Dr Genevieve Bell, closing keynote at SIBOS 2018

The closing keynote speaker for SIBOS 2018 was Dr Genevieve Bell (Twitter), Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University (ANU), a Vice President and Senior Fellow at Intel Corporation, and also the Director of the Autonomy, Agency and Assurance (3A) Institute. Looking at the intersection of culture and technology, Dr Bell shared her views on the 4th Industrial Revolution and the move towards ubiquitous autonomous things.

The simplified ‘history’ of Industry 1.0 to 4.0 from McKinsey is missing one critical thing – there are no people shown. People give context, which is especially important for Industry 4.0 where technology becomes an autonomous, ambient (invisible) part of human society with new ways of engaging and interacting with us.

Caveat: Autonomous does not equal self aware. Skynet may take a while…

Five questions to consider when planning for an autonomous future (or any future really):

  1. What does autonomy look like?
    1. Who will manage it, and who will set its boundaries, limits, and assumptions.
    2. Context is key – self-driving cars in Australia don’t know how to handle kangaroos.
  2. What are the limits and controls to autonomy?
    1. Who (if anyone) has a moral right to override autonomy?
  3. What are the challenges of assurance?
    1. How do you know you can trust the autonomous thing.
  4. How to we maintain and guarantee safety?
    1. And who should be there when we decide the definition of safety?
    2. How do we identify ‘new’ (untested) autonomous objects?
  5. What are the new generation of metrics we need to manage this autonomous future?
    1. Last generation of metrics were based on efficiency or productivity, but maybe new metrics are needed now such as congestion management for vehicles, or energy reduction for computing for example
    2. You make what you measure

Lastly, what does it mean to be human in the fourth wave of industrialisation?

Things we must actively plan for in the next generation of human social technical systems:

  • Technology and skills
  • Regulations and laws
  • Checks and balances
  • Conversations

What will 4th wave bring us?

Photo credit: https://www.allaboutlean.com/industry-4-0/

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