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Intel embraces DX at Data-Centric Innovation Day

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Intel’s recent Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco showed how the company is putting digital transformation at the forefront of its business strategy, to build a bridge from its former position as the big name in PC CPUs, toward a more agile future. In a competitive world of business technology startups and scaleups, Intel is putting its DX foot forward, and showing how the company’s own innovations can help its global customers to embrace the wins that comes with digital transformation.

While the event was a product launch for all intents and purposes, there was a bigger story going on at Data-Centric Innovation Day: the positioning of Intel as a data-centric enterprise and the company’s emphasis on collaboration with its customers around the world as they undertake digital transformation.

At the event’s outset, Intel CEO Robert Swan predicted that the company’s data-centric total addressable market will be 200 billion by 2022. As a continually growing number of organizations move to the cloud, and C-suites continue to look to AI and analytics to develop their competitive advantage, this kind of market growth for the IT giant seems reasonable.

At the core of Intel’s data-driven shift is the customer experience. As Swan stated at the event, Intel is looking to become ‘customer-obsessed’ through the company’s new focus on data. While the role of a processor or a new hardware product within enterprise organizations has not radically shifted — it remains just one piece within the larger technology structures powering digital transformation — Intel’s attitude around their hardware and software offerings, and how they play into the customer’s overall business technology experience, has certainly taken a big leap forward.

The 2nd-Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors are all about data and digital transformation.

In a press release for the event, Navin Shenoy, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group, noted that the new technology was all about putting data first:

“Today’s announcements reflect Intel’s new data-centric strategy. The portfolio of products announced today underscores our unmatched ability to move, store and process data across the most demanding workloads from the data center to the edge. Our 2nd-Generation Xeon Scalable processor with built-in AI acceleration and support for the revolutionary Intel Optane DC persistent memory will unleash the next wave of growth for our customers.”

Intel unveiled a new range of products, including the next generation of Xeon Scalable Processors. The new Xeon line was designed with DX tasks in mind, and the processors look to aid Intel clients with AI processes, cloud and edge computing and with running rapidly growing workloads. The new processors feature DL Boost, a unique inference acceleration offering designed specifically for AI-heavy processes.

Intel

Lisa Davis (left), Intel’s VP of Data Center Group and General Manager of Digital Transformation and Scale Solutions, unveils new security solutions.

The technology giant also emphasized the security enhancements of the new range. VP of Digital Transformation at Intel, Lisa Davis, announced during the event that Intel has partnered with Lockheed Martin to create hardened, full-stack security solutions for CIOs and CESOs. Processing and moving more data than ever requires ever-evolving security, and Intel made a point of emphasizing their dedicating to this element of their new product line.

DX at the heart of Intel’s announcements

For an established tech company like Intel to take on data in such a massive way should be no surprise to digital transformation diehards. But for those still hesitant to take on data management as a bigger part of their organization, Intel’s focus on moving, storing and processing every bit of client data should act as a wakeup call for those still holding out when it comes to digital transformation efforts.

The shape that Intel’s technology is taking, as innovations like DL Boost and the cloud-centric nature of the company’s new security offerings show, is all about meeting the digital transformation needs of customers around the world.

“You can’t digitally transform as an organization if you’re focused on aging IT practices,” said Intel Canada’s Phil Vokins during an interview on the day of the event. “I think the one thing we’ve seen today which we should all be excited about is the range of capabilities and performance that we’re enabling, which was unthinkable even a couple of years ago. It’s not just about the performance of the processor, but look at the memory we can have per socket now. This will really enable businesses to take advantage of the information they have.”

Collaboration with partners and clients key

This focus on a holistic approach to data is not something Intel is doing on its own. The emphasis of Intel’s Data-Centric Innovation Day was so clearly on collaboration, with many major players in the IT and enterprise world contributing to the event. During his keynote, Shenoy was vocal about Intel’s broad set of partners and customers, emphasizing branching out and building a bigger business ecosystem.

