Synapse Summit 2023 Held In Tampa

Synapse is the statewide connector of Florida’s innovation community, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, and talent to find what they need and share what they have.

Through annual events such as February 14th’s all-day show at Amalie Arena leaders from all industries, backgrounds and careers come together to showcase their unique solutions, build connections, and demonstrate thought leadership. These events foster relationships where talent is hired, funding is secured, new customers are acquired, investments are made, and lives are changed. Synapse is elevating Florida’s profile as a global innovation leader by connecting people so they can inspire, energize, and impact the world.Brian Kornfeld, CEO of Synapse Florida, read a poem created by ChatGPT during the opening.

Generative A. I. took center stage at the Summit this year.

Corporate offices, schools, newsrooms and social media are abuzz with discussions about how generative artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world.  As an event meant to highlight and promote Florida’s growing innovation community, it was only fitting that the cutting-edge technology – and its potential use cases – became a recurring theme of the 2023 Synapse Summit.

From the mainstage at Tampa’s Amalie Arena to the breakout sessions crowding its halls, several local tech leaders at Tuesday’s event offered their thoughts on generative AI, particularly, ChatGPT. In November 2022, its development company, OpenAI, released the chatbot and its human-like responses to consumers.  ChatGPT amassed 100 million users in just over a month, which made it the fastest-growing consumer application in history. Brian Kornfeld, CEO of Synapse Florida, is among those exploring its capabilities.

“The use cases of it have just opened so many doors,” said Kornfeld. “And it’s cool to see Synapse is also opening up those doors.” He compared it to the era when people were still discovering the iPhone’s functionality. He noted it is now hard to live without smartphones and believes artificial intelligence and metaverse technologies could follow the same trajectory.


Joe Hamilton (left), head of network for Cityverse, and Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Invest, were among the many presenters who discussed generative artificial intelligence at Tuesday’s Synapse Summit.

Artificial Intelligence’s use cases extend much further, as highlighted in a discussion titled “The Disruption of Generative AI.” The panel featured subject experts from around Tampa Bay, including Tim Moore, CEO of Vu Technologies; Beth Harrison, digital experiences director for the Dali Museum; Jorge Brea, CEO of Symphonic Distribution; and Thomas Stanton, managing shareholder for the Stanton IP Law Firm. Ned Pope, guild practice lead for AgileThought, moderated the discussion. He began by asking Brea how AI is impacting music creation.

Brea said the technology “is literally hitting every level right now,” from production software to songwriting. He also noted that producer and DJ David Guetta recently replicated rapper Eminem’s voice on a song using two separate platforms.

“Him (Guetta) backing this shows that this is happening, and happening really fast,” Brea said. “But also becoming better.”  Brea invested in an AI company several years ago but said the technologically-created music was not up to his standards. However, he said the platform is now “pumping out stuff that is comparable to what really talented producers are doing.”

Harrison explained how leadership at St. Petersburg’s Dali Museum has embraced AI for years. She noted that the artist was also a technologist and that the museum increasingly uses augmented reality and AI to better tell Dali’s stories.

While Sam Altman and Elon Musk founded OpenAI in 2015, the company began receiving widespread notoriety with its January 2021 release of DALL-E. The text-to-image program creates pictures to match people’s descriptions.  Museum visitors can now use the technology to visualize their dreams.

“It’s really what happens when DALL-E comes to the Dali,” Harrison said. “It’s a wonderful way for our visitors to tap into their creativity, visualize their dreams and participate in this kind of collective dream experience.”

 From left: Thomas Stanton, managing shareholder at Stanton IP Law Firm; Jorge Brea, CEO of Symphonic Distribution; Beth Harrison, digital experiences director at the Dali Museum; Tim Moore, CEO of Vu Studios; and Ned Pope, guild practice lead at AgileThought.

Harrison said AI can enhance art but expressed her belief that it will never replicate human creativity, at least not in her lifetime. Similarly, Brea later said that without a human factor, “we’re just going to be listening to a lot of shitty music.”

Moore’s Vu Studios is known for utilizing new tech to transform movie production. He believes AI can create pathways for those who lack that expertise but possess novel ideas.  He said disruptive technology is leading to an era where people can create content – whether movies, music or art – “at the speed of thought.” Moore relayed that it took him 15 years and a lot of money to establish his company, something the next generation of producers may not have to face.  “I really think that it (AI) democratizes all of the individual creators to compete at the level of the biggest legacy players in the game,” he added.

Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Invest, was one of the summit’s keynote speakers. Joe Hamilton, head of network for Cityverse and publisher of the Catalyst, moderated the discussion on the importance of innovation. Wood is known for investing in disruptive technologies, including AI, and Hamilton asked her if she thought ChatGPT was the technology’s long-awaited consumer use case. Her answer was “yes and no.”

The key to AI’s success, Wood explained, is boosting productivity. While ChatGPT is already drastically reducing the time it takes people to write code, she said ARK looks to invest in companies with proprietary data.

She called the platform’s data ubiquitous, as everyone has access to the history of the internet. Instead, she believes businesses like Musk’s Tesla – which is utilizing AI to create autonomous taxis – will unlock the technology’s full potential.


Article courtesy of St. Pete Catalyst written by Mark Parker.

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