The British Chamber of Commerce People and Leadership Group held the second in a series of quarterly breakfast workshops for this year, on Wednesday 12 June, at the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology.
In a session entitled “Workplace of the future: the robot says you still have a job,” participants were engrossed in an hour of high tech enlightenment and exploration. Together with supporting coffee and croissants, participants considered what the increasing deployment of artificial intelligence will mean for us all, both socially and at work.
Drawing from their different backgrounds and experiences, Lene Pedersen, Andrew Notter and Dr Keith Amoss presented examples of fascinating developments in the diverse areas of hospitality, recruitment and defence. The fourth industrial revolution is well underway--and bringing with it significant change. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are revolutionising our lives.
Any historian reviewing major industrial progress in Europe over the centuries would probably highlight the advent of steam power in 1780, followed by electricity in 1880 and computerisation in 1980. We are now in the era of cyberspace and AI. As with previous industrial revolutions, humans will have to adapt. Will AI work in harmony with us and bring great benefits, or leave us unemployed and lost? There are no easy and obvious answers and may not be long before the robots will decide whether or not we still have a job.
Lene Pedersen (left) and Keith Amoss (second from left) listen to Andrew Notter speak at the British Chamber of Commerce breakfast workshop held on 12 June 2019. Photo credit: Dalboyne/BCC
Robots of today, tomorrow
The workshop resulted in some lively discussion, not least because of the diverse mix of participants. Everyone had views on the increasing use of robots, co-bots and chat bots, including here in Luxembourg. The BCC was lucky to have some AI experts in the room to give some interesting input, and people were fascinated to have the chance to try out a “virtual” experience, along with the appropriate goggles, courtesy of Zenview.
The audience were treated to insights on intelligent humanoid robots such as Sophia, the first robot to have met and spoken with the deputy secretary of the United Nations and to have been given a nationality (Saudi Arabian). They were given an introduction to Atlas and Spot--two very different types of robots now in production--as well as examples of AI now being used in commerce and medicine.
Keith Amoss speaks during the British Chamber of Commerce breakfast workshop held on 12 June 2019. Photo credit: Dalboyne/BCC
Changes in store
The fourth industrial revolution is marked by a blurring of the line between the human and the technological, according to the “Global Risks Report 2019”, published by the World Economic Forum. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that 14% of jobs across 32 countries are categorised as highly vulnerable to the threat of automation; and that number has the potential to increase massively in the near future.
The workshop finished on a positive note, with the overwhelming majority of attendees predicting a bright future with AI. That said, what jobs will humans still be doing in 10, 20 or 100 years’ time? The question is open.