Interfacing The Future 2023: Blurring The Divide

Sam Hannah

January 23, 2023

On Wednesday 18th January 2023, we hosted our fourth annual Interfacing The Future event at The Barbican Centre, London. It was a huge success with an audience coming from a range of different industries and backgrounds enjoying an equally diverse panel of experts. The Conjure team would like to thank everyone who came and supported us, and we look forward to planning another one in the future!

Our theme this year was “Blurring The Divide”, and it was arguably the most exciting one we’ve hosted yet. With speakers from industries ranging from digital art, to healthcare, to death tech, this was an informative, exhilarating, and awe-inspiring catalogue of the advances made in the AI and tech world.

Tom Mason, CTO of Stability AI. “The future of AI and generative media”.

Tom’s talk about the burgeoning AI-driven digital art scene, which was probably the most mind-bending of them all, showcased what Stability AI have been doing over the past few years and drove home the point that the technology being talked about here and the ingenuity behind it is growing at an evermore rapid pace. Their user base has grown by numbers in the millions since their launch in 2019 and they are working on improving optimisation all the time. Advancements in AI technology have led to the development of generative models that can create new, unique content from images and text to audio and video. One of the most promising areas in the field of generative media is the use of AI to create new forms of art, or AI-generated images, which has the potential to revolutionise the way we think about and create new media and the creative industry. These latest additions to the scene are also expected to have a significant impact on the entertainment industry, with personalised content and virtual reality experiences generated by AI tipped to change the way we consume media. This could lead to new forms of entertainment that are more engaging, interactive, and tailored to the individual.

Roushanak Rahmat, AI Research Scientist from Elekta. “The changing domain: AI in healthcare”.

Roushanak gave a fascinating insight into how AI is improving the fields of radiology and cancer treatments. Her main question of why cancer hasn’t yet been cured, despite the advances in treatments and the ability to differentiate between patients’ needs, was somewhat answered by what AI has the potential to do in this field. At this moment, one form of radiotherapy is used to treat all cancer sufferers, regardless of the genetic differences that may render this treatment ineffectual to some, and standard radiotherapy has issues with efficiency due to its lack of adaptability. With AI involved in the process, with a guiding human hand of course, an individual’s biomarkers can be utilised to personalise the treatment a cancer sufferer receives in order to maximise effectiveness and survival rates. This has huge implications for not just cancer, but many other conditions, the treatments and cures for which have eluded medical professionals for years.

Sameer Shirgaonkar, Executive Director, Experience & Service Design, J.P Morgan.

Sameer spoke about creating more symbiotic relationships within companies in order to improve customer experiences and satisfaction. This was not as tech-orientated as the other talks, but it was a strong reminder of the fact that, behind all of these incredible technological advances and the potential uses they have in the future across industries, it is humans at the end of the day who create and implement them. Some staggering statistics came out on the fact that 20% of workers leave their respective companies within the first year, and a further 38% leave within the next three, is testament to the fact that looking after the human hands which lead the way in these astonishing inventions is equally important as the inventions themselves.

James Norris, Founder, MyWishes. “Interfacing The Future of Death”.

James’ poignant presentation on death tech and the value it can bring to not only already grieving families and friends, but potential ones too, felt equally significant. Describing how his best friend’s Facebook page meant more to him than where his ashes were scattered was a moving example of how technology can alleviate and help us come to terms with grief.

The potential uses for this to be attached to healthcare, palliative care in particular, and other government services, lending it more promptness in its uses and credibility to grieving people, are vast and could well be the way we remember those who are no longer with us in the future.

Overall, our Interfacing The Future event was a fascinating insight into the world of AI and new tech which, unless something drastic happens in the very near future, will be used to augment every facet of our lives far sooner than most people realise. We would like to thank our panel, our attendees, and the Conjure team for making Interfacing The Future 2023 a huge success. The insights and perspectives shared by our expert panel provided valuable information and sparked meaningful discussions. We hope that everyone left the event with a deeper understanding of the blurring of the divide!

Thank you again for your participation! We look forward to exploring more with you in the future and hope to see everyone again at our next event.

The Conjure Team