There has been much talk of robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing people and leading to mass unemployment. Is this fear justified or will we see a rise in human-in-the-loop style of automation, where AI works closely with people to increase their productivity?
For many, AI is new and brings with it uncertainty about jobs and the future. On February 22nd, BCSWomen, as part of its AI Accelerator programme, and in collaboration with WiTT, brought together a group of experts, practitioners, and thought leaders to discuss some of the important questions that AI raises:
- Should we fear AI?
- Have the media become AI scaremongers?
- Has the government got its head in the sand when it comes to automation and AI?
- How will the shift towards automation using intelligent machines change the skills landscape and employment?
- Are business leaders being laggards and not helping build skills and opportunities?
- How should industry and academia respond to the rise of AI and the skills that are needed to tap into the technology?
- What should we be doing to gain AI skills to improve our future career prospects?
- What resources are there for people to learn about AI and how to get into this industry?
The event began with introductions and a short talk by each panel member, followed by a debate and Q&A.
There was be an AI demo by Accenture followed by drinks and nibbles.
Pat Chapmen-Pincher, NED and executive mentor
Laetitia Cailleteau, Managing Director at Accenture for UKI Emerging Tech & Global Lead for Virtual Agents, Liquid Studio Director (London)
Clara Durodié, Founder and Managing Partner at Cognitive Finance Group
Sarah Burnett, Everest Group Vice President and chair of BCSWomen
The panel will be chaired by Audrey Mandela, Chair, Women in Telecoms & Technology, Co-Founder, Multimap, independent Consultant, Angel Investor.
Panel members and chair biographies:
All her working life Pat has been fascinated by the impact that new technologies have on our lives and in a career of more than 35 years has been lucky enough to be involved in the major 20th and 21st century technologies that have changed our working environment, including mobile and internet networks, Video on Demand, and e-cash. Following an early career in IBM and BT Pat became part of the founding team of MFS International and went on to lead UUNET, the first multi-national internet company which she and her team grew from a small UK operation to an annual turn-over of $1bn, with large scale operations in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
As an investor and experienced Chair she has participated in start-ups of technology companies and has board level experience in both large and small listed and private companies.
10 years ago, Pat moved to a portfolio career. She is increasingly concerned about the effects of intelligent automation on the workforce and works with Boards to build strategies for the changes that are coming in all industries. She has a portfolio of Chair and NED roles and works with senior executives as a business mentor.
Laetitia Cailleteau is the UKI lead for Emerging Technology within Accenture’s Technology Innovation & Ecosystems organisation. She runs the London Liquid Studio, where her team co-create with clients to realise the potential of artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and the Internet of Things, using a user centered approach. She is also responsible for leading the company’s virtual agents practice globally. Laetitia co-authored a publication on Virtual Agents for e-Commerce in the final year of her Master degree at INSA LYON, and rose from software engineer to master technology architect after joining Andersen Consulting in 1999.
Clara Durodié is a business technologist specialised in AI and Board member with leadership roles in European wealth and asset management. Clara is a thought leader in the field of applied AI in finance and regularly works with Boards, senior management, academics and start-ups. Her focus is in Business Intelligence, Investech and Risk Management. Prior to founding Cognitive Finance Group, Clara was an executive and a Board Director at Ackermans & van Haaren’s downstream financial services companies in London and Luxembourg, respectively.
Audrey Mandela is chair of Women in Telecoms & Technology (WiTT), a networking group for women in the sector. She also runs Mandela Associates, which provides market research and consulting services for select clients in the telecom, internet and geographical information sectors.
Audrey was Co-Founder of Multimap, one of the world’s leading online mapping providers, where she acted as the company’s corporate counsel and marketing director, and was a board director. Multimap was sold to Microsoft in December 2007.
Audrey was formerly Senior Vice President, International, for the Yankee Group, one of the industry’s leading IT research firms. As Senior VP, Audrey was responsible for managing the Yankee Group’s research, consulting and sales activities in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Audrey is also a member of the steering committee for the Global Board Ready Women initiative; a board director for Wedu, a charity that mentors and supports young women leaders from underserved communities in Southeast Asia; a member of Angel Academe, an angel network that focuses on investments in women-led businesses; and an NED at Clear Returns, an award-winning and innovative retail returns intelligence platform, and at Hiver, which offers a networking app.
Sarah, a well-known industry analyst and market influencer, is a Vice President at Everest Group, where she leads the company’s Service Optimization Technologies (SOT) research program globally. As part of this, she researches and advises clients on automation technologies, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and global business process & IT service provider’s capabilities in this field.
Sarah is a frequent speaker about AI and RPA at industry events around the world. She has penned several reports and papers on these technologies and their impact on services and adoption by enterprises across the globe.
Sarah is chair of BCSWomen, and founder of AI Accelerator, set up to encourage more women into IT and AI.
She is a one of Computer Weekly’s 50 most influential women in UK IT (2016 and 2017). As well as contributing to industry media, she often speaks at clients’ and other events and is active in social media with frequent blogs and Twitter posts (@SarahBurnett).