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Program

The program of AiCon 2021 is constantly updated.

December 1
17:30

Networking dinner

At the Networking Dinner on December 1, the Canton of Schwyz and its partners welcome 60 guests from politics, business, research, and society and present the Swiss AI Index for the first time. In addition to the Swiss AI Award, the Global AI Award will also be presented this year for exceptional achievements in AI.

Please note that tickets are not available for the Networking Dinner. Only invited guests will be admitted.

December 2
09:00

Greeting by the Canton of Schwyz

09:20

Artificial intelligence as a great opportunity for Switzerland

09:30

The ETH AI Centre - On trustworthy AI and beyond

09:50

Crossing boundaries in AI: from cross-lingual learning to creative thought

Often, crossing boundaries introduces loss – systems perform less well on data they were not trained on, however, it also holds promise.
First, I will show how crossing language boundaries creates opportunities for learning in natural language processing. Tools and resources in hundreds of languages are needed, because people want to be served in their own languages, and businesses are realising this. Second, I will argue that in order to encompass a larger share of what human intelligence entails, a focus on models that are able to learn more from less data, possibly inspired by human cognition, is needed. For example, creative thinking is a human ability that has been underexplored in computational modelling, even though the computational creativity market size is expected to grow and it is an important ingredient when building user-engaging technology, for ethical AI, and innovation.

10:10

Deep Learning for the industry: Or - How do bats get into production?

AI is becoming more and more prevalent in everyday life: Translation programs, funny photo filters on cell phones or driving assistance in cars. Now the big breakthrough is about to happen in the manufacturing industry. Perfect quality and ever higher efficiency are driving Swiss companies. One important issue is the high availability of machines. Predictive maintenance is designed to detect failures at an early stage and avoid unexpected downtime. Special sensor technology can play a decisive role in this. Philipp Schmid analyzes where the technology stands today, he points out hurdles and uses concrete practical examples to show the enormous potential of AI.

10:30

Coffee break

11:00

Breakout sessions

Breakout sessions are presented by our Gold Partners PWC, Swisscom/Artificialy and IBM.

IBM
  • Dr. Anika Schumann
    Research Manager Artificial Intelligence for Industries at IBM Research

Artificial Intelligence is embedded in everyday life, business, government, medicine and more. In order to ensure the trust in such AI applications it is crucial that ethical principles are adhered to.  The talk will present examples of ethical issues, describe different approaches for addressing these, and mention some of the many initiatives that have been built in the past few years to address ethical concerns around AI.  It will also discuss how IBM implements ethical principles.

PwC Switzerland

SIX Exchange Regulation AG (SER) is an autonomous entity that ensures the independent regulation and monitoring of the SIX exchanges. SER monitors the exchange such that insider trading, price and market manipulation, and other breaches of the law and regulations are uncovered. Trading in compliance with the rules is a key factor in Switzerland’s reputation as a stock market and financial centre. To make its trade monitoring both more effective and more efficient, SER has worked in collaboration with PwC to develop the application Prometheus, which relies on innovative technologies such as AI and the use of a big data cluster.
In this breakout session Christian Müller, Head Surveillance & Enforcement at SER, will provide insights into the story of Prometheus’ creation – from drawing board to live solution – and perspectives on success factors and lessons learnt.

Artificialy

Lately, we often hear about artificial intelligence and its potential. In many cases, the discussion shifts to artificial intelligence that will dominate the world, job losses, and super-human robots. We “only” pragmatically present concrete cases of companies effectively using AI solutions to improve their business and produce value and revenue.

12:00

Lunch break

13:30

Breakout sessions

Breakout sessions are presented by our Gold Partners PWC, Swisscom/Artificialy and IBM.

IBM

The use of virtual assistants and natural language processing (NLP) in the field of customer care is growing rapidly, in large part due to its ability to help businesses provide seamless customer experiences and resolve customer inquiries quickly and easily. Ideally, it means no more wandering around on different websites and no more telephone queues, but quick and concrete information.  Swiss company CREALOGIX, a global software manufacturer for digital banking products, developed a scalable digital assistance solution for the financial services sector based on IBM Watson Assistant and IBM Watson Discovery. In doing so, they are using the latest IBM technology, such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU), with enhancing CREALOGIX‘ existing Conversational Banking solution, which already enjoys a high level of acceptance in the market. The presentation highlights the case and shows the potential and importance of modern customer interfaces and how companies and their customers can benefit from virtual assistants.

