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The number of people interested in AI, with the aim of utilizing it in the future by developing new solutions with the power of AI or incorporating AI into their business operations, has been increasing more than ever before.
Microsoft Build: AI Day, a one-day conference, took place in London, UK, on Thursday, October 19. This event was designed for those eager to keep pace with the rapidly advancing field of AI, including technologies like Microsoft AI and Copilot, and aimed at those looking to uncover new opportunities and create value. A range of sessions filled the agenda from morning till evening, providing attendees with up-to-date insights into the world of artificial intelligence.
The event began with an Opening Keynote by Scott Hanselman, the Vice President of the Developer Community, followed by a four-track Technical Breakout session where attendees could learn about the latest AI technologies such as Azure OpenAI Service, Copilot, and GitHub Codespaces. During the Technical Hands-on workshops, participants had the opportunity to get hands-on experience with AI. Additionally, there were opportunities to foster interactions with experts, industry leaders, and other developers at the Connection Hub. The day concluded with an Evening Mixer, a networking event that allowed those who had spent the day learning about AI to forge new connections. The event was not only a learning experience but also a platform for building community amongst AI enthusiasts.
At this event, over 20 Microsoft MVPs and Regional Directors participated in various roles such as Workshop Proctors, Connection Hub Experts, Lightning Talk speakers, and panelists for the women in AI panel. They shared their technical knowledge and unique experiences, supporting participants in gaining a deeper understanding of AI.
At this event, M365 MVP Chirag Patel took on two roles: one as a Connection Hub Expert at Microsoft booth, answering participants' questions about Intelligent Apps and related technologies, and the other as a Proctor for the session 'Build and run intelligent apps with AKS and Azure OpenAI', where he assisted workshop participants by providing lab guidance, explanations, and answering questions. He made significant contributions to the event with these different approaches and mentioned that the highlight of the event was the way in which the attendee learning experience was thought through. “It was a good balance of sessions in the morning covering theoretical/demo concepts of technologies and the afternoon practical workshops with simulated environments was reinforcing the learnings from the morning’s content. The best thing about this event was that there was a booth representing each of the technologies and providing attendees clear direction of learning and questioning more,” he says.
AI MVP Darshna Shah mentioned that there were many highlights at this event and shared that one particularly good aspect was "feeling the awe of being back at a Microsoft in-person conference at the ExCel, seeing familiar faces but also meeting many new community members and MVPs who are doing amazing things globally to contribute to the rapidly growing Generative AI technology. Also, seeing all the amazing demos and hands on workshops."
Additionally, Victoria Holt, a Data Platform MVP who supported the event as a Connection Hub Expert and Proctor for "Learn how to use OpenAI models (e.g. ChatGPT) using Azure OpenAI," reflected on the event, saying, "The highlight for me was to be able to talk to customers and see how different people approached the prompt engineering challenges. It was of great benefit for developers who were able to try out the prompt engineering and to be able to get started immediately with the labs, no lengthy set up time."
The participation of the MVPs/RDs in this event was supported by Claire Smyth, the Community Program Manager from the UK. “It was great to be part of an in-person event supported by the MVP and RD communities. Those attending had the opportunity to learn more about AI and hear from many experts including community leaders. I would like to extend a thank you to all MVPs and RDs who attended the event.”
Chirag shared a message for those interested in learning about AI, recommending official content and community events for staying abreast of future information and enhancing learning. “Learn something new every day in this fast paced and rapidly evolving AI space. Subscribe to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning blogs to stay up to date. Check out the courses, learning paths, and modules covering areas of Artificial intelligence, Chatbot, Machine Learning and Natural language processing. Also, I highly recommend attending many community events that cover AI topics and get to know the speakers and reach out to them for any questions, I’m sure they will be more than happy to help you!”
For those interested in applying this to their own business, MVP Victoria Holt, “My advice would be to not only look at how technology works but to also to have business use cases to apply the technology against. It is important that the business understands the benefits of using AI and how that impacts employees and customers.” For example, she mentions a great use case that using generative AI to detect and diagnose early onset of health conditions from images enables real life benefit to people.
This year's Microsoft Ignite took place last week with the theme "Experience AI transformation in action at Microsoft Ignite." The conference hosted over 100 AI sessions, many of which are now available as archived videos for online viewing. Those interested in learning about the latest innovative AI technologies are encouraged to watch these sessions. Additionally, the Microsoft Ignite Cloud Skills Challenge, which commenced concurrently with the conference, offers an opportunity to learn AI through official content, so participation in this challenge is also recommended.