A global expert in artificial intelligence has highlighted the incredible commercial potential of AI, but warned: “Where there is money, there is greed.”

Danilo McGarry, addressing the audience from the headline stage at Wales Tech Week, said AI represents “the single biggest commercial opportunity available to businesses worldwide”.

Head of digital transformation at Alter Domus, McGarry is a board member at independent research body AI Forum and a member of the European Commission’s Ai Alliance.

The technology has the potential to catalyse profound changes in the global economy within five years, he said.

“In just four or five years we will have general AI – a system that can do anything a human or do or anything a collective of humans, but doing it much better,” he said. 

“AI is the single biggest commercial opportunity in the world. With a lot of commercial potential comes a question of ethics: should it be done for good? 

“Most companies are trying to use it in the right way. But where there is money, there is greed.”

Saying that there isn’t an industry or job that the current iteration – generative AIs such as ChatGPT – won’t touch, he added: “AI is in everything that you do… your phones, your cars, it’s in your phones, it’s in how you commute, it’s in how you make decisions, it’s in how you see your news. 

“AI is already deeply embedded in your life and is already deeply influencing how you behave and what you do.”

A panel of AI experts at Wales Tech Week – including Swansea University’s Matt Jones, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction – further emphasised the need for a thoughtful, inclusive debate to grasp AI’s potential and its wide-ranging impact.

Digital leaders from key UK Government data bodies Companies House, ONS, DVLA and the Intellectual Property Office explored innovative prospects for the public sector and its transformation towards a digital future, including the use of AI.

Further sessions heard from expert panels on cybersecurity, manufacturing tech, digital inclusion, startup finance and sustainability tech.  

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The Welsh government’s Economy Minister Vaughan Gething and Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee also announced the Collaboration Innovation Plan, setting out how Wales will build a strengthened innovation economy.

The Minister said: “It’s fantastic to see the tech industry gathering at the ICC in Newport for this international showcase of the dynamic and formidable expertise we have here in Wales.

“The inaugural in-person Wales Tech Week is the first-of-its-kind, attracting delegates from around the UK and the globe, and platforming incredible Welsh innovation that can help solve some of the most pressing societal challenges.

“The Welsh Government is committed to backing a sector that helps people plan ambitious careers in Wales. This three-day summit will demonstrate what a fantastic place Wales is for those who want to start and scale a tech business, thanks to our supportive ecosystem, public-private sector collaboration, and brilliant minds emerging from our top-class universities.

“The sheer scale of this event is testament to the ambition we have here in Wales. I want to join the summit creators Technology Connected in welcoming entrepreneurs, investors, businesses, international delegates, and current and future tech professionals to Newport for this flagship event – a wonderful opportunity for networking, collaboration and learning more about Wales’ boundless potential.”

Online attendees around the world can now catch up with recorded sessions by registering through Wales Tech Week’s platform partner Haia.

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