Artificial intelligence dominated more than a few tech conversations at the Dublin Tech Summit last week, and the topic of ‘How Intelligent Humans Can Co-Exist with Artificial intelligence’ was a fascinating one, in particular. An all-female panel, moderated by Eric Schurenberg, provided a thought-provoking dive into the world of AI that really set the tone for a fascinating summit which also included plenty of other hot debates.
Laura Ellis, Head of Technology Forecasting at the BBC made an excellent point on Day Two that we should not forget the ultimate purpose of AI – to improve humanity’s way of life. As she said herself: “Go into AI…but bear in mind that what you’re doing is not technology, it’s technology designed to better serve people.”
Over on the Vision stage, a similar point was made when Hugh Wheldon, CTO and co-founder at Evocco, and Chris Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Tracworx, discussed the challenge of creating a sustainable-first start-up in a digital world. The pair touched on the notion, again, that technology is not the end goal – its main function is to make life better and easier, elucidating a strong, bolded, underlined point that the future of the planet should surely be the main focus of technology’s advancement and practicality. Because a bright future is only really possible if we start making smart, environmentally friendly changes…right now.
Earlier in the day, Michelle You, CEO and co-founder of Supercritical, also brought home the importance of scaling a start-up the sustainable way. She made a number of important points about how companies can still make a greater effort to take responsibility for carbon emissions – adding that even though many employees continue to work from home, there is so much more that can be done to offset remote-working employees’ environmental impact. “You’re responsible for your employees’ emissions as they work from home,” she said at the Evolution Stage.
Michelle You also took part in a diversity chat later the same day. And speaking of diversity, the Women in Leadership panel continued the topic in front of a packed house. PorterShed’s corporate member, Rent the Runway. were represented by VP Managing Director, Dorothy Creaven, who put a fine point on the idea that “it’s really important for every voice to have a place at the table… because everyone has a unique perspective.”
It was a fantastic discussion, but if we are to continue making improvements in female representation in tech leadership, we need buy-in from everyone. There were mostly women at this particular panel, which tells its own story…
We also got to meet the folks at Connected Hubs – who sponsored our ticket for the event – and we met a few of the companies who had set up their stalls, as well as mingling with fellow attendees. It really was a worthwhile visit to the capital that once again showcased how important a role Ireland has to play in a positive future for tech across all disciplines.
Undoubtedly, plenty of the Dublin Tech Summit talks drew large audiences, captivated our attention, and engaged the attendees – that’s the sign of a great event. But what the event did even better, was that it made us challenge our ideas of what tech’s main focus should be. After all, tech is simply a means to an end – whether that objective is for the best (and the betterment of the planet) is up to us, and the people who know how to wield it effectively.
By Trevor Murray
Content Marketing Specialist at the PorterShed
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