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December 13, 2023
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Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence: A Recap of EventTech Toronto's Workshop on Generative AI

Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence: A Recap of EventTech Toronto's Workshop on Generative AI

Last week at EventTech Toronto, PheedLoop’s Head of Sales & Strategic Partnerships, Mitch Malinsky, had the privilege of leading an insightful workshop titled Practical Applications of Artificial Intelligence for Events. This session aimed to demystify the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence and its relevance to event professionals.

Defining Artificial Intelligence for Events

We kicked off the workshop with a foundational understanding of artificial intelligence - specifically, generative AI - defining it in the context of today's technological landscape:

Generative Artificial Intelligence describes algorithms, such as ChatGPT and Bard, that can be used to create new content, including audio, code, images, text, simulations, and videos. 

A good analogy is to think of AI as a robot assistant that can create outputs on its own. While you can guide the robot with a specific set of rules and inputs, it can also be creative and make something new, like art, stories and videos. That's what is meant by generative AI - it generates outputs on its own.

Exploring AI’s Groundbreaking Pace of Development

This definition set the stage for a fascinating journey through the rapidly evolving timeline of AI advancements. From the perspective of an event technologist, it's astounding to witness the pace at which this technology is growing, both in terms of how quickly it is adopted by the general public and the rate at which it expands its features and functionality.

To illustrate how quickly this technology is moving in these aforementioned dimensions, we explored the evolution of one of the most popular AI systems on the market right now, OpenAI’s ChatGPT:

  • November 30, 2022 - A little over one year ago, OpenAI introduced the world to its chatbot, ChatGPT. Within five days, it hit one million users and continues to grow at never-before-seen rates. 
  • January 27, 2023 - ChatGPT becomes the fastest-growing startup in history, reaching 100 million active users a mere eight weeks after launch. The previous title holder was TikTok which took nine months to meet that same milestone.
  • March 1, 2023 - ChatGPT's API is released, allowing developers to integrate ChatGPT within their applications. 
  • April 23, 2023 - OpenAI announces ChatGPT Plugins, a mechanism for ChatGPT to interact with external applications.
  • September 25, 2023 - ChatGPT Vision is launched, offering multi-modal input prompts, such as photos and videos. This means that ChatGPT can engage with and generate prompts beyond the text medium.
  • November 6, 2023 - OpenAI’s first developer conference, OpenAI DevDay. They announce several noteworthy product updates, with the most exciting being Custom GPTs - a new way for anyone to create a tailored version of ChatGPT to be more helpful in their daily life. Think of it as creating a custom instance of ChatGPT that is designed for a specific use case, such as learning the rules of a board game or teaching your kids math. 
  • November 30, 2023 - ChatGPT turns one.

While there is significantly more that ChatGPT achieved over the last year, this timeline helps to paint a picture of how quickly this AI chatbot, and similar technologies, are evolving.

Practical Applications of AI for Event Professionals

The core of the workshop was dedicated to exploring three distinct applications of generative AI, specifically tailored for event planners:

  1. Generative AI for Images
  2. Generative AI for Videos
  3. Generative AI for Content
Generative AI for Images

This segment explored how AI can create stunning, customized visuals, offering limitless possibilities in branding and design for event professionals. Some of the applications that we explored include: 

  1. Image editing solutions like Aragon to take unprofessional headshots sent by speakers and turn them into something more presentable. 
  2. Design creation solutions like DALL·E and Magic Design by Canva to create marketing designs for events from scratch based on simple text prompts.
  3. Image and video applications like Runway to create images from scratch and turn them into animated graphics or even short videos that can be used to upgrade the look and feel of event websites and mobile applications.
Generative AI for Videos

This segment highlighted how AI can generate engaging video content, crucial for promotional material and interactive experiences. Some of the applications that we explored include:

  1. AI avatar solutions like Synthesia to scale the way you create support content and training videos for stakeholders of your event. 
  2. Automated video editing solutions like HeyGen to seamlessly translate videos into different languages at a fraction of the time/cost of traditional language translation services. 
  3. Leveraging AI avatars of licensed celebrities and speakers (like the Morgan Freeman example below) to enhance your event's appeal. These avatars, available at a fraction of the cost of the actual individuals, are a smart choice for budget-restricted events in today's economy. For instance, you could hire an AI avatar to deliver a virtual presentation for $5,000, compared to $50,000 for the real person, without the audience noticing the difference. This poses a significant consideration for event planners looking to maximize reach while minimizing costs.
Generative AI for Content

This segment showcased AI's ability to craft written content, from marketing copy to personalized attendee communications. Some of the applications that we explored include:

  1. Generating event descriptions, session summaries, speaker bios and event communications with PheedLoop’s new AI tools, AI Generate and AI Summarize.
  2. Using chatbots, like Bard and ChatGPT, to create and refine ideas. An example that was demonstrated live was asking ChatGPT to come up with ideas for a session at an event and then going back and forth with the tool in a conversational manner to identify the best session idea, refine it, ideate a name and description, and come up with a list of questions to ask the audience in polls. 
  3. Using AI assistants to turn you into a superhuman by allowing you to complete tasks that you previously did not have the expertise for, such as programming a landing page or creating marketing campaigns from scratch. 

Learnings & Takeaways

The workshop concluded with a crucial message: the rapid advancement of AI technology is not slowing down. For event professionals, staying abreast of these developments is not just beneficial but necessary to avoid being left behind in an increasingly digital and AI-integrated world. The real opportunity lies not only in utilizing these solutions to automate and streamline your current tasks and workflows but also in helping you unlock new skills and areas of expertise that you previously lacked the wherewithal for. 

This quote from Ginni Rometty, former President, Chairman and CEO of IBM perfectly illustrates this final point:

“Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of creating artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.”

Conclusion

As we continue to navigate this exciting era of technological innovation, the applications of AI in event planning are only limited by our imagination. EventTech Toronto's workshop was a step towards embracing these changes, empowering professionals to harness the transformative power of AI in their work.

To stay on top of the latest topics and trends impacting the events industry, follow along with PheedLoop's new and exciting event series, EventTech Toronto. You can learn more about EventTech Toronto in this recap post of our inaugural event!

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PheedLoop is an all-in-one event management platform for live, virtual and hybrid events. Our platform powers events for associations, corporations, agencies, educational institutions and governments worldwide including Shopify, Government of Canada, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, IBM and more. We commit ourselves to being a highly product focused company, and are dedicated to releasing new features and product updates every week since our founding in 2015. We post regular updates like this one to our blog.

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