This year’s IP Expo, held in London earlier this week, featured a stellar cast of speakers from the world of science and information technology.
Big-name speakers included Garry Kasparov, history’s longest-reigning world chess champion who now plays as ambassador for cyber security company Avast.
And the superstar keynote speaker was Brian Cox, arguably TV’s favourite stargazer.
Cox was of course a pop star before he went into television to present astronomy programmes, and was responsible – along with popular beat combo D:Ream – for the Labour Party’s favourite tune, Things Can Only Get Better.
Cox is also a professor of particle physics and is regarded as a natural successor to TV legends Richard Attenborough and, probably more closely, Patrick Moore, the late and long-serving presenter of The Sky at Night.
So, something of a coup for IP Expo, Cox gave a lecture on the subject of “Where IT and Physics Collide” to a packed crowd. But then, most lecture halls at IP Expo were packed – it was a well-attended event as usual.
Cox used the plain English explanations he’s famous for to update the audience on subjects such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things, and how such technologies are “driving an IT revolution towards incredible computer power”.
He also spoke about the growing demand for more data storage and the innovative solutions such as graphene and quantum computing.
In his lecture, “The Future of Human-Machine Collaboration”, Kasparov was at pains to remind the audience that he beat the IBM supercomputer at chess in the first match, and grudgingly accepted that the computer may have got the better of him in subsequent years, although he still doesn’t accept that that’s the end of it.
He argued humans will always triumph and that he doesn’t feel threatened by artificial intelligence, which he reluctantly accepts “is a form of intelligence… but…”
He gave EM360º some exclusive comments after his speech, which you can read here. And had he not been ushered away by his public relations representative, he probably would have gone on to argue that the alleged “nexus” of IBM’s supercomputer and his then arch-rival in chess, Anatoly Karpov, made the match he lost 20 years ago null and void.
But he did accept that computers can be useful because of their “massive power”, which, at the end of the day, was “depressing”.
Security was the big issue as always at such events. Kasparov certainly believes it is one of the most important – of not the single most important – challenges for computer scientists and IT professionals today.
Approximately 300 hundred lectures or seminars were held at IP Expo, so it’s practically impossible to highlight them all, but other notable speakers and subjects included:
- what was described as an “eye-opening panel discussion” on the future of cybersecurity featuring Wendy Nather, principal security strategist, Duo Security; Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer, F-Secure; Rik Furguson, global VP security research, Trend Micro; and James Lyne, global security advisor, Sophos;
- a timely panel discussion on the efficient implementation of cloud communications featuring Manek Dubash, technology journalist; Charles Aylwin, director of Channel 8×8; Dave Mailer, principle consultant, 4C Strategies; and Tom McDonald, managing director, Exsel Group;
- a forward-thinking talk by Adrian Hornsby, technical evangelist at Amazon Web Services, covering the AWS IoT platform, latest developments and live demos and walkthroughs featuring Raspberry Pi.
- a comprehensive view on the future of AI, both sophisticated and automated, by Dave Palmer, director of technology, Darktrace.
- AI pioneer Stuart Russell, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkley, on the reality of AI and whether or not we, as humans, should be concerned about its evolution;
- David Lewis from Akamai Technologies took a humours look at the IT terms which belong in the jargon bin; and
- several sessions on DevOps, including a particularly insightful talk from Colin Beales of Microsoft on zero to DevOps with Microsoft Azure; and
Of course, the main highlight of the entire IP Expo event was the EM360º stand, which proved incredibly popular with the passing crowd, many of whom availed themselves of the free magazines and other goodies on offer.
The stand provided a great platform to meet and greet readers and clients, many of whom made future plans for further co-operation with EM360º.
IP Expo organisers were effusive about the event, saying it has been another successful year.
At the end of the second and final day, Bradley Maule-ffinch, EMEA portfolio director at IP Expo, series said: “It’s been another incredible day at IP Expo Europe.
“As always our speakers and exhibitors have really gone above and beyond to make this year’s show an incredible success, and as a result we’ve seen record attendance across both days at the show.
“With such a wide range of topics covered we’ve been able to provide attendees with a comprehensive view of IT at the cutting edge. It’s also been fantastic to see so much conversation about the next evolution of technology in AI and Machine Learning.”