Glasgow, previously an industrial powerhouse that was forced to adapt to significant manufacturing decline, provided a great backdrop to focus on the topics presented, allowing us to listen to ideas that challenged our assumptions. Here, we highlight the most interesting insights from the day.
The event challenged us to ‘rethink’; covering multiple themes, from data-driven research into the dark side of the universe with Catherine Heymans - to the effect of dark comedy and rethinking the way we use humour as a tool with comedy actor, Karen Dunbar.
The rise of automation
One of the recurring themes throughout the day centred around the opportunities and challenges faced with dealing with the increasing automation driven through advanced AI. The discussion of the topic was introduced with a lab break out, hosted by Glasgow City Council on the ‘future of work’. The workshop questioned how Glasgow could react to the opportunities and threats that increased automation brings. This included a look at how changes could be faced differently than they were at the end of the manufacturing age.
Kirsty Wark, one of Britain’s most experienced TV journalists, proposed a possible answer to this question - move to a four day week. Bringing a smart suggestion to help changing work/life culture in a way that benefits people, business and economy - Kirsty argued that this would increase overall productivity, therefore maintaining pay and allowing better sharing of employment opportunities. She also touched on possible societal benefits from reduction in stress and illness to increased volunteering. This got us thinking, what would you do with the gift of a day?
Real life robot
Next up was Sethu Vijayakumar, who is Microsoft Research Chair at the University of Edinburgh and Founding Director of Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. Sethu’s talk delved deeper into the topic of automation with a focus on state of the art in robotics. His example included interacting with a quadruped robot live on the stage and bringing out a ‘cyborg for the day’ student volunteer.
David Webster of Ideo, drew the theme to a close looking at the key methods to ensure we build technological solutions that benefit the end user - he broke this down into three. (1) Start with the end user, (2) be wrong early and (3) get out of your own bubble and look around. This is very much in line with Orange Bus’ approach and values, so it was great to hear this reinforced on such a stage as TedX.
There were many other great personal stories and inspirational ideas discussed throughout the day. All united by the vision of making a positive change.
If you’ve got a great idea for changing the world (or perhaps just your business) that you’d like to explore further, get in touch with us. Orange Bus Futures can help with design and technical expertise in a structured innovation process to provide a safe space to explore and test your vision.