In an automated world do you become the killer app?

Delegates from across Sussex were challenged to think about the role of humans in an increasingly automated world at the MDHUB’s annual event for business leaders – Brave New World – which was held on Thursday 18th October at the AMEX Stadium.

Over 120 MDs, CEOs, graduates and academics from the University of Brighton debated what effect emerging technologies would have on people and how they could be used for business growth.  The conference, which was run by MHDUB in association with Santander and the University of Brighton, examined how technology was changing the way we live and work but with a focus on the continuing importance of people.

The day, which was chaired by renowned broadcaster, Simon Fanshawe OBE, started with a presentation from the former CEO of the Science Council, Diana Garnham, who explained why personal interaction will be critical in the technological revolution.

Said Diana, “We need to ensure that our leaders have emotional intelligence, social and people skills and that they empathise with the public and the public can relate to them.  The future is not just about technology, it is also all about talented and skilled innovators who are what I call people and society smart.

“Research and modelling is helping us understand how jobs are changing and how new roles are emerging. For younger generations this is exciting – it’s a welcome Brave New World different from the roles their parents and grandparents undertook.  For those already in the workplace there is a worry of getting left behind in technological skills and facing worklessness in later years.  It’s important that everyone – employees and employers – understand which skills are ordinary and which are the skills that will mark them out to ensure resilience and employability into the future.

“All of us working in technology and innovation need to invest in the skills to engage with our public and customers and through interaction create the right environment for a socially positive Brave New World.”

This was followed by an interactive session delivered by Steve Wells, author of ‘A very human future’, who answered questions from attendees about a range of topics including the impact of AI and overcoming ecological disaster through science and technology.

Delegates then split into smaller groups to attend a range of workshops including a panel discussion on harnessing the power of our future workforce; a chance to try immersive technology with Robin Scott of Make Real; a demonstration of how to use gamification to boost employee and customer engagement from Pete Jenkins of Gamification Plus; and a presentation about what the future holds for businesses, big and small with Graham Randles of NEF Consulting.

Over lunch there was a chance for networking alongside the opportunity to ‘Ask an Expert’ about a whole range of topics including: diversity in the workplace, apps, crowdfunding, digital marketing, storytelling with video and untapping the potential in your business.

Said Fiona Shafer, MD of MDHUB, “This year, we were delighted to work in association with the University of Brighton and Santander Universities on our annual conference.  It was wonderful to see students and members of the business community sharing ideas about new technologies and best practice and to hear from our amazing group of speakers who made us think about some big questions. It’s clear that whilst artificial intelligence and the immersive technologies may be a competitive advantage, the human touch will always be a differentiating factor and businesses really need to think about how they can make the most of their talent.

According to one delegate, “It was great to attend a conference that was consistently interesting throughout the day, I feel mentally refreshed and stimulated.”

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