Every technology showcased during the product launch was tied back to one of Intel’s global partners: AWS, Vodafone, Twitter, Microsoft, Alibaba, and other companies were featured and promoted through Intel’s own announcements. Featuring partners like this led to some very conversational panels on the nitty gritty of DX throughout the day’s events. But this collaborative approach to the technology also highlighted another aspect of Intel’s digital transformation journey.

Vokins said that, for Intel, the process of digital transformation is also a question of interpreting what’s happening in the world of business technology and turning that information into valuable insights to improve performance.

“We’re in a very fortunate position, given our market share, that we have huge amounts of information and resources and access to leading businesses. So we need to make sure that we can disseminate, understand and rearticulate that information back.”

Vokins emphasized the need to collaborate around each digital transformation insight, “so that we can all learn from it, and learn how customers are embracing technology to rapidly improve performance.”

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WeaveSphere’s goal? Make STEM education more accessible and inclusive

WeaveSphere technology conference offers high school students of all backgrounds the chance to an education pathways, scholarships, and funding opportunities available to students looking at STEM.

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STEM Education
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We’re at a turning point.

Collectively, we face significant challenges to our well-being and overall future existence as a society — climate change, healthcare, liveable cities, transportation, finance — the list goes on.

But there are solutions on the horizon, and according to Kostas Kontogiannis, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at York University, it’s going to take an “all-hands-on-deck” approach. 

Specifically, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education, and preparing younger generations to embrace these sectors.

“We are at the point where we have the capacity to share knowledge through the internet and publications where we can make significant advances,” says Kontogiannis. “We need technological advances to solve these challenges.”

According to Statistics Canada, more than 130,000 Canadians graduated with a STEM degree in 2019. Furthermore, a 2019 survey by Randstad found that 65% of Canadians between the ages of 45 and 67 would focus on a career in STEM if they were 18 again. 

“STEM is not only for crazy geeky people,” Kontogiannis says, laughing. “It’s for people that would like to make a contribution and provide solutions to the world’s biggest problems.” 

Kontogiannis spends his day job working in computer science and electrical engineering, but highlights that STEM careers include much more than sitting in front of a computer.

“With science, it could be developing materials that make the colour of your car stay shiny. With math, it could be optimizing the schedules of buses. With industrial processes, it might be about developing material that makes airplanes lighter so they consume less fuel.”

Canada’s innovation conference set to host STEM Day for high school students

You’ve probably seen plenty of toys and activities geared towards kids to help them get interested in STEM, from tricked-out Lego projects to DIY robot coding kits. And if you’re a parent who wants to get your kids thinking about these fields early in their lives, their interest can really start to take off in high school.

For students who want to get a taste of what a STEM education — and thus STEM career — might be like, the WeaveSphere technology and innovation conference is opening its doors to to people in grades 9-12 on what the event is calling “STEM Day.”

WeaveSphere brings together industry leaders, developers, and academics to “weave” together ideas that accelerate innovation. STEM Day takes place on November 17, the last of the three-day conference in downtown Toronto. Students from across Canada can also join parts of WeaveSphere STEM Day virtually by registering at the site.

STEM Day will outline the education pathways, scholarships, and funding opportunities available to students. This full workshop day will feature insights from industry leaders and academics, with plenty of opportunities for Q&As. 

What’s important to know is that it’s open to everyone. 

“In my opinion, the main thing we can do is to remove the stigma that STEM is only for men from specific backgrounds,” says Julia Rubin of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia who is organizing STEM Day alongside Kontogiannis. “I grew up in the Soviet Union. People ask me why I chose STEM, and the simple answer is: nobody told me I wasn’t supposed to.”

While there has been a movement in higher-ed to open the doors of STEM education to women, Black people, Indigenous people, racialized and people of colour, those in the LGBTQIA+ community, and other marginalized groups, there is still a long way to go. 

But as Rubin explains, spreading the word is very important to creating change.

“One of my goals with the STEM event is actually to try to reach out to communities that don’t traditionally hear from us,” says Rubin.

Conference roots inspired by real-life collaboration

In its 32nd year, WeaveSphere is a collaboration between IBM Canada’s academic and research technology conference (previously called CASCON) and Evoke Canada’s industry-focused developer conference.

