Brave new world

Robots joining unions, data for sale on the dark net, skewed algorithms for NDIS avatars ... we discussed it all at the WOB Director's Circle in Sydney on 18 May ... and more besides.
The discussion followed a terrific presentation by digital and IT guru, Suzanne Campbell, whose recently held the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Information Industry Association. Suzanne is building a portfolio of Board positions and has her Blog “The Disruption Digest” where she explores the drivers, characteristics, exciting opportunities, real-world challenges and consequences of disruption. She writes to encourage leaders to think expansively and optimistically about this revolutionary change.

Suzanne is also very excited about the opportunities for living in the digital ecosystem where:
  • 7.1bn people have mobile coverage,
  • 3.5bn people are Internet users, and
  • 30.7bn devices will be on the Internet of Things by 2020
These include the eradication of many diseases such as polio (which has all but disappeared), malaria which is falling exponentially and leprosy. It also means the global empowerment of consumers and customers, in particular in health through the many applications of medical technology ... or Medtech. Read Suzanne's great blog on this topic.

Naturally with great opportunities come threats, in particular when you bring artificial intelligence and big data together using some super-computing power. We explored these in some hypotheticals, making us all put our NED hats on to consider some of the mind-bending issues that will come as a result of massive disruption being caused. This includes:
  • Using artificial intelligence and robots for medical diagnostics
  • Customer and consumer empowerment through unprecedented access to data 
  • What do to with people whose jobs are susceptible to computerization
  • Hacking of medical implants and devices
  • The weaponisation of data and information
 The list is seemingly endless and all directors and board members need to be across the implications and risks. The WOB Director's Circle is a great environment in which to discuss and evaluate complex issues facing directors in the future.

There is also the brave new world of opportunity to be explored. The WOB Innovates: Step-up 4 Start-up event is a great way for WOB members and their guests to connect to and explore just some of the great ideas and innovations that will come from this period of constant disruption.
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