Fast Co. European Innovation Festival – Day 1

So, It’s day one of the Fast Co. Innovation Festival in Milan. There was a pretty interesting mix of design ideas and perspectives. This is what I saw that I think could be useful to us.

While AI is seem by most people as a threat to humanity, Yuval Noah Harari from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explained that although AI can become super intelligent, it can never really become conscious. This means that we can use machines to do very difficult or mundane tasks, but they can’t replace the empathy or humanity of people. Really, the almost science fiction view that humans will be replaced my robots is nothing more than that, fiction.

In our business we hear a lot about how millennials will change the learning landscape. There is lots of discussion about how they will impact the workplace, and how we as learning designers will need to make ‘everything digital’ to accommodate them. We heard from a panel discussion today with Chloe Macintosh, Julie Rice, and Ben Schwerin that times are changing more quickly than we thought, and that we should really be planning not for Millenials, but for Gen Z.

Gen Z are much more interested in community, and real human interaction and see technology as an extension of this rather than a tool for creating a personal brand based on ‘likes’ and ‘acceptance’. We recently saw a GP strategies report that claimed that more people prefer the experience of learning than simply accessing curated digital assets. Interesting comparison to what I heard today.

The final topic I’d like to report back today was from Imran Chaudri, of Apple fame, and Michael Jones from Salesforce. This discussion focused on how to eliminate bias from AI, when the bias actually comes from the ‘training’ computers get to use their intelligence. It was a story of selection and talked to the idea that society has come to a point where we need to make decisions about how we want our intelligent machines to control information and processes designed to make human life easier.

Overall, I’d say that the main theme of today was about how to move quickly to a more inclusive, experience-focused, fair, and meaningful world that people who are currently in high school will inherit. Not a bad concept, and one that I think will shape how we design our digital and live offerings for years to come.

Ian from Milan.. see you again tomorrow.

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