Perhaps even moreso than even big data or blockchain, AI is fast becoming the buzzword on everyone’s lips. Machine learning has been a promising field for years, but with the astonishing success of deep learning techniques, we’re rapidly being propelled into an automated future. But can AI withstand the hype? What’s standing between us and successful large-scale adoption of ML and AI techniques?

Ahead of Data Natives 2018 on the 22nd & 23rd November, I talked to four key speakers in the AI space about the future of AI, and what transformations AI will (and won’t!) bring about.

On What the Public Needs to Know About AI

“AI needs data. If you have enough data, an AI can learn anything. This is stated by the universal function approximator theorem. Even a single hidden layer neural network can represent any mathematical function. Those functions are highly sought-after, since the allow us to control and predict nearly everything, ranging from a detailed psychological profile of an internet user to a complete model of the physical world. The individuals and corporations that own these models have power in their hands similar to a nuclear bomb. So let’s create clean energy from AI.”

Romeo Kienzler, Chief Data Scientist, IBM Watson IoT; read our full interview with Romeo here.

On AI’s Ability to Enhance Human Life

“AI is going to fundamentally change how we operate in our work lives, and our private lives. I see strong parallels to how personal computers revolutionized these spaces, freeing us from manual, repetitive tasks and allowing us to focus on more creative and strategy-intensive topics. AI will do this to an even greater degree, because it can actually support us in extremely difficult tasks, enhancing our most human features, intelligence and creativity. AI will become an omnipresent personal assistant in every aspect of our lives, maybe even developing real personalities. But this is maybe 10 years out still.”

Dr. Heiko Schmidle, Lead Data Scientist, DCMN

On Busting Through the AI Hype

“As most professionals know, there are two types of AI – the general AI and the narrow AI. Over time, it will probably be hard to draw a clear line between the two, but the today’s so called “narrow AI” is, in my view, just well-trained algorithms and, therefore, it should be actually referred to as such. Having said that, the term “AI” will certainly continue circulating around with respect to such algorithms at the very least for the marketing purpose. Nevetherless, I believe that the trained algorithms will become better and better exponentially. So, there are certainly many exciting innovations to be expected to emerge within just a couple of years. I, for one, am particularly curious about the merge of the machine learning and blockchain technologies, which can already be observed today. There are still not many companies that combine these two areas, but the potential of this, so to speak, collaboration is exciting and quite promising.”

Igor Drobiazko, CTO, elastic.io

On Combining Data Streams for Stronger Insights

“More data sets will be analyzed together for better insight. You’ll see bundles combining web, social, and Internet of Things (IoT) data in various combinations to see how different ideas from various areas of the online world weave together and influence one another. We’ll see, for example, how social media usage directly influences reliance on particular integrated IoT devices and vice versa. Eventually, the divide between different genres of data will erode and we’ll deal with data as a single entity.”

Justin Wyman, VP, Socialgist


Romeo, Heiko, Igor and Justin will all be speaking at Data Natives– the data-driven conference of the future, hosted in Dataconomy’s hometown of Berlin. On the 22nd & 23rd November, 110 speakers and 1,600 attendees will come together to explore the tech of tomorrow, including AI, big data, blockchain, and more. As well as two days of inspiring talks, Data Natives will also bring informative workshops, satellite events, art installations and food to our data-driven community, promising an immersive experience in the tech of tomorrow.

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