Posted on Tuesday 14 February 2017 by ub digital

Belfast could become artificial inelligence hub

Pictured at the launch of BelTech2017 at the Movement Innovation Lab at Queen’s University are Tom Gray, Group Chief Technology Officer at Kainos; Jayne Brady, Partner at Kernel Capital; Connla McCann, Director at Aisling Events and Seamus Cushley, ‎Director of EMEA Blockchain, FinTech & Digital at PwC.

Belfast is on the way to becoming a global centre of excellence in the artificial intelligence world, according to the organisers of an upcoming technology conference.

Tom Gray, Group Chief Technology Officer at Kainos, said the city has huge potential if it plays to its strengths of healthcare and cyber security.

“If the UK is going to be a hub for AI, it’s inefficient to have all regions focusing on the same tech segments,” he said. “So, I think it’s appropriate to talk about Northern Ireland being the centre of excellence for AI in areas such as cyber security and healthcare, sectors where we already have great skills and capabilities.”

But he said intelligent funding is essential.

“To achieve that we must keep investing in fundamental research and make sure we have ongoing access to those skills.”

Mr Gray said advances in artificial intelligence are likely to alter the jobs market, making some roles obsolete and creating a need for new skills needed to work alongside these “intelligent agents”.

 “I think we’re likely to see advances that augment the human workforce rather than just replace them. In healthcare, for example, a patient isn’t likely to be diagnosed solely by a machine any time soon.  But a doctor could be helped by a machine that can instantly analyse the patient’s records, other similar cases, and current medical research, and offer options to the doctor in a timeframe no human could achieve.

Kainos is sponsoring and curating BelTech 2017 a two-day conference which brings together speakers from local and global high tech organisations to a series of workshops and keynote presentations along with 400 post-primary students..

PwC and Kernel Capital is also supporting the conference.

Companies taking part in BelTech 2017 include California-based software company,, See.Sense and Big Motive.  Speakers for BelTech2017 will be announced over the coming weeks.

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