Amazon Web Service’s Kris Skrinak at NYIT de Seversky Mansion


Digitally Disruptive: AI Innovation Takes Center Stage at NYIT

May 14, 2019

Pictured: Amazon Web Service’s Kris Skrinak leads a discussion titled “The Future of Work in the AI World.”

Scientists, business leaders, professors, and other technology experts gathered at NYIT-Long Island on May 8 to discuss Artificial Intelligence: Fueling the Next Wave of Innovation. Held at NYIT de Seversky Mansion, the event was part of Creative Tech Week, a crowdsourced festival that connects expert peers interested in creative technology.

The event spanned several fields where AI is currently or will potentially disrupt industries, professions, and ways that humans otherwise operate in the 21st-century marketplace. Welcome remarks by New York Institute of Technology President Hank Foley, Ph.D., acknowledged some of the skepticism surrounding AI, but noted the technology’s potential to improve fields such as health care, cybersecurity, and advertising. “AI has had a long history starting with perceptions in the 1950s and with ups and downs, but now it will stay up; it will continue to grow exponentially,” said Foley.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran noted AI’s ability to restore trust in government relationships with vendors, citing the county’s newly launched anti-corruption partnership with a global regulatory and financial crime, risk, and compliance company. The partnership leverages AI to automatically research public records for data that could signal a vendor’s past investigations and potential red flags.

The event’s keynote speaker, Shobhit Varshney, partner for IBM Services at IBM, provided an engaging presentation on the state of AI and how organizations can architect their businesses for change and competitive advantage. On a larger scale, he also mentioned human success in implementing narrow AI, which is programmed to extract information from a specific data set, and society’s need to expand into broader AI usage to harness the technology’s full potential.


In his keynote address, Shobhit Varshney notes how AI will lead to unprecedented technological, social, and regulatory change, giving rise to a new era of business reinvention and disruption.

The year 2019, added Varshney, is the year that AI will begin changing business models Calling this transition “the cognitive enterprise” that embraces a “culture of agile innovation,” he noted how AI will lead to unprecedented technological, social, and regulatory change, giving rise to a new era of business reinvention and disruption. “Data will be the fundamental competitive advantage,” Varshney said. Companies will “create a dataset that they only possess,” where they can leverage strengths that their competitors cannot.

Following Varshney’s address, a discussion titled “The Future of Work in the AI World” provided discussions by Kris Skrinak, AI/ML lead and PSA at Amazon Web Services, and Nicole Tricoukes, senior maverick for machine vision and AI at Zebra Technologies. Skrinak shared insight for businesses looking to expand AI practices, while Tricoukes discussed wearables in the workplace.

A fireside chat with Joanna Austin, publisher and senior vice president, Long Island Press, and Ilya Meyzin, vice president, data science strategy and operations/office of the CEO at Dun & Bradstreet, focused on AI’s impact to businesses and their individual employees. Messages were also echoed by Paul Trapani, president of LISTnet, who noted, “Companies and organizations are looking to artificial intelligence as a way to deal with the growth in size and complexity of networks and data.”

The event also sparked wide-ranging discussions from industry experts who touted the value of AI across various industries, including:

  • AI and Health Care. Panelists noted machine learning’s ability to help health care professionals mine vast patient records to identify significant data, as well as AI’s potential to recognize early signs of underlying disease. The panel was moderated by NYIT School of Health ProfessionsMindy Haar, Ph.D., and speakers included Purna Prasad, Ph.D., vice president and CTO for Northwell Health; Kerstin Kleese Van Dam, Ph.D., director, Computational Science Initiative for Brookhaven National Laboratory; and Gonzalo Otazu, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical sciences, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • AI and Advertising and Marketing. Nicole Larrauri, president of EGC Group, explored AI’s disruption of internet advertising, a field currently driven by cookies that track user behavior, noting that this may change with new privacy rules, thus machine learning will be the future of web-based marketing. Other topics included the use of voice searches replacing web searches and the ability for AI to demonstrate creativity, as proven by a robot that composed an original song to mimic the styles of the Beatles and Beach Boys. Larrauri also noted AI’s impact on the marketing workforce and questioned whether robots will in fact one day replace copywriters and creative directors.
  • AI and Cybersecurity. Moderated by Michael Nizich, Ph.D., director for NYIT’s Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center, the panel focused on AI’s potential to thwart cybercrime. Panelists noted that anomaly detection, including robotic detection of human emotions, could be key in preventing attacks. Speakers included Houwei Cao, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science at NYIT College of Engineering and Computing Sciences; Benjamin Dynkin, co-founder and co-CEO at Atlas Cybersecurity; Paul Ferrillo, J.D., Cybersecurity Corporate Governance Specialist at Greenberg Traurig; Justin Fier, director for Cyber Intelligence and Analysis at Darktrace.