Greetings from the World Summit AI in Amsterdam

Via @seancluther on Instagram

Via @seancluther on Instagram

This week, InnovatePGH is in Amsterdam as a sponsor of the World Summit AI. We join a delegation of a dozen Pittsburghers all promoting the same message: that Pittsburgh is a global capital for AI and robotics development.

Our imperative (and why we are here in Europe this week) is to ensure that any company, country, or research partner sees our unparalleled strengths first hand. If you’re investing in self-driving cars, autonomous manufacturing, medical robotics, Pittsburgh is the ideal partner and place to advance an ethics-forward technology solution.

Why do we have to tell that story at all? Despite significant “Roboburgh” media coverage, we cannot afford to wait for the world to come knocking on our door. The global competition for AI leadership is strong, and we must be more aggressive in leveraging our innovation revolution.

In September 2009, The Economist thrust the City of Pittsburgh onto the global stage with a glowing report of the region’s economic transformation ahead of our hosting the G20 summit. Watching Brian Williams broadcast the NBC nightly news from the North Shore, I vividly remember a sense that a historical marker had arrived: 30 years of persistence had paid off, and Pittsburgh was ready for the prime time.

“The city of bridges has built a bridge from its steel past to a diverse 21st-century economy. The [G20] summiteers arriving on September 24th can take note’ -The Economist

Flash forward to another September, this one in 2017. The Brookings Institution’s “Capturing the Next Economy” report documented the innovation and entrepreneurship systems that brought Pittsburgh its hard-earned media attention. Powered by research anchors in the Pittsburgh Innovation District, our high-value industry strengths are driving a diversified, growing economy. However, the report also identified a lack of global recognition as a major headwind to realizing Pittsburgh’s rightful position as a global innovation hub.

“Pittsburgh is not yet globally recognized as a premier destination for entrepreneurial talent. Despite national R&D strengths in next-generation technology areas with rapidly expanding global markets, the city doesn’t have an international presence, particularly around entrepreneurs. This hamstrings the city’s ability to link its technical capabilities to entrepreneurial success.” -Brookings Institution

Ten years after the Economist cover story, the Pittsburgh Innovation District is excited to sponsor the World Summit in AI. In partnership with PART, Cassie and I will be on the ground cementing global recognition of Pittsburgh as a global AI hub.  There’s nothing “emerging” about Pittsburgh’s innovation sector; we have arrived, and we’re ready to tell our story.


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Sean Luther