InfoShare 2018: Highlights
InfoShare is the largest tech conference in Central and Eastern Europe. This year, Infoshare welcomed world-class speakers from such companies as Microsoft, Google, OpenAI, as well as over 7 thousand technology fans. The conference united more than 150 global investors and drew hundreds of startups making it a true festival of technology.
Similar to WebSummit 2017 that the Sciforce team attended last autumn, most talks, panels and discussions revolved around AI and blockchain and how they are impacting all areas of our life from healthcare to agriculture.
What’s the hype
Blockchain and Machine Learning (ML) have been making a lot of noise over the last couple of years, but not so much together. Nowadays, Machine Learning is everywhere. At the same time, blockchain is around machine learning. Machine learning and blockchain are global trends for all businesses, investors and startups.
The biggest challenge for businesses now is to think about collecting, storing and ordering data to make it usable for ML.
Blockchain is still a relatively new technology, so there are still a lot of use-cases for it which are constantly being discovered. The use-cases that we have explored on Infoshare are merely a scratch on the surface for what this technology can accomplish. Some specific applications built on blockchain in domains of identity, intellectual property, and supply chain were presented at the conference.
Artificial general intelligence (AGI)
Besides talks about the direction that technology should take, the conference also featured a number of talks tackling facets of ML, its perspectives and achievements. One of the reports was the OpenAI talk about their work on reinforcement learning. It was a brief, yet informative overview of RL achievements in playing Go and Dota2, controlling robots and other exciting areas. We are still very far from the future described in SciFi novels, yet some achievements already look intriguing: for instance, sometimes intelligent agents “cheat” the simulation used during learning and reach high scores by exploiting bugs in the simulated world.
Startup Contest 2018
One of the most interesting tracks was the startup stage where tens of startups were trying to impress the jury and investors. The finalists of Startup Contest 2018 included:
ThinAir Water — in response to diminishing water resources, particularly in regions such as the Middle East, North Africa, ThinAir has created a technology that can access the 140 quadrillion liters of water in the Earth’s atmosphere. ThinAir’s innovation is a ‘water from air’ generating material surface.
Magentiq Eye — the company aims at harnessing the most cutting-edge computer vision and deep learning techniques to aid doctors in endoscopic procedures and their first product is APDS: Automatic Polyp Detection System.
FinAi.pl — a top-notch fully digital lending platform which puts the customer in the center of the decision-making process — now we let you grab the steering wheel!
Afforest4Future — is the first Artificial Intelligence Platform to monitor fresh water bodies and predict the areas that can be greened in less than 5 years.
Biolumo — this startup aims at designing, test and mass-produce an inexpensive and rapid point-of-care tool that will help GPs select appropriate antibiotics for every patient. This will improve mortality rates associated with the improper treatment of bacterial diseases. The precise selection of an antibiotic for infection treatment will also slow down the drug-resistance process.
The contest was eventually won by ThinAir Water with no AI or blockchain inside that received a 20,000 EUR prize, while Biolumo took the 2nd place and Magentiq Eye ended third.
An interesting fact is that two out of three winners were healthcare startups. It sounds particularly inspiring for us, as one of the major direction of our work at SciForce deals with developing innovative solutions for healthcare. It is very encouraging to know that our company is in line with global trends.
Besides, we would like to say a couple of words about the Speed Dating app — an awesome opportunity not only to share contacts but also to spend 15 minutes with a stranger and learn a lot about each other even after the initial 15 minutes. For investors this is a good opportunity to find out almost everything about the product, development plans, the monthly revenue, the invested capital, or the number of users. For startups, this is a chance to train their elevator pitches and get prepared for the next round or to fix issues.
Infoshare 2018 was extremely well organized and we’d like to thank all the iS Heroes for the all-day support and care. What we want to wish in future is a more stable WiFi connection and more English talks as well as speakers.
Last year we visited Web Summit and it turns out that InfoShare has picked up the same trends and style, which we actually find great!