The cyber threat landscape is rapidly evolving and it’s vital that our community and business leaders take the time to learn and understand the threats and opportunities that can come along with such advancements. The Midwest Cybersecurity and Technology Summit is hosted annually by the FMWF Chamber with 26 co-hosting chambers across the region who streamed the event to their communities and membership bases. The Midwest Cybersecurity and Technology Summit serves as a crucial platform to convene the brightest minds and leaders, where industry experts, businesses and community members can educate each other, work together and keep the region connected, competitive and leading on innovation and technology.
Thursday, August 17, community members gathered at the Delta by Marriot Fargo to hear from experts from across the region and nation as they hosted a cutting-edge discussion about topics such as artificial intelligence (AI), business attacks and safety, the CHIPS Act, emerging tech and more. Not only was this event available to the FMWF Metro, but it was also available via livestream, bringing in virtual attendees from across the country to listen to and watch this important event. The Chamber is proud to share that we had over 6,000 viewers online throughout the region for this important event.
Michael Mattmiller, Senior Director of State Government Affairs at Microsoft, opened as keynote speaker for the 2023 Midwest Cybersecurity and Technology Summit. Mattmiller began his presentation, AI Revolution: Unleashing the power, shaping the future and embracing responsibility, by diving into the rapid evolution and implementation of artificial intelligence in many companies, schools and governments.
Mattmiller also showed the audience just how intelligent these services can be. With each request getting more and more specific, Mattmiller was able to show how Microsoft Bing Chat would work to write remarks for a specific person in a specific role completing a specific task. AI was able to find everything online it needed to know about the person’s job and the topic they were focusing on – and create remarks curated to the audience and the speaker himself.
“AI does provide a tremendous amount of potential. It can help us do more with the resources we have today. It can help us solve challenges that we wouldn’t have been able to solve otherwise, and we’re just at the beginning of this AI revolution. The opportunity is yours to lead the AI transformation.” - Michael Mattmiller
Dr. Behrooz Shirazi, Deputy Division Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF), followed Mattmiller with his presentation, Driving Innovation and Sustainability: The Role of Technology and the CHIPS Act. Dr. Shirazi shared key information about his employer, the NSF, and how they work to support their mission to promote the progress of science; to advance national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense, among other things, by providing funding to researchers to enable them to carry out research and technology development.
Dr. Shirazi also went in depth on the CHIPS and Science Act and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Program. He shared the CHIPS and Science Act’s purpose is to bolster U.S. leadership in semiconductors by providing funding towards semiconductor research, development, manufacturing and workforce development; and to strengthen commercialization of research and technology to ensure what is invented in America, is made in America. Attendees also learned about EPSCoR and how it enhances research competitiveness by strengthening science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) capacity and capability through a diverse portfolio of investments.
Following Dr. Shirazi, the expert panel took the stage to discuss how we are Building a Tech Ecosystem in the Midwest. Panelists included Kristi Berg, Assistant Professor in the College of Business at Minot State University; Eileen Manning, Founding Partner & Executive Producer of the Cyber Security Summit; Shawn Riley, Co-founder of Bisblox; and moderator, Kyle Hendrickson, Director of Cybersecurity at Eide Bailly LLP.
The panel explored the tech ecosystem of the Midwest and how it can be developed and enhanced into a sustainable industry in the region. Eileen Manning explained, “To build a true ecosystem, you have to talk across all infrastructures. The diversity of all the different sectors is really critical in building a successful ecosystem.”
Not only that, but panelists also dove into the workforce and the roles industry partnerships with educational institutions play in fostering the development of a skilled workforce that meets the specific needs of the technology sector. “The student wants to be able to come in and do a good job. The college wants to produce a student who is going to do a good job for you. And you want to hire someone that’s doing a good job,” said Shawn Riley. “We have to make sure we have a closely integrated communication to make sure those skillsets are being delivered.”
“We have to have partnerships between the university systems, the k-12 systems and the industries.” – Shawn Riley, Co-founder, Bisblox
To close out the event, Dr. Jose-Marie Griffiths took center stage to discuss Power Cyber: The Symbiotic Relationship Among Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing. Dr. Griffiths discussed the different types of cybersecurity threats, both the flaws and potential of artificial intelligence, the power of quantum computing and how all three can come together to increase the power and compute capabilities of future computers.
“I see all of these three are intimately related together. You put the three together, you get a really powerful combination.”