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Controversy Erupts as Fake Speaker Scandal Shakes Up Tech Conference Lineup

by Anna

In a startling turn of events, several tech executives from Microsoft and Amazon have withdrawn their participation in the upcoming DevTernity software conference following revelations that at least one featured woman speaker was, in fact, an “auto-generated” entity with a fabricated title. The conference organizer, Eduards Sizovs, publicly acknowledged the use of artificial intelligence to create profiles, sparking controversy and prompting an exodus of speakers just days before the scheduled virtual event on December 7.

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Sizovs admitted to the existence of suspicious profiles on the conference website, but vehemently denied any intention to conceal a lack of diversity in the speaker lineup. Despite allegations, he refused to issue an apology in a series of posts on social media, notably X (formerly Twitter), and did not respond to email requests for comments on Monday.

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The disclosure prompted swift reactions from other speakers, with Amazon Web Services executive Kristine Howard expressing her disappointment upon discovering that she was the sole woman on the agenda, questioning the authenticity of other advertised speakers via a LinkedIn post.

Microsoft executive Scott Hanselman, who was also slated to speak at the conference, revealed on social media that he, too, had been deceived by the inclusion of fake speakers. Advocating for inclusive lineups, he urged tech conference organizers to recognize the vast pool of speakers representing diverse backgrounds.

DevTernity, traditionally held annually in Riga, Latvia, shifted to an online-only format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this year’s event has been overshadowed by the scandal, raising concerns about the integrity of conference speaker selections and the potential impact on trust within the tech community.

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