Join me at EmTech Digital this week!

This story originally appeared in The Algorithm, our weekly newsletter on AI. To get stories like this in your inbox first, sign up here. I’m excited to spend this week in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’m visiting the mothership for MIT Technology Review’s annual flagship AI conference, EmTech Digital, on May 22-23.  Between the world leaders gathering in Seoul…
Join me at EmTech Digital this week!

Between the world leaders gathering in Seoul for the second AI Safety Summit this week and Google and OpenAI’s launches of their supercharged new models, Astra and GPT-4o, the timing could not be better. AI feels hotter than ever.  

This year’s EmTech will be all about how we can harness the power of generative AI while mitigating its risks,and how the technology will affect the workforce, competitiveness, and democracy. We will also get a sneak peek into the AI labs of Google, OpenAI, Adobe, AWS, and others. 

This year’s top speakers include Nick Clegg, the president of global affairs at Meta, who will talk about what the platform intends to do to curb misinformation. In 2024, over 40 national elections will happen around the world, making it one of the most consequential political years in history. At the same time, generative AI has enabled an entirely new age of misinformation. And it’s all coalescing, with major shake-ups at social media companies and information platforms. MIT Technology Review’s executive editor Amy Nordrum will press Clegg on stage about what this all means for democracy.

Here are some other sessions I am excited about.

A Peek Inside Google’s plans 
Jay Yagnik, a vice president and engineering fellow at Google, will share what the history of AI can teach us about where the technology is going next and discuss Google’s vision for how to harness generative AI.  

From the Labs of OpenAI
Srinivas Narayanan, the vice president of applied AI at OpenAI, will share what the company has been building recently and what is coming next. In another session, Connor Holmes, who led work on video-generation AI Sora, will talk about how video-generation models could work as world simulators, and what this means for future AI models. 

The Often-Overlooked Privacy Problems in AI
Language models are prone to leaking private data. In this session Patricia Thaine, cofounder and CEO of Private AI, will explore methods that keep secrets secret and help organizations maintain compliance with privacy regulations. 

A Word Is Worth a Thousand Pictures
Cynthia Lu, senior director and head of applied research at Adobe, will walk us through the AI technology that Adobe is building and the ethical and legal implications of generated imagery. I’ve written about Adobe’s efforts to build generative AI in a non-exploitative way and how they’re paying off, so I’ll be interested to hear more about that.