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mesh conference adds human and artificial intelligence presenters to speaker lineup for Calgary event

Canada’s digital transformation and innovation even to take place April 12-13 at Platform Innovation Centre in Calgary



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With one week to go before innovators and digital transformation leaders descend on Calgary’s Platform Innovation Centre, the mesh conference announced its closing keynote will be delivered by two humans and two artificial intelligence (AI) beings.

Dr. William Barry and Dr. Maria Gomez Rachelle will deliver an interactive session where the pair will co-present alongside AI-powered digital avatars — Maria Bot Digital© and Niva© — who will share insight and take unscripted, live questions from the audience.

The keynote presentation titled “Intelligence Augmentation: The Ethical Implications of Human-AI Teaming” will explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of using artificial intelligence to augment human capabilities.

“Artificial intelligence has soaked up a lot of headline ink over the last five months since ChatGPT’s launch, and everyone is now looking to understand the impact this technology will have on how we work,“ says Chris Hogg, partner and co-producer of mesh, and president of content marketing firm, DJG. “This is a needed conversation, as people will move from being wowed by AI to talking about how it’s trained, its ethics, and the implications of human-machine teams. We’re excited to have that conversation happening at mesh.”

Taking place April 12-13, 2023, the mesh conference will host thought leaders and innovators from across North America who are searching to better understand the impact that new trends and technologies will have on how we live, work, and play.

Keynote speakers, attendees, panels, and workshops at this year’s mesh conference will speak to four featured themes: Society, Media, Marketing and Business.

The mesh conference’s first-ever human-AI keynote 

Dr. Barry is a technology and Just War ethicist with 25 years of experience as an innovative and creative experiential educator. He is a faculty member and subject matter expert (GovCon) in emerging technologies and human-smart machine teams at the U.S. Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership. He is an international thought leader and a driving force in shaping the future of technology and ethics.

He will be joined by human-artificial intelligence (AI) researcher, Dr. Gomez Rachelle, who is also the CEO of Silicon Valley-based consulting firm, Living Leadership Today. Prior to her research work in artificial intelligence, Dr. Gomez Rachelle was a critical care nurse, clinical research authority in biopharma, and a respected educator.

The pair work with chatbot-AI expert and 3D graphic artist, Guile Lindroth, to design, program, and bring Maria Bot Digital© and Niva© to life as conversational AI-powered strategic avatars.

A strategic avatar is a term coined by Dr. BarryDr. Gomez Rachelle, and Lindroth to describe a decision-support digital assistant that uses conversational AI and intelligence augmentation (IA) technologies to enhance a human being’s decision-making process by integrating data analytics, AI capabilities, and human insights. The team created strategic avatars in order to tackle complex problems, optimize outcomes, and enhance performance when a human faces competition or a challenging situation in their lifeworld.

Maria Bot Digital is an AI-powered strategic avatar who teaches alongside Dr. Barry. She uses multiple large language models, all enhanced by Digital Minds, who created her functional model. Creative Society Media and Living Leadership Today also contributed to her creation through human-robot interaction research, character development, content moderation, and user feedback analysis.

Niva is a relatively new AI-powered strategic avatar built on SafeChatGPT©, an ethics- and doctrine-based generative AI system built by Dr. Barry and Lindroth. Niva uses reinforcement learning from human feedback to learn from conversations. Niva is programmed to filter out toxic content, detect plagiarism, and root out disinformation and propaganda.

Dr. Barry and Dr. Gomez Rachelle will join the in-person audience virtually from Carlisle, Pennsylvania and San Francisco, California.

the full mesh speaker lineup

In addition to the closing keynote speakers, mesh has confirmed more than 40 speakers will take part in the Calgary event, April 12-13, 2023. The full run of show, with speakers and sessions includes:

The State of Innovation. What’s now? What’s next? And how can we get there? 

Canada’s innovation ecosystem is bustling with success stories, digital transformation learning, and organizations who are still getting their feet wet. In this opening session at mesh we will explore the state of innovation and look at where we are, where we need to be, and what is needed to get us there. Featuring:  Colleen PoundAlison Sunstrum (CNSRV-X Inc.), Leta LaRush (BASF), and Chris Hogg (Digital Journal Group).

