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Although AI has been around for decades, it’s currently creating more conjecture, concern and conversations than ever. With a strong line-up of expert speakers, Deakin’s annual AI Festival will provide important insight into the role of generative AI

More than 25 leading Australian and international experts will explore the fast-evolving world of generative AI at this year’s annual Deakin AI Festival on Co-Creating Value with Artificial Intelligence.

Hosted by DBS’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Future of Business, the two-day event (June 1-2)  will provide executive and future leaders across business, industry and academia with crucial insight into the possibilities of co-creating value across a range of areas including software, products, and new market opportunities. 

The generative AI boom

Centre Director and Head of Department, Professor Hind Benbya, says that over the past year, a key AI development has been the emergence of powerful generative AI technology such as ChatGPT.

‘This form of AI technology not only learns from vast amounts of data but also produces and creates content that was impossible just a few years ago. For examples, generative AI systems can now create art, compose music, write convincing documents, engage and debate with humans, and produce software. While this development has attracted significant attention, it has also generated fears around the uncertainty of AI and what it means for the future of knowledge and creative work.’

Until recently, the potential of AI to create value has been through streamlined business processes and improved efficiency thanks to automation.

However rather than simply analysing or acting on existing data, generative AI has taken the technology to a new level by  its capabilities in generating original text, music, and video content.

Prof. Benbya says there’s at least nine different categories of generative AI models.

‘For example, text-to-image models like DALL. E 2 or Midjourney are able to generate realistic images and art from a prompt consisting of a text description while text-to-text models like ChatGPT interact in a conversational way by answering follow-up questions, and other models also convert text into code or video.’

But she explains that there’s only six organisations (including Google, Meta AI, Microsoft) behind these models.

‘This is because deploying such models requires an enormous computation power and a highly-skilled and experienced team in data science and data engineering.’

The role of generative AI in co-creating value

While generative AI can be used to automate mundane or repetitive tasks, Prof. Benbya says it also has the important potential to support humans across a broad spectrum of projects.

‘It can be utilised in classifying, editing, summarising, answering questions, making suggestions, and drafting new content. Generative AI has also the potential to transform creative tasks and outputs and it is increasingly being used as a new source of creativity.  

'Each of these actions has the potential to create value by changing how work gets done at the activity level across business functions and domains. As humans increasingly work with generative AI in a form of hybrid intelligence this will lead to a mutually reinforcing cycle of value co-creation,’ she explains. 

Understanding the opportunities and limitations

Around the current hype and headlines, Prof. Benbya says that Deakin’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Future of Business takes a balanced approach to the adoption of AI.

‘Rather than inflated expectations or excessive unrealistic fears about AI, this means both defining the strategic choices that enable organisations to exploit opportunities and manage challenges of AI.’

She explains it’s about a strategic use of AI to complement – rather than displace – human capabilities and that the current technology still has several limitations. 

‘The models can be trained either on available repositories on the internet or proprietary corporate knowledge. Both carry several risks. If the models are trained on the internet, it means they are prone to produce bias. If they are trained on internal or sensitive data, they represent a threat to security and privacy. There is also the risk of misuse of the technology to spread fake news, inaccurate information, and scams.’

Diverse topics from leading speakers

Delivering a diverse and relevant range of topics, the festival features more 25 speakers from leading industry, business, and higher education organisations.

These include Lee Hickin (CTO Microsoft), Ian Opperman (NSW government), Oliver Fleming (SVP H2o.ai), Katarina Dulanovic (General Manager Data Office Allianz Australia), Bora Arslan (Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Commonwealth Bank), Olive Huang (Vice President Market Strategy Salesforce), Scott Thomson, (Head of Innovation Google), Karin Verspoor (Dean, RMIT), Rory Wooster (Analytics Lead Kmart Australia) and Jonathan Robinson (Chief Data and Analytics Officer Ink).

Prof. Benbya says the festival offers a unique opportunity to share expert insights and best practices about the potential possibilities of generative AI. 

‘This enables leaders to strategise in order to minimise the risks associated with emerging AI technology. By engaging leading academic researchers and industry experts, Deakin’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Future of Business is well positioned to provide thought leadership and education about the implications of AI on the Future of Business and advise large organisations on responsible AI adoption.

More information and registration for the 2023 AI Festival Co Creating Value with Artificial Intelligence can be found here

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