HR Tech Conference to Feature IBM’s Watson in Dialogue with Rudy Karsan

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Aug 12, 2013
This article is part of a series called ERE Media Conferences.

Just when you thought that longtime HR Technology conference Grand Poobah Bill Kutik couldn’t do any more to hype his final time as HR Tech co-chair, well, he seems to have come up with a new way to push his over-the-top marketing of October’s event to yet another level.

In addition to the usual roster of top-rate speakers and sessions, Kutik has landed IBM’s Watson, the artificially intelligent computer system that beat human competitors on the TV game show Jeopardy, for HR Tech’s final day on Oct. 9 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

IBM’s Rudy Karsan, founder of Kenexa (now an IBM company), will have a dialogue with Watson on stage after presenting his vision of the future of HR. Karsan will pose questions in natural language to Watson and will demonstrate “the computer’s role as a trusted HR adviser when it provides personalized, evidence-based, contextually-relevant responses,” according to Kutik.

Why HR Tech is a big deal

He adds:

Watson is not connected to the Internet. It does not research the questions. It’s been taught the domains it knows, rather than programmed. Think of it as Siri’s much wiser great-grandfather. As a result … Watson’s storage array fills a room, making it hard to get out of the office much. So Rudy will be accessing Watson through a laptop but will be joined onstage by a Watson avatar.”

The annual HR Technology Conference & Exhibition returns to Las Vegas this year (from Oct. 7-9) after being held last fall in Chicago. It’s the largest HR technology event of the year, and also one of the biggest conferences of any kind in the human resource space.

As I wrote here last year in my post on why I was glad HR Tech was finally moving out of Chicago:

HR Technology has evolved over 15 years from a good, solid conference into one of the very best HR-related “must attend” events. It is one of two big conferences (along with the SHRM national conference in June) that you must attend if you REALLY want to take the pulse of what is happening in HR. …

This is what conference co-chair Bill Kutik and his minions have created here: a vibrant annual event where the best and brightest in technology offer up answers to your most pressing HR concern and issues, sort of like a big Farmer’s Market for HR software solutions. For my money, it’s a great place to comparative shop and figure out what your organization should be investing in, or, get ideas about what you need to get your executive team to ante up for.”

Kutik’s swan song as conference co-chair

For my money, just hearing Rudy Karsan’s insights on the future of HR is reason enough to attend, but also getting to see Karsan interact with Watson, who handily defeated the two greatest human Jeopardy champions, makes the final day of Bill Kutik’s final HR Tech (as conference co-chair)  “must-see TV.”

This year’s HR Tech conference is expected to be the largest one ever, and it’s easy to see why.

Not only is it Kutik’s swan song before handlng over the reins of HR Tech to the very capable hands of Steve Boese, but it really is THE event to go to if you want to get a good handle on the latest and greatest things that are going on in the world of human resources technology. And when you add the Watson/Rudy Karsan presentation to all the other great speakers, panels, and other events surrounding HR Tech, well, it’s pretty hard to resist.

I’ll be there reporting on all of it again for TLNT. Here’s hoping that Kutik & Company manage to get the guys juggling chainsaws to entertain again.

This article is part of a series called ERE Media Conferences.