We often joke that the conference industry is a lot like the fashion industry. Ideas, topics, and themes regularly move in and out of style. As we enter 2024, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is most definitely “in”. While the AI news cycle hit hard this past year, the actual innovation behind the headlines has been in development for decades. AI is more like one of those “20-year overnight sensations”.
It’s hard to read a business publication and not see a focus on, or at least a mention of, AI. It’s sexy, big, controversial, and a bit scary. Great ingredients to sell content. And while major conference topic trends come and go all the time (think Cloud computing, The Internet of Things (IOT), Smart Cities, etc.), AI seems different. Or maybe just bigger and current.
Conference producers have noticed. It seems that almost every conference is incorporating AI into their agendas. And it’s not just technology events, AI is touching nearly every industry and business function. Conferences covering Human Resources, Marketing, Manufacturing, Leadership, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Medical Innovation, Finance, Legal, Security and more are incorporating AI into their programs.
If you’re a speaker or a communications professional understanding this trend will be critical to accomplishing your speaking goals.
AI Topics we’re seeing on conference agendas
As we look toward 2024, topics we expect will dominate the conference headlines include:
- The State of AI today
- Where are we in the AI lifecycle today, where is it going in the near and long term? How do we get AI to scale? Safely?
- What are the opportunities and barriers to quick and responsible progress?
- AI Regulation & Guardrails
- How can we approach developing AI regulatory frameworks and standards that will ensure equity and equality in how AI is used? How should the industry and govt leaders collaborate to achieve this?
- Biden’s Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence- is this enough? What else do we need to put in place?
- AI Applications
- What stories can be told around real applications of AI?
- Human Resources – How might AI improve employee performance, affect headcount needs, recruiting efforts, types of talent needed?
- Manufacturing – How is AI and robotics helping to automate processes?
- Marketing – How is AI being used to attract and retain customers, and increase their lifetime value? Can it reduce costs or improve the quality of your customer support?
- Supply chain – How will autonomous driving/trucking, another key AI application, change the way goods are moved nationally and globally?
- Sustainability – How can AI be leveraged to reduce energy consumption across organizations?
Our Advice to Speakers
At S3, we are always advising our clients on the latest conference trends and helping them to incorporate timely messaging into speaker pitches that will catch the attention of busy conference organizers and increase the chances of winning an earned speaking opportunity. With AI, for example, we ensure our client messaging is continuously updated to reflect the key issues being discussed currently.
There’s a lot of hype around AI right now, but that’s because it’s big, impactful and mysterious. It needs to be discussed, explored and more widely understood. Remember that AI is not just a technology story, it’s a new way of thinking and working story. This is an opportunity to do some research and figure out how this shift will change what you do. When you do, others in your field will want to hear your thoughts. The time to tell your story is now.