Prospects and Risks from the Forefront of Artificial Intelligence

Conference Opening Panel

The annual conference of Tech.AI, Technion’s Artificial Intelligence Hub, opened with an expert panel moderated by Hila Korach

The annual conference of Tech.AI, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Hub, was held on March 2 with the participation of about 500 experts, students, and guests. The conference focused on prospects and risks in the field and on ways to translate AI theories into useful applications. It was held with the support of Mobileye, Nvidia, Harel Technologies, IBM Research, and the Zimin Institute at the Technion for AI Solutions in Healthcare.

Opening Panel

The opening session panel, titled “Generative AI: Evolution or Revolution,” was moderated by journalist Hila Korach, and included Dr. Tomer Simon, chief scientist at Microsoft Israel R&D, Dr. Yoav Levin, chief scientist at AI21 Labs, and Professor Karin Nahon, head of the Data, Government, and Democracy program at Reichman University. The panel examined whether recent developments in Generative AI reflect a natural development of human-machine interface, or a real revolution that changes the rules of the game and will change academia, industry, and the labor market. Where are the new AI based tools taking us? Where does ethics fit into the integration and operation of these models? And what does the future of generative AI hold for us?

“For thousands of years,” said Dr. Levin, “our way of working with texts has hardly changed – one person writes the text word by word, another person reads it word by word. Despite the invention of the printing press and the invention of word processors, the format remained the same. Now, with texts being written by artificial intelligence, there is a potential for a significant new revolution.”

Prof. Nahon referred to the democratization brought by the new AI tools – technologies that are open for use by the general public. She warned that there are also dangers in AI, and that countries must take care of the introduction of appropriate regulation that will not slow down the technological development, but at the same time will not allow the new AI tools to harm people and society.

Dr. Simon said that AI is revolutionizing many fields, for example medicine: “In the medical field, there are thousands of studies published every day, and no doctor can cope and absorb the volume of studies and all of the data. AI will not replace doctors, but it will result in doctors who use it, replacing doctors who do not.”

Following the opening session, hundreds of conference participants dispersed among seven simultaneous content sessions. Dozens of senior executives from the leading companies in the high-tech industries and from Israel’s leading academic institutions, lectured in seven parallel sessions on the hottest topics from the forefront of AI in fields of medicine, core research and basic science, robotics and autonomous systems, natural language processing, transportation, and more.

The academic management of the conference was led by Tech.AI’s three co-directors, Technion faculty members Professor Shie Mannor from the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor Assaf Schuster from the Henry and Marilyn Taub Faculty of Computer Science, and Professor Shai Shen-Orr from the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine.

Prof. Shie Mannor

According to Prof. Mannor, “The AI and BEYOND Conference aims to bring Technion audiences and conference participants the best of AI from the forefront of academia and industry. To realize this goal, we have made considerable efforts to bring the best researchers and professionals who deal with the hottest topics on the forefront of AI, and in addition, we have created a format through which participants chose their own personal course of lectures throughout the day, so that they can deepen their knowledge in their field of activity and in other fields as well.”

Prof. Assaf Schuster

“One of the main goals of Tech.AI,” added Prof. Schuster, “is to serve as a base for constant enrichment for the thriving and ever growing AI community at the Technion, which today numbers about 150 researchers in various fields of artificial intelligence. The AI and BEYOND Conference allowed us to have leading researchers from the Technion community lecture in all conference sessions, and at the same time provide the entire Technion AI community with a platform for quality networking with the community of AI experts in Israeli academia and industry.”

“The Technion Artificial Intelligence Hub is in the midst of an accelerated development process,” concluded Prof. Shen-Orr. “As part of this process, we have already established several new centers under the Tech.AI umbrella in the past year, and many more new initiatives and programs are in the process of establishment. The AI and BEYOND Conference gave us an excellent platform to expose Tech.AI’s partners to conference participants, and to present Technion’s AI capabilities, ranked number one in Europe in AI according to CSRankings, to potential partners.”

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