Two weeks ago, Palazzo Mezzanotte in Milan, former home of the Italian Stock Exchange, hosted an important AI event for business: AI Forum.
AI Forum was organized by the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence (AIxIA) and it has been the first relevant exhibition outside scientific circuits in Italy.
AI Forum was a great success. Over 700 participants and 60 speakers and panelists to discuss the most concrete AI solutions for companies, starting a synergy between the world of research and business. But the road is still long and in this post we will explain why from our perspective, summarizing the main outcomes of our presence in 3 points.
- The rAIce to the moon is started …
As Piero Poccianti, the president of AIxIA, said in the introductory talk, we are current living a rising enthusiasm around AI: we are in a moment of hype, mainly consequently to the results obtained by Deep Learning. It has now come the time for companies to understand the real possibilities and limitations of AI, because there are no shelf technologies, but solutions that must be tackled in an Agile approach.
- …and Italy and Europe are lagging behind…
In this moment of hype and of particular visibility for Artificial Intelligence, it is important to promote its use in Italy, where the academic contribution has been so far very qualified, but the sinergy with industry is still difficult and fragmented. In the panel we attended together with 3 other Italian startups, Pepe Moder, a very smart moderator, asked: “and where did your startup get the necessary fundings for activities?”, that opened the discussion about the current situation in Italy and in Europe. We replied presenting the numbers of AI investments in EU, and cross-checked them with the situation in US and China. The conclusion was that Italy is lagging behind Europe, that is lagging behind US and China, either in public and -especially- in private fundings and equities.
- … but can recover thanks to a “community approach”.
Yes, we can.
Again, starting from the experience collected at AI Forum. As our new friend Paolo Lombardi noticed, out of the 12 companies showcasing at the event, half were (major) system integrators and consultancy companies. The other 6 were startups, hosted in a booth inside the “Startup Village”, where also we of Aptus.AI were showcasing in our nice purple T-Shirts, presenting our AI-powered solutions (by the way take the opportunity to read more on our website, and stay tuned for our new LawTech product, AI.LawSonar).
Well, the “Startup Village” was the real ‘hearth’ of the event, with lot of people attending the booths, discussing with new potential customers and sharing experiences. We believe that this must be the starting point for a qualitative leap forward for AI, with “T-Shirts” at the hearth: in an historic moment dominated by announcements by foreign multinationals and by news on multi-billion dollars public investment programs in other countries, a new community must be created, with all the stakeholders inside, especially open to SMEs and startups. Only in this way we will win the 3 main challenges in AI: creating and training new talent, fine-tuning core technologies for Agile new solutions, retrieving and exploiting existing data.