In the increasingly inter-connected worlds of work and ‘life’, AI can no longer be ignored

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Last week I attended CogX 2018 – a self-acclaimed festival of all things AI, ML, Blockchain and emerging technologies. The conference was huge, featuring over 4,000 people and 300 speakers across 5 stages, over 2 days.

I was wearing two hats – one as a consultant learning about Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning etc. and their significance and impact on our world, and one as a volunteer for the Change Management Institute (CMI) trying to work out what this means for us plucky change practitioners.

As a consultant I firmly believe that attending events like this is critical. We need to be curious and continuously learn about the ever-expanding and changing business world. However, as an Organisational Change practitioner, going to ‘techie’ events like this, you do always feel like the odd one out. You always find yourself looking for an OCM mate, the hook, the relevance, or ‘the people link’.

When I left after two days, I didn’t know if I had any answers or useful insights to satisfy either of the roles I held. But, I was energised and intrigued about the future which always seems to happen if you go to a ‘cool conference’.

Here are my top 3 takeaways from the sessions I attended:

  1. Artificial Intelligence is going to change the world. More so than the industrial revolution or the internet. The growth in this space far exceeds the rate of growth for any other ‘technology’ in terms of investment, application and impact. It is going to do things for business, commerce, society that other technological revolutions have not been able to do at such scale and that’s considering the impact and success of computers, the world wide web and the smart phone.
  2. The ethical implications of robotics and how this technology is integrated into mainstream society are both complex and uncertain. Questions such as, Should robots have human faces are being asked and debated. There will be implications for people and organisations.
  3. There is a growing use of big data and machine learning in fields such as recruitment and selection to help organisations take away the need for human intervention making those judgements and decisions. For example, some start-ups are using apps and gamification to highlight traits, identify characteristics and draw out the propensity for people to behave in certain ways in order to assess how successful they would be in a role, or in an organisation culturally.

What I found most interesting but also I absolutely expected, was that there was no stage, theme or agenda about the implications and impact on people in organisations. Similarly, I saw this at Agile Australia in 2013 too.

What I did notice however, was that since 2013, there has been a much bigger representation of Organisational Change practitioners, organisations or institutions asking the right questions and providing a people lens. I think this shows a greater closeness between the technology and Agile with Organisational Change Management.

I reckon it’s only a matter of time before the same happens with the world of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. After all, it is going to change the world.



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