AI and data science conferences for 2018

All Data Science (DS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) conferences are going to have something in common. An independent Maker, developer, researcher, or producer who wants attention for their innovative product is going to “make the rounds” so you see a lot of the same companies (if not the same people) at these conferences, hawking their wares.

When ACME–AI™, Plastic Pals Robots™, and Digital Prostate™ all want to make appearances at all the big conferences, you shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss them because you “saw them three months ago in Atlanta”… First, it gets the word out to people that don’t attend all of the conferences. More importantly, the field is evolving so quickly that there may be something stunningly new and exciting from a company that was previously considered fairly ordinary.

That being said… except for the highest profile Trade Shows and Conferences, much of the commercial booths’ presentations and suchlike will, in fact, repeat (sometimes with some interesting tweaks) but few phenomenal revelations. So what is the reason for attending so all these events?


It’s said, for most of the population, that they would rather face mortal danger than speaking in front of a crowd. The fear factor comes from our evolution where our hairier ancestors agreed with the group because someone that disagreed was banished, and without group protection, a predator ate them within a couple of days.

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It’s buried deep in the oldest part of our brains that if others don’t like us, we will die. Of course, it makes absolutely no sense in modern society, but it keeps most of us reluctant to speak publically.

So when someone volunteers to speak in front of a big crowd, they generally have something useful to say; something that drives them beyond their fear. It may not be useful to you specifically, but someone out there in the audience is going to glom onto an essential fact or find a vital clue to what is said. They’re the ones that will go on to make the next big leap or advance because the speaker dared to share some thoughts.

Which ones are for you?

The events you choose are not going to be the same as someone else. First of all, pure Conferences address information dispersal, education, and training. There aren’t a lot of parallel activities going on simultaneously.

There is another type of conference where people get together to learn and discuss innovations. An integral part of this sort of conference is physically experiencing tangible interaction with concepts, products, and software. We called these sorts of conferences Trade Shows.

You’ll still have numerous speakers, Guest Panels (where you can question multiple industry leaders directly), and even casual chatrooms where you can meet Gurus and innovators in person. These are often presenting simultaneously in different locations, and several times over the course of the event. Attendees report a much higher retention rate for these interactive events when compared to listening to lectures or PowerPoint presentations alone.

The third type of conference is called a Summit and is confined to guests with very high standing in their field. While some conferences call themselves summits, they are not the sort of event where you need to “know someone” to wrangle an invitation.

Finally, the smallest of all conferences is called a Seminar. They may only last for a day or two, with attendees numbering somewhere between 10 and 100. These are tightly focused events and, while almost anybody can purchase a ticket, we won’t be discussing anything on this scale.

Conferences occur all around the world, from Hawaii to India, from Switzerland to China. For our purposes, we’ll focus on North America.

The Innovation Summit

Santa Barbara, CA—January 10–12, 2018

This Summit is all about Disruptive Technology and how our world will be different tomorrow. 52% of the S&P 500 companies have vanished in the last 15 years because of innovation. What does the future have in store, and what is driving it?

AI and DS will manage our self-driving cars. They’ll cope with interpreting information that is spawning at the rate of one new Scientific Paper being published every 30 seconds and 10,000 daily updates to the PubMed compendium. Humans simply can’t keep up without help anymore. Were you invited?

AI Assistant Summit

San Francisco, CA—25–26 January, 2018

Only 200 attendees plus 20 speakers and only 84 tickets left on (12/20/17)! If you need to learn about Deep Learning Algorithms, Connected Home, Neural Networks, NLP, Anticipatory Computing, Predictive Intelligence, Voice Recognition, or Chatbots, you had better hurry to grab a ticket.

Predictive Analytics Innovation Summit

San Diego, CA—February 6–7, 2018

Keynote presentations, open discussions, Q & A panels, workshops, and in-person networking opportunities with over 150 data science professionals. To stick with the theme so far, this conference is all about data science and analysis. We’re generating more information than human beings can keep up with, so you’ll be hearing from at least 20 speakers was some ideas on that subject.

IBM Think 2018

Las Vegas, NV—March 19–22, 2018 

Here you will find experts on AI, DS, IoT, Security, Blockchain, and everything else which is going to change our world. Each of the four days of this conference is packed with four different types of events described as Discovery, Training, Keynote, and Networking. You’ll be busy, but you’ll learn a lot with hands-on experience. As they like to say here, “Come ready to change the world.”

