TechTalk: Exploring Artificial Intelligence

by | Jul 14, 2015 | Custom Software

“What is actually artificial about artificial intelligence?” inquired Michael Orr, IBM Watson engineer, during the latest edition of TechTalk, Wilmington’s technology lecture series. The panel event Exploring Artificial Intelligence took place on the evening of July 9th at TekMountain. The panel featured Orr and neuroscience expert, Dr. Julian Keith, Ph.D.

Sean Ahlum from TekMountain gives short presentation at TechTalk

Sean Ahlum, TekMountain’s Director of Business Development gives a quick informational presentation on the incubator/accelerator company. TekMountain sponsored and hosted the event.

TechTalk Guest Panelists Michael Orr and Dr. Julian Keith

Michael Orr and Dr. Julian Keith introduce themselves to the audience and open up the conversation on artificial intelligence.

Orr’s question was just one among many thought-provoking concepts that surfaced during the discussion between the two. The panel was conducted as an informal, self-guided exchange between Orr and Keith. They presented an exploration into several areas associated with artificial intelligence (A.I.), such as the implications of natural versus artificial thinking. Julian, who has an extensive background in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, was able to contrast the mechanical components of A.I. by discerning the “human elements” involved with the creation of the technology.

Michael Orr, Program Director at Watson University speaks at TechTalk

Michael Orr shares his background with IBM Watson and the goals of the Watson project.

The two mostly focused on the current state of A.I. and the processes behind its development. Orr often spotlighted the IBM Watson project as an example of the current capacity of A.I. However, as the discussion shifted towards the technology’s potential to truly duplicate human thinking and behavior, the audience began to actively engage the speakers with questions about the possibilities of A.I.

Both Orr and Julian did a fantastic job of keeping the conversation lively and often humorous. They consistently maintained a connection with the audience, posing questions and leading short interactive activities to supplement the panel.

UNCW professor Dr. Julian Keith, Ph.D. speaks at TechTalk

Dr. Julian Keith explains the systems associated with human behavior and decision-making.

Due to the audience’s interest in discussing the potential advancement of the technology, a “part two” event on A.I. is being considered for a future TechTalk.

About TechTalk

The panel event was the fifth in the history of TechTalk. The series was created by WaveRider, Inc. and Wide Open Tech with the purpose of engaging Wilmington’s professional community through the exchange of technology information and ideas. For information on upcoming TechTalk events, visit

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