Adobe Asia Pacific Think Tank: The role of machines in the future of work
Imagine a future in which our daily interactions with machines, robots and artificial intelligence outweigh our contact with people. In the workplace of the future perhaps team members will use technology to enable or augment abilities. Or perhaps they’ll be chat-bots with just enough personality to pass for a co-worker.
Adobe is bringing together some of the most formidable (human) thinkers within the Asia Pacific region to discuss the increasingly blurred boundary between the mind and the machine and what it might mean for the future of work.
For some, the most fertile area of innovation is the intersection between the human mind and the possibilities it can achieve when enabled by technology. Biomedical engineer Dr Jordan Nguyen believes technology can be used to overcome physical limitations and free the mind to be more productive, creative and expressive.
His work famously includes creating a specialised musical instrument that allows musician Jessica Irwin, who was born with cerebral palsy, to play live in concert. Nguyen, a TedX speaker, is also a media commentator on the ways technology is helping us become “superhuman” while reinventing humanity and the future of work.
Robots have already become part of the workplace and, as artificial intelligence expert Michael Priddis sees it, they’re here to stay.
Priddis’s background as managing director of Boston Consulting Group’s innovation arm, Digital Ventures, and now CEO of Faethm, an advisory on artificial intelligence, robotics and new technology, gives him a sweeping perspective on the relationship between humans and machines now and into the future. Despite handsome productivity and efficiency benefits, Priddis is wary of the uncertainty machines will bring to society, particularly with regard to employability.
Many routine, repetitive tasks – even knowledge-based tasks – are already being handled by programs that use AI to create algorithms and machine learning along with cloud processing for fast results. What does this mean for the prospects of human thinkers and our ability to upskill while learning on the job?
Can we trust that machines will be used in our best interests? Priddis is urging governments and regulators to consider the consequences of increasing automation by carrying human empathy into the decisions we make today.
Award-winning cognitive neuroscientist Dr Fiona Kerr has spent considerable time tapping into the way humans interact with each other and technology. Empowering technology is already changing the way teams collaborate and manage document workflows. On an individual level, more and more employees are able to work remotely and autonomously.
Kerr’s specialised work focuses on the symbiotic relationship between human and machine to learn how humans are shaping technology – and vice versa. Our relationship with machines is in our control, Kerr believes, and only acting on a societal level will ensure it stays healthy.
Adobe’s Future of Work Think Tank will be live streamed from Sydney on 6 December 2017 at 2 PM AEDT. Watch the biomedical engineer, the neuroscientist and the robotics expert discuss the role machines will play in tomorrow’s workforce.
The Future of Work Think Tank will host three expert panels on Machines, People and Experiences. Learn more here.