The debate on automation and robotics has come to the fore again – after first being aired in the 1970s – this time based on the developments in digital and network technologies, and pioneering work at institutions such as Imperial College London. Agile robots were one of the 10 New Breakthrough Technologies of 2014 according to MIT Technology Review, and are being used not only to make cars by Tesla, but drive them as well – with all the worries associated with that, according to Wired. Home automation is also becoming a reality, lead by Apple and some of it alumni, closely followed by established electronics players and feisty startups. And academics such as Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee have provoked with The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, which has been problematised further by Martin Wolf in the Financial Times and excoriated by James Woudhuysen in spiked.
In the run-up to the Institute of Ideas’ Battle of Ideas 2014 conference Norman Lewis is taking part in a UK Satellite Event in London, to discuss the impact of the connected world on how we behave; whether machines are our liberators; if the Internet of Things mark a radical change in the relationship between humans and technology; and whether the concept of fully networked living will remain unfulfilled.
Droning on: life in the Internet of Things
Tuesday 30 September, 18:30–20:00, Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DT [Map]
Tickets £7.50 / £5.00 Concessions
- Willard Foxton television producer and journalist (@WillardFoxton)
- Izabella Kaminska FT Alphaville blogger, Financial Times (@izakaminska)
- Sarah Kember professor of new technologies of communication, Goldsmiths, University of London
- Dr Norman Lewis director (innovation), PwC; co-author, Big Potatoes: the London manifesto for innovation (@Norm_Lewis)
- Robin McNicholas co-founder and creative director, Marshmallow Laser Feast; co-creator, Meet Your Creator (@marshmallowlf)
- Dr Paul Reeves engineering software designer based in Cambridge (@PaulReevesAgain)
Further information on the Battle of Ideas event page
We are also hosting debates at the Battle of Ideas which are convened by Martyn Perks, and Paul Reeves, principal software designer at Dassault Systèmes-SolidWorks R&D, at the Battle of Ideas, which takes place 18-19 October at the Barbican Arts Centre in London, and offers two days of high-level, thought-provoking, public debate organised by the Institute of Ideas. The sessions are:
- The robots are coming: friends or foes?, Saturday 18 October, 10.00 until 11.30, and
- The gamification of society: time to grow up?, Saturday 18 October, 17.30 until 18.45
Another session which may be of interest is From bullet trains to driverless cars: where is transport going? on Saturday 18 October, 16.00 until 17.15, convened by Austin Williams of the Future Cities Project.