TED 2018

Vancouver, BC—April 10–14, 2018

Expensive, yes, but this is one of the premier sites for learning from some of the most innovative people in the world. Not only do you get to experience so many of the world famous 18-minute TED talks, but with the award-winning TEDConnect App, you have an unprecedented opportunity to network with all of the other conference attendees. And who doesn’t love the beautiful weather of Vancouver in the spring?

Digiday AI Marketing Summit

Santa Barbara, CA—April 11–13, 2018

Artificial Intelligence is the latest tool in marketing. People may think it is still years in the future, but the most forward-thinking companies are already using it to build customer-facing applications to handle customer service, content curation, and their own internal data organization. If you would rather be on the cutting-edge rather than the trailing-edge, this might be the conference for you.

Developer Week

Chicago, IL—week of April 16, 2018

If you want to rub elbows with over 3000 entrepreneurs, tech executives, and developers, this is the place to do it. The basic pass will get you into the expo halls for two days and into the keynote presentations. There are an additional three levels to gain more access. That includes things like networking and mentorship mixers, access to their online networking app, citywide partner events, half a dozen additional conferences including FinTech, DevOps, and more.

GOTO Chicago

Conference: April 25 & 26 / Workshops: April 24 & 27

As long as you’re in that neck of the woods for Developer Week, following right on its heels is this conference offering full-day workshops on Tuesday and Friday, covering (among others) Data Science and Analytics/Machine Learning (ML) You can choose two from about 12 different offerings, repeated both days.

All that learning is broken up with a 2-day conference right in the middle. One offering from the conference called Machine Learning without a Ph.D. already has five speakers for the Track to get you started, covering the common points including exploring data, developing an ML model, testing it, and deploying it.

Artificial Intelligence Conference: New York

New York, NY—April 29–May 2

The name of the conference speaks for itself. Here you’ll find information on ChatBots, customer service agents equipped with text-to-speech conversion in real-time permitting phone or online conversations, and consumer/user IoT interfaces. You’ll learn from the experts how to implement AI in real-world projects using machine learning, NLP, open source TensorFlow, and more.

Microsoft Build 2018

Still hasn’t announced its May 2018 date

This is a high power conference that carries a lot of weight in the industry. Technical experts in all fields attend, regularly with over 500 speakers (560 in 2017). Keep an eye out for when they announce their date because the last one sold out in just 8 hours. Talk to your boss and have the required funding ready so you can just call and register without having to track someone down to pay for it. If you’re clever, you’ll join the waitlist. If you fail to get tickets, the event will be live-streamed on the internet, which is certainly not as good as being there, but better than missing it entirely.

Developer Week

New York, NY— June 18, 19-20

If you want to rub elbows with over 3000+ entrepreneurs, tech executives, and DevOp professionals, this is the place to do it. This is a multi-venue, city-wide presentation, starting with a Hiring Mixer on the 18th, and then the Hackathon, Conference & Expo sharing the 19th & 20th.

The basic pass will get you into the expo halls for two days and into all the keynote presentations. There are an additional three levels to gain more access. That includes things like networking and mentorship mixers, access to their online networking app, citywide partner events, several other conferences including FinTech, DevOps, JavaScript, and more.

Big Data: Toronto 2018

Toronto, Ontario—June 20 & 21, 2017

This event is one of the best bargains of all conferences with well-over 100 speakers and nine keynote speakers so far. If you want the Executive VIP package (for a paltry $300), you’ll be provided with access to the Exec Networking Cocktail soirees including food & drink, breakfast and lunch both days, Priority Q&A with speakers, Priority seating at all keynotes, demos, and panels, along with exclusive access to the Exec VIP lounge and Strategic Exec Workshops.

If you just want access to the show floor for Big Data TO, AI Toronto, and Connected+, along with access to keynotes, panels, breakout sessions, and product demonstrations, then it is free! And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to be in beautiful Toronto with clear summer days at 80°F/21°C?

The Takeaway

Of course, this only covers the first half of the year, where dates are less in flux, many guests and venues are firmly established, and you can make plans. As the remaining events for the year become fixed and reliable, we’ll add to this list to make sure you’re in tune with Data Science and Artificial Intelligence events that not only might but absolutely will affect the way you do business in the future.

After all, most forward-looking companies have realized that AI & DS are both critical changes in the world of business. If you want to learn more, we provide webinars to show you where the future is going and how you can get there. Don’t shortchange yourself. Join us today!