Keynote fireside conversation with Kirstine Stewart

Internationally award-winning technology and media leader Kirstine Stewart joins mesh to explore the transformation of media at its intersection with technology. Kirstine will share insight on how media continues to evolve, digital rights technology and its use in the creator economy, and ownership of content and creative work in the era of generative AI. Featuring: Kirstine Stewart (former Twitter VP/GM and CRO of Pex) and Mathew Ingram (Columbia Journalism Review).

The mesh innovation showcase 

The mesh innovation showcase recognizes innovation and digital transformation leaders from underrepresented communities across Canada. Join us as we meet some of Canada’s innovators. Featuring: Tamara Woolgar (The A100) and featured showcase leaders.

Catalysts for Change 

This panel discussion will look at digital transformation for the public good, and speakers will delve into how innovation will impact the non-profit and public sectors. Featuring: Charles Buchanan (Technology Helps), Alison Pidskalny (Pixelated Ventures), Derek Armstrong (PrairiesCan) and Chris Wolfenberg (Dentons).

Entering the Next Dimension: How VR/AR and the Metaverse Will Change Everything

This panel will explore the power and promise of virtual and augmented reality and the metaverse with those who are helping to create it. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a bit of a skeptic, this panel will demonstrate why AR, VR and the Metaverse will change everything. Featuring: Paige Dansinger (Metaverse Producer), Amy Peck (EndeavorVR), Juliana Loh (VR world builder), and Anne-Marie Enns (Women of the Future).

Transformations for Future Generations: Health & Education 

Healthcare and education are two of Canada’s most important sectors, and the opportunity to innovate in both is now. This panel will explore innovation in healthcare and education, and where advancement is happening, and what’s still needed for the benefit of future generations. Featuring: Lauren Dwyer (SAIT), Mary Jane Dykeman (INQ Data Law) and Tyler Chisholm (clearmotive marketing group).

Keynote Fireside Conversation with Mark Fairbanks, Islands of Brilliance

Mark Fairbanks joins mesh to explore opportunities in technology design to create inclusion. His keynote will focus on learning experiences and neurodivergent creativity.

Keynote Fireside Conversation with Bobbie Racette, Virtual Gurus

Entrepreneur and business leader Bobbie Racette joins mesh to share perspectives on the future of talent and work, and insight on building diverse and agile teams with remote workers. Bobbie will dive into best-practice advice for using technology to find much-needed talent, and why constraining a digital marketplace is the best way to grow it. Featuring: Bobbie Racette (Virtual Gurus) and Alison Pidskalny (Pixelated Ventures)

Keynote Fireside Conversation with Dr. Andreas Fraunberger, Junge Römer

This fireside will explore the world of augmented and virtual reality and its impact on sales and marketing. Dr. Fraunberger will join us via livestream from Vienna, Austria. Featuring: Andreas Fraunberger (Junge Römer) and Tyler Chisholm (clearmotive marketing group).

Marketing and sales in the age of distraction

With social media channels constantly changing, inboxes flooded with marketing messages, and audiences being pulled left and right through busy lives, it’s harder than ever for marketing and sales people to get attention. This session will explore the ways in which leaders are breaking through a noisy marketing and sales landscape to help their business and clients stand out, and what leaders need to do to scale successfully. Featuring: Amrita Gurney (Float), Tracey Bodnarchuk (TAB Consulting Group) and Stuart Macdonald (Narrative Fund).

Start-up Circles. Navigating the Entrepreneurial Journey: Lessons from Successful Startups

This session invites entrepreneurs (or those considering the journey) to share lessons learned and obstacles overcome in their journey. Panelists (and attendees) will share what’s worked, how challenges should be tackled and what’s needed to create a thriving startup. Featuring: Shelley Kuipers (The51), Mark Graham (commonsku) and Temi Okesanya (Road Aider).

From Code to Canvas: Hands-On with Generative AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, and changing every industry. And even though generative AI has become shockingly good at figuring out what you want it to do for you, there’s always room for improvement. In this session we will look at the role of a prompt engineer and how everyone can get more out of AI by knowing what to ask it to do. Featuring: Iman Bashir (Craftly.AI).

Data and Innovative Thinking: Tapping into the Innovator’s Mindset

From automotive, to law, to energy, Canada’s largest sectors are undergoing radical change, and those who chose the path of innovation are the ones who will thrive. While innovation can come from many places, the innovator’s mindset follows the “belief that abilities, intelligence, and talents are developed leading to the creation of new and better ideas,” as author George Couros would say. In this panel we will tap into that mindset. Featuring: Sabrina Sullivan (FORD/SAIT), Mary Jane Dykeman (INQ Data Law), Christine Gillies (Blackline Safety), and Deborah Yedlin (Calgary Chamber of Commerce).

