Well, that’s a fair question.
Why are we even hosting this Web Directions AI event in Sydney on 28 September, given that our conferences typically focus on digital design and development, predominantly in a web-based context?
Over the last 12 to 18 months, I’ve been become increasingly aware that adding even a little intelligence to our existing products and services can have surprisingly positive impacts on user experience – and on profitability.
That’s before we even talk about the new products and services that become possible, feasible and likely with the introduction of new levels of machine intelligence.
Web Directions AI is about putting this all squarely in the context of what we currently do and will be doing in the near future.
Let me explain.
What do we mean by AI?
When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, we typically think and talk in terms of science fiction, robots and the future. The same goes for the related concepts of Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing. There’s a perception that is all future tech.
Web Directions AI sets out to dispel this notion, and provide a real world context for what AI is now and will increasingly become. William Gibson came up with a now well-known quote that certainly applies to this: ‘The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed”.
“Real world”? Really?
Like most people, you probably use predictive typing on your phone. Your device’s ability to predict the rest of the word you’re typing is driven by a form of artificial intelligence.
Now imagine predictive typing being removed from your phone. Remove just a little intelligence from one small, but vital aspect of that device, and its usefulness plummets. The original iPhone shipped without even copy and paste functionality, but it did have predictive typing, a use of AI that has become expected and something we wouldn’t want to lose.
Right now, the role of AI in our digital products and services is limited. My prediction is that in a couple of years, though, designers, developers, UX and CX specialists, information architects, product managers and content strategists who don’t embrace and master AI will find themselves left behind.
So what’s the conference about?
Web Directions AI is about helping you to understand the capabilities of the technology today, and how straightforward and inexpensive it can be to add sophisticated AI capabilities to your work.
It’s about understanding the design opportunities of voice, chat and other “cognitive” technologies, and understanding the business opportunities, decisions and challenges of adopting anything from straightforward sentiment analysis, through triaging incoming support requests, to creating fully fledged intelligent chat interfaces.
Web Directions AI uses a format of expert talks, case studies and practical examples along with Q&A discussion opportunities, drawing on the expertise and experience of people doing some amazing work in this area right now.
Who should go to this?
If you work in the web and digital industry, and you’re already thinking about or working with AI technologies, we’ll help you get a deeper understanding of the key pillars of the Technology, Business and Design of AI.
And if you work in the web and digital industry and you’re NOT thinking about AI, we’ll show you why you should be, and how.
What do I do now?
Want to know more? Keen to register? The full program is at the AI conference site. Note that numbers are strictly limited, and we expect tickets to sell pretty quickly now that they are available as of today.
The Early Bird price for this new one-day conference is $599. After 1 September, it goes up to $699.
I’m really excited about this brand new Web Directions event, focused on an area of technology that I honestly believe will be as significant an opportunity for you, me and all our colleagues as the early days of the web itself.
If you need a bit of extra perspective on why I think this becoming such an exciting area for us, I’ve posted a few current and topical reading suggestions on our website.