With a packed house at Patelco Credit Union corporate headquarters in Dublin, four artificial intelligence experts shared insights and tips about the direction of the technology and how it can be used in various professional and corporate settings.
Hosted by Startup Tri-Valley, Rezolve.ai, the city of Dublin and Patelco, the Tri-Valley AI Summit on Aug. 29 was the first of its kind in the region. The event brought together business and community leaders to learn about benefits of generative AI -- artificial intelligence that is capable of generating text, images or other media using generative models, like ChatGPT.
"In my 25 years in the tech space, I've seen cloud and big data and blockchain and any other number of technologies come and take hold, but personally I think generative AI and the transformation potential of it is significantly larger than any of them," said Saurabh Kumar, CEO of Dublin-based Rezolve.ai and a panelist at the summit.
The panel discussion titled, "A Resilience-Centered Framework Built on Generative AI For Businesses and Individuals", featured Kumar along with Jamar Thomas, a lead enterprise architect at Google; Matthew Andrew, director of advanced research for Carl Zeiss X-ray Microscopy; and Monte LaBute, a technologist and research scientist who is currently leading an advanced research and technology team at Workday focused on scaling AI/ML features across the company's products.
The approximately 45-minute conversation was moderated by Jason Sydow, founding partner of Next47, a venture capital firm based in Palo Alto.
To kick off the event, Dublin Mayor Melissa Hernandez shared remarks. She referred to the Tri-Valley as "the new Silicon Valley" in her comments, alluding to the many emerging tech and science businesses planting roots in the area.
The first official question to the panel asked, "How can generative AI be used to create more resilient applications or environments?" In his response, LaBute reassured the audience that the tech industry is not looking to take jobs away with AI but rather "repurpose talented people to do more strategic things" while using AI and other technologies to lighten workloads.
Examples he provided were accounting and HR systems operating with more intelligence and more automation in a way that's working with people as opposed to replacing them.
All of the panelists at different points throughout the discussion referenced the coronavirus pandemic, which expedited the need and desire for businesses to rely more on automation and artificial intelligence to continue operations remotely and in many cases, with reduced staffing resources.
"The definition for resilience for me in this context is about, of course, adopting the change but also becoming more agile, faster, more cost efficient. So this to me -- resilience kind of in a changing world -- means making your business itself more resilient using AI as one of those foundational capabilities," Kumar said.
When asked what are some of the key skills that may shift or be added within the workforce because of emerging generative solutions that could make people more resilient to the new work processes, Thomas pointed to "democratizing data" as an example.
He highlighted a scenario where a business owner may need to find data insights to answer certain questions and they may have an AI dashboard that shows these insights which then need to be translated into a chart or sequel. The person may not necessarily have the skills to create those assets themselves but with generative AI capabilities, they could use simple terms and natural language to ask the technology to generate those charts or sequels quickly and efficiently for them.
Toward the end of the discussion, the panelists held a brief Q&A with audience members. One of the attendees asked what would be a fundamental note to keep in mind when building an AI product or integrating AI into an existing product.
The panelists agreed that value to the customer is No. 1. They advised focusing on the solution to the problem you're trying to solve within your business and really evaluating whether generative AI is even the right tool before choosing that approach.