Navigating a changing digital landscape: How to live with Google Analytics 4, and where else your brand should invest
Marketers and brands have used the Internet for decades now as a primary digital platform to reach audiences. But things are changing, and it’s not all for good. This session will look at how and why Google Analytics is changing, and how that will complicate the world of measurement for marketers. The second part of this session will look at opportunities for brands to connect with audiences off of their website. Featuring: Jake Surrey (Fountain Partnership) and Scott King (Digital strategist).

Dealbook: An investor, regulator and ecosystem view of what’s needed to fund and support innovation

Funding innovation is a critical step in advancing a digital transformation, but rather than just looking at problems and challenges to solve, we also need to identify where momentum is happening and what needs to be done to support it. Mid-market jurisdictions may have capital gaps, or discoverability challenges, but those are common in many regions and more focus needs to be placed on how we overcome challenges that are table stakes. This panel will look at making a difference, what bets investors are placing, where they see opportunity, and what’s needed to fuel growth. Featuring: Wilson Acton (Tall Grass Ventures), Ha Nguyen (McRock Capital), Tonya Fleming (Alberta Securities Commission) and Terry Rock (Platform Calgary).

mesh supporters

The mesh conference wouldn’t be possible without the support of partners and sponsors, including:

To get tickets to the April 12-13 event in Calgary, visit the mesh conference ticket page.

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 Where will AI go next?

This year’s Collision conference featured a wide range of buzzy AI solutions — both B2B and for consumers.



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The buzzy topic of AI was not in short supply at this year’s annual Collision conference in Toronto. The list of applications using the technology was seemingly endless — from both the presenters and exhibitors. 

It comes at a unique time, as analysis of the industry reveals that we’ve crossed into the “era of deployment.” At the same time, it’s imperative that we think critically and ask questions about said deployment.

In June, Research and Markets revealed a study demonstrating how the AI industry has experienced immense expansion and maturation in recent years, from a $62B market in 2020, to projections saying 40% growth annually until 2026. 

Meanwhile, the 2023 AI Index, an independent initiative at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), reports that:

  • AI systems can both have a large carbon footprint (when training), and be “used to optimize energy use”
  • Incidents of AI misuse is “rapidly” on the rise. As the Stanford team explains, ‘more AI, more problems”
  • There was a 27% decrease in Global AI private investment (year-over-year) from 2021 to 2022. At the same time, over the last decade, investment has increased —  in 2022, it was 18 times greater than in 2013.
  • Companies that have adopted AI are pulling ahead, while the proportion of those adopting AI has actually plateaued.
  • Only 35% of Americans surveyed agree that “products and services using AI had more benefits than drawbacks,” compared to 78% of Chinese respondents, 76% from Saudi Arabia, and 71% from India.

It seems clear that the sector is at something of a crossroads.

DX Journal spoke to four AI startups at Collision, covering areas like filing taxes, DIY home and appliance repair, game building, and building work teams — all showing how AI can have an impact both at home and the workplace.

DIY home maintenance, with a little AI help

Collision presenter Eradj Khaidarov, Chief Technology Officer of IrisCX, spoke on the topic of “Delivering a more human experience through visual intelligence and AI.” He transitioned from twenty years in the video conferencing field to IrisCX, a video-based troubleshooting app that helps users with DIY repair. Anything from appliances to home devices, AI determines the make, model, problem, and spits out possible solutions.

Eradj Khaidarov (Photo by Dave Gordon)

“All of us hate dealing with manuals from 10 years ago and only keep them around when we truly need them — and we also hate dealing with YouTube videos that may not necessarily answer all our questions,” he explained. “The interactions with our product can help you get to an answer faster, without having someone come to your home. It’s just the little bit of guidance that can help us solve a problem quickly and efficiently.”

AI allows the app to summarize certain markers in the conversation, to formulate what was truly the problem. 

Let AI help find your next hire

Meanwhile, Raphael Ouzan, co-founder & CEO of A.Team, wants AI to revolutionize how people build teams. 

Prior to helping found the startup, he served in the Israeli military for five years in cyberwarfare and cryptology, “finding the power-people you could work with, even in impossible missions.”

Later, he built teams as he built start-ups, and realized he wanted to build something that would enable anyone to find the right teammate — or teammates — to accomplish a greater goal.

