Written by 11:09 pm Generative AI, Uncategorized

### Tech Conference Chaos: Industry Leaders Withdraw as AI-Generated Female Panelist Exposed

An international software conference has been canceled after high-profile tech execs learned that a…

An international software development conference was called off after several high-profile tech executives discovered that at least one of the panelists was an AI-generated woman.

The cancellation came after software engineer Gergely Orosz raised concerns in a tech newsletter column, noting that some speakers seemed nonexistent outside the conference’s website. Orosz speculated that the fabricated female speakers were included to enhance the appearance of diversity in the predominantly male tech industry.

The withdrawal of attendees, including executives from Microsoft and Amazon, as well as former Google developer advocate Kelsey Hightower, led to the demise of the annual DevTernity conference, confirmed organizer Eduards Sizovs to Fortune.

Among those who departed was Kristine Howard, an executive at Amazon Web Services, who discovered she was the only real woman on the agenda. In a LinkedIn post, she announced her decision to withdraw upon learning that some advertised speakers were fictitious.

Microsoft executive Scott Hanselman emphasized the importance of genuine inclusion, expressing disappointment in being deceived by the fake speakers. He underscored the vast pool of authentic speakers from diverse backgrounds available for tech conferences.

The conference, previously held in Riga, Latvia, shifted to an online format due to the pandemic. Sizovs acknowledged on social media that one of the panelists was an AI-generated woman with a fabricated title. He explained that after three sought-after female speakers dropped out, he inadvertently left their names on the schedule as placeholders and failed to remove an auto-generated “demo persona” from the test website.

Questions also arose regarding the legitimacy of a tech influencer known as Coding Unicorn on Instagram. Despite boasting 115,000 followers, the individual behind the account, Julia Kirsina, allegedly never delivered a talk at DevTernity, as reported by The Verge. Suspicion increased as similarities were noted between Kirsina’s posts and Sizovs’s social media content, with reports from tech website 404 Media highlighting access to Coding Unicorn’s Google account by Sizovs.

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Last modified: February 8, 2024
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