Panel discussion with Dr. Yasantha Rajakarunanayake, Dr. James Shanahan and Dr. Chrisantha Fernando moderated by Virtusa Executive Vice President, CIO and General Manager Madu Ratnayake
The Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM)conducted the first-ever SLASSCOM AI Asia Summit on 7th November at The Kingsbury. The conference attracted over 300 attendees from the industry and addressed topics relating to AI Applications, Data Science, Analytics and Machine Learning. Participants were able to learn and connect with acclaimed international and local speakers present at the event.
Jeevan Gnanam, Chairman SLASSCOM welcomed the attendees and shared his vision for an AI Nation where Data Science and AI become Sri Lanka’s third pillar of IT exports. He also spoke on the opportunity to use this event as a catalyst to drive a national agenda for AI engaging all stakeholders. This was followed by a keynote by Timothy Kooi, Head of Data Analytics at DHL Asia Pacific who shared examples of AI and Analytics applied in business. Technical sessions were conducted by Dr. Yasantha Rajakarunanayake, Senior Director Technology at MediaTek, Dr. Adam Easton, Chief Executive Officer at SimCentric Technologies, Dr. James Shanahan, Founder and Principal of Boutique Data Consultancy, Dr. Rukshan Batuwita, Data Scientist at Google, Dr. Chrisantha Fernando, Senior Research Scientist at Google DeepMind, and Dr. Sadeep Jayasumana, Research Scientist at Five AI, Cambridge. Christopher Gunawan, Senior Solution Architect, Data and AI, Microsoft, spoke on the role of AI empowering business transformation. Two research case studies were presented by Professor Asoka Karunananda and Dr. Subha Fernando from the University of Moratuwa, representing the Sri Lanka Association for Artificial Intelligence (SLAAI). Svein Olaf Olsen, Co-founder Anzyz Technologies also shared his experience on building a next-generation, self-learning tool to handle Big Data using AI.
Audience at the event
The event also hosted two panel discussions focusing on “AI: Where next?” and “Opportunities for AI Startups”. The first panel discussion was moderated by Madu Ratnayake, Executive Vice President, CIO & General Manager - Virtusa, and included Dr. Yasantha Rajakarunanayake, Dr. James Shanahan and Dr. Chrisantha Fernando as panelists. The panel discussion on AI Startups was moderated by C.D Athuraliya, Co-founder, Conscient AI with panelists from several local AI/Analytics startup companies. Ransith Fernando, Managing Director & Co-founder - Forest Pin, Apurva Udeshi, Founder - Zeptolytics, Jerome Perera, Head of Analytics and Data Science - SAKS Global and Nuwan Dehigaspitiya, Founder/CEO & Chief Architect, Boolean Lab contributed as panelists for this session.
The conference concluded with closing remarks from Shevan Goonetilleke, Chief Operating Officer WSO2 and Head of the SLASSCOM Technology Forum. He thanked the conferencepartners and sponsors, including Innovation Partner - GIZ, Strategic Partners - IKT Norge and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Gold Sponsor – Microsoft, Silver Sponsor – IFS R&D International, Exclusive Enterprise Communications Partner – Dialog Enterprise, and the Startup Sri Lanka Ecosystem Partner – Hatch.