Event Recap

Future of Business with AI 2024 - MIT Conference Recap

The "Future of Business with AI" conference, hosted by IIA, reconvened this year at MIT, uniting business leaders and technology experts. They explored the pivotal question: "What does artificial intelligence mean for our future, and how can we use it to grow in a good way?"


Gregor Mittersinker

Apr 25, 2024




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John Werner and the team at Link Ventures did an amazing job assembling top minds in the AI space. The lineup of high-profile speakers was impressive. Steve Wolfram discussed both large and small language models, while Yann LeCun introduced Llama 3 and highlighted Meta's dedication to the open-source movement. Dinesh Maheshwari provided insights on Groq Cloud and the future of Language Processing Units (LPUs). Lex Fridman offered perspectives on LLMs and mathematics. The event was a significant gathering of key AI players, marked by energetic and substantive discussions across a range of topics including machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics. These technologies are crucial in advancing sectors such as healthcare, finance, automotive, and entertainment, transforming our interaction with the digital world.

A lot of the AI experts I know said five years ago they thought what's happening now won't be happening for 90 years, and that their children would be experiencing this. And I think in this AI moment, it's not clear where things are going.

John Werner 1

The event featured over 120 speakers and showcased the innovative ideas of more than 70 startups. Discussions covered a broad range of topics including legal aid, construction technology, finance, design, and governance, highlighting the diverse landscape of AI innovation. The lineup not only demonstrated the breadth of creativity within the AI sphere but also emphasized the transformative potential of Generative AI, which is poised to revolutionize various industries in the next decade. As pitches unfolded, it became clear that we are on the brink of a new era marked by rapid technological advancements reshaping society. This event served as a poignant reminder of the limitless opportunities ahead, fueled by the relentless drive of entrepreneurs to push boundaries and forge a brighter future for everyone.

Stephen Wolfram on the stage being interviewed

Key highlights and themes that emerged from the technical talks and fireside chats:

Industry-Specific AI Applications

Several topics focused on the application of AI in specific industries including regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, and law. Several talks covered AI's role in scaling innovation in health insurance and its impact on global health initiatives. Moreover, discussions explored AI's competition with Big Pharma in the finance sector and its influence on the economics of knowledge work. Additionally, computational law emerged as a focal point, showcasing AI's potential in legal frameworks. As these discussions illustrate, AI's sector-specific applications are shaping diverse industries and paving the way for transformative changes.

AI Creative Tools

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a formidable force in the realm of creativity, offering tools that enhance and sometimes even redefine the creative process. AI as a creative tool represents a significant shift in the creative industries. It is not a replacement for human creativity but rather a catalyst that augments human potential, enabling new forms of expression and the possibility for everyone to engage in creative endeavors.

AI Literacy and Education

An increasing focus on educating individuals and organizations about AI technologies and their implications is evident, aiming to bridge the gap in understanding and adoption. Talks such as "AI Literacy," "AI through the eyes of an eleven year old," and "Leader’s guide to generative AI" highlighted the importance of accessible education in fostering widespread understanding and engagement with AI concepts. These discussions underscored the need for inclusive learning approaches to empower diverse audiences with the knowledge needed to navigate the AI-driven world effectively.

Decentralization of AI 

Talks such as "Decentralized AI for navigating health," "User-Owned Foundation Models," and "Unbinding AI agents across smart devices" indicated a shift towards decentralization and user empowerment in AI systems. These discussions highlight the growing emphasis on giving users greater control and transparency over AI technologies, fostering trust and accountability in their deployment. This move towards decentralized AI models reflects a broader societal push for democratization and inclusivity in technological advancements.

Ethics and Responsibility

There was a significant discussion around the rising awareness of ethical considerations and responsible practices in AI development and deployment. These discussions emphasized the importance of integrating ethical principles into AI frameworks to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability throughout the technology's lifecycle. This growing concern reflects a collective effort to address potential risks and challenges associated with AI adoption while promoting its responsible and beneficial use.

Topics like "Applied AI Ethics," "Clinically Responsible AI with Hypergraphs," and "Privacy and auditability in the AI supply chain" were covered through the lightning talks.

Governance and Sustainability

The topics "AI Governance, Sustainability and Scale" and "How to Govern AI" reflected a growing recognition of the importance of ethical and sustainable AI development. These discussions focused on establishing effective governance frameworks to ensure responsible and scalable AI implementation. There is an emerging need for collaboration amongst stakeholders to address emerging challenges and promote the long-term sustainability of AI technologies.

Enterprise Adoption and Investment

Themes such as "Enterprise GenAI Adoption Trends," "Investing Reimagined in an AI World," and "Insights from Rapidly Growing AI Companies" indicate a keen interest in understanding the patterns and trends of AI adoption in large companies, as well as investment opportunities and insights from industry leaders.

A woman presenting her work with ‘Bridging the Gap between the Virtual and Physical Built World’ displayed on the screen
Image from the organizers: https://www.johnwernerphotography.com/IIA-424/i-xzwpVgs/A

All participants at the conference acknowledged the AI landscape is transforming at an unprecedented pace. Many drew parallels to the seismic shifts brought about by the internet revolution. However, the AI revolution diverges in its propulsion mechanism; where the internet grew through a largely decentralized and organic expansion, AI's advancement is being driven by substantial investments from major corporations. These entities are pouring resources into sophisticated hardware and expansive platforms, fueling the development and deployment of AI technologies. the AI revolution is reshaping the fabric of our professional and personal lives. It holds the potential to vastly improve efficiency, enable new discoveries, and create uncharted pathways for innovation. At the same time, it demands a proactive approach to manage its impact on society, ensuring that the AI revolution benefits the world at large.


  1. https://www.wgbh.org/news/local/2024-04-17/thinking-deeply-about-ai-at-the-imagination-in-action-conference
  2. Images from the organizers: https://www.johnwernerphotography.com/IIA-424/i-xzwpVgs/A

About the Author



Gregor Mittersinker


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Austrian-born Gregor is in his element while dissecting most complex business & technology challenges and creating their next level business outcomes.

Prior to starting Loft, Gregor led a Strategy & Design team at Accenture Interactive where he helped launch new multi-billion dollar businesses for global fortune 500 companies. He also led creative teams at Rollerblade, InMusic & Cross.

Outside of business hours he teaches Service Design & UX at RISD, and hosts a weekly think tank with global business & political leaders around the world.

He has worked in the US, Europe & Asia over the past 30 years has earned numerous design awards as well as holds well over 100 patents for product innovations around the globe.

A natural motivator, leader, collaborator, and innovator, the only thing that takes Gregor’s eyes off of design for long is his love for winter sports, kitesurfing and DJing in local clubs.

Many have tried to keep up with Gregor, few have succeeded.

Next level inspiration … Japanese wood craft and joinery, minimalist forms that are functional and proportioned.

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