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22 Apr 2021

CYA Virtual Lecture Series: Data Power to the People

On Wednesday,  7 April, CYA’s Virtual Lecture Series enjoyed hosting a lecture by Vassilis Papakonstantinou, technology entrepreneur, co-founder and Vice-Chairman of the MIT Enterprise Forum Greece. Papakonstantinou explained the technologies of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain and spoke about how they are expected to affect our societies. 

Welcoming the audience, CYA President, Alexis Phylactopoulos, offered some opening remarks on the subject and introduced the lecture’s discussant, Marina Hatsopoulos. Marina Hatsopoulos is an entrepreneur and writer, Chairperson of the Board and investor in Levitronix Technologies, and member of the Advisory Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum Greece. She holds a close relationship with College Year in Athens, being the founder’s granddaughter. Hatsopoulos expressed her interest in the lecture’s topic and gave a warm introduction to the guest speaker. 

In his opening remarks, guest speaker Vassilis Papakonstantinou stated that he “still considers [himself] a student that wants to learn new things.” An hour later, he had certainly managed to teach his audience a few things.

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning were analyzed and explained, with Papakonstantinou offering useful side-by-side comparisons to human-brain learning and explaining their relationship with data. He proceeded to analyze the importance of data-sharing in the efficiency of AI. The audience learned how data are ‘fed’ into training algorithms and how the output of this process can be optimized. It was also fascinating to learn about problems of this system, like the heavy reliance on data leading to bias-driven errors.

Papakonstantinou analyzed another hot topic of our times, the economic value of data and Blockchain principles. How can we share our data selectively and to our benefit? Papakonstantinou introduced examples of Artificial Intelligence working with blockchain technology to reap the benefits of data sharing while respecting privacy and benefiting both data producers and consumers.

A lively Q&A discussion followed the lecture. 

CYA would like to thank our guest speaker Vassilis Papakonstantinou and our discussant Marina Hatsopoulos for a fascinating lecture.