This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Community Hub.
Beneath the vast expanse of the azure sky, people gathered at the beautiful Kaprun Castle were thrilled by a discussion on the latest AI technology, including Azure OpenAI and Copilot.
In the middle of September, Castle Camp 2023 took place in Kaprun, Salzburg, in central Austria. This annual event, primarily for industry leaders in the tourism sector, marked the first assembly since the pandemic's onset. Over 100 participants had a chance to engage in conversations centered around tourism.
Markus Egger, a Microsoft Regional Director, attended the event and was taken aback by the pronounced interest in AI from non-technical attendees. Although the primary focus of the event was on tourism subjects rather than on an IT-centric agenda, a significant portion of the discussions gravitated towards AI-related content.
”The event itself was very interesting, as it brought together industry leaders from the tourism industry in an intimate setting that promoted a dialogue between the attendees, rather than just the usual monolog that most conference sessions represent. I ended up being involved in many of the time slots, since just about everything that was discussed had to do with AI. This was somewhat of a surprise to me as well, since the goal of the event was to discuss various tourism topics and it was not at all specific to AI,” he says.
During the event, two participants working for a tech company explained their AI product. Markus, the only community leader from MVP Communities, clearly explained AI technology to other participants from non-technical fields. Additionally, Markus presented an "AI Executive Briefing" tailored for decision-makers, discussing not only an overview of AI but also topics like LLM (Large Language Models), Azure OpenAI, and Copilot. By promoting a better understanding of AI, he contributed significantly to the success of the event.
AI, which attracts attention from all over the world, has users who want to know how they can utilize its benefits in actual business and what purposes it serves. According to Markus, the concerns of the participants in this event were diverse and wide-ranging. “People were interested in using it for marketing purposes (generating text, images etc) by simply using tools such as ChatGPT and Dall-E. They also were interested in using it for marketing in an automated fashion (such as taking a summer vacation photo and having AI generated a winter version of it). They were also interested in data analysis with AI. They were interested in processing automation with AI. You name it! In fact, the interest in AI was so high, that at some point, they decided to limit the AI content, because otherwise, every single session and time slot would have been AI related (no exaggeration!) and they wanted some “normal” tourism topics”.
Considering the high level of interest in AI he observed among non-technical participants at the event, Markus will discuss insights into the spread of the latest technology to a broader audience, as well as his future endeavors and plans.
“We generally find that this sort of event works very well for us in terms of getting the AI message out. In fact, we are now specifically searching out these types of events (in addition to our other events – online and in-person – which are more aimed at a technical audience). In the past, it was difficult to get decision makers interested in tech-topics, but this seems to have changed with AI. EVERYONE now wants to talk about AI. I can only speculate about the specific reasons, but it is clear that AI (especially LLMs) is interesting to everyone. I haven’t seen this sort of general interest since the late 90s when people discovered the Internet. Except, this seems to be happening faster and with higher intensity. Therefore, going into all kinds of industry events and “bar camps” and “unconferences” of all kinds has become a major part of our strategy. (But we will also continue our other events, such as www.StateOfDotNet.com and www.codemag.com/codepresents)”.
For a comprehensive review of the event experience and his learnings, please check out Markus's blog.