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LAB BLOG

31-May-2019

Re-imagine business and humanity in the age of machines

The very nature of business and the dynamics of organisations are undergoing rapid and fundamental change.

We are at a point of staggering technological progress.  The power of machine learning algorithms to better human performance with applications ranging from marketing to medicine, policing to financial risk assessment is becoming clearer.  The rise in big data and predictive analytics to spot patterns and pre-empt action is being put into practice. And the increase in raw processing power to support decision making, influence and act at scale, is something that is happening more and more each day.  

There are huge opportunities to work towards, and we need vision, inspiration and intuition to unlock the incredible possibilities at our disposal! 

To navigate such complexity, where seemingly small decisions can have unforeseen impact, where it's necessary to be more considered about opportunities, risks and unintended consequences - leaders require access to broader perspectives, space to envision the future they want to lead for, reflect on change, understand and consider the possibilities and implications for their organisations, their people, stakeholders, communities and civil society. Changes will impact us all, so we also wanted to create an inclusive space for to enable wider participation.

To create this multi-disciplinary space, and explore these issues LAB partnered with Hello Humanity and Google New York, and after months of transatlantic planning we were delighted, on May 16th 2019, to launch and co-host the first edition of:

Humans + AI - the great transition!

Gathered were 100 business leaders, technology leaders, ethnographers, programmers, researchers, coaches, humanists, artists, poets sound artists and musicians, for a day of inspiration, consideration, conversation and reflection at Google NY.

Multi-disciplinary dialogues, hard conversations, chances to co-envision and co-create, inspired speakers, safe spaces for leaders to explore how they will navigate moral and ethical challenges, deep reflection, profound connections….we had it all!

A day of inspiration, provocation, conversation, poetry, music and art hosted and curated by Caroline Calderon, Founder and CEO of Hello Humanity and Bhanita Mistry-Russell, Founder and CEO of LAB, with a welcome from Rick Gilpin, AI/ML Solutions Lead at Google Cloud, and a series of inspiring speakers on topics from AI ethics, biases & unintended consequences to the use of AI for Good.

Much was considered: 

  • How do we inspire human flourishing in a world where technology outperforms us?
  • What is it that only humans can do?
  • How will we handle moral crumple zones?
  • If leading for profit will take many humans out of the equation - what should we lead for?
  • What could it mean to lead for humanity?
  • How might human values - inspired by poetry, art, music - guide our commercial and technological development?
  • What do we want technology to do, and not do - and what should we not do with it?
  • What are the possibilities for AI for Good?
  • What human skills, abilities and talents do we most value and ought to strive not to lose?
  • What will it take to consider the dilemmas inherent in innovation robustly and widely - such that we understand possibilities and pitfalls, and are in a position to mitigate risks as they arise?
  • How will we create the context, vision and leadership for a positive future, lest we avoid sleepwalking into a world of unintended consequences? 

We are at a fundamental tipping point regarding the role of humans, leaders and organisations. We also have a window of opportunity to use our collective agency and inspire direction in creating a future that serves humanity - not just the few, but the many.

The question is - how will we use the superpowers we have at our disposal?

Technological development is a fast moving train, It will not stop.  

Will we manage to increase the pace of human wisdom to keep up with the increased powers afforded to us by technology? We certainly hope so!  

We're planning more events and experiences around the world, to create spaces for leaders to engage further on these sorts of issues, with wider perspectives, inspiring insight and deep provocation.

Join us for the next edition of Humans + AI in London.  

To find out more, to participate in London, enquire about other locations or to learn more about what happened in NY, contact:

bhanita@lab-innovation.com. 

Thank you to our amazing speakers, performers and artists and of course to all the participants who made it such a rich discussion. Thank you also to Caroline Calderon of Hello Humanity - a wonderful partner, who took the lead in so many areas, and to the great team on the ground from Hello Humanity, the Google events team and the many volunteers who made the day run so smoothly.  

Speakers, key messages and performers will be shared in the following post.