Click here to download a PDF of this special recap of What's Your Acuity? sessions and event, VM Summit 2024.

NEW YORK—The 17th annual Vision Monday Leadership Summit began with a greeting by James DeMatteis, publisher of Vision Monday and 20/20 Magazine, and Anne Cooper, editorial director of Vision Monday and 20/20 Magazine. DeMatteis kicked off the VM Summit saying, “When we originally chose the topic: ‘What’s Your AI Acuity-Sharpening a Vision for the Future,’ in April 2023, we knew that AI was already a very hot topic, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted how quickly AI has thrust itself into the forefront of so many different facets of our businesses and our lives.”

Cooper echoed DeMatteis’ enthusiasm: “We are in an exciting time, as AI continues to impact our ever-evolving marketplace and landscape. As you may know, I am not new to health care publishing, but I am a newcomer to the vision industry—and the VM Summit is an amazing place to start this journey.”

Then two of the Summit’s planners, Marge Axelrad, editorial director emeritus, Vision Monday, and Andrew Karp, group editor, lenses & technology, Vision Monday, framed the conversation about AI with some broad observations. Assuring attendees that “Our words are not scripted by generative AI,” Axelrad joked that she and Karp were real people, not AI-generated avatars. Turning serious, she observed that “artificial intelligence is blurring the lines between what’s real and what’s not. As we interact more with chatbots and other AI-generated voices and images, it’s important to know who, and what, we’re dealing with.”

Karp pointed out that being able to discern AI-generated content, whenever possible, is a new skill that’s needed for navigating the landscape of today’s AI-driven, digital world. He observed that although we are barraged by media coverage of AI and how it is reshaping our world, and our perceptions, it’s important to remember that we’re still in the early days of this powerful new wave of technology.

“There’s a lot that’s known about it, but even more that’s unknown about AI’s vast capabilities and potential for changing our world, for better or worse,” Karp said.

Looking back at past VM Summits, Axelrad remarked that the program always addresses the advent of new technologies and fresh thinking that creates competitive advantages and challenges. “As we’ve done across 16 VM Leadership Summits, we’re bringing you leading edge perspectives to frame the questions you need to ask about your business or profession, and how today’s top tech trends are affecting you, your teams and customers.”

Axelrad then asked attendees to watch out for three short videos called “AI Snaps” that appeared at various points throughout the program. The videos, which were produced specially for the VM Summit by innovative digital filmmaker, CoffeeVectors, illuminate AI’s growing influence in product design, personal assistant technology and neuroscience.

Karp then offered attendees a few takeaways. He observed that AI is emerging in many forms, including machine learning, large neural networks and generative AI based on large language models, and it’s emerging at astonishing speed.

“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of change we’re experiencing, especially when you consider that AI can be a powerful force for good or it can be devastatingly destructive, depending on who is wielding it and for what purpose,” said Karp. “A lot depends on how we respond. We can celebrate the scientific and technological progress that AI brings, but we must also protect ourselves from bad actors aiming to invade our privacy, peddle false information and impose social controls.

“Controlling AI systems may ultimately depend on whether or not we can align machines with human values,” Karp concluded.

Axelrad’s and Karp’s comments set the stage for Samantha Jordan, a consultant with the Future Today Institute, who brought her unique take on how technology is unfolding to create new opportunities and approaches for business leaders.

Platinum Sponsors of the 2024 VM Leadership Summit include Advancing Eyecare, EssilorLuxottica and VSP Vision. The Gold Sponsors are Alcon and Ocuco. The Silver Sponsor is The Vision Council.

— VM Staff