Philly daily roundup: City tech department layoffs; Is AI really new; Esports association comes to Philly

Plus, Philly ranks eight on a list of top life sciences ecosystems.

University of Pennsylvania engineering staff and faculty dedicate a plaque to Grace Hopper. (Courtesy University of Pennsylvania)

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Philly’s tech department lays off staff

Several former employees of the Office of Innovation and Technology told this week that their roles had been eliminated due to restructuring.

Some former OIT employees suggested that staff was let go shortly after a seemingly surface-level disagreement with Philadelphia’s newly appointed Chief Information Officer Melissa Scott. Mayor Cherelle Parker appointed Scott in April to take over the role from interim CIO Sandra Carter.

➡️ Read more about the staffing changes in OIT.

Is AI new or just the next big platform?

For some, AI, like the printing press, electricity and the internet before it, is another transformative platform technology. Some AI proponents argue that this time is different because AI’s potential surpasses all previous technologies.

Ambler-based HR tech company Phenom has integrated the technology into its hiring process for most roles, but emphasizes that wherever AI is used, human review should also occur.

➡️ Read more about AI in Chris Wink’s column.

News Incubator: What else to know today

• Commercial real estate company CommercialCafe ranked Philadelphia as the #8 life sciences ecosystem in the country. [CommercialCafe]

• The Esports Trade Association launched a Philadelphia Chapter last week. Chapter President David Weinstein launched the chapter to foster more community around esports in Philadelphia. [ESTA]

•  The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia is accepting applications for its annual Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange (GPLEX) conference which will be hosted in October in San Diego this year. [Economy League]

•  New owners of the Montgomery County life sciences campus plan to redevelop the 340-acre lot. The plan will build out more office space to (hopefully) attract more life sciences tenants. [Philadelphia Business Journal]

🗓️ On the Calendar

• Learn about how AI will change the creative design process in a conversation moderated by’s Danya Henninger. The event will be on May 8 at 5:30 p.m. [Sign up here]

• Help us celebrate Philly Tech Week at dozens of events throughout the city now through May 11. [Learn more]

• Philly eCommerce Meetup is hosting an event on May 8 at 4 p.m. [Register here]

• Philly Data Visualization Meetup is hosting its monthly gathering on May 8 at 5:30 p.m.  [Details here]

• P4 Hub, WURD Radio and DiverseForce are hosting a conversation about AI’s impact on Black communities on May 8 at 6 p.m. [Register here]

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

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