Why Metasite is supporting AI Camp, the 1st Artificial Intelligence micro conference and hackathon in Vilnius

Metasite-sponsored AI Camp, the inaugural Artificial Intelligence micro conference and hackathon will be taking place at the Vilnius Tech Park on April 7–9, bringing together well over a hundred AI researchers, ML algorithm developers, data scientists, software engineers, product designers and entrepreneurs to listen to inspiring speakers, attend AI workshops and hack machine learning models over the weekend.

In the post below, Metasite founder and chairman Aldas Kirvaitis shares his thoughts on why Metasite got involved with AI Camp – and on the relationship between Metasite and the Baltic AI/ML community.

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Over the coming years, more and more products and services that people, businesses and governments around the world use will be powered by increasingly effective machine learning-based algorithms and AI-enabled software.

I am convinced this will be the single most important phenomenon defining the next couple of decades — and probably the entire 21st century.

At Metasite, we are in the business of helping global and regional financial institutions and telecommunications companies grow their businesses, optimise costs and manage risk through roll-outs of new and improved digital products and services, streamlining and automation of their business processes, and upgrading of their digital infrastructures. For many of our clients we also act as guides and advisors in their journey through the digital realm.

On a limited scale at Metasite we have been involved in building AI-driven products and services for at least five years already — mostly through occasional lending of our software and UX development talent to Exacaster, our close partner, which has evolved into a world-class player in real-life applications of AI-driven predictive and prescriptive analytics in telecommunications and retail.

Today we are starting a new chapter – a chapter which we expect to stretch into the foreseeable future, a chapter in which Metasite gets more and more involved in building a much broader range of Artificial Intelligence-enabled digital platforms, products and solutions for our clients and partners within the financial services and telecommunications industries.

Already today we see AI invading more and more of the things we do for our clients, and the process is accelerating:

  • What today is a static help or FAQ section on a client’s web portal will turn into an AI-enabled chatbot, increasingly able to process natural language questions and spit out relevant answers.
  • What today is a rules based mechanism for flagging suspicious payment orders will become an AI-driven process, resulting in more accurate identification of fraud cases.
  • What today is a static sidebar on a telecom operator’s web shop with links to related products tomorrow will be managed by an AI-enabled recommender system able to increasingly accurately predict which product should be shown to a particular user in order to meet his needs or desires – and an AI-enabled dynamic pricing system designed to maximize sales, margin – or LTV of each individual customer.
  • What today is a mass e-mail marketing campaign pushing the same message to a large segment of a bank’s customer base, tomorrow will become a continuous AI-driven process for disseminating personalised marketing messages and content based on automated analysis of thousands of data points reflecting various aspects of individual user behaviour.

…And these are just a few of the most obvious use cases we see within our own field today. In a year or two the list of practical AI/ML applications will have expanded exponentially, and in many situations use of ML-powered components and services will have become standard — while their sophistication and performance will keep improving.

Why are we supporting the inaugural AI Camp?

Our interest is very straightforward. Today well over 50% of Metasite group’s revenues are earned outside of our home market. We have become a trusted technology partner to some of the best-known names in the global financial services and telecom industries – a growing number of our customers hail from the City of London as well as Amsterdam, Zurich, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, to name just a few geographies. We are thus increasingly getting exposed to global customers and partners requiring technology solutions that are truly cutting edge.

This is great news for us, as it means getting engaged in more projects that are very exciting both technologically and business-wise. This also means that more is being demanded from us  – in order to maintain our status as trusted helpers and advisors to our global clients, we need to keep accelerating our learning of new approaches, mastering of new technologies and gaining understanding of previously unseen client business models. And one of the fields we have to become very knowledgeable in is practical applications of AI/ML within our target industry verticals.

And when I say “we” I mean all of us at Metasite.

Perhaps to a different degree and depth, but this applies not just to our software architects and developers but also to team leads, business analysts, QA engineers, UX designers project managers (and of course our business development team).

It does not mean that at Metasite tomorrow we will pivot to focus 100% of our resources on inventing our own predictive algorithms or developing our own AI-powered software components  —  we have no such plans at the moment. But we are setting two basic objectives for ourselves as far as AI/ML is concerned:

1st objective. All of us at Metasite need to gain a fundamental understanding of the principles by which AI-enabled systems, components and services operate. All of us need to learn about current and potential practical applications of AI-driven tools and processes in areas relevant to us — and to our clients. And all of us need to become able to recognise situations in our daily work when an AI-enabled product, module, library or framework could be usefully plugged into a Metasite-developed solution with potentially great results.

In other words, we all need to gain basic AI literacy. And as the capabilities of AI-enabled products and components grow and become more relevant to our customers, over time more and more of us will have to learn to work hand in hand with AI/ML developers and data scientists.

2nd objective. We are certain that building the next generation of AI-enabled platforms and products for the financial services and telecoms industry will require close collaboration between product designers, software engineers, big data specialists, developers of ML-powered algorithms and AI researchers. Given the scale and depth of the coming AI revolution, no company will manage to accumulate all the necessary talent in-house.

This is precisely the reason why we want to forge links with the emerging Baltic AI / machine learning / data science community, and why we seek to help accelerate the development of this very important community.

For us this is not just about helping put the very talented Baltic AI developers on the global map, but also about having where to turn to in situations when a project commissioned by a global financial institution or telecom giant requires development of customised machine learning algorithms or AI-enabled components   —  or more generally doing any kind of data science that we cannot or don’t want to do in-house.

This is also about getting to know entrepreneurs and product visionaries within the AI R&D space – the ones Metasite could partner with in bringing new product and service offerings to financial institutions and telecoms in London, Zurich or Amsterdam.

That’s why Metasite is sponsoring the inaugural AI Camp, the Artificial Intelligence micro-conference and hackathon that will take place at the Vilnius Tech Park on April 7–9.

And we aren’t limiting our involvement to a corporate sponsorship either – a team of Metasite software engineers and data analysts will be taking part in the hackathon alongside dozens of other AI researchers, ML algorithm developers, data scientists and product designers, all coming together to hack machine learning models over the weekend.

Are you excited by the coming Artificial Intelligence revolution? Want to learn about machine learning or test your skills in the AI hackathon? Go to https://aicamp.co and join in!