The event is widely known in technical academic circles, as IBM Canada has fostered a robust academic community in computer science and software engineering for more than 30 years.

Outside of the event, both Kontogiannis and Rubin (and their students) regularly collaborate with IBM Canada’s Advanced Studies team who help shape their research. Those partnerships are unlike anything else in the industry, Kontogiannis says, highlighting five key differentiators of what it’s like to work with IBM Canada’s Advanced Studies team:

  • They are committed to research (especially applied research).
  • Collaboration allows them to build systems that are more widely applicable to real-world use cases beyond simple problem solving.
  • They get access to a wider pool of provincial and federal funding, thanks to matching funds.
  • Researchers can tap into a broader audience and patent their work.
  • IBM Canada’s Advanced Studies team has a world-class reputation.

For Rubin, it’s also how Advanced Studies really cares about their fellows and students. 

Get the Advanced Studies experience at WeaveSphere

If you’re interested in getting a deeper look at the collaborative IBM experience, the WeaveSphere conference is where you want to be — especially for all high schoolers considering a career in the STEM fields. 

The conference’s STEM Day will include a full slate of activities and learning opportunities, including a look at current projects involving everything from the future of telecommunications to IoT to Quantum Computing, advances in STEM, and how research and work in STEM can help society in many different and unexpected ways.

One unique topic that will be discussed is how students from all backgrounds can fund their STEM education. 

“We don’t want students to believe that if they don’t have enough money, they cannot go to university,” says Rubin. “We want to highlight the requirements, the funding opportunities, and what is the next step to get there if you want.”

And for students who may feel intimidated, just remember this piece of advice from Kontogiannis:

“Set goals in your life, work hard to achieve them, and you will achieve them. Don’t think of STEM as something that is difficult. Don’t be afraid to set your goals and work.”


DX Journal is an official media partner for WeaveSphere. We will share updates leading up to the event, and we’ll be live on location from November 15-17,2022. Join us and get your tickets at weavesphere.co.

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Ukraine first lady appeals for IT workers’ help

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Olena Zelenska told thousands of investors, entrepreneurs and tech workers gathered for the annual Web Summit in Portugal that Russia 'puts technology at the service of terror'
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Ukraine’s first lady called on Tuesday for IT specialists to help her country by building technology that saves lives rather than ending them.

Olena Zelenska told thousands of investors, entrepreneurs and tech workers gathered for the annual Web Summit in Portugal that Russia “puts technology at the service of terror”.

She showed slides of the aftermath of drone attacks in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and urged the delegates to use their skills to make a positive change instead.

Her husband, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, appeared as a hologram at several tech events earlier this year to directly appeal to companies to help rebuild his country with advanced tech infrastructure.

Zelenska, who has made in-person appearances at several events recently and addressed US Congress in July, said she would not make a detailed appeal.

Instead, the 44-year-old, a screenwriter by profession, highlighted the key role that technology was playing in the Russian invasion of her country.

She cited a Bellingcat report that alleged Russian IT workers were playing an active part in the war effort.

“Some IT specialists in Russia have made their choice to be aggressors and murderers,” she said, urging the audience to make the opposite choice.

“I believe that technology should be used to create, save and help people, not destroy them.”

Her 15-minute speech drew a standing ovation from the audience.

The organisers of the Web Summit had earlier become embroiled in a row over an invitation they had extended to people from Grayzone, a journalism website that regularly reflects pro-Russian conspiracy theories about the conflict.

The conference cancelled the invites, provoking a huge row on social media between users who said it was an infringement of free speech and those who supported the decision.

Some 70,000 people are expected to attend the Lisbon conference over the next three days.

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WeaveSphere technology conference announces first human-AI keynote

Dr. William Barry’s keynote will look at ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ of using AI to augment human teams.

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WeaveSphere - Dr. William Barry
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He’s the first person in North America to use AI androids as teaching assistants in an academic setting, and uses an AI team when working with military personnel, business leaders, technologists, and students. 