Raphael Ouzan (Photo by Dave Gordon)

When a user logs in to A.Team, they will do a search for their preferred skill and industry, while the AI will detect keywords, suggesting the relevant team that matches the work desired. 

“I would describe it as a platform that enables the formation, management, and scaling of elite tech teams that drive massive change for companies,” he said. 

“You can look at it like a high-end UpWork, for teams.”

A.Team has raised $55 million, funded by the likes of rapper Jay-Z, and has advisors that include Fiverr founder Shai Wininger and former UpWork CEO Stephane Kasriel.

Creativity + AI

One very popular area where AI is being leveraged is for imagery, game creation, and video creation.

Unity offers tools and solutions for game developers, industrial customers, and professional artists. And as Chief Marketing Officer Carol Carpenter explains, “what we are seeing is that every pixel, every piece of art, every frame will be compacted on the creative side by AI.”

“If you draw two frames, then ask: ‘hey, draw ten more for me like this.’ Or, I want a scene in a digital twin or game, with snowing mountains. AI can offer some art to choose from.” 

Carol Carpenter (Photo by Dave Gordon)

One of their newest products, Unity Muse, launched during Collision. As Carpenter describes, it “has a feel like ChatGPT, where programmers can type in an image request, and either see it animated or developed on-demand.” 

For example, the user could input the text: “Ferrari driving down a steep hill,” and what would pop out would be AI’s creation based on the request. The user could decide to keep it as a standalone graphic, or instruct Unity Muse to make the image animate. 

From there, the sky’s the limit, although a human hand — and creativity — will always play a part.  

To build a game today with real time 3D, she explains, what’s required is experience and coding knowledge. “It’s not something you just pick up and do easily.” 

With Unity, there’s an “ability to use natural language to create, to accelerate the process,” said Carpenter. “We still very much believe the creator needs to have ideas; they need to have the spark of imagination. AI is good for getting started or a prototype. Then there needs to be polish and human element of judgment.” 

Your taxes, automated

Many believe that the best place to deploy AI is for truly mundane tasks that make sense to automate. 

In that vein, Ben Borodach and his team have brought it to tax filing.

April is touted as the first AI-powered tax system that both optimizes and files taxes, via a large language model and proprietary generative AI that reads tax law.

Ben Borodach (Photo by Dave Gordon)

“It doesn’t matter if you’re an Uber driver, an e-commerce seller, or a family with two jobs, you still get the same experience,” explained the co-founder and CEO. “A personalized leveraging of AI, where we serve up 1.2 septillion unique paths to filing returns. So every single person gets a customized flow for their specific experience.”

There are, Borodach explained, thousands of possible tax questions across federal, state, and local jurisdictions that a taxpayer could be asked. Each time the user answers a question, the program learns more about the user.

As AI technologies evolve, its growth is poised to reshape virtually every field it touches.

It is already entering our lives in an accessible, individualized way, catering to the unique needs of each user. From healthcare and education to finance and entertainment, its capabilities will soon permeate unexpected areas, transforming our lives in profound ways.

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Global innovation comes to Collision

1,727 startups and partners from 76 countries descended on Toronto for one of the world’s largest tech events.



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​​Hoping to collide with angels and investors, nearly two thousands startups and partners from 76 countries and thirty industries convened at Collision in Toronto.

For attendees, it was a chance to take a peek at the future of tech. For exhibitors and startups, an all-access pass to global players, all under one roof. Indeed, floor exhibitors spanned the globe: Italy, Kosovo, Portugal, South Korea, and more.

The worldwide innovation and startup scene has had a rollercoaster few years. 2021 saw next-level growth, a trend that continued into 2022, until conflict and an energy crisis in Europe, supply-chain disruptions, layoffs, and inflation meant a period of instability. This has lasted into 2023, though at this midpoint of the year, there’s been an upswing. 

According to Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2023 — generated from analysis of data from 3.5 million startups across 290 global ecosystems — VC funding is still down, although gaming, blockchain, and fintech all saw increases. The AI and Big Data sub-sector has the highest number of total VC deals, with 28% of the global share. 

Entrepreneurs from around the world are seizing opportunities to disrupt industries, solve pressing challenges, and create innovative solutions. Collision is just one place to help make that happen.

Here’s a look at four countries that came to town.

Kosovo’s rapid growth

At just fifteen years old, the small Balkan nation of Kosovo came to Collision hoping to position itself as a burgeoning tech incubator — with a workforce less costly than most others in Europe.

