During the week of November 1-5, myself and several other Radancy employees had the opportunity to travel to the city of Austin, Texas to attend one of, if not the largest, Black tech conferences, AfroTech. Upon initially receiving word that Radancy would sponsor our trip, I was excited to see what was out there on the horizon! To be more specific, I knew that this would be an opportunity to sharpen my personal and professional skills and also get a peek at what the rest of the tech community had to offer, and in turn see how I could take it back to Radancy and add to our Swiss army knife of capabilities as an organization. Keeping that in mind, every year AfroTech attracts tens of thousands of individuals who all share the same passion, not only for innovation within the tech industry but also the consistent increase of Black representation within the tech industry. This has been a topic that I connect to on a personal level, as the start of the 2024 New Year signaled my one-year anniversary of joining Radancy and entering the tech industry. That being said, I have continued to find new ways to present to Radancy, aimed at increasing diversity amongst our internal teams well into the future.
Over the five days, we were able to attend a host of workshops and panel discussions located in the downtown Austin Convention Center. Conversations centered around cutting-edge technology filled each room from wall to wall, while also granting attendees the space to share with each other just how each of us can continue to innovate and reshape the tech industry from the ground level up. With this being my first year of attending AfroTech, I landed in Austin with a list of panels that I identified would be key to enhancing my capabilities and understanding of future innovations within the tech industry. One topic of discussion that was at the forefront this year was the booming interest in growing the awareness of generative AI, specifically regarding the part that it will play in empowering workforces and workflow. This was the topic of discussion during one “Learning Lab” session led by members of ServiceNow, which is a company that specializes in automating IT management workflows. One section of the panel, led by their senior director of DEI Danice Brown, spoke to the significance of generative AI and how it could empower specific workflows while working in conjunction with the user to enhance their productivity.
This immediately brought AI-centered tools to mind such as ChatGPT, which I often use to aid with grammar and sentence structure. As I know that it has been one of the world’s fastest growing AI-centered tools, my mind began to race toward all of the possibilities that the future holds for this tool. This also made me ask myself the question of what training for the use of these tools could look like in the coming years when AI has been not just fully integrated into society, but also to the point where the everyday user feels safe working with it. This point should be kept top of mind, as events such as the pandemic have somewhat jump-started the US labor market to begin the rapid growth spurt of evolving the way that people work. In my opinion, this means that the innovations we are seeing now are just barely scratching the surface when it comes to innovations related to automating certain workflow areas. While I can say that this type of growth and innovation does have its own set of cons, I can confidently state that after hearing the insight of other convention goers as the week went on; I am more excited about the pros offered by the future of generative AI within the workforce of America, and grateful that I was able to hear discussions centered around it in real time at AfroTech.
I look forward to attending the convention annually and I personally am excited to see how it will continue to grow and not only give innovators the space to share their knowledge, but also continue to push the envelope on enhancing Black representation within the tech industry. I’m so grateful to Radancy for giving me the opportunity to attend!