Breaking News

Artificial intelligence summit targets what’s ahead for Louisville’s workforce – Courier Journal


The annual gadget fest in Las Vegas started this week with “CES Unveiled,” an event highlighted by several new robotic and artificial intelligence technology, including one that acts as a pet. (Jan. 6)

AP BusinessCompanies in Louisville and around the globe are growing increasingly thirsty for data to help them forecast inventory needs, understand how their customers are responding to marketing pitches or speed up package deliveries.There’s also widespread concern about how the wave of new technologies will recast the kinds of skills workers will need in the future.On Tuesday, a daylong talent summit titled AI & the Future of Work will explore a variety of topics around artificial intelligence, changes in the workplace and how education can help students adapt.The annual workforce and education summit organized by regional workforce agency KentuckianaWorks and other groups typically draws about 300 attendees. But registrations for the gathering this week topped 1,100, and now there’s now a waiting list. The city’s largest employers, including UPS, Humana, GE Appliances and Norton Healthcare, are sending information technology directors, software developers, data scientists and analysts to the fifth annual summit. Several college and K-12 educators, as well as workforce and nonprofit leaders from Louisville, Lexington and Southern Indiana, have reserved spots, said Sarah Ehresman, the agency’s director of labor market intelligence.Related: Free Code Louisville classes get reboot after program scores new fundingThere’s no question why AI and automation are huge now, said Aaron Peabody, lead data scientist at Untitled Firm, a Louisville startup. “The implications of this technology are massive because it will eventually be the technology, and it is not going away,” Peabody said. With co-workers, he will demonstrate the firm’s work at a tech showcase during the event at the downtown Kentucky International Convention Center.Local experts delving into AI say the technology is evolving quickly, but most of it involves crunching huge chunks of data — for instance, health care metrics on fragile patients who are released from hospitals.It’s used to make predictions about problems a patient will encounter and to help doctors and providers identify more proactive ways to get an ill person back to better health.At Norton Healthcare, AI is used to help detect patients at risk for developing potentially deadly sepsis infections and for evaluating patients at higher risk for opioid addiction, among other uses, according to Dr. Steven T. Hester, system chief medical officer.”A lot of what gets lumped under AI is not AI,” said Ben Reno-Weber, director of the local Microsoft Future of Work Initiative. Many companies do advanced data analytics, he said, but the next step, programming a machine to “think” in new and novel ways to complete tasks, is the holy grail in AI.ICYMI: Beshear signs bill requiring school resource officers to carry gunsAt the summit, two keynote addresses will feature Microsoft’s Jacky Wright, chief digital officer and corporate vice president; and IBM’s Jonathan Arneault, North America software as a service director, with University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi.Several panel discussions will focus on the kinds of workplaces and jobs likely to be most impacted by AI, how to use AI to solve business challenges and how AI and other technologies will reshape work in the future.  Reno-Weber said Louisville is building a robust data community, with more professionals handling predictive analytics. U of L, for instance, will soon have 68 graduates in its Master of Business Administration in business analytics.Other colleges, he added, are considering adding undergraduate degrees in the field.The interest this year from educators has increased significantly because they’re searching for “how to build a workforce whose skills are aligned with industry,” Reno-Weber said.For details on the conference, see also: Louisville’s historic Seelbach Hotel plans 11-story tower, big redoGrace Schneider: 502-582-4082; [email protected]; Twitter: @gesinfk. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: or Share this story: