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Reflections on the SuperAI Conference: A Glimpse into AI’s Present and Future

6/25/2024 Michał Kalisiński


Continuing my coverage of my trip to Singapore and following up on my thoughts about ITC Asia 2024, which you can find in my previous post, I’d like to share my impressions of the SuperAI conference, which took place concurrently at the Convention Center.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, the conference was large (reportedly 5,000 attendees and nearly a thousand companies from around the world). On the other hand, the smaller Insurtech event had more concrete content.

The Public Discourse and Ethical Considerations of AI

It’s clear that Artificial Intelligence is now an absolutely top issue, discussed not only within the tech industry but also among the general public. The topic of AI has permeated the awareness of the masses, and from Elon Musk to the average Joe Doe (or Chen Lee), everyone is pondering this subject. For some, it’s an opportunity; for others, a threat; and for most, an unknown.

At SuperAI, a humanoid robot, with whom one of the speakers conversed, concluded by saying, “Enjoy the last years of the human era.” This sounded ominous, but after what the audience had observed for the previous hour, it elicited more laughter than fear. Was this reaction appropriate? I guess that what robot Sophia said was not the result of an implemented neural network but rather a specifically designed text by the creators for that exact time and place, aiming to achieve a certain humorous effect, as the host alluded to.

However, the concerns many have about not following a dangerous path are also valid. This topic was addressed during Edward Snowden’s presentation. Known for his deep knowledge of security and cybersecurity threats, Snowden gave an interesting talk on ethical and privacy issues in the world of technology.

Future Directions and Challenges in AI Development

Where are we on the path of AI development? Judging by the conference, if I were to evaluate it solely through the lens of this event, I would say we are in a stage of technological fascination, pondering what we can do with it. We know it’s great, we are excited about its potential possibilities, but there are still few concrete applications. I realize many will disagree with me, citing ChatGPT, etc., but my opinion is that I did not find a groundbreaking AI application at the SuperAI conference. Maybe next year.

In the meantime? The work on development is broad, with Generative AI reigning supreme, and applications in business and everyday life becoming increasingly practical and useful. I would like regulations to keep pace with this. Large companies and governments want to have their own models, which has both positive and negative implications. Appliance manufacturers and game developers want AI implemented „on board” because it attracts attention and sells. Over time, these investments in a broader understanding of AI will likely pay off; for now, for most, it’s an investment.

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