Academics from Bayes Business School and distinguished thought leaders spoke at the CogX Festival in September about the future of work and learning, and how AI is affecting these areas of our lives.
Featuring famous speakers such as Stephen Fry and Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder, the Bayes-sponsored event attracted thousands of participants over the three days, and many Bayes staff, students and alumni also attended the festival.
Shifting nature of work
In the “New Frontiers of Work and Life in Turbulent Times” panel on the Industry Transformation Stage in the Magazine London Building, Dr Aleksandrina Atanasova, Lecturer in Marketing at Bayes Business School, moderated the discussion on how increasing precarity and global uncertainty are changing the fabric of consumer lifestyles and the labour market.
Featuring Professor Fleura Bardhi, Professor of Marketing at Bayes, Alexia Cambon, Senior Director of Modern Work Research at Microsoft, and Bruce Daisley, Workplace Culture Consultant, ex-Twitter VP, and Honorary Professor at Bayes, the panel spoke about a range of issues.
Professor Bardhi highlighted how there has been a blurring of the lines between consumption and work. Bruce Daisley raised the point that our digital burden has increased, and that we need to do some pruning of our time. Lastly, Alexia Cambon spoke about how a big finding from Microsoft’s recent research is that the current work environment is outpacing our ability to keep up, and we need to shape the environment and boost human capabilities using AI.
The discussion was also introduced by Bayes alumna Sonya Barlow, who was the host for the stage during the festival.
Exploring the future of learning
Closing the whole festival was the panel on “The future of learning”, which took place on the Verticals Stage in the Magazine London Building in front of a packed audience.
Moderated by Professor Susannah Quinsee, Vice-President (Digital and Student Experience) at City, University of London, and featuring Professor Neil Maiden, Professor of Digital Creativity at Bayes and Director of the National Centre for Creativity enabled by AI (CebAI), Rob McCargow, Technology Impact Leader at PwC and Honorary Senior Fellow at Bayes, and Jenny Taylor MBE, Leader of Early Professional Programmes at IBM UK, the panel spoke about how AI is impacting learning, and also what universities can do to equip recent graduates for evolving careers and help employers enhance workforce skills.
When asked to give their key messages, Rob McCargow said that he was a responsible optimist and that he was really excited about how AI will lift work and remove the drudgery, the risk and the repetition. Professor Maiden spoke about the need to combine symbolic and non-symbolic AI, and how it’s quite easy to pick up a lot of basic creative thinking skills. Finally, Jenny Taylor highlighted the importance of employability skills, as that is what the UK needs.
Strong Bayes presence at CogX
Besides the two panels, Bayes staff were also involved with a number of other initiatives at the festival.
On the Founders Stage in the Magazine London Building, Sylvia Malo and Rob Compton also led a fascinating masterclass on “How to Lead in a World of AI - The Value and Importance of People Skills”. In front of a busy crowd, Sylvia and Rob spoke about the work they do at Bayes with students, and the importance of people skills in organisations as traditional roles give way to boundaryless careers.
Costas Andriopoulos, Professor of Management and Associate Dean of MBA Programmes, and Adam Kingl, a renowned expert in innovating management practice and strategy, also hosted an alumni breakfast event in association with CogX, and they spoke about issues around the future of work. This was followed by networking over tea and coffee.
In the Magazine London Building, the Bayes stall was also busy throughout the festival as staff spoke to prospective students and interested professionals about the variety of programmes on offer.
Speaking about the festival, Professor Caroline Wiertz, Deputy Dean of Bayes Business School, said:
“CogX is the world’s biggest festival of AI and transformational tech, and it was wonderful to see Bayes staff discussing some of the most pressing issues in terms of how we work and learn, and how AI has affected these areas.”