Anticipating Big Data LDN 2023: Q&A with Christina Stathopoulos

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Christina Stathopoulos

Big Data LDN 2023, the UK's leading data, analytics and AI event, is less than a month away – promising two days jam-packed with ground-breaking stories, in-depth discussions and inspirational speakers. 

Taking place at the Olympia London on September 20th - 21st, this year’s event features fifteen theatres and over 300 expert speakers delving deep into everything data, AI and analytics – from DataOps to DataMesh to Generative AI.

Christina Stathopoulos, a data evangelist and the founder of Dare to Data, will be one of the official speakers at Big Data LDN 2023. Christina is an active voice within the data community and has developed an advanced data career in tech, most recently at Google and Waze where she here she led analytical studies and strategy. 

She’s also a DataVenger and will be joining her fellow DataVengers Kritsen Kehrer, Ravit Jain and Andrew Jones for an exclusive keynote at this year's event. 

EM360’s Ellis Stewart spoke to Christina about her role at Big Data LDN 2023 and the impact of emerging trends such as AI on the world of data and analytics. 

Ellis: As an official partner at Big Data LDN 2023, what are some of the trends you can see leading the discussions at this year’s conference? 

Christina: “I think we all suspect that generative AI and LLMs will be top of mind, taking the spotlight as they have done over the last months.

“But I also envision discussions moving away from simply the hype of these technologies, and focusing on truly driving value for business - not just jumping on the bandwagon to put the latest AI applications into practice, but also ensuring it's bringing expected ROI. 

“Given how fast things are moving, many are afraid to get left behind but jumping into AI without a good strategy and 'guardrails' can come with serious consequences.

Ellis: AI is obviously a hot topic right now. How are recent advancements in AI impacting the world of data and analytics? 

Christina: “Recent advancements in AI are bringing the spotlight back to data - data and analytics have always been important but now they are riding on the back of the AI wave. 

“We are seeing a move toward a data-centric approach for AI and ML applications, rather than a model-centric approach. Because it doesn't matter how much you finetune your models, if your data is faulty then you will only get so far. 

“Corporations are realizing that data as an asset isn't only about collecting as much data as possible, 'big data', but it's also about gathering and maintaining good, quality data. We're seeing a rise in solutions that cater to this need, such as data and ML observability platforms.”

Ellis: As a data evangelist, you’ve worked with companies all over the world. What key challenges do businesses face when it comes to making the most out of their data? 

Christina: “Companies face a variety of challenges when it comes to making the most of their data, from siloed data and complex integrations to expensive maintenance or data privacy. However, the biggest challenge of all is culture.

Companies must move to a data-driven, AI-first mentality, ingraining it throughout the entire organisation. 

“Having a work culture that is prepared for this can involve a change of mindset for many: adopting data democratization, transparency, eagerness to learn and improve, avoiding gatekeeping and siloes, acquiring digital fluency and data literacy skills, etc.”

Ellis: What is the big data trend you’re most excited about in 2023?

Christina: “Besides the aforementioned observability space, I'm also excited about hearing the latest in managing data and AI risks. Data/AI is being deeply integrated into both our personal and professional lives. 

“Through public mishaps, we are reminded it does not come without risks. There is particularly a lot of debate right now on the ethical risks it poses.”

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