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January 21, 2024

AI Ready RVA Champions AI Education in Richmond with Inaugural Business Event


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VCU Brandcenter Adjunct Professor Jeff MacDonald instructs a group of business professionals about AI in Richmond, VA, on January 17, 2024. Image Credit: Paul Lewarne, Alliance Group

Richmond, VA – Marking a pivotal step to elevate Richmond’s role in the tech world, AI Ready RVA, a collaborative effort initiated by local businesses and community leaders following a 2023 ChamberRVA trip to Washington D.C., recently held its first major event titled “Empower Your Business with AI.” Taking place at the Alliance Group’s Main Street office in The Fan, this landmark event attracted over 25 business professionals from the Richmond area, underlining the escalating interest and potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in the realm of business.

The event’s lead presenter, Jeff MacDonald, a strategist, technologist, and adjunct professor at VCU Brandcenter, delved into how predictive AI can revolutionize business operations. MacDonald’s talk highlighted the emerging importance of private AI tools customized to specific organizational data. He also touched upon the anticipated Google Workspace query tool, Duet AI, which promises to unlock new potentials in data analysis and decision-making.

The attendees’ engagement was palpable, with a series of questions reflecting a deep curiosity about AI’s role in business growth and efficiency. Discussions spanned the creation of customer personas using AI, improving brainstorming sessions, and establishing governance plans for AI implementation within businesses.

Participants were offered the unique opportunity to purchase lifetime access to an expansive and growing AI prompt library, encompassing over 350 prompts covering diverse topics from parenting to starting a business. This library represents a valuable resource for continuous learning and practical application of AI in various aspects of life and work and its utility will expand as users provide feedback.

AI Ready RVA, a brainchild of various community members, including tech enthusiast and branding consultant Will Melton, positions itself as a mosaic of minds – AI enthusiasts, educators, industry leaders, and curious learners. This diverse coalition aims to transform Richmond into a hub for AI education and application.

The organization’s mission is multifaceted, focusing on demystifying AI, empowering the workforce with vital skills, and advocating for ethical AI use. The event signifies the start of a series of initiatives designed to stimulate economic growth and attract cutting-edge businesses to Richmond.

Looking forward, AI Ready RVA has announced a live virtual event scheduled for February 20, promising more opportunities for everyone in RVA to engage with AI. As AI Ready RVA continues to grow, it remains committed to its vision of making Richmond an AI powerhouse, fostering a future that is innovative, inclusive, and industrious. The recording of Empower Your Business With AI will be made free to the public in the coming weeks.

For more information on upcoming events and initiatives, please visit AI Ready RVA’s website.