Now, along with three AI assistants (a robot and two avatars), Dr. William Barry will be at the WeaveSphere technology conference in Toronto on November 15-17, 2022. 

Dr. Barry will deliver a keynote presentation and demonstration called “The ethical implications of social AI in the fourth industrial revolution” that will look at what leaders need to consider when using AI to augment human capabilities. 

As part of his presentation, Dr. Barry will dive into “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of using AI to augment human teams.  

An ethicist, expert in emerging technologies, and cyber operation subject matter expert (GovCon) at the U.S. Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership, Dr. Barry has 25 years of experience as an innovative and creative experiential educator. A body language and micro-expression expert, his extensive list of diverse accomplishments includes:

  • Former Visiting Professor of Philosophy and Ethical Reasoning at West Point
  • Co-author of a book chapter titled ‘The Ethics of AI and War: Digital Trigger’ on national defence strategy using autonomous weapon systems
  • Author of the children’s book, Robot Ranger, Who Am I?
  • Former award-winning public school teacher of American history and principal.
  • Children’s book author

Dr. Barry teaches in tandem with his AI-powered education robot, Maria Bot. She operates through six Natural Language Processing models, all powered by NextOS, who powers her functioning model. Creative Society Media and Living Leadership also contributed to her creation, through human robot interaction research, character development, content moderation, and user feedback analysis. 

At the core of Dr. Barry’s teaching is the belief that bringing socially advanced AI technology into a learning environment works to enhance education quality, and erases education poverty. 

‘The good, the bad, and the ugly’ of AI

A foundational part of Dr. Barry’s keynote will look at what AI can do in the fourth industrial revolution (also known as Industry 4.0). Specifically, he takes a look at the potential risks that AI may pose to society in the future.

“Artificial intelligence technologies continue to develop and are becoming more sophisticated,” he explains. “This creates a risk that AI will cause harm. As digital assistants become more adept at understanding and responding to human emotions, there is a risk that they could exploit people’s vulnerabilities or manipulate their behaviour.”

All this leads to Dr. Barry’s keynote focus where he will talk about the distinct ethical challenges posed by social AI in Industry 4.0.

It all points to data, he says, specifically as it relates to privacy, bias, and security. Dr. Barry cites an example of a social AI system collecting data about people’s preferences and habits. There’s an inherent risk that such information could end up as exploitative. And, of course, there’s always the concern and very real threat of data leaks from hacked AI systems. 

Ultimately, it comes down to using AI as a partner — the ‘good’ — like how he uses AI as a teaching assistant. The AI is able to work with students until their questions are answered and they have a firm grasp of the concept. 

“AI will do many tasks in the fourth industrial revolution,” he explains, “including dirty, dangerous, dull, and difficult tasks.” Some of these jobs include those repetitive and tedious ones that robots are uniquely qualified for, while others are necessities that keep the world functioning — typically not very creative or engaging. 

“By taking care of these jobs, we free up the human workforce to focus on more interesting and creative pursuits. Robots are the perfect stand-in for humans for dirty jobs,” he says. 

Attendees to interact with AI keynote speakers live at WeaveSphere

Adam (a robot made by Furhat Robotics), Emma, and Maria Bot are the “artificial beings” that will join Dr. Barry on stage for a keynote presentation, as well as a fireside chat.

Dr. Barry’s assistant will also take questions live from the audience. The Q&A will not be a prepared speech, and questions will not be pre-screened.

“I think it’s important we demonstrate social AI live, with questions coming spontaneously from WeaveSphere attendees,” Dr. Barry says. “Some presenters shy away from this because they are fearful of AI failure. By authentically demonstrating social AI without pre-scripted questions, we are better able to illustrate the good, bad, and the ugly.”

Maria Bot is typically a 5’7” robot, but she has had to make a trip to the “robot hospital” for repair. Her brain, and all of its AI function lives in the cloud, so Maria Bot Digital will be at Dr. Barry’s WeaveSphere keynote on November 16.


DX Journal is an official media partner for WeaveSphere. We will share updates leading up to the event, and we’ll be live on location from November 15-17,2022. Join us and get your tickets at weavesphere.co.

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