Conversations on AI can take you anywhere, including Austin TX!

Conversations are everything – whether they are short and action focussed or long and exploratory, stories kick start the new.  It’s a conversation that has started a new adventure for me, a conversation with Myra Travin, Educational Futurist for Learning Now Radio on AI and the future of learning that could take me to SxSWEdu in 2017.  It is one of the most enjoyable episodes I have recorded so far, because it tackles a seemingly complex subject from a highly pragmatic perspective. Learning and development is a profession that has been accused in the past of just looking for the next shiny thing;  AI, data analysis and learning could just be resigned to another passing phase.  But if you are in that camp, then there’s another great conversation in this past week on Radio 4 in the excellent and very funny Simon Evans Goes To Market that may help change your mind.  In this episode, they demonstrate that Mathematics is the surest way to secure a good job and earnings prospects as the nature of work changes and data drives our world. Numbers  can no longer be ignored, even if you did struggle with long division at school or don’t know the airspeed of an unladen Swallow (I’ll accept answers for either African or European Swallows, Monty Python fans). For learning, the impact of data and artificial intelligence could be profound – one of the challenges that limit organisational success is not lack of information, but the ability to put it to work.  The ability to draw on and learn from information to make decisions and test hypotheses has been transformed through AI. The hours of trawling through case law in legal services companies, cross referencing medical data and treatment outcomes in medicine, the change is happening now.  Soon the availability of systems that can utilise AI engines will help us organise, process and draw well-researched conclusions to help inform decision making will permeate the way we learn and work. There are some concerns about this and questions raised on the future of roles in organisations, but that’s why it’s so important we get talking about it now and understand how we can build a great future in this new context.  This takes me back to that great conversation that started this all off.  Myra has a gift of making the topic accessible and motivating you to go off googling for the latest stuff on AI and trawling through back issues of Wired Magazine!  She also laid down the gauntlet to me to think about the role I can play with helping others understand how AI will shape the way we work, learn and innovate. But rather than keep with in the realms of conversation, we want to take action – so having Mark Sheppard on the panel, a man of learning action who’s actually getting on with this stuff is fantastic.  His experience within the xAPI community and developing the Learner Experience (LX) model with Myra will bring a real grounding to the topic.  So here’s three of us, an educational futurist, Human Capital and EdTech expert and a knowledge management and learