Techweek Logo, Washington DC, 2017
Technology / 10.10.2017

Pivotal topics at Techweek 2017: AI and data intelligence

As D.C. continues to strengthen its reputation as a preeminent technology and innovation hub, it comes as no surprise that Techweek—a company dedicated to inspiring the growth of sustainable businesses through conferences—chose to host one of their conferences here for the first time last week.

The Grafik technology team attended several events and enjoyed meeting likeminded peers from our rapidly changing industry.

Here were some of our favorite topics:

1. Predicting user behavior with AI:
At the UI for AI: Intelligent Design event, Maxim Leyerovich, Principal UX Designer at nclud, led a discussion on what artificial intelligence (AI) is, how we currently use it, and how it impacts our everyday lives—even when we don’t realize it. With Grafik’s increasing use of heat mapping to analyze user interactions on sites we develop, we were particularly struck by advances in user mouse motion prediction.

2. The ethics of data intelligence:
Stuart Kupinsky, Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel at Blackboard, gave a thought-provoking response to questions about the way machine learning algorithms can be subject to bias. While it’s efficient for a computer to provide data to decision makers, in the face of inevitable bias there is a case for layering in human review. Conversely, there are times when it is beneficial for machines to check human bias. This poses the question: should there ever be fully-autonomous machines? (And will seeing the Blade Runner sequel really help us answer that question?)

3. Adopting a data-driven culture through data intelligence gathering:
This is a contentious topic for many put off by the idea of being watched or having our privacy infringed upon. However, in the face of danger–such as a terror event or mass shooting–our perception tends to change, and we turn to data intelligence gathering to ease our minds. All of the panelists generally agreed that there need to be checks and regulations in place for how data should be used.

We hope Techweek will be back in 2018, and from CEO Amanda Signorelli’s comments, our chances look promising: “D.C.’s flourishing tech ecosystem, paired with its prominent government research and scientific institutions make this the ideal new market for us,” she said in a statement. “The U.S. capital is the heart of where national tech regulations are created and it is the life blood of how startups across country ultimately evolve.”

What were your favorite moments from the inaugural Techweek D.C.? Tweet at us @grafik_agency!

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