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Tug Life IV Day 1: People, Work and Technology

by Olivia Williams | 12.06.2018
Tug Life IV is underway! We’ve already heard from our first round of speakers at our session Humans, Life and Machines. The second session of the day focuses on how technology will impact our working lives. Will machines take all our jobs? Or will there always be work for humans?

Phil Teer – The Scenius Project

First to take to the stage was Phil Teer. The focus for his talk was the subject of his upcoming book – The Coming Age of Imagination – and a topic which has received a lot of media attention in recent months: Universal Basic Income.

Phil sees a lot of benefits in UBI – 15 of them in fact. Universal Basic Income would give people the freedom to pursue more creative projects, set people free from the worries and constraints of living hand-to-mouth, and mean that the talent within all of us could be unleashed into the world.

Creativity is a big part of UBI – if machines really are going to talk all of our jobs, one of the few things they can’t do as well as humans is create. Phil believes that the creative leap is the last great advantage we’ll have over machines – “the complete randomness and absolute logic that makes a creative idea.”

Find out more about Phil’s argument for Universal Basic Income in his upcoming book.

Rhiannon Lawson – Head of Technology policy at GDS

Rhiannon was next to take to the stage in a bid to answer the question: should we trust our security to robots?

The main issue with cyber security isn’t technological faults, but human error. The problem Rhiannon acknowledged is that most people just don’t understand cyber security. 95% of all cyber attacks are caused by human error. It doesn’t matter how advanced your cyber security is if your staff aren’t properly trained on securing networks and devices.

Our devices and appliances aren’t as secure as we think, and most people don’t take even the most basic steps to secure their laptops, smartphones or other smart devices. People very rarely check the security of new appliances such as smart washing machines or smart heating. But these devices can be hacked and used maliciously to attack big organisations, or to steal personal data.

So how can we teach people to take cyber security seriously? Through training, constant reminders, education, and of course, by being prepared for and having a system in place for when human error does occur.

Marco Faccini – Blue Bottle Biz

Marco wears many hats, making him well placed to talk us through the changing nature of training, education and development in business.

There are now a whole range of apps, technologies and software available to help develop our skills and train our employees. Thanks to smartphone technology, people can access these courses and training sessions wherever suits them best – on the bus, in bed, at work, or even in the park.

While people fear that robots will inevitably take our jobs, Marco argues that, “technology creates more jobs than it destroys… People will need to complement and work side by side with the new technologies coming through.” Marco agreed with Phil: Machines may be great at problem solving and critical thinking, but at this stage they’re not so good at creativity. Which is why it’s so important to ensure that people are developing these skills.

Simon Darling

Beginning his session with a poignant question, Simon asked: How many of you know people who are in the wrong job. Almost everybody raised their hand. His talk focused on the growing field of “HR Tech.”

There are a multitude of apps, websites and software available for people to find the right job, train and develop further, and feed back on the company they work for. From video interviews which can track body language and facial expressions, to games that work out people’s skills and weaknesses based on how they approach and respond to problems.

A few apps Simon menioned were: Texito – which helps to write great job ads; Hiretual – helps to source candidates with AI; HireVue – video interviews; Pymetrics – uses gamed to shortlist job applicants; and Thrivemap – assessed if you’re a good fit for a team.

Follow Simon on Twitter – @simondarling

Vladimira Briestenska – Anthemis Group

Changing the format of the sessions a little, Vladi conducted a firedise talk with Ashley. They discussed diversity in the tech industry, and why it’s so important.

Vladi talked about the importance of creating a work environment which promotes DIB – diversity, inclusion and belonging. Diversity doesn’t just cover racial diversity, but encompasses gender, age, race, sexual orientation and socio-economic backgrounds. It also includes differing personality traits – such as introverts and extroverts.

In order to truly champion diversity, a company must first ask itself: what does diversity mean to us? Vladi says that companies need to move past the view that diversity and inclusion is simply a tick-box exercise, and see it as a holistic and valued part of the company ethos.

Each of us has 150 conscious biases which might affect our everyday lives. We can’t eliminate them, but we can be aware of them, question them, and call them out.

Vladi works to encourage diversity and inclusion at Anthemis Group, with the aim that by “blobbing” within the company (ie not being boxed within a single department but by working collaboratively across departments to change their way of thinking), her role will no longer be needed, as everyone works to adopt the same view of diversity across the company.


Next up at Tug Life IV is Sales In The Digital Age, hosted by our sponsors Pipedrive. Don’t miss it!