NEXT: AI Connect 2024 in Penang focuses on AI disruption

  • Malaysia can learn, benefit from disruption being created by AI
  • Attract AI players to collaborate with colleges and universities

NEXT: AI Connect 2024 in Penang focuses on AI disruption

“For the past months, we saw heavy investment from Nvidia and other large companies such as Microsoft and ByteDance into Malaysia, this made me realize that everyone will be part of AI, one way or the other,” said Curry Khoo (pic, below), a Penang-based serial entrepreneur who is building his third startup now, Noobs, an open-source playbook for the startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia, launched in 2022.

A well regarded community builder as well, Curry was not talking about Noobs but rather, NEXT: AI Connect 2024, an event aimed at bringing together industry leaders, startups, and AI enthusiasts on Jun 26 at The Ship Campus in Batu Kawan, Penang. Key partners supporting the event are Ideathon, AI Nusantara and Agmo Academy. 

With the recent surge in demand for Nvidia’s specialized chips, which are crucial for powering various forms of AI, including chatbots like Open AI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini, Curry believes that Malaysia can learn and benefit from the disruption being created by AI.

NEXT: AI Connect 2024 in Penang focuses on AI disruption“The best way to learn is to host an event so that we all would be able to recognise the players and understand the landscape in the AI scene,” Curry said.

In the following Q&A, Curry shares more about the event and why it will be useful to attend.

Q. Why did you pick a focus on AI for NEXT?

Because the whole world is talking about AI. Nvidia was rising so fast due to AI and it caught my attention. I did some reading and research and realized that this is just the beginning, everyone will be part of AI, one way or the other. Furthermore, over the past few months, we have seen strong investments by large companies such as Nvidia, Microsoft and ByteDance into Malaysia. Therefore, the best way to learn from AI is to host an event so that we can learn from each other.. 


Q. Why have it at Batu Kawan and not on the island?

There are already a handful of regular events on the island, but not in Batu Kawan. As players in the tech ecosystem will tell you, Batu Kawan is booming with semiconductor companies which also use a lot of AI, especially for their manufacturing, yet most people do not know about it.. Hence I felt it was the best location for this event, and managed to get the support of the PKT Logistics Group via its startup unit, Entrepreneur Growth Hub, to host it at its The Ship Campus. 


Q. You seem to be making an effort to attract students as well. Why?

Talent is the most crucial part for the industry to grow. I foresee there will be high demand for AI, and it's best to start from the youth, specifically university and college students. We want to inspire and encourage them to go into AI, especially on the technical side. You can read about the interest in AI from both the investors who have come in and also the Government. There is a  need to grow our AI talent pool. 


Q. What impact do you hope to have from holding this conference?

I hope to get more private sector AI players, especially from the technical side, to run more activities with our colleges and universities to churn out more talent in AI. 

The semiconductor sector is increasingly relying on AI to optimize its production efficiency, I think this spells huge opportunity for Malaysia, especially if we can get the talent supply moving.


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