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Takeaways from World AI Cannes Festival 2024

Expert.ai Team - 23 February 2024

World Cannes AI Festival red carpet

The World AI Cannes Festival (WAICF) is known for being one of the world’s largest conferences on artificial intelligence, and the expert.ai team was thrilled to take part again this year at such an exciting time in the world of AI.

From our spot on the exhibition floor and the demo stage, we talked to companies from across the world and managed to squeeze in a few conference sessions from the more than 250 on the program across the five tracks of AI for: Applications, Society, Strategy, Technology and Today & Tomorrow.

Expert.ai team at WAICF 2024

From those conversations, here are some of the themes and topics that stood out to us, and which will be shaping the conversation and application of AI in the near future.

Generative AI’s Moment

In 2024, Generative AI has taken the world by storm, and we’re not quite beyond the hype. Generative AI was the phrase on most every booth and within every presentation. Not surprisingly, there is a sense that if you’re not using it, you’ll be left behind. There is real progress being made in terms of the use cases, approaches and new applications, such as genAI for image technology. However, challenges related to data transparency and bias, copyright issues and high energy consumption remain.

AI Getting Practical

It’s clear that companies are getting value from AI now, and we are just scratching the surface in terms of what is possible. Across the sessions, we saw a wide range of ways that companies are using AI now, and adding generative AI capabilities was a major theme.

Highly regulated industries—like pharmaceuticals and banking—are using AI extensively, and automation, insight detection, customer support and personalization are the main areas where AI is having a transformational impact.

We are also seeing companies internalizing certain processes, bringing data science and model building in house. This supports the need for an open platform environment from which to be able to take advantage of powerful AI capabilities, choose the AI approach best suited for your use case and do so safely and securely.

Finding the Balance

In its “breakout year,” generative AI has captured agendas and led to the launch of an entire wave of new tools and other innovations. But just as these new capabilities have opened up new opportunities, it has also opened up new landscapes for risk and other concerns. A number of WAICF sessions focused on responsible AI and the need to find the balance between fully embracing new capabilities and the broader impacts of the technology: the impacts on humans, the environment, on data security and cybersecurity and ethical considerations.

With European Parliament committees ratifying a draft legislation on AI rules in the week following WAICF, regulation in the form of the EU AI Act is moving forward. Still, as made evident in several panel discussions, there is no consensus on the “best” regulatory path that will suit everyone and there are many hoops to jump through before adoption, so stay tuned.