Data Confex 2019

Posted by Stephanie Organ on 29-Nov-2019 12:41:18

In Events, Data Confex

Yesterday Nightingale HQ had the pleasure of sponsoring the first Wales Data Confex: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data 2019, held in Cardiff, where various stakeholders came together to discuss the future of AI and data for organisations and the country as a whole.

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If you came to our stand you would have been able to take our quiz to find out which quick win AI projects would be a good fit for your organisation and takeaway the corresponding sheets with a run down of how to execute them yourselves! Of course, if you couldn't show up in person, you can still get the complete guide here.

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Throughout the day we heard lots of great talks, starting with Martin Bishop from Amazon Web Services. He pointed out how all have to be data people in today's economy, and discussed some of the powerful tools such as the AWS Sagemaker, and processes like making data more accessible, that make it easier for people to work with data. Above having access to the right tools, there needs to be a change in mindset to get more people using them. Data is for everyone.

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Next we heard from John Hall who emphasised the increasing connections forming between the world of the digital and the world of the physical and used interesting case studies to explain digital twins - a digitalised version of a physical thing, such a map of an underground pipe system which saves having to dig up the whole road to look for a pipe, predictive maintenance which was able to predict ride failures in a theme park 2-7 days before they happened, and touched on the ethics behind digital dilemmas which boil down to whether you should do something with data just because you can.

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After a refreshments break, Steph took the stage to talk about the 7 Quick Win AI Projects that anyone can get started without needing the technical knowledge of a data scientist. She highlighted how AI can seem daunting, but these little projects are the perfect stepping stone to help companies realise that they can start practicing AI and make subsequent projects seem more manageable.

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Next, Mark Strefford of Timelapse AI discussed the steps in bringing AI to the core of your business. He quoted Andrew Ng who stated that "More organisations fail [at AI] by starting too big, than starting too small." and we couldn't agree more. Mark also indicated that other key points in an AI adoption journey were keeping users and stakeholders in mind, they are as important as the data itself.

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After lunch, Lee Waters AM, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport talked about how Artificial Intelligence might affect the economy, and while a number of jobs may be displaced, who knows what will be born in their place. He encouraged Wales to rise to the challenges and seize the opportunities by up-skilling staff and collaborating more effectively.

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As the day drew to a close, Professors Penny Holborn and Andrew Ware from the University of South Wales shared insights from their graduate scheme with success stories of how their data science students had collaborated with various organisations to launch successful projects and create data science departments in companies that didn't previously have them. We also believe this is a great strategy for securing AI talent at such a crucial time from a limited pool.

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David Williams from DigiBlu went on to talk about how their company believes in Intelligent Automation (IA) over Artificial Intelligence (AI), stressing the point that in 5-10 years 20-30% of enterprise work will be automated. This brings up back to the running theme of a required shift in skills as the future of work pans out.

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Peter Sueref rounded off the day with an engaging final talk looking at the past, present and future of data science, bringing up figures such as Florence Nightingale and John Snow, both pioneers of using data to solve health issues, then focusing on the data giants of today such as Amazon and Google and the privacy and transparency issues around data. He notes how Digital innovation can transform business & economy, begging the question, can a whole country be digitally displaced?

Nightingale HQ thoroughly enjoyed the day and hope to see more events like this in the Wales and throughout the UK. Thanks again to the Welsh Contact Centre Forum for organising the event.

We hope to see more of you at the next one!