Here’s Why You Should Attend Xconomy Intersect on Thursday

Xconomy Intersect is just three days away and if you haven’t checked out the fantastic lineup of speakers gathering in South Lake Union Thursday, now’s the time.

We’re going to cover a lot of ground in this concise, afternoon program in the heart of South Lake Union. We’ll begin with a dive in to the state of the art in speech technologies, with Microsoft’s Xuedong Huang, whose team built a machine transcription system that’s as good as humans. Then we’ll parse what increasingly competent and creative machines mean for flesh-and-blood writers with Greg Bear, the prolific Hugo- and Nebula-award winning science fiction author, and Kieran Snyder, the CEO of Textio, which is using natural language processing and machine learning technologies to improve human writing today.

Nick Huzar, founder and CEO of OfferUp, one of the Seattle area’s most valuable startups, will tell the story of his company and its aim to reinvent mobile, person-to-person commerce, in conversation with investor Hans Tung, a venture capitalist with his finger on the pulse of some of the biggest marketplace businesses in both the U.S. and China, and Peter Wilson, OfferUp’s engineering leader, who has held similar posts at the local operations of Google and Facebook.

(Speaking of, how about the news last week that Facebook has now leased enough space for 4,000 employees in Seattle?)

Another can’t-miss entrepreneur-investor chat pairs Rajeev Singh, CEO of Accolade, and Matt McIlwain, managing director at Madrona Venture Group, to discuss Seattle’s opportunity in healthcare IT, and the foundation of technology innovation here that’s helping reinvent nearly every industry.

As the Trump Administration comes slowly into focus, we’ll ask three experts to weigh the policy implications for tech from several different angles—from the big picture of the presidency’s historical influence on the innovation economy to the changed landscape for businesses focused on reducing carbon emissions to the role of local governments, particularly in innovation clusters like this one. Our panel on innovation in the time of Trump features former Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn; University of Washington history professor Margaret O’Mara; and cleantech investor and innovator Kirk Washington, moderated by David Ferris, journalist with E&E News.

One of the most important intersections in the innovation economy is the place where cutting-edge research meets commercialization. Our expert panel on modern approaches to tech transfer features leaders from two of the region’s largest producers of research—University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory—and a company whose mission is pairing up businesses with a global network of inventors. UW vice president of innovation strategy Vikram Jandhyala, PNNL director of innovation impact Rosemarie Truman, and Xinova executive vice president and head of global partnerships Paul Levins, will talk with Bill Bryant, partner at venture firm DFJ, about novel ways they are moving more good ideas from research labs into society.

On top of all that, we’ll hear from researchers and entrepreneurs who are using technology to improve practices in traditional Northwest natural resource-based industries such as forestry and agriculture. I spent my early years as a journalist covering commercial fishing, the timber industry and the business of growing apples, cherries, hops, wine grapes, and the rest of Central Washington’s agricultural bounty. It can be easy to forget about the important, foundational Northwest businesses here in the region’s technology capital.

These “fast-pitch” presentations from Washington State University biological systems engineering professor Lav Khot, DroneSeed founder and CEO Grant Canary, and Beta Hatch founder and CEO Virginia Emery will illuminate the way that drones, sensors, and other technologies are going to work in vineyards, forests, and modern bug farms.

We can also promise lots of opportunities for audience questions, good food and drink, and ample time to network. Here’s the full agenda.

Ticket discounts end on Tuesday at midnight. Get registered now and don’t miss out on this unique look at the intersections from which the next big Northwest innovations will emerge.

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