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Prepare.ai draws a sell-out crowd in its second year in St. Louis

The Prepare.ai Conference on Artificial Intelligence marked its second year last week at the Eric P. Newman Education Center in St. Louis, Missouri on April 9.

The conference has grown since its inauguration last year, attracting 500 attendees from across the country to hear from a top-notch lineup of speakers on a range of Artificial Intelligence topics.

The event drew companies and investors from throughout the Midwest, providing a day of both networking and small-group presentations. Attendees browsed company displays and demos throughout the day, and peppered speakers with questions about present and future applications of AI, such as how companies will confront the challenge of innovating while balancing consumer data-privacy concerns.

Attendees chose from a range of sessions, from panels such as:
Women in Data Science & Tech
Investing in AI
Lunch & Learn sessions:
Diversity in Tech and Ethics
Society & Exponential Change
Intriguing seminars such as:
How Rodent Brains Optimize Deep Learning Architecture
Insights on Alexa Voice Integrations
Adding AI to your Company’s Palette
Automating Investment Research with Machine Learning

The Diversity in Tech and Ethics Lunch & Learn attracted a number of attendees, many of them sharing their stories about the challenges they have experienced or observed in both hiring diverse talent and succeeding in the technology industry. The group exchanged a number of ideas for addressing disparities and deficits in diversity and inclusion.

The conference opened with keynote speaker Anthony Sardella, CEO of Evolve24. He discussed the promise and potential perils of AI technology in our world today in his address titled A New Era of Data Responsibility, Transparency & Stewardship.

Sardella discussed the fears that must be addressed by the industry as organizations bring AI technologies into society. He suggested that the best outcomes for AI are produced when AI is combined with human intelligence and human decision-making – characterizing the AI industry not as data science, but as decision science.

As for the future of AI, Sardella said it all “depends on responsible stewardship of the technology by you, the researchers and technologists.”

Sardella’s keynote address was followed by a Panel titled AI & the Consumer. Panelists included Matt Sebek, VP Digital, World Wide Technology, Anthony Sardella, Dheeraj Patri, Co-founder & CTO of Label Insight, and Michael Wojcik, VP Enterprise Technology Services, Panera.

Panelists discussed AI ethics and values around data collection and usage. Wojcik commented that approximately 80% of Panera orders are customized in some manner, demonstrating just how much flexibility and personalization is managed by the tracking and recommendation algorithms in their omni-channel ordering system.

Sebek said the depth versus privacy of these data practices will ultimately depend on what consumers are demanding. Wojcik added that legal and IT are working together in earnest to protect consumer data.

The panelists also addressed whether AI would replace human jobs, and what safeguards are in place for consumers. Sebek highlighted the importance of considering the technology in the context of society’s preferences as AI technologies evolve.

He referenced fundamental shifts and changes and said it is important to institutionalize frameworks upfront that are driven by values around how and where organizations will and will not use AI.

Prepare.ai Executive Director Dave Costenaro said, “This conference showcases the region’s leadership in AI application and development, but moreover, highlights our unique opportunity to combine that with our midwestern culture of responsible stewardship.”

Next year’s Prepare.ai 2020 Conference The Heart of AI is set for Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch.

Visit https://prepare.ai/ to learn more about this conference.  Stay tuned for next year.

Bio: Dave Costenaro is Executive Director at Prepare.ai and the Head of Artificial Intelligence R&D at Jane.ai, where he helps to set the research agenda and apply the latest techniques in machine learning and natural language processing.

He brings a multidisciplinary perspective to his work based on a background in neuroscience, engineering, and business and 15+ years applying data science and computer modeling at companies like Boeing and Ameren. He is passionate about harnessing technology and economics to drive positive change and sees the Prepare.ai Conference as a way to galvanize St. Louis’ strength in AI and data science into a national and global hub.

About Prepare.ai: Prepare.ai is a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 2017 by technology entrepreneurs David Karandish and Chris Sims (Answers.com, Jane.ai, Create a Loop) to provide educational resources and strategic guidance about Artificial Intelligence to individuals, communities, and companies. Prepare.ai performs research and provides open forums and community events to increase awareness of and collaboration around the technologies in order to make them accessible to all.


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