Representing the country were Sedat Burrniku, Toronto’s Consul of Kosovo, and Fatos Idrizi from Pristina-based Kreahub, a company that mainly does web design, web development, branding, and digital marketing. Tenton, a software development company from Kosovo, was also part of the team.  

Fatos Idrizi and Sedat Burrniku (Photo by Dave Gordon)

Kosovo is a young country. It has a lot of potential in IT, among other fields and concepts. So, we would like to introduce our companies to the rest of the world,” Idrizi said, adding that his country has one of the highest Internet user rates in Europe, at 96.4% among a population of nearly two million. 

One of their biggest success stories was a made-in-Kosovo project dubbed “NatEv Explorer,” that detects natural disasters and catastrophes around the world, and won the NASA International Space Apps Challenge in 2015. 

“Kreahub is a young company with potential ahead,” explained Idrizi. “It is a first year for us. We finished, already, four projects in the US, one in Germany, and one in Switzerland. So, there is a huge market ahead. Also, today, I got a call for another project in the US.” 

Last year, Forbes featured an op-ed by Fatos Ameti, CEO of the Kosovo-based Sonnect, outlining the country as a “one to watch” in the tech and IT industries. He noted that the information/communications tech ecosystem, “is extensive, with numerous labs, innovation centers and workspaces… that provide startups with mentoring, financing, incubation, training and co-working spaces.”

Portugal: small but mighty

Isabel Advirta, from Lisbon City Council, noted that 13 startups from Portugal were present, showing as alpha or beta stages.

“Portugal is not a very big country, and Canada is a very big market, and a way to enter a greater market – which is North American. So, there are a lot of startups looking for greater investments or to scale to different markets,” she said.

“We have a lot of different verticals that are growing strong in Lisbon. We have Web3. We are also investing in fintech, impact, mobility is also strong,” she said, adding that startups in Lisbon are especially focused on health tech, sports tech, and gaming.

To date, she said Lisbon boasts seven unicorns.

“The companies that want to scale to high levels of investment have to leave the country. What we are doing is trying to change this situation, bringing more investors to Portugal,” she said. 

“It happens all the time that when they learn what is going on there, hear the pitches, they get interested. The trick is to let him hear. Sometimes it’s hard for investors to have that space, but when they do have that space, the opportunities are there.”

Benvenuti Italia

While Rome and Milan both have active startup ecosystems, Startup Genome’s report lists Turin as one of the top 35 European ecosystems for affordable talent. With over 110k students, it’s easy to see why. An in-the-works Italy Digital Nomad Visa will also boost numbers to both the country and region. The northern city is specifically cultivating growth in the areas of Smart Cities, space technology, and AI, Big Data, and analytics.

And in the fintech space, Mara Vendramin — founder and CEO of My Money — was at Collision’s Italy pavilion showing off a completely biometric form of handheld payment device that uses a fingerprint instead of a plastic debit/credit card — just one of the country’s 12,000+ startups.

Mara Vendramin (Photo by Mara Vendramin)

“Most importantly, it will democratize payment for everyone. Because today, the latest technology you can use to pay is with a smartphone – an expensive smartphone. With our system, all the people around the world will be able to pay, even if they don’t have a smartphone.”

Fraud will be “impossible” because fingerprint readers are FBI certified, she said. “For example, if I chop your finger and use it to pay, it will not work. The readers have ‘liveness’ detection. So, they will be able to realize if the finger is alive or real.” This will, she hopes, eliminate credit card fraud, and streamline faster payment at store kiosks.

South Korea at the forefront of innovation

South Korea does have a reputation as a tech and innovation centre — after all, it’s the home of companies like Samsung and LG. But as a startup ecosystem, it’s one of the world’s most thriving. In fact, Startup Genome has Seoul at #12 in its global ranking. It’s also in the top 15 for knowledge and for talent and experience. The ecosystem’s strengths? AI/Big Data/Analytics, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing and robotics, reports Startup Genome.  

At Collision, Hyunjin Shin, CEO and co-founder of Seoul’s, is featuring their AI-powered dubbing solution to the film industry. It matches translated audio with natural mouth movement in any language or voice.

Hyunjin Shin (Photo by Dave Gordon)

“Sometimes, people are struggling to see a movie because of subtitles or the awkward dubbing,” she said. “The voice actor’s voice is sometimes really different from the original content. Also, it doesn’t match the lip and sound. It makes you very disengaged. We would like to tackle that problem with generated AI technology.”