PwC Switzerland

Immanuel Schweizer, Global Head of Data & Analytics Architecture at Merck, and Matthias Leybold, partner and Data & Analytics Leader at PwC Switzerland, guide participants through the individual stages from strategy development to implementation – things that have brought lasting change at Merck. And the change will continue since a well-implemented data and analytics strategy is only the beginning of a journey into the future – for the company as well as for all its employees. The two experts tackle subjects such as the formulation of processes and responsibilities, choosing the right platform, ensuring data quality and upskilling. At the same time, they provide an insight into the factors that have been key to the success of the project.

Artificialy

Raw material for metal sheet processing industry has various sources resulting in high variation of the material composition. A recycling rate of up to 100% is possible which directly affects the material properties and challenge to find generalized optimal parameters for laser cutting. Bystronic successfully implemented and tested a software tool using artificial intelligence to assist the machine operators in finding the optimal laser cutting parameters within minutes instead of hours. The software tool for our customers will be launched in March 2022 and will reduce efforts in post-processing steps to a minimum.

14:45

Breakout sessions

Breakout sessions are presented by our Gold Partners PWC, Swisscom/Artificialy and IBM.

IBM
  • Dr. Heike Riel
    Dr. Heike Riel is IBM Fellow, Head of Science & Technology and Lead of IBM Research Quantum Europe & Africa
  • Dr. Stefan Woerner
    IBM Quantum Applications Research & Software Lead and a Principal Research Staff Member in the Quantum Technologies group of the Science & Technology department at IBM Research
  • Dr. Mira Wolf-Bauwens
    Research Innovation Leader and IBM Quantum Distinguished Ambassador

Currently, we are in the era of the data-driven enterprise. Using AI we are enabled to leverage data analyses and generate new insights. With AI being accelerated by Quantum Computing, we have the potential to move to the era of the discovery-driven enterprise. In this discussion, we will show how Quantum Computing can accelerate AI and the process of discovering solutions to complex problems. Join us for an interactive panel discussion that includes case studies ranging from the finance industry to climate change.

PwC Switzerland
  • Peter Blank
    Senior Manager Process Intelligence, PwC Switzerland
  • Nadja Walti
    Manager Process Intelligence, PwC Switzerland

Peter Blank, Senior Manager Process Intelligence and Nadja Walti, Manager Process Intelligence at PwC Switzerland, will guide participants through PwC’s use of the Process Mining methodology and show them how to gain full transparency and understanding of their business processes, based on their digital footprint in IT systems. PwCs solution drives digital transformation and optimization of business processes, by detecting vulnerabilities, inefficiencies and risk factors that block and slow down processes. With the help of a practical use case, the experts demonstrate how process mining and process intelligence can enable and accelerate data-driven business transformation using the latest data analytics technologies and how that can serve as the foundation for AI/ML applications.

Artificialy

Are correlative relations and predictive models all there is and all we need? While this approach to artificial intelligence has enjoyed great success in recent years, it has also shown its limits: think of reliability, explainability, and actual support to decision making. In this speech, I argue that we can make AI more useful by taking three concepts seriously: uncertainty, robustness, and, most of all, causality. After an introduction to the successes and pitfalls of AI, I will discuss how these concepts can provide solutions to questions that you and your business care about the most.

15:45

Coffee break

16:00

Project Debater – how persuasive can a computer be

Project Debater is the first AI system that can meaningfully debate a human opponent. The system, an IBM Grand Challenge, is designed to build coherent, convincing speeches on its own, as well as provide rebuttals to the opponent’s main arguments. In 2019, Project Debater competed against Harish Natarajan, who holds the world record for most debate victories, in an event held in San Francisco that was broadcasted live world-wide. In this talk I will tell the story of Project Debater, from conception to a climactic final event, describe its underlying technology, and discuss how it can be leveraged for advancing decision making and critical thinking.

16:15

Navigating AI in Switzerland

16:30

Closing remarks

16:40

Apéro riche