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Update from ITPNZ

Paul Matthews. 23 August 2019, 5:42 pm
Update from ITPNZ

Here's a quick weekly update from ITP CEO Paul Matthews

There's a lot of discussion happening currently about the Future of Work and this week I discussed the topic with New Zealand's Productivity Commission - a refreshingly independent body looking at this from an evidence-based perspective.

Also, more ITx Rutherford sponsors coming onboard, and earlybird registrations are closing soon - get in quick to save on registration. You really don't want to miss ITx Rutherford 2019.

And lastly, I spoke on RNZ this week about the huge transformation underway about how we watch TV: streaming content and the shifting role of content creation. Plus digital tech in schools.

 

Will we need human labour in the future of work?

Amongst various other meetings, this week I caught up with the Productivity Commission to discuss the technology vs future of work project they're currently working on. 

For those who aren't familiar with the Productivity Commission, they're charged with undertaking independent research on different areas of policy for the Government, linked to productivity. They're quite refreshing as they don't have to tow the party line - they're genuinely independent, and able to come to their own evidence-based conclusions.

One of the Commission's projects is to examine how New Zealand can maximise the opportunities (and manage the risks) of disruptive technological change and its impact on the future of work and the workforce, and it was this project we were discussing.

For those interested in their work so far, they released an Issues Paper and very good one-page summary in April. Basically they're looking at what the likely future scenarios look like, the impact on the workforce, and how the Govt should respond (via labour market settings, the education and training system, and general future direction). 

It's this sort of work that we would have liked to see a New Zealand CTO or digital/future ministry consider, so it's great that this is being considered independently, even if the CTO concept is basically dead. 

So what is the effect of the change we're seeing, and know is coming, on work?

One perspective is that the robots and AI are coming, will take everyone's jobs, and there will be no need for human labour in future. If we accept this scenario, there are major implications to the whole societal system. If people don't have the opportunity of employment, they don't have a way to provide for themselves and their families and the way society fundamentally works will fail.

But haven't we heard all of this before?

Superficially, some jobs will absolutely go. For example, if drones fulfil their potential as self-controlling delivery vehicles and driverless Uber becomes a thing, there will no longer be as many drivers needed, just like the number of factory workers diminished during previous industrial revolutions. But really, how many jobs are actually going to go outright?

Some say all of them. In fact, this has been the prediction from some people during the first three industrial revolutions and while employment certainly has fundamentally changed, nothing so far has led to more than short-term shock.

The nature of some employment has changed for sure, but more people are working now than ever before (albeit in part due to the greater participation of both genders in the workforce vs previous times). 

A modern example is in Accounting. Xero and other software advances have dramatically changed the nature of the Accounting profession, but there are still just as many Accountants around. More, even. But the value Accountants add now is more and more about business advice than bookkeeping, and this is a great example of the impact of "disruption". Short-term shock as things change, and workers have to change as a consequence, but longer-term, the combination of technology and human expertise results in greater value.

Whatever the answer, there are opportunities and risks for all of us. As Brittanica says:

Like the First Industrial Revolution's steam-powered factories, the Second Industrial Revolution's application of science to mass production and manufacturing, and the Third Industrial Revolution's start into digitization, the Fourth Industrial Revolution's technologies, such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, augmented reality, robotics, and 3-D printing, are rapidly changing the way humans create, exchange, and distribute value.

As occurred in the previous revolutions, this will profoundly transform institutions, industries, and individuals. More importantly, this revolution will be guided by the choices that people make today: the world in 50 to 100 years from now will owe a lot of its character to how we think about, invest in, and deploy these powerful new technologies.

The Productivity Commission don't just go by ponderings, they focus on hard data and the trends that are evidenced. Whatever the answer, we've agreed to work with the Commission on some areas our profession can help answer some of the questions and separate hype from reality. For example, how much AI work is really going on out there? What transformation are we actually seeing?

In a few weeks from now we'll ask your view on some of this and feed the answers back to the Commission. It's a great example of how, through ITP, our community can contribute to the planning of the future of New Zealand.

As you'd expect, there are several sessions at ITx Rutherford about this exact point, including one from the Productivity Commission themselves. For example:

  • Helena Cilliers will look at the third vs fourth industrial revolution, provide a cheat sheet, and ask whether it's really just the third revolution v2?
  • Dave Heatley from the Productivity Commission will ask the question about whether we should fear the robots… or worry they won't arrive
  • Anthony McMahon will lead a session on robots taking our jobs and argue that it's not panic stations - we'll be okay.

Check out the full ITx programme here

  

ITx Rutherford

ITx Rutherford Earlybird Registration closing soon

Earlybird registrations are open for ITx Rutherford 2019 and tickets are going fast! However Earlybird Registrations close on 31 August, next sunday!

Check out the programme

ITx Rutherford 2019 is a national conference and will be held in Nelson on 9-11 October (main conference on 10-11th). Registration costs are far lower than other tech conferences and we'd absolutely love to see you there. More

Over the next few weeks we're going to profile one of the keynotes in each Newsline, with AI guru Dheeren Velu this week.

 

ITx Rutherford Keynote: Dheeren Velu

Director of AI, CapGemini (Melbourne-based)

Dheeren VeluDheeren Velu is Australia's ICT Professional of the Year for 2018, and heads up CapGemini's AI practice.

Dheeren is one of Australasia's leading gurus on Artificial Intelligence, having worked extensively on IBM breakthrough Watson project and several other early commercial AI implementations.

Now heading up CapGemini's AI practice from Melbourne, Dheeren has had 14 years of senior leadership roles in IBM, In2IT Technologies and CBA Strategic IT with a strong focus on AI. Dheeren will be talking about some of the latest developments in AI, and the ethical challenges they present.

Artificial Intelligence: Trends and ethics

AI guru Dheeren Velu will be talking about some of the latest developments in AI, and the ethical challenges they present.

Find out more about ITx here 

 

New ITx Rutherford Sponsors

We're really happy that so many awesome sponsors have come aboard and are supporting ITx Rutherford 2019 now. This will be a transformational event and it's great to be getting so much support, both through sponsors but also the calibre of the programme and the number (and calibre) of the people registering to head along.

This week we were excited to welcome four more ITx Rutherford sponsors:

  • Go Wifi (Gold)
  • Robert Walters (Gold)
  • Zoho (Silver)
  • Regus (Silver)

They join our other ITx Rutherford 2019 sponsors, helping make this event happen: 

ITx Rutherford 2019 sponsors

Interested in supporting ITx Rutherford? Download the info pack here

  

Reminder: Workshop on new Govt Procurement rules

Interested in the new Government Procurement rules? ITP and NZRise members are invited to a workshop where MBIE will run through what's changing. 

When: 28 August, 4:30pm to 6:30pm

Where: ITP Event Centre, L24 Plimmer Tower, Wellington

4th Edition of the Govt Procurement Rules - What do they mean for NZ business?

Many of you would have heard about the 4th Edition of the Government Procurement Rules. With the 4th Edition of the rules set to be implemented on 1st October 2019, many agencies are actively including the 4th Edition of the Rules in their procurement processes now. 

At this event, MBIE will walk through the 4th Edition of the Government Procurement rules, with a focus on the changes relevant to New Zealand businesses, particularly ICT and those with a Maori or Pasifika focus. There will be time for Q&A with the MBIE team, ahead of a small workshop facilitated by NZRise on how New Zealand ICT businesses can make use of what they have just been told.

More info and register here

We will endeavour to record this event and make it available to those outside Wellington via the ITP Video Library.

 

New Tech: How content is changing; Digital Tech in schools

And lastly, in this week's New Technology slot with Kathryn Ryan on RNZ I talked about the changing face of both how we watch TV and how content is produced (and some of the implications of this, especially to a small country at the bottom of the South Pacific), plus the noise around the Digital Technologies rollout in schools: what's really happening?

You can listen to the podcast here.


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