British astronaut and former International Space Station crew member, Tim Peake, has been announced as a headline speaker at Data Summit 2020.
The announcement comes as The Data Lab, organisers of the two-week DataFest event series, calls for fringe event submissions to take place across Scotland in March.
This year’s theme, #BeyondData, will focus on the impact of data and artificial intelligence on modern society, as well as the future potential of the sector to help unlock innovation across business and wider society.
Now in its fourth year, DataFest has grown to become one of the UK’s headline technology events and attracted more than 4,000 attendees this year.
The 2020 festival will see the return of successful events, including Women in Data Science and Data Talent Scotland. Events are set to take place across Scotland, including Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Inverness.
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Tim Peake’s confirmation at Data Summit marks the first major speaker announcement for the 2020 event, with more expected to follow in the coming weeks and months.
Peake spent more than six months on the ISS, completing an impressive 3,000 orbits of the Earth and covering a distance of 125 million kilometres. His main duties during his time in space were to undertake research into new technologies and conduct experiments that could not be done on Earth.
Commenting on the announcement, Peake said: “Space has always been at the forefront of technology and engineering, which is never more relevant than today. As we look to returning to the Moon and exploring Mars, technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and virtual reality are making our future missions possible.
“I’m delighted to be speaking at DataFest and sharing my story of space exploration and what the exciting future holds.”
Peake will also take part in a number of STEM events during the two-week festival to work with schoolchildren across Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Gillian Docherty, chief executive at The Data Lab, added: “Tim Peake has been on an inspirational journey and has a fascinating story to tell, having undertaken a role which the vast majority of us can only dream of.
“He is, therefore, an ideal speaker to headline DataFest20, which looks to celebrate the huge impact data and AI is having on sciences, businesses and society across the world, and encourages us to think about what happens next – What is the future world we dream of, and how is data helping to turn that dream into a reality?”