Vatican and Nasa speakers at Scots data summit

Data speakers: Paolo Benanti and Katherine Rahill

The Vatican’s AI adviser and a senior scientist from Nasa are among the keynote speakers lined up for a two-day data summit in Edinburgh in November.

Paolo Benanti, the Italian theologian and academic, is an official adviser to Pope Francis on technology ethics and AI.

Katherine Rahill, a senior scientist at Nasa’s human research division at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas, will join him at DataFest, Scotland’s biggest data and AI event at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre .

Other speakers include Colin Jarvis, an applied AI solutions architect for OpenAI, and Anna Brailsford, CEO and co-founder of Code First Girls. She will be taking part in a fireside chat with Gillian Docherty, chief commercial officer at Strathclyde University.

Gordon Johnstone, head of DataFest at The Data Lab, said: “Innovations in data and AI are moving at an unprecedented pace and the world is undergoing a complete technological rebirth.

“This year’s Data Summit agenda will explore what lies ahead for data and AI through various lenses to reveal the challenges and opportunities afforded by these exciting developments.

“By creating a programme that highlights all the ways these ground-breaking technologies can impact our lives, we hope to demonstrate how they can change humanity for the better.” 

Can Do summit speakers

Global experts including a Dow Jones emerging technology director and a top New York based virtual AI fashion expert will join address Scotland’s annual CAN DO Innovation Summit on 7 November. 

Now in its fourth year and in-person for the first time since the pandemic, the event at Glasgow’s Science Centre connects start-ups and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with leading innovators and academics to explore how new technologies, leadership and the right business cultures can tackle the challenges faced by industry and society.

More than 800 delegates and 40 speakers are expected to take part in the CAN DO Innovation Summit, which is funded by Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise and Innovate UK.

This year’s free to attend summit is spearheaded by female keynote speakers, with a focus on rapid advances towards a tech-driven, sustainable and virtual future. 


  • Elena Corchero, Director of Emerging Tech at DowJones Live and Globally Recognised Tech Futurist.
  • Edafe Onerhime, Data Specialist and Global Financial Services Lead, Top Twenty Most Influential Women in Data 2023.
  • Opé M, Fashion Creative and Futurist and Top 3 Finalist New York AI Fashion Week 2023. 
  • Other speakers and panellists include Nick Rosa, Industry Technology Innovation Lead from Accenture, and Nicola Anderson, CEO of FinTech Scotland. 

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