Speaker Spotlight: James Kavanagh, National Tech Officer, Microsoft Australia

Topic: The Gravity of Data and Emergence of AI

James Kavanagh
Microsoft Australia

90% of data in the world today has been created in the last two years, and we’re generating new data at a rate of 2.5 quintillion bytes a day.  That data has gravity, attracting massive scale computing and modern algorithms to create the essential ingredients for breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.  Our discussion will try to demystify artificial intelligence, explain how to think about the different types and applications of AI and what breakthroughs are happening right now.  We’ll also talk through the choices that we all have to make about the role intelligent systems will play in our workplaces, schools and homes.

James is the senior technology leader for Microsoft Australia responsible for public sector market strategy, technology policy engagement with government, information assurance and long term service and technology planning.   He has a passion for digital innovation and how it can enable organisations and individuals to achieve more.  As Microsoft drives to reinvent productivity, build the intelligent cloud and deliver more personal computing experiences, James leads a team focusing on innovation and trust.  The work of James’ team entails collaboration with research, engineering, sales, marketing, legal and operational units within Microsoft as well as engagement with customers, partners and digital leaders within the Australian community.

He was previously National Security Officer for Microsoft Australia responsible for security leadership, security incident response and the support of government and enterprise customers on compliance and risk assessment.  He led the security and information assurance program for Microsoft’s deployment of cloud services in Australia during 2014/15 and developed the information assurance approach that is now leveraged globally by all Microsoft subsidiaries.  In 2015, James became only the third person from Microsoft Australia to be recognised as a recipient of the Microsoft Founder’s Award for his contribution to transforming Microsoft’s global approach to trust and information assurance. 

James joined Microsoft in 2004 and has held roles in solution architecture, sales and technology strategy.  He previously spent three years within New South Wales government as a software developer and architect after transitioning from a career as a process design engineer. 

James has completed a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering Degree with University College Dublin, he is a Certified Risk Assessor and Privacy Professional and is currently undertaking a Masters in Computing (Artificial Intelligence) at ANU.  Along with his wife and three children, he calls Canberra home.

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