Artificial intelligence is real now and it’s just getting started

Artificial intelligence is already very real. Not conscious machines, omnipotent machines or even reasoning machines (yet), but statistical machines that automate and increasingly can outperform humans at certain pattern-recognition tasks. Computer vision, language understanding, anomaly detection and other fields have made immense advances in the past few years.

All this work will be the stepping stones for future AI systems that, decades from now, might perform feats we’ve only imagined computers could perform. There are brain-inspired neurosynaptic microchips under development, and quantum artificial intelligence might only be a decade away. Some experts predict general artificial intelligence — perhaps even artificial superintelligence — will happen easily within this century.

The effects that AI is having and will have on business, the economy and, most importantly, humanity certainly merit consideration. It’s a discussion we’ll have at our Structure Data conference, which takes place March 18 and 19 in New York, and includes some of the top AI and machine learning researchers, practitioners and thinkers. Confirmed speakers so far include:

  • Ron Brachman, Yahoo
  • Rob Fergus, Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research
  • Ahna Girshick, Enlitic
  • Jeff Hawkins, Numenta
  • Steven Horng, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
  • Anthony Lewis, Qualcomm
  • Gary Marcus, New York University
  • Dharmendra Modha, IBM Research
  • Naveen Rao, Nervana Systems
  • Ashutosh Saxena, Stanford University
  • Julie Shah, Massachussetts Institute of Technology
  • Davide Venturelli, NASA Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
  • Brian Whitman, Spotify
  • Dan Zigmond, Hampton Creek

We plan to confirm additional speakers in the next couple weeks. We’ll delve even further into the topic of AI in all its facets at the inaugural Structure Intelligence conference. That’s currently scheduled to take place in San Francisco in September, and more details will be available soon.

Rob Bearden, CEO, Hortonworks Structure Data 2014

Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden (who’ll be back this year) at Structure Data 2014.

Of course, Structure Data is about more than just AI — it’s about managing, analyzing and making use of all sorts of data for all sorts of applications. In addition to the lineup of speakers we announced in December (from companies including BuzzFeed, Twitter, Goldman Sachs, Tableau and all three major Hadoop vendors, to name several), other newly confirmed speakers include:

  • Eric Brewer, vice president of infrastructure, Google
  • Julie Brill, commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • Krish Dasgupta, vice president of data platforms and technology, ESPN
  • Victor Nilson, vice president of big data, AT&T
  • Bill Ruh, vice president of global software center, GE Global Research
  • Bill Squadron, executive vice president of Pro Analytics, STATS

The data revolution is at an inflection point and looks set to shoot upward in the next few years. Come hear some of the smartest people in the space discuss what it will mean across industries and societies.