Digital Leadership Forum: AI, Automation and the Future of Work


Last week we attended a fantastic thought-provoking day at the Digital Leadership Forum, held at Baker McKenzie’s London HQ.

Members of the Chelsea Apps Factory leadership team attended to hear and share their views and opinions on AI, automation and the future of work.

The conference kicked off with Tony Roberts, Professor of Cognitive Robotics at the University of Sheffield and Director of Research at Consequential Robotics who took the audience through the history and current use cases of collaborative robots and their revolutionary approach to bridge the gap between autonomous and manual processes in a flexible and efficient manner. He certainly left the 100+ attendees questioning whether “a robot could take your place in a meeting”. 

Interestingly, Tony also presented different uses of robotics, including within healthcare, from a movement arm or tray table aiding a disabled person all the way to robotic prosthetics.   Professor Roberts also touched on the need for humans to overcome the fear and agenda of being replaced, the necessary legislation and regulation required, alongside the combination of AI within IoT.

Then it was the turn of our very own Adam Scott, who presented 'AI, automation and workplace communications'.  Topics from his session included; how AI is impacting workplace communications currently, and how this will evolve in the future - alongside thoughts as to how this will affect productivity and boost employee engagement.  With new behaviours driving needs and new modes of consumption, in an immature market, Adam stated that organisations need to truly understand what business outcome they require, whilst reviewing the various amazingly powerful AI technology offerings.  Ultimately to design the right solution it is about designing the solution right.

His presentation included various case studies from Chelsea Apps Factory including how the app we built for Wood is improving employee safety and well being globally and how our Impact Profile app with Peace One Day is aligned with the UN responsibility goals, providing a central mobile destination for individuals to showcase their social impact.   To finish the session Adam teased the crowd with a Black Friday-esque offer on pre-orders of our next Industry Report.

Other speakers included Ben Allgrove, Technology and Media Lawyer at Baker McKenzie who presented 'How to prepare for an AI-ready workforce';  Angela Yin , Head of Organisational Development and Psychology at Satalia who talked on the impact of AI on management and organisational structures and Phill Brougham from Digital Genius who spoke about 'AI for Customer Service'. The panel session discussed 'How can AI, Automation and Robotics be applied acrosss different business divisions?' fielded by eminent industry experts Michael Codd from Ab-inbev, Arash Ghazanfari, CTO at Dell Technologies and Nigel Green from Bupa. 

As ever with Digital Leadership Forum the break out session discussions were lively and engaging, with topics covered such as the future roles for our children, the morality of AI making human decisions and the current acceptance of delegation to AI assistance and naturally the consequence. 

My key thoughts of the day were around how will we adapt to not being the smartest person (in the room), nor the smartest thing and ultimately growing up in the eighties and nineties it was all about “what if technology could do this?" The question now appears to be “should we let technology do this?" 

You can pre-order Chelsea Apps Factory 2019 Industry Reports here.

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