Questions surrounding artificial intelligence and whether or not it constitutes a threat to mankind have dominated the headlines this year. Now the Skolkovo innovation centre is gathering together Russian and international experts in this field to discuss the most pressing issues at the SKOLKOVO.AI event on November 14.  

Albert Yefimov, head of the Skolkovo Foundation's Robocentre, will speak at the AI conference. Photo:

Discussion topics will include whether AI poses a threat to national security, as well as chat-bots, image recognition, interface design, and the Turing test: an exercise developed by the British scientist Alan Turing to determine whether a machine can imitate a human, and a cornerstone of the philosophy of AI.

“The technologies that are generally being called AI today will affect all aspects of our lives and civilization during the next 10 years,” said Albert Yefimov, head of the Skolkovo Foundation’s Robocentre.

“The question is only who will benefit the most from the forthcoming changes. To get closer to an answer to that question, we need an informed expert dialogue, and that is the aim of our conference,” he said.

Speakers at the event include Huma Shah, a professor at Coventry University in the U.K., Mikhail Chernomordikov, director of strategic technologies at Microsoft Russia, Alexander Kuleshov, head of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), and Sergei Shumsky, vice president of the Russian Association of Neuroinformatics.

The event is being organised in partnership with the Moscow Technological Institute (MTI).

“Soon robots with artificial intelligence will feature in the lives of all of us,” said Yevgeny Pluzhnik, first deputy principal of MTI.

“The countries that lead the way in this area will set the tone on the global stage. In my view, there should already be robots in every Russian school, so that children can see the opportunities for their use from an early age,” he said.

Pluzhnik said that robots made by Skolkovo resident Promobot are already used as teaching assistants in the institute’s neurotechnology and robotics classes.   

The AI event will also comprise an exhibition of three Skolkovo startups working in artificial intelligence:

Promobot, which makes friendly robots who can provide people with information, give directions and process sales in shops, banks and public spaces. The robots, a new version of which was recently presented at the Skolkovo Technopark, can also collect data on the people with whom they interact in order to give their owners feedback on their customers.

Nanosemantics, a leader on the Russian AI technologies market. The company develops applied linguistics, internet technologies and customer service solutions, including internet site robots that can answer customer questions. The company’s research has shown that most people don’t realise when they are talking to an online robot.

VisionLabs is a world leader in face recognition, and develops technologies for use in the financial sphere, retail, video surveillance and security. It has created an open-source computer vision platform using funding from Facebook and Google.

SKOLKOVO.AI will be held at Skolkovo's Hypercube on November 14. For more information and to register, visit the event’s website: http://Skolkovo.AI.