"Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon set the tone welcoming ad executives to NBCUniversal's One23 developer conference Wednesday, referring to the company's third annual tech conference as "Nerd Coachella."
"I wasn't invited to the first two conferences, which is something I was totally okay with," Fallon said.
It was a hilarious opening for an event focused largely on how NBCU was accelerating its use of technology, especially Big Data and algorithms, to automate how people are identified, targeted and served with advertising -- and increasingly, commerce -- messages.
While much of the presentation focused the next-generation suite of "certified" data and tech partners, and how NBCU was working with them to merge Big Tech and Big Media in a way no organization has ever done before, the highlight keynote was an interview with Apple founder, technology visionary, and self-described nerd Steve Wozniak.
Wozniak shared personal anecdotes -- and differences -- about his partnership with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, but seemed to specifically be addressing the ad-industry crowd with his take on the role of artificial intelligence in the world-at-large, if not across the ad industry.
At a time when generative AI technology including ChatGPT, DALLE, and a slew of next-generation search and other features are being accelerated by the likes of Google, Microsoft, Baidu, and others, Wozniak reality-checked that exuberance, noting: "I believe in the 'A,' but the 'I' is not intelligence to me.
"It will never equal the human intuitiveness and that sort of thing."
"We can teach machines to do some tasks for we humans," he continued, "AI -- artificial intelligence -- is only to help us humans. We're not going to create things that somehow hurt us."
The event reminded me of network TV's classic upfront presentation sizzle style, but with the exception of NBC talent like Fallon, Andy Cohen, Stephanie Ruhle, and others, the star power wasn't human beings, but technology.
With the one exception of Wozniak, of course.