With a staff of nine, in its first year they have already dubbed two Korean feature films. She said the company is hoping to gain a foothold in documentary films and US major motion pictures.

Like countless other South Korean startups, benefits from their government’s support, Shin added. “They also have many programs to help accelerate an early stage company – especially tech companies,” she said. “My country has more and more an entrepreneurial culture, with mentorship, funding, and networking opportunities.”

Companies like e-commerce app Coupang and mobile platform Kakao have achieved significant growth and valuation, inspiring and attracting aspiring entrepreneurs, she explained. 

The interconnectedness fostered by Collision has created a fertile ground for innovation, where diverse perspectives and expertise converge to tackle complex global challenges.

As a four-day innovation station, no doubt many deals were made — a testament to these startups’  hotbed of creativity, disruption, and economic growth potential. The global startup ecosystem continues to thrive, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and shaping the future of industries worldwide.

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At Toronto tech show, second thoughts emerge over AI




The tech world is convinced AI is here to stay -- the question is, what will it look like going forward?
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Months after the spectacular launch of ChatGPT, the AI revolution is well underway but hints of caution are emerging, especially over letting one or two companies reign supreme.

The release of the poem-churning app by San Francisco-based OpenAI came at an opportune time for tech, landing just when the US giants were laying off thousands of workers and startups faced a funding winter after the collapse of cryptocurrencies. 

While generative AI’s powers spooked many, even drawing calls for a freeze in its development, the tech world welcomed the respite from an otherwise miserable 2022 when a pandemic-era tech boom imploded. 

But the crowds of startups and their backers meeting at the three-day Collision conference in Toronto heard second thoughts about artificial intelligence, even if convictions remained strong that it was here to stay.

“We’re about three steps into a 10K race,” said Adam Selipsky, the head of Amazon-owned AWS, the world’s biggest cloud company that is set to see a huge windfall from the AI excitement.

“The question is: where are the runners going? What’s the course like? Who’s watching the race?” Selipsky told a packed conference hall near the shores of Lake Ontario.

AWS is the archrival of Microsoft, the Redmond, Washington-based company that took the world by surprise earlier this year by diving head first into the ChatGPT goldrush.

Microsoft’s investment of billions of dollars into OpenAI launched an AI arms race, with Google following course by ramping up its release of AI-infused products, goading any company involved with technology to hurry out new capabilities.

“Like a lot of things, I think AI is overhyped in the short term and underhyped in the long term,” said Jordan Jacobs of Radical Ventures, a venture capital firm that has invested heavily in AI.

“But the difference with AI is that once you deploy it, it gets better and better and better,” meaning there is a real downside to coming in second place. 

He said this was not the case with the advent of the personal computer or the smartphone, when those who waited, like Apple, were the companies that won.

The benefit of coming out first seems to leave OpenAI and its powerful Microsoft backer in the driver’s seat.

But AWS’s Selipsky and others cautioned about going all-in with one big company, especially with a technology that voraciously feeds off data and computing power.

– ‘Choice’ –

Hundreds of companies and governments have gone as far to ban their employees from using ChatGPT, worried that sensitive information will be uploaded to strengthen OpenAI’s large language model, becoming available to all.

One of the “most important things that we hear from customers around the world all the time is choice,” Selipsky said.

“The world needs access to a whole bunch of models in a place that you trust and with the security you demand,” he said.

At Collision,, the online travel giant, announced a new product using OpenAI’s ChatGPT that will provide a conversational experience for users planning trips.

“This is just a start,” Rob Francis, chief technology officer of told AFP, all the while defending the company’s turn to OpenAI.

Models from the likes of OpenAI or Google, “they’re great for general purpose” like a chat about holiday plans, he said. 

But for more sensitive uses, companies will “start to run their own more tailored models, in their own environment,” he said.

As the world’s biggest companies rushed out their AI products, the startup community was warned not to take too much solace from the hype sparked by ChatGPT.

Even if generative AI has caught the world’s attention, “people are still approaching startup investment through a cautionary lens,” Vincent Harrison of PitchBook, the business research company, told AFP. 

“Deal activity is down, fundraising is down, the IPO environment is probably the worst that it’s been since the global financial crisis,” Harrison said.

“I think ChatGPT blew the minds of a lot of people… but is AI enough to bring things where we saw them in 2021? I don’t think so.”

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