On Wednesday, August 30th, technology leaders from Silicon Valley met for two panel discussions on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, co-hosted by Women in Big Data (WiBD), CASPA, Women in Technology International (WITI), and Be the Change Foundation.
A Packed House
Within 15 minutes of opening the doors at the Intel Campus in the heart of the Silicon Valley, the room was packed. Of the 400+ attendees, many came from the WiBD meetup group and from CASPA’s communication network. Intel Employees also dropped by to see what the commotion was about and to share in the pizza and networking that got things rolling.
The program was kicked off by Intel’s Elaine Kwok, WiBD Co-Founder and Awareness & Evangelism Lead, who warmly welcomed everyone and introduced Dr. Connie Miao, Executive Director of CASPA and Intel System Architect, who served as the evening’s MC.
AI/ML Technology Trends
The first panel session, led by Dr. Elizabeth Xu, focused on AI/ML technology trends and the skills required for anyone looking to enter the space. The panelists for this session were:
The first question for the panel was basic: What AI computations were the panelists’ companies working on? The panelists explained their reasoning behind why AI is an important and growing sector of the industry, and suggested that a PhD is helpful in trying to understand and develop AI into the world-changing force we want it to be. Saheed Adepoju, an Intel employee, described the session as “…an interesting take on a topic I thought I knew more about. It is fascinating to see other players’ takes on something that I thought was an industry standard….” Concluding the session, each panelist was given a beautiful plaque for their willingness to participate in the event.
Skill Set Transformation and Learning Programs
The second panel discussion was moderated by Radhika Rangarajan, Director of Data Technology at Intel, and focused on skill set transformation and the learning programs needed to set industry standards. Panelists for this section included:
The focus of the panel was the relevancy of AI for those who are not data scientists – Should they care if AL is not a focus of their professional lives? Dr. Glen Qin started off with his reasoning, responding that “Yes – AI is the future of the tech industry.” Citing his own personal experiences in Big Data and the evolution of the industry, he noted that two years prior people had been merely discussing the potential uses of big data and where it would lead the industry – and now it is a staple for every major company. Dr. Qin also pointed out that AI is the latest advance in a long cycle of innovation and experimentation in the tech industry.
Dr. Bob Rogers then presented a framework for data scientist workflows, illustrating how researchers go about creating questions that structure their analysis. His thoughts were insights based on first-hand experience of what a data scientist faces every day.
The panel then took questions from the audience. Several enquired about the future of AI, and each panelist answered with his or her thoughts about where AI will take the industry and the world.
Overall, the event was a great success, with attendees remarking on the insightful, innovative, and interesting discussions. We would like to say “Thank You” to the panelists, moderators, planners, and volunteers who made it all possible.