Team Alexa at Web Summit

Posted on by Sasha @religofsil

Categories: blog , student posts and conferences

Well, a part of team Alexa. Unfortunately, Sasha @melanoya couldn’t go. :( But she was in my heart the whole time!

A couple of weeks ago I attended Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. It is said to be the largest tech conference in the world – this year there were more than 60 thousand attendees, according to the conference website. I’ve been at meetups and tech conferences before, but never outside Russia, and I definitely have never been at a tech event of this scale.

Opening night

First night of the conference, there was an opening ceremony for the Web Summit, where CEOs of large tech companies and government officials were discussing the need to build relationships between tech and non-tech organisations. There were also talks about the challenges that the industry will face in the next years. I particularly liked Bryan Johnson’s talk about the need to develop some tools to improve our own brain, instead of relying on artificial intelligence.

Opening Night

Opening night. Photo taken by me.

First day

First day of the conference was very busy and tiresome for me, because I wanted to attend all the talks at the same time, and the venue was truly gigantic: there was a stadium full of people, and there were four huge pavilions. It took me about 20 minutes each time just to get from one side of the venue to another, but I did attend the talks I wanted to hear the most. I liked the talk of comma.ai’s founder George Hotz about self-driving cars and the future of open source. He believes that the only way car companies will be able to stay in the market is for them to open their source code and let other programmers review it and contribute.

After the main program, there was a Sunset Summit without talks, but with good music, food and interesting people to meet. I met a startup from Romania, some programmers from Georgia, and many other people from different countries. And I made myself a pin at Google lounge!

Android pin

A customized Android pin! I tried to make it look like me, but didn't succeed. :( Photo taken by me.

Second day

Second day was less tiresome for me, mostly because all the talks I attended were at one place: binate.io, a conference about data science and machine learning. I’ve listened to talks on psychohistory – a way to learn about people’s emotions during some historical events, on security of users’ data, and many other interesting things.

binate.io conference

Random slide from one of the talks. Photo taken by me.

This day I also met team Gemini!

In the evening, I attended an afterparty for women in tech, where I met some incredible data scientists, programmers, and tech writers.

Last day

I decided not to attend too many talks at the last day of the conference, so I went networking instead. I met some incredible startups from all around the globe, focused mostly on education and building inclusive environment. The most fascinating for me was to meet a company from South Korea that developed devices for people who use Braille.

In the evening, there was a closing ceremony, after which I went home. I didn’t want Web Summit to end, and I wish I took some more time to get to know Lisbon. Anyway, it was a great summit, and I’m thankful to RGSoC for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference.

Lisbon

The first thing I saw when I arrived to Lisbon. Photo taken by me.
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