We’re delighted to announce that Transform 2019, our flagship event for business executives on how to achieve results with AI, will be held in San Francisco on July 10-11.

Transform will be the AI event of the year, specifically for executives wanting a front-row seat on how to implement AI strategies and technologies — and how to get the benefits, but also to minimize the fails.

Transform ​will be the place you can learn about practical applications with real takeaways, and network with those who are actually doing it.

Who better to host this conversation than VentureBeat, which has established leadership in AI news: We’re already publishing more about AI than any other publication, have a fast-growing newsletter committed to AI, and run a steady beat of business-oriented webinars on the topic. In 2016, we were the first to hold an event on new business innovation in AI, and have since realized the need for a pinnacle event on AI across verticals and functions. That’s why Transform is significant — and why its focus is different from both the quality research events (NeurIPS) and expos already in existence. At those events, trusted conversations and real-life cases of AI being used in business just don’t exist.

The conversation has changed

The conversation around AI has changed coming into 2019, and Transform will reflect that. For example, AI is now more than an experimental technology hyped by data scientists entrusted to work miracles. Numerous companies are achieving impressive results in real business environments, and 2019 is when it goes into real production across ever more companies and industries.

In this new era, the most important AI drivers within a company are those with good, old-fashioned domain knowledge (not the data scientists working alone in the company’s AI lab).

Vertical and topical tracks

That’s why Transform will contain several industry-vertical networking tracks — including finance, games, government, retail/ecommerce, health, industrial (featuring content around energy and manufacturing and aerospace). We’ll also have topical tracks through both afternoons, including privacy, bias, messaging/bots/assistants, customer journey/analytics, supply-chain, and IT.

And new to Transform this year is a special invite-only executive track, called the Executive Summit, which was previously a separate event — and which hosts C-level conversations around how to implement AI across an organization.

AI is the most significant, revolutionary trend for business, an argument also espoused by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who has bet his company on it. Pichai first joined our events series back 2011, when he was rising through the ranks at Google and articulating the company’s then-nascent mobile vision. Others who have spoken their visions at VentureBeat events include Michael Schroepfer, Facebook’s CTO, and Jeff Dean, Google’s lead AI evangelist, who last year talked about the thousands of neural net projects Google is already running.

But along with AI’s success comes heightened attention around risks associated with AI — namely, bias, as well as concerns around privacy and security.

Privacy and fairness will be big themes

Too many data scientists accepted black-box conclusions of neural networks, but last year negative publicity about AI bias — be it racial, or gender, etc. — made that trust look naive. Business units with real customers need to be more careful. This is another reason why line-of-business executives are now ascendant when it comes to AI (something confirmed in our private survey during last year’s VB Summit).

Those dual themes — the amazing potential of AI as it moves into real-world production, and the rise of concerns around fairness and security — will pervade much of the conversation at Transform this year.

That said, Transform is still six months away, an eternity given the acceleration in AI progress. Major universities and the big AI platform companies — Google, Amazon, Facebook — are open-sourcing AI frameworks, which is spurring things still faster, something Facebook’s lead researcher Yann LeCun mentioned to us in our article about big trends for this year.

Networking and ‘AI Showcase’

Another focus of Transform is on quality networking, and there will be multiple formats for that — breakfasts, dinners, speed-dating, and more. In fact, Transform is an experiential event to support our growing community around AI. In addition to our editorial leadership, we have more fun things planned for later this year.

Some of the big-thinking sponsors joining us this year include Hypergiant, Beyond Limits, and Worldpay.

Most of the relevant AI ecosystem will be represented at Transform. We’ll have speakers from the platform companies — Amazon, Google, Microsoft — which have the resources to run hundreds, if not thousands, of AI projects internally, but are also now selling AI software to other companies.

We’ll also have speakers from the up-and-comers, companies like Uber, or even smaller companies like Stitch Fix, that are doing transformative things with AI. And finally, we’ll showcase the most disruptive AI startups or products we can find — with an eye to filter for those most interesting for enterprise buyers of technology (to find out more, or apply, see this link). We’ll also have a space on our “expo floor” featuring these and other “sponsored” disruptive AI companies (apply here).

In 2019, the ‘rest of us’ will be able to use AI

Democratization of AI, by the way, is yet another trend we’ll see in 2019. Companies with “chilling” amounts of data for compute-intensive neural networks stole most of the attention in recent years. But companies with fewer resources are starting to get results with AI. Moreover, AI will start to be accessible to other types of employees, not just data scientists, according to experts we talked with.

All of that’s good news, and why you should join us at Transform, if you’re a business exec. We’re excited about what’s in store this year. See you then!


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