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What is the goal of AI conferences

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What is the goal of AI conferences

The goal of AI conferences is to foster collaboration, share cutting-edge research, and discuss implementation strategies in the field of artificial intelligence.

AI Conferences: Connecting Innovators and Experts

AI conferences are at the heart of where innovators, seasoned experts, and aspiring technologists meet. They are not just events; they are responsible for the next wave of technological breakthroughs. Imagine a graduate student attending an annual conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), among more than 10,000 participants. He can chat with Geoffrey Hinton or Yann LeCun, whose ideas he once read about in student textbooks. And this is not about exchanging contacts. Participants spend hours in such conversations: they write papers together, they create mentoring relationships and sometimes even their own start-ups.

Sharpening Professional Skills

The career ladder in AI is not only lucrative but also very dynamic. Participation in AI conferences accelerates the process of professional development. The learning curve there is very steep: here, you learn material that would have taken you six months or even a whole year. Conferences benefit from presentations and posters, tools and software that makes the processing of large amounts of data more efficient. These tools range from the most theoretical results of mathematics to the most applied experience in computer vision, natural language processing, or machine learning. For example, at the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), one can attend hands-on sessions that allow you to do something with your hands. Here, you don’t listen, you do: try, experiment and get out of the comfort zone. And while well-trained professionals carefully refine their tools and try on new ones, while experts grow in experience and get new ones, most importantly, they are united by desire and an idea that cannot be learned: passion. Passion for technology and innovation, for the potential that AI technologies offer in specific areas of business or life. AI conferences are not just events; they give rise to technology and therefore stand at the very source of the digital revolution.

If you are an experienced expert and do not see much sense in participating in conferences, remember about exchanging experiences and promoting ideas that inspire further development of technology. And if you are just starting your career as a technologist, then do not waste this opportunity down the drain. Take advantage of it, and you will be happy for the rest of your life.

Networking: The Heart of AI Conferences

Every AI conference’s raison d’être is — you guessed it — networking. These events amount to the ultimate meet-up spots for members of the AI industry, from the hopeful founders of AI start-ups to the established giants of AI such as Google and IBM. You may enter for a long coffee break and find yourself exiting after a quickly-cobbled together pitch to some venture capitalists, or become inspired with a new collaborator — the simplicity of starting conversations is one of the main draws. For example, the AI Expo attendees have their pick of more than 15,000 individuals, eligible for networking focused sessions. More importantly, the Expo introduces its attendees to a specially-crafted app which revolves around matching potential business and professional partners based on their goals and locations of interests. The proactive networking approach ensures that, come the end of the day, you won’t have a stack of business cards on hand, but will have met one or two colleagues who may in the future form the basis of your projects or go to hire you in a senior position.

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Establishing Connections Within the Industry

The term “networking” is often used in a trivialized form, referring only to the act of meeting other professionals and adding them to your LinkedIn profile. True networking, however, is about establishing a substantive dialogue, about sharing your insights and, perhaps, about giving genuine value to people in the field who speak to you. It means challenging people for their insight on your work practices and visions, and challenging yourself on theirs. AI conferences cater to this desire overabundantly — formalized events like the poster sessions and panel discussions, to say nothing of informal spaces for meetings. At the World Artificial Intelligence Conference, for example, a Matchmaking Corner was established, where the attendees spent their time networking, speed-dating style, with the other attenders, investors, potential co-founders, and industry leaders. The numerous successful and ongoing partnerships formed in the Matchmaking Corner have put emerging companies at the very front of the AI race.

Mentorship and Collaboration

Another underappreciated task set by AI conferences is the formation of mentorship and collaborations. If we are often under the mistaken impression that industry’s grey eminences attend such events solely to share their wisdom with eager youngsters, then we would be wrong once again. Sure, they come for that, but also to form new teams and find the people to realize the ideas they have no time to — or interest in — bringing to life on their own. Such foundings take place during informal sessions, as conduits for which AI conferences often present mentorship opportunities on the sidelines of their official programs, as well as scheduled slots. Such mentorship opportunities are vital and provide budding engineers with advice and connections they will use for the rest of their lives.

How to Maximize on AI Conference Investments

To truly maximize on the potentially valuable business opportunities that AI conferences may present, I feel that a more strategic approach is needed. By all means, you need to pick the best conference to attend, judging by which you believe you will get the most out of. However, you also need to prepare in a way that fits right with your professional goals. The potential ROI may be anything from enrolling in a side project that will become your main source of income, through personal growth and learning opportunities, to meeting a long-term collaborator if you play your cards right.

