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January 21, 2015

Artificial Intelligence Experts Meet on Australia's Gold Coast

In December, the 13th Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (PRICAI) held on Australia's Gold Coast, served as a warm-up for the anticipated 1,000+ delegates set to attend the global meeting on artificial intelligence (AI) in Melbourne in 2017. PRICAI-2014 was held at the Mantra Legends Hotel in Surfers Paradise.

The biennial Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence focuses on AI theories, technologies and their applications in the areas of social and economic importance for countries in the Pacific Rim region.

AI is a hot topic around the world and is often steeped in heavy debate on the benefits and dangers of creating thinking machines. Just recently, one of the world’s most prominent theoretical physicists, Professor Stephen Hawking, said the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.

Chair of the 13th PRICAI, University of NSW Professor and NICTA (National ICT Australia) researcher, Toby Walsh, refuted these claims, but he agreed that safeguards have to be put in place in the development of AI.

In a statement, Professor Walsh said that Australia is a “significant player” in AI, with the five-day Gold Coast meeting seeing strong representation from leading local tertiary institutions including the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Queensland University of Technology.

More than 240 delegates attended from 30 countries, with the largest percentage of delegates from China, Australia and Japan. He said as well as Australian expertise in AI and a strong conference program, the Gold Coast was a clear draw card for delegates.

“The Gold Coast is an attractive destination and is well-known to our Chinese and Japanese neighbors particularly. The accessibility to the Gold Coast also assisted us in achieving the numbers we had, with direct flights from many countries to either Brisbane or the Gold Coast,” Walsh said.

Professor Walsh said a highlight of the social program was cocktails and dinner on levels 77 and 78 of the SkyPoint Observation Deck at the top of the Q1 Resort & Spa – Australia’s tallest residential tower.

Walsh also had praise for Business Events Gold Coast and the assistance the team offered the delegates prior to the event. “They arranged flights for inspections and some accommodation rooms, and really went out of their way to help us with selecting the venues,” he said.

Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said that the CVB was particularly pleased to be chosen to hold PRICAI in 2014 because it was such a good fit for the destination. “The Gold Coast’s three universities have some of the world’s leading practitioners and thinkers in the field of artificial intelligence, and being such a young and dynamic society, it lives squarely in the now and tomorrow,” Winter said. 

Professor Walsh is expected to Chair the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence that will be held in Melbourne in 2017 where it is anticipated there will be more than 1,000 delegates in attendance.

For information and ideas on holding business events in Australia, visit www.australia.com/businessevents.

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