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Business Lecture: What next for AI and machine learning?

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Cambridge Network will welcome Prof Neil Lawrence from the University of Cambridge as a key speaker in April. Prof Lawrence recently left Amazon to join the University of Cambridge as the first DeepMind-funded professor of machine learning.

Professor Neil Lawrence was quoted in a recent BBC news article ‘Researchers: Are we on the cusp of an ‘AI winter?’ which explored whether or not the AI industry was cooling off after much hype over the last 10 years. However, he believes that AI is still very much still in the “wonder years”. One of the avenues he seeks to explore in his new role is exploring machine learning approaches in Africa, which can have benefits in the developed world as well.

“With data and machine learning, you can have a more advanced data infrastructure in Africa than in some developed countries,” he said. “It’s rare in the UK or Europe that you’re asked to look at a machine learning problem from end to end, but you can do that in Africa, and it leads to better solutions. That’s the kind of approach I want to take to machine learning in my work at Cambridge.”

On his appointment he said “AI and machine learning have the potential to reshape almost every aspect of our lives, but we desperately need more machine learning specialists, or else the promise of AI will not be realised.” DeepMind is an AI research company owned by Google which donated nearly £4m to Cambridge last year to fund this new position and a series of PhD positions and masters places. Could it be that the ‘20s will see a new phase in AI development?


6.00pm Registration and networking over some refreshments 6:30pm: Speaker – Prof Neil Lawrence, University of Cambridge 8:00pm Further networking and a chance to follow up with the speaker 8:30pm Event closes

Open to all members of the University free of charge. Please register online at or email the organiser to attend.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Business Lectures series.

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