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[D] CVPR Observations (maybe good for science, definitely bad for the planet)

Just came back from CVPR and wanted to offer some personal observations.

TLDR humangous conferences pack lots of science, but it feels overwhelming and may affect how science is ‘shared’. For sure it affects the planet.

The good : * overall a smooth organization without major hickups * lots of nice and interesting papers * excellent presence of work across the globe but China had an impressive showing * lots of industry presence * expo full of companies ready to hire the best * large venue that managed to accommodate the almost 9000 people that didn’t feel that we were that many * good catering considering the size * hundreds of people worked behind the scenes to make it happen (catering, waiters, cleaners, security) and I am so happy to see people have work and take care of us

The bad : * too many people made it harder to bump into people and network. The super sized venue spread across didn’t help either. Time from one to the other could easily take 5 minutes. * posters the first day it was impossible due to crowding. The second day and after became much better but still impossible to go through all 200 posters per session. * 5 min per oral was an interesting concept but it has some problems. It keeps every one on time via the video delivery but it makes for a dry non interactive delivery. The short time also tweet-sizes research. You get to focus on how amazing are the slides rather than the science. It was evident that those that broke down the message to the simplest possible and made a good presentation about it gave the best presentations. Some presentations appeared professionally made by a company. Some rethinking of conference format is necessary. * questions after orals are obsolete. Remove them completely. * I found the herding by local security / catering people annoying. We were being herded always and everywhere. Too many rules… * THE WORST : the carbon footprint. I am not talking about travel. I am talking about the amount of plastic and trash produced. By a small calculation I expect more than 100000 paper cups and plastic lids. Every lunch was in a plastic box and plastic spoon: about 50000 plus were used. Hundreds of thousands of plastic cups were used for water and drinks. Come on… Seriously. Have someone sponsor a reusable mug and hand it out. People can bring it back as souvenir. There are nice ones made by bamboo. (By the way it is possible that we can recycle some of the plastic but you all know that we are past beyond that now in the planet.) As conference sizes sky rocket we must work together to help reduce impact to the planet.

If any of you went there or not, please share your thoughts.

submitted by /u/da_g_prof
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Toronto AI is a social and collaborative hub to unite AI innovators of Toronto and surrounding areas. We explore AI technologies in digital art and music, healthcare, marketing, fintech, vr, robotics and more. Toronto AI was founded by Dave MacDonald and Patrick O'Mara.