Think Big Festival open to entire community

COEUR d’ALENE – From Aug. 20-22, North Idaho will host brilliant minds from Facebook, Microsoft, Boeing and others exploring the future of robotics and artificial intelligence.

“It is surreal,” said Eric Carmichael, 26. “I have been a developer for a while and have been very interested in artificial intelligence. I planned on – and figured I’d have to – move away to meet and network with people of this caliber, but instead they are coming to me in Coeur d’Alene.”

Local businesses have engaged in big ways to make sure anyone locally who wants to attend the Think Big Festival can. Many businesses have stepped up with sponsorships to reduce ticket costs and provide scholarships to students and others if needed. NextIT, a local artificial intelligence software company, especially jumped at the chance to support something that it believes in so deeply.

One special community-minded event is the “Future Frontiers Experience Day” on Saturday, Aug. 22, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Village in Riverstone. On this day you can operate underwater robots, fly a drone, see a self-driving car, experience the world’s fastest sedan – the Tesla P85D – or experience the power of 3D printing. Originally the event was scheduled to be for ticket holders only, but a group of private businesses, educators and local government officials identified as the “Future Frontiers Project,” offered to sponsor the experience day so any and all citizens can attend as Future Frontier Project participants’ gift to the community. The Future Frontier Project organizations have been working on a technologically advanced education and economic development plan for North Idaho.

The other two days, Aug. 20 and 21, are still ticketed events and those tickets can be purchased online at, at the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce or in Post Falls at the North Idaho College Workforce Training Center.

The night of Aug. 20 offers an opportunity to network with great local and out of town folks at the Blackwell Hotel on Sherman for a concert by the Rhythm Dawgs at 6 p.m. On Aug. 21, the day will start at 9 a.m. at NIC Schuler Performing Arts Auditorium in Coeur d’Alene with a presentation from the former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense discussing the fine line of robots and ethics. This will be followed by panels addressing advancements in health, transportation and other topics including a demonstration of a neural network built by a local team of developers.

“The best part about the Think Big Festival is that it is designed to inspire and educate everyone,” said Beth Brubaker, project specialist at North Idaho STEM Charter Academy in Rathdrum. “You don’t need to be a coder or robot expert to have a good time or learn something. However, if you are into that, it is beyond exciting to think that the inventor of mind-controlled prosthetics, the godfather of private space travel, the inventor of the six degrees of freedom robotic arm and the CEO of a self-driving car company are all on a stage together here in Coeur d’Alene.”

Nick Smoot of Coeur d’Alene is an entrepreneur and creator of the Think Big Festival.

Source: Think Big Festival open to entire community

Via: Google Alerts for AI

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