• Sarah Eckereder

Highlights from the Global Talent Summit, Zürich 2018

As a passionate advocate of employee engagement and believer in the power of humanity, I was looking forward to hearing more about the future of work and organizations at GTS18 in Zurich. My biggest question: what does the digital age really mean for humans at work?

I came away inspired by the power of robotics and digital technology - not to replace us all as humans, but to play a role for good as we truly learn to partner with technology. Because technology can make us better.

My personal highlights:

Scott Hartley (Author of “The Fuzzy and the Techie”) kicked off his session talking about apparent false dichotomies: things that seem at odds with each other, but on further exploration can work together: Liberal Arts & Algorithms; AI & Ethics; Fuzzie & Techie. He went on to share 2017 McKinsey statistics estimating that 30% of tasks in 60% of jobs could be replaced by machines/ technology - but the complex, non- routine tasks and those requiring human empathy and flexibility will remain in human hands and with human brains.

He left us with a great quote from Tim Cook, CEO of Apple: “I’m not worried about artificial intelligence giving computers the ability to think like humans, I‘m more concerned about people thinking like computers, without values or compassion, without concern for consequence.”

As a history lover, I thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Keen´s (Author of “How to Fix the Future”) references to Thomas More´s “Utopia“ of the 16th Century and the comparisons he drew to the scale of change we face today. A key theme was what it means to be human – the ability to think apart from a computer; our human empathy, creativity and the need for agency and the development of human engagement as the core of what will always remain human.

Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics and inspired us with her stories and examples of some of the current robotics projects being developed across a range of fields from disaster recovery to health support to home robots. Although I suspect what will remain with many of us was her wonderful video of the limitations of robots. There are just some things that a human does so much more easily – including operate door handles!

And so to sum up, as Andra shared with us “We don´t need to be afraid of robots... but we might need to close the doors!“

Here´s to our future partnerships with new technology.

Disclaimer: All highlights are my own interpretations of the speakers´presentations and any errors are my own.

Photo courtesy of GTS18

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