In a Seattle building full of history and nostalgia, the GeekWire Summit returned Thursday with an agenda focused on rapidly advancing technology and what it will mean for the future.
A crowd of nearly 600 attendees filled the SIFF Cinema — formerly the Cinerama movie theater — in Belltown for our annual technology conference, titled “AI Gets Real” this year in a nod to how artificial intelligence is transforming society.
Panel discussions featuring Seattle tech leaders addressed AI’s impact on technology, business and strategy, and culture. Experts shared how AI is changing transportation, design and agriculture.
It was all set against the backdrop of the iconic theater which was playing host to an event for the first time since before the pandemic and a lengthy closure, and ultimately a sale from the Paul Allen estate to the non-profit film organization SIFF.
The smell of the beloved chocolate-covered popcorn filled the busy lobby, and after the Summit sessions concluded, the theater projectors awakened for a special screening of the sci-fi thriller “Arrival.” The film was written for the screen by Eric Heisserer, from a story by writer Ted Chiang, both of whom were Summit panelists.
Along the way, we heard a variety of viewpoints and insights about AI, including what’s working, what’s not, what jobs and workers will be impacted, and what to expect in the coming months and years.
- “GitHub Copilot has been really successful internally, especially with our senior engineers. We’re currently accepting about 25% of the suggestions that Copilot gives us. It’s really making our engineers more efficient.” — Bridget Frey, chief technology officer at Redfin
- “What we’ve actually found is that [AI] doesn’t take away your job. But it actually frees up your time to work on different things.” — David Shim, co-founder and CEO at Read AI
- “Don’t just learn how to write code, don’t just learn a language. Assume that the language is a tool that you have in your toolbox. Understand more of the data science, the mathematical behavior, how a computer works — you need to have a broader understanding of the systems that you’re using.” — Inbal Shani, chief product officer at GitHub, offering advice for engineering students
- “One of the remarkable things about generative AI is that it’s very easy to build a fantastic prototype very quickly. But then getting something production-ready is still a big challenge.” — Gaurav Oberoi, co-founder and CEO at Lexion
- “We’re still figuring out how to use generalizable models, and how best to use them, but they’re really powerful in creating a lot of automation. And that automation is really powerful for building companies.” — Diego Oppenheimer, managing partner at Factory
- “From my perspective, solving customer problems and better enabling AI — these are the key areas [in AI] that we see at the moment.” — Charlotte Yarkoni, president of commerce and ecosystems, cloud and AI at Microsoft
- “Let’s not rush not to put thousands and thousands of people out of work before we know that something can actually improve productivity.” — Eric Heisserer, Oscar nominated writer and filmmaker
- “Technology can solve certain problems, but I think the biggest problems that we face are not problems that have technological solutions.” — Ted Chiang, award-winning sci-fi writer
Big thanks to everyone who attended the 2023 GeekWire Summit!
And thanks to our GeekWire Summit sponsors, including our gold-level sponsors Astound Business Solutions, Amazon, Calgary Economic Development, Delta, and Blink UX. And our silver-level and supporting sponsors: SMM Marketing, SeaCiti, Remitly, TalentReach, SoluCIO Partners, Submittable, DialPad, British Columbia, Washington State Department of Commerce, ALLtech, SIFF, Wilson Sonsini, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and Adavanza.
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Keep scrolling for more images from the event:
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