Chicago Chapter Puts the AI in AITP

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Amy KardelI’ve repeatedly heard from CompTIA staff that CompTIA AITP Chicago is a strong chapter, so I was excited to have the opportunity to attend a recent September event, which featured a panel on artificial intelligence and machine learning. As the photo I snapped shows, the weather in Chicago was perfect for an after-work walk to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s West Loop campus where the meeting was held. Seeing the sunset break between the buildings of downtown Chicago in the soft beginning of fall was a highlight of all my travels this year. I have never seen Chicago more beautiful. I know it is very hard to compete with the lure of such a lovely evening, which makes the turnout at the Chicago Chapter’s event all the more impressive.

The Chapter organized an impressive program on AI, which was sponsored by Capax Global and included panelists Marian Cook, former chief strategy officer for innovation and technology at the State of Illinois; Mahmoud Mamlouk, director, machine learning and artificial intelligence at BMO Harris Bank; Alex Tsvetanov, transformation director and enterprise architect with Enterprise Transformation Services at Wipro; John Young, director of data science and machine learning at Capax Global; and moderator Zbig Skiba, business coach and management consultant at Skiba Associates. 

As we mingled over appetizers, I met many of the 50 or so attendees who were senior CIOs and IT professionals, a few students, a recruiter and job seekers. The networking before the meeting was clearly a highlight for attendees with both government and private sectors represented. When I asked the members what they valued most, many replied that it was the opportunity to talk with their peers.

After club announcements, which included the upcoming awards for CISO of the Year and the recently awarded CIO of the Year, the panel was seated for the AI discussion. The panel touched on ethical questions as well as technical discussions, the current state of artificial intelligence and machine learning, how to determine artificial intelligence opportunities and establish the capabilities to implement AI, and which professional skills are needed in AI and machine learning.

AI needs data and talent—add cheap storage and we can see why it's growing in popularity. When quantum computing comes, we will realize the full potential for data-driven enterprise and thinking. We see a lot of AI washing, but this panel of practitioners understood mapping processes and envisioned the business case for its use. The audience had varying domain knowledge and the panel was able to provide something for everyone.

Seeing the Chicago Chapter in action was a pleasure, but CompTIA AITP also has many online resources for our members who cannot make it to meetings. It is our goal to support our workforce from resume to retirement as the professional society for IT pros. Learn more about the in-person and virtual events available to our members.