Avant South set for September 28-29

For two days in September, Georgia Tech will bring together experts and thought leaders across multiple fields and disciplines to explore the theme of creating and using AI responsibly.

As part of an effort to position the Institute as a convener of people, ideas, and conversations surrounding the world’s most important technological issues, Georgia Tech will host its inaugural Avant South event Sept. 28 – 29. Each year, Avant South will welcome innovators and diverse voices to Atlanta to discuss and explore a different theme related to technological advancements and their impact, based on emerging trends and issues.​

This year’s theme will center on AI and responsible stewardship. It will feature keynote speakers, breakout sessions, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and an expo showcasing research and real-life applications of AI.​ The goal is to create an experience for all levels of professionals and entrepreneurs where they can come to Georgia Tech and interact with speakers, researchers, and industry leaders.

Topics will include AI in education, healthcare, arts and culture, and industry, as well as the role of regulatory and governmental oversight. At the Street Innovation Showcase, located in Tech Square and the Coda courtyard, students and faculty from universities and colleges across metro Atlanta, along with corporations, will present their research and applications of AI. The showcase is free and open to the public.

Avant South is part of InnovATL, a citywide platform that amplifies the voices of metro Atlanta entrepreneurs, innovators, and creators. This year’s edition is scheduled to take place during the first week of a monthlong celebration of Atlanta’s innovation ecosystem — between Venture Atlanta, one of the nation’s largest venture capital conferences, and the AC3 Festival, which honors hip-hop culture and the city’s impact in music, technology, and entertainment.  

The event kicks off the evening of Thursday, Sept. 28, with Southern Hospitality, a dinner on the Coda rooftop. Charles Isbell, ICS 1990, former dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing and currently the provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be the featured speaker. 

On Friday, Sept. 29, César A. Hidalgo, director of the Center for Collective Learning at the Artificial and Natural Intelligence Institute at the University of Toulouse, will be the morning keynote speaker. The lunch keynote is Kathy Baxter, PSY 1996, M.S. PSY 1998, and principal architect of responsible AI and tech at Salesforce. There will be a fireside chat with Tom Gruber, co-founder and head of design for the company that created Siri, to wrap up Avant South. Rose Scott from 90.1 WABE will be a host and moderator throughout day two, which will take place at the Fox Theatre. 

“Avant South will showcase Georgia Tech as a trusted public voice that informs decision-makers in business, academia, and public policy on issues of consequence,” said President Ángel Cabrera. “We want to cement our role as the go-to institution for finding solutions for global challenges, and I can’t think of a more timely or urgent topic than managing the impact of AI on society and making ethical and responsible decisions about how to use and create this technology.”

For more information, including a list of top presenters, visit avantsouth.com.

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