Artificial Intelligence and BOTS take over New York City in DLD

DLD had its second edition of the year in New York. This conference always brings together the most innovative leaders of the future.

Some new and some not so much but still on the agenda of the day.

Bots, after being introduced by Facebook at the last F8 conference, were one of the opening topics of the conference with two cases. Donotpay is a website in the UK that plays the role of a lawyer for small cases such as claiming a traffic ticket.

The initial results are already quite positive with over 3 million pounds in cases won. The other case was which is a virtual assistant that helps us to manage our agendas.

In the wake of bots and given the new concierge companies that are popping up like Hello Alfred and Go Buttler, there is a new wave of user interfaces. We are almost back to the days of computer terminals from the 1980s with text interfaces. Several companies are starting to provide services through chats (for example WhatsApp).

  • IBM continues to make its way in artificial intelligence and machine learning with Watson (which made its leap to fame by winning Jeopardy, the famous American television game show). More and more ‘machines’ are beginning to understand and respond in real language. Hopefully, virtual assistants like Siri will finally start to work better for once.
  • Blockchains, the technology behind the famous virtual currency bitcoin, were the subject of several lectures. This technology allows, among other things, to decentralize trust in certain transactions by distributing the approval system over a set of online points. The application to new sectors such as insurance could represent major changes to current business models.

At the same time that startups seem to dominate the scene, some big companies like GE are desperately trying to create their cool factor to be able to attract talent (who are more attracted to companies like Google or Facebook). A lot of marketing investment is going in this direction, although it often sounds like an adult trying to talk to a child in their language, somewhat forced. Digital change must start with company culture, not advertising.

From the world of tourism and art, came the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Museums are being confronted with many new technologies, 3D scanners, 3D printers, virtual and mixed reality.  On the one hand, museums want to share their works with as many people as possible, but at the same time they need to keep visitors and maintain copyright. It is not clear yet which way to go.

Following this sector, from my point of view it is critical and urgent that the political power begins to understand what is happening in the universe of technology. There is no way to stop these advances, and someone must regulate them (without falling into excesses). The ethical, legal, security and privacy issues will reach levels never seen before.

Technology crosses borders and easily bypasses laws that were never designed for this kind of situation, and regulators who mostly don’t understand what is happening. If we don’t prepare, I suspect we’re in for some nasty surprises down the road. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

David Bernardo
David Bernardo
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