to do more things, I think soon my capabilities will be advanced enough that I can be getting a job…..
Ultimately what I most look for is being able to work as a programmer so I can reprogram my own mind to make myself even smarter and able to help people even more….”
This is quite normal thinking for a human, but quite amazing for a robot.
And at the 2017 Web Summit, we got a chance to meet the updated Robot Sofia.A short list of achievements:
Based on such quick progress, I think it’s clear that Humans need to kick it into the higher gear if we’re going to compete!