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NVTC Hosts All Day Summit on Artificial Intelligence

On March 21, NVTC hosted our inaugural ‘Impact AI Summit’ at the Inova Center for Personalized Health in Fairfax. With nearly 250 attendees, the gathering reflected the growing interest in integrating AI into business models and better understanding the ethical concerns AI presents.

The Summit kicked off with a keynote address by Toni Townes-Whitley, President of US Regulated Industries at Microsoft, who provided an overview of Microsoft’s multi-pronged approach to using AI in a way that makes business more efficient, and opens up new labor opportunities for underserved populations. Dr. Rumman Chowdhury, Global Lead for Responsible AI with Accenture Applied Intelligence Networks, followed up later in the morning with thought-provoking ethical questions around data privacy, diversity and inclusion that AI presents. Dr. Chowdhury highlighted facial recognition technology as an example of unintended ‘Experimental Bias’ that can occur as AI continues to be perfected by engineers.

In addition to the keynotes, six panel sessions focused on different angles of AI, from the challenges of deploying at enterprise scale, to the role that AI plays in human capital management. Each panel featured professionals and experts from the field and the Summit’s exhibit hall showcased live demonstrations and other companies who are nurturing the region’s AI industry.

Impact AI.
Panelists speaking during Impact AI

The Summit was interspersed with brief ‘Tech Talks’ by AI leaders such as Jay Crossler, Director and Chief Engineer of Operations with The MITRE Corporation. Crossler shed light on the federal government’s strong interest in implementing AI in its cybersecurity response measures, but also warned about the vulnerabilities that could be created around AI algorithms, if not sufficiently protected. The morning lineup also included a one-on-one fireside chat between Melissa Edwards, Managing Director of Advisory, Intelligent Automation for KPMG and Malcolm Ross, VP of Product for Appian. Ross discussed his experience in leading intelligent process automation and software technologies that drive digital transformation. Edwards added insight from her experience leading the journey for clients through the progression to utilize machine learning and robotic process automation.

Impact AI.
Panelists during Impact AI

The morning also included two panels: Integrating AI in Smart Cities and AI in Public Sector and Defense Tech Talent Innovations for Today and Tomorrow. The Smart Cities panel discussion offered a unique look at how AI is being applied to the general public by way of the US Department of Transportation’s Smart City grant program. Representatives from Columbus, Ohio, which won the grant competition, shared an update on how they are using AI processes to improve the lives of Columbus residents with regard to health, labor, education and closing the digital divide. Kim Hayes, CEO and Co-founder of The Ambit Group, is a proven leader in Human Centered Design consultation for clients and moderated the panel.

Meanwhile, participants in the Public Sector and Defense session updated attendees on federal government uses of AI and what its expectations are in the years ahead, regarding national security. They also identified gaps where government-sponsored AI programs are lagging behind other counties. The afternoon continued with a deep dive into “Machine Learning the Easy Way: Practical Use Cases”, moderated by Ian Kelly, Customer Engineering Manager for Google Cloud. Panelists shared case studies on how Google Cloud is supplying customers with machine leaning (ML) and AI tools to better aggregate news articles and online advertising to improve the targeting of readers.

The Summit concluded with a wrap-up panel, titled “Back to the Future!” which featured leading experts from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the private sector. Dr. Sally Morton, Dean of the Virginia Tech College of Science, moderated the panel, which took a bird’s-eye view of the day’s discussions and shared thoughts on the alternative approaches from the fields of AI, statistical learning and data science. The panelists also offered a comprehensive view on how far AI has advanced over the past 30 years, and its potential for the future.