2023 Travelogue: Leipzig and Hannover

I had a week of conferences in three cities, so I made a quick round-trip around Germany to talk data and AI.

I have this problem where I am really quite bad at saying no to things. I do try really hard, and I do say no somewhat often, but I still say yes far too frequently. And so I managed to “yes” my way into three events in three cities in Germany across five days. I got back from the US not a week prior before I found myself packing my suitcase once again and setting off.

My first stop was at the Leipzig University, where I had agreed to give a two lecture on AI governance, first at the University, and then again at the ScaDS.AI Dresden-Leipzig colloquium. I actually really enjoyed giving this talk. AI Governance is an emerging field and there’s been a ton of noise about AI ethics in the last few years. I actually stopped talking about tech ethics a few years ago because so many speakers were rehashing the same content over and over and getting us nowhere. Somehow, it got worse recently, with the hype around GenAI and tech bros stoking imaginary fears of AI taking over the world (and of course promising pinky swear not to be part of that).

So when I’ve had to jump back into the topic for my day job, I wanted to structure the idea of AI governance a little more. “Responsible AI” is a limited view, although a helpful one. In looking at AI risk, I came up with a few different dimensions that we should consider when building or deploying AI:

  • Copyright and intellectual property;
  • Data privacy, justice, and sovereignty;
  • Social and economic impact;
  • Environmental sustainability;
  • Product and other liability;
  • Competition and labor market fairness;
  • “Ethics”.

Despite not really having given the talk before, I’m really glad how it turned out, and the feedback I got, particularly from people in cross-disciplinary fields like law and technology, really inspired me to do more in this space.

I was only in Leipzig for a minute before I had to jump off to Hannover for another event, the CDO Exchange. This was kind of like speed-dating to match consultants and vendors with potential clients, but the networking was really worthwhile, and it was nice to see some clients past, present, and (hopefully) future there. A lot of folks were talking about data mesh, which is nice because this means I can stop doing so much heavy lifting on the topic!

I hardly got the chance to see Hannover… actually I didn’t at all. Shortly after the event I hopped back on the train to head back to Berlin, where I would wrap up the week at the Women+ in Data & AI festival where I would be talking about data mesh and decision science. Here again I really enjoyed the talk I gave and got to network with amazing women and nonbinary people from all around the world.

I wrapped up my week with a surprise day at Vabali with a new friend and couldn’t ask for a better way to wrap a wild week of multiple events, multiple talks, and multiple cities.

Posted: 08.07.2023

Built: 22.02.2024

Updated: 24.08.2023

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Words: 536

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