Embracing AI in the Events Industry: My Journey and Insights across Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney

How has AI impacted our Future of Work in business events industry? Karine Koh, Regional Advisory Board member of PCMA APAC, sharing her journey and insights attending PCMA APAC Labs in June on Future of Work and Artificial Intelligence across Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.

Author: Karine Koh       

Me at the PCMA APAC Labs in Sydney, Australia.

Me at the PCMA APAC Labs in Sydney, Australia.

So, I finally did it. I accepted the invitation to become a member on the Regional Advisory Board for PCMA for 2023/2024.

The all-time hesitation (not having enough time), the fears (am I already there), the stereotype (being with competitors in the same room?), I finally took all of that and threw them out of the window and decided that for the 1st time in 20 years (since I had my first taste of events & fell in love), my love for the industry needs to be have more longevity; it was too short lived sometimes; often all that just for the event. (Yes; some vagueness here but I’m sure our planner friends totally relate to it).

To make sure that I walk the talk, I reworked my work schedule and made sure I will be present for the very first event of the 2023/2024 calendar; the APAC PCMA Lab series. Held in Hong Kong, Singapore & Sydney, the 3-hour peer focused mini workshop on the Future of Work: Impact of AI on the Workforce.

“To me, Artificial intelligence has always been: BIG. It is such a complex word that I never got my head around it.”

The labs, from Hong Kong to Singapore to Sydney, consistently reminded me that AI is really not that mambo jumbo term which is so out of reach.

AI, in layman terms, in case you never realised it like I did, is simply the process where things just become easier. A calculator, A washing machine, the Air-conditioner, all that powers it up, that’s AI plus basic engineering (?).

“Humans generally are fearful of change, fearful of the unknown. AI – this very large word coupled by sci-fi marketing, definitely brings out that fear of us no longer being the superior beings.

However, it’s just because it is an unknown variable out there. How do we deal with it usually? We try and learn along the way to improve and to make it work for us. I mean, washing machines, calculators and air conditioners – they work for us. 

That said, will machines eventually become that much clever and surpass us? Ultimately the choice is ours. How reliant do we want to be? Common sense & empathy will always triumph and we will have that ability to engineer the outcome we want. To get the outcome, AI can only help us get there. Eventually, our humane reasoning will get us there.  

“In all the 3 sessions, everyone was asking the same question around authenticity. Can we trust it? It’s interesting how AI seemed to be regarded as that shining beacon of light – but why though?

I mean, it is only the outcome generated out of algorithms from processes. As it is, we hardly trust all humans fully so now we would trust a machine with no emotions fully? We need to practise our due diligence. We need to be responsible for using the tools that help make our lives better.  

I was pleasantly surprised to find out from the speakers and the peers the different tools that are out there in each market. Consistently, it was agreed that Otter.ai, Microsoft Co-pilot, Alpha3D, Meta sketch have been really useful. The time we get from using the tools allows for not only more sleep (important!) but also better room for creativity, planning, nurturing talents. Let’s just face it, there had been times where we can’t be present because we are short on time 

“Project Spark is definitely one tool that I wished I had to support me during my earlier years in the industry.

It would have provided so much guidance to me as a fresh-faced graduate not knowing anything much. The platform and its functions would have taught me the foundation and sped up my knowledge of the industry. It would have saved a lot of my senior grief from my micro thinking.

I honestly hadn’t known what an event agenda would look like and had spent a lot of time digging through old files trying to figure it out. As a senior, Project Spark would have helped ensure lesser time during brainstorms as conversations would have been elevated, less time editing copies for sure! Meeting minutes can be churned out so much faster.

“For the first time in 20 years, my love for the events industry needs more longevity; it was too short-lived sometimes; often all that just for the event.”

The most difficult of all tasks is getting started and with Project Spark, there really should not be any an excuse to procrastinate anymore.

“The big question that everyone has these days, be in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, was centred around copyrights and legislation around content derived from AI.”

Legislation is set through precedence of events (in short, data). With the recent pandemic, which spearheaded digitalisation ten folds, everyone (including the legislators) is really ‘winging’ it. We are trying to make sense of it all as much as the legislators. Fortunately, or unfortunately, there really isn’t a supercomputer that can process all the data; even if there is, the query of data comes up; is there proper storage of data consistently collected for the supercomputer to process? In light of all of this, what can we sensible humans do? When we have to use the data? We make sure that we always have a backup plan. We put in the disclaimers so that we are covered.

“I attended the labs with a big cloud in my head; fearful of AI, thinking that it will replace humans like everyone else.”

With the new knowledge I have and having had the hands-on experience with Project Spark, AI is not that scary. In fact, I wholly embrace it; why not? It helps me sleep more, be more present & make me a smarter person. With the extra time I have, I can become more efficient. My fear now? Being replaced by someone who has more time than me because he or she uses AI more efficiently than I do.  

Relive the June series with Key Insights on Future of Work and Artificial intelligence: PCMA Labs June Series Recap.


Karine Koh is a passionate and dynamic leader in the events industry, currently serving as PCMA APAC Regional Advisory Board and the Managing Director for Asia & Oceania at ARHT Asia. With a strong belief in the transformative power of meaningful experiences, she has orchestrated workshops that strike a balance within city life and help individuals discover what truly matters. With a wealth of experience, strategic mindset, and unwavering passion, Karine is a captivating speaker who inspires and motivates audiences to embrace the transformative power of events. Her stories and insights empower attendees to create meaningful experiences in their own lives and businesses.

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