Preparation: Set Your Objectives

You need to set your goal before you even contemplate prior registration because different objectives will require different preparation. Depending on whether you feel you should get on opportunities that are up for grabs in the field of your interest or expertise, or simply you just want to get better at what you are already doing. If you want to get some business connections or get a job, your agenda will require some tweaking. If you want to learn, shift your focus to sessions and workshops. If you want to network with specific individuals, see who will be speaking at the conference and try thinking of insightful questions. An extremely well-prepared attendee may spend 20-30 hours figuring out their goals and planning accordingly, but the result will be worth it.

Choose the AI Conference

First of all, remember that not all AI conferences are created equal. Whatever the end-goal you envision, the best path to goal achievement will depend on who you are. The best conference for an AI researcher may be different from the best conference for a businessman who pursues a cool idea. Try to find out the focus of the conference, the potential problems that will be discussed, see the caliber of speakers, think of the relevant specifics, and see who would be attending such a conference and how they may fit with your aims.

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Follow-Ups

The majority of the real work will happen after the conference, and a well-thought follow-up strategy will make all the difference and transform a short interaction into a beneficial long-term professional relationship. Send that person an email, be it for a profound query, or simply “Let’s talk more about making the AI cup of tea!”. Or send them an open invite to connect on LinkedIn, with a custom message. The best scenario is to be prepared enough to follow up. After the conference, make an inventory of all premade contacts in one place and make a follow-up plan or enter it in your calendar. You will be amazed at how some relations may unfold!

Enablement of Innovation and Knowledge through AI Conferences

AI conferences are not simply venues; they are vibrant biosystems, where the seeds of new technologies are sown. By connecting the brightest nodes of artificial intelligence AI, these conferences enable the exchange of ideas and potentiate innovations that may be leading the next decade. From the disclosure of cutting-edge research to discussions that question the status quo, AI conferences enable the flow of the most important aspects of the field.

Integration of Knowledge with Future Applications

The assimilation of knowledge from all areas within the field of AI in these conferences seems to often act as a guiding light to the upcoming areas of research and development. Such conferences involve speakers and attendees from all sectors of AI, from myriad machine learning algorithms to the ethics of AI and many more. The ideas exchange, thus, definitively makes the participant much more capable of effectuation of their direct projects and future works. For instance, a keynote about cutting-edge methods for natural language processing might give an engineer an idea on how to apply these tools and methodologies to simplify answering customers with their company.

The Networking Opportunity

Collaboration is the pulse of innovation and as such, conferences are the perfect locales for these endeavours. Organised networking nights or expanded workshops help a large number of attendees to find like-minded other individuals, who complement the researchers, developers, and business strategists may well end up working together on something that neither of them would have been able to do individually. For instance, during a hackathon at an AI conference, a data scientist might meet and team up with a developer and a business strategist to create a prototype for an application powered by AI. In case of flow, they will be able to combine their specific competences in order to put something to reality.

Enhancement of Professional Profile and Recognition

Participation in the AICs, whether as an invited speaker, a poster presenter, a workshop leader or a panelist, remains a definitive booster to the professional profile. Few things are able to boost your career as a well-chaired conference presentation. This could lead to a new great contract, job contacts, and many more. Finally, winning an award at an international conference, is certainly a life-changer, enabling the preparation of insipient projects with cutting-edge technology.

The Fun and Human Side of AI Conferences

AI conferences are not only about algorithms, data, and coding, but they are also about the communities that form around these things. They act as an excellent reminder that behind every line of code, every data point, and every argument, there is a human – someone with their ideas, emotions, and drives. These human aspects of AI conferences make them so unique and fun. In particular, the interactions, both planned and spontaneous, that distinguish such events are both exciting and incredibly human. From the professional to the most personal, these gatherings can have a profound impact on anyone in the field.

DHS-AI-Report
DHS AI Report

Memorable Interactions

AI conferences are unique opportunities that present new ideas and give participants the freedom to discuss them in a more relaxed setting. The most memorable interactions do not usually happen in the sessions where the presentations and discussions take place, but rather in the hallways, during a coffee break, dinner, or any other completely unexpected setting. When being outside of the schedule, conferences allow a more leisurely approach to discussions related and not related to the field. Often these discussions contribute to an unforeseen new understanding of the issue. For example, two AI experts from different countries may meet at dinner and decide to work together and combine their knowledge to study a specific problem.

Making Things Fun through Preparation and Engagement

Paradoxically, the human aspect and the fun of AI conferences can be enhanced by thorough preparation and active engagement with other participants. Subscribing to speakers’ and participants’ social media before the event, visiting conference forums, or even volunteering to be a session chair can greatly facilitate the experience. The effect is two-fold – not only do you become a recognizable figure at the event, but you also have a solid foundation for a relaxed conversation. By showing your active interest in your peers’ work and social activity, you allow them to do the same in return. Thanks to this, the human side of AI conferences eventually extends to lasting professional relationships. Staying in touch on social media, meeting at other events, or working on projects and research are excellent ways to build and maintain such relationships.

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