BRISTECH: SOME OF OUR HIGHLIGHTS FOR A YEAR AHEAD

Held at Watershed in Bristol, Bristech Conference is a one-day tech event with a packed agenda that this time covered areas including programming languages, tooling, frameworks, digital ethics, soft skills/psychology, emerging technologies and the delivery process.

AMBITIOUS’ Senior PR Consultant Greg headed to the conference and has now put together Bristech Conference highlights, outlining some key tech trends as we look forward to an exciting year ahead.

Bristech started as a Group on Meet-up, and still holds events on the first Thursday of every month, but its success has now grown to include an annual conference where hundreds of delegates gather in the centre of Bristol to get the lowdown on the latest technological developments

Idea or pay cheque?

The first session of the conference was a panel session hosted by Ash Philips, founder of network for young entrepreneurs YENA on ‘creating a company culture’. It was a lively discussion talking about how to generate a healthy and genuine culture for employees and the ethos of working for an idea, not a pay cheque.  It was really interesting to get the opinions of some of Bristol’s brightest young start-ups on employee wellbeing and purpose.

Building Artificial Intelligence – with great power comes…

Next-up in a packed auditorium was a session on Hollistic AI Ethics with technology theorist and consultant on AI ethics and responsibility Ben Byford.

The implementation of AI today is obviously an extremely complex undertaking when you consider all aspects of an organisation, development and impact. Ben argued that properly scoped, delivered and supported AI can be a blessing to any organisation, offering great potential for promoting the public good in a multitude of areas from education to public health and sustainability. However, he also discussed the importance of ethical obligations in its creation and avoiding risks that certain AI implementations or investments could have moving forward.

Gazing into the not so distant future, the session was massively insightful. Needless to say, there wasn’t time to get through all the questions at the end.

Where are the women?

Dora Militaru is a senior IT developer at FT.com, and she hosted a talk on diversity in tech.

It’s no secret that minority groups are currently underrepresented in the tech industry, and those that are hired are often either assimilated or excluded. Dora’s session took a closer look at the diversity debate to do some myth busting and to establish what’s actually a force for good, and vice versa.

What was quite an intense but very illuminating session – quite literally with the multitude of jazzy flashing gifs in Dora’s presentation – it was aimed at helping everyone in the room to understand and begin to fix the diversity issue in technology and beyond. Dora’s hope is that everyone can somehow contribute to making the industry more accessible, inclusive, and welcoming for all

Talking Tech: The right kind of stories

Cecilia Thirlway is a strategic communications consultant and writer.

Her session was on how to communicate and tell the right kind of stories about technology. Cecilia debated what is best practice now in a world of Fake News, where post-truth means that media portrayals of technology are not necessarily accurate, while fictional portrayals tend to exaggerate the possibilities or overstate and misrepresent the dangers.

At AMBITIOUS, effective storytelling is a big part of what we do, and a lot of what Cecilia had to say really chimed with our approach.

Did someone say Quantum Computers?

Over the last few years, quantum computing has seen a surge in popularity, with both large companies and new start-ups around the globe working on developing these new and exciting machines.

As the last session of the day, a talk on Quantum Computing might have been tech overload but given our only basic level of understanding the session was actually very accessible and informative. As a starter for ten, the lecture covered the question I was most interested in – ‘What exactly is a quantum computer?!‘

Two researchers, Euan Allen and Alex Moylett from the University of Bristol’s Quantum Engineering Technology Labs, pondered the key fundamentals of quantum computing, the hardware used to construct quantum processors, and also what algorithms can be created as a result.

So there are just a few of our highlights captured over the course of the event. For more information on forthcoming Bristech events, check out the group’s Meet-up page here.

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