The Future of Data Science, Skills and Employment

On Wednesday 26th October Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Chairman Emeritus, IBM Academy of Technology led a lunchtime roundtable discussion on The Future of Data Science, Skills and Employment. The conversation was chaired by Prof. David Gann, Vice President (Innovation).

Discussion synopsis:

In a 1930 essay, English economist John Maynard Keynes wrote about the onset of “a new disease” which he named technological unemployment: “unemployment due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.” But each time those fears arose in the past, technological innovation resulted in creating more jobs than it destroyed, causing the majority of economists to confidently wave away such automation anxieties.

These anxieties have reappeared in recent years, as automation is applied to activities requiring intelligence and cognitive capabilities that not long ago were viewed as the exclusive domain of humans. The concerns surrounding AI’s long term impact may well be in a class by themselves. Like no other technology, AI forces us to explore the very boundaries between machines and humans.

What is the likely impact of AI, robotics and machine learning on jobs? What kinds of skills are most important to better co-exist with our increasingly smart machines? What role should universities play to help us better prepare students for the 21st century digital economy?


Roundtable panellists:

David Gann, Vice President (Innovation), Imperial College (Chair)

Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Advisory Board Member, Imperial College Data Science Institute

Yi-ke Guo, Director, Imperial College Data Science Institute

Ling Ge, Executive Officer to the Vice President (Innovation) and Fellow of Data Science Institute, Imperial

Elspeth Farrar, Director, Careers Service, Imperial

Nik Pishavadia, Director, Corporate Engagement, Imperial

Mark Kennedy, Director, KPMG Centre for Business Analytics, Imperial Business School

Susan Eisenbach, Head of the Department of Computing, Imperial

Alessandra Russo, Professor in Applied Computational Logic at the Department of Computing, Imperial