Back for another year, Collision 2023 in Toronto was action-packed, welcoming over 36,000 delegates and 1,500 startups to showcase their latest tech innovations. It’s an exciting time in the industry, and despite the looming concerns of a recession, investors are keen to invest in the technology that will propel us into the next decade. Tech entrepreneurs are tackling the world’s most pressing issues like climate change, poverty, misinformation, cybersecurity, and of course, inclusion, equity and diversity. Here are the key takeaways:
Generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI)
This year, the agenda shifted away from crypto and blockchain to Artificial Intelligence (AI), most notably, generative AI. Expert panelists were giving their take on the immense opportunity AI presents across all industries. Sarah Guo, founder of Conviction, said health care delivery around the world will see the most significant improvements in the near term. Many call the risks of AI taking control overblown, claiming the same panic cycle happens at the advent of every new technological revolution like the internet, cryptography, and even going from horse and buggy to cars. While Geoffrey Hinton, one of the Godfathers of AI, said the existential risk of AI gaining control and manipulating humans in their own interests needs to be treated with more concern, rather than being shrugged off as improbable. Hinton mentioned “there are 99 smart people making AI better, and one person trying to figure out how to stop it from taking over.”
Both climate change and the automotive industry in Canada were also top of the agenda at Collision. Max Evans, the Co-founder & CTO of ClimateAI, spoke about building climate resilience worldwide by leveraging AI to reach their promised climate goals. Given AI is now able to study climate patterns and combine weather variables with data analytics, companies can leverage machine learning algorithms to make predictions and recommendations for farmers.
Automotive companies are investing heavily into Visual AI to build self-driving vehicles along with electrifying the grid. Volkswagen was showcasing their latest electric vehicles at Collision like the ID Buzz. The conference brought together experts and engineers who are redefining the way we travel in our cities, and focusing their solutions on autonomous vehicles, smart cities and reducing carbon emissions.
Dave Rogenmoser, the CEO and Co-founder at Jasper, a platform trained to write original content for marketers, talked about how AI intersects with marketing. He mentioned AI is becoming integrated into every step of the marketing process from data collection to producing website copy, and although tools may be on the rise of taking these jobs from current marketers, there will still be a need for human agency to moderate the quality of outputs and ensure the tools are optimized.
These generative AI tools allow marketers to create hyper personalized content and products that create more value for their clients for a much lower cost. Rogenmoser said fluffy content will proliferate due to generative AI, but the best quality content will continue being ranked at the top of search engines like Google and Microsoft Bing or even new search engines like ChatGPT (with Browsing Plugin).
When tech leaders from 118 countries come together to demonstrate the amazing technology they’ve been working on for the past year, great things happen, and deals are done. The artificial intelligence conversation dominated most of Collision 2023, however content marketing, climate action, healthcare, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology were also top-of-mind. To add to the flare, Collision announced the conference will be returning to Toronto in 2024 and will continue to attract tech giants and start-ups from across the world.
Written by: Araash Chothia, Junior Marketer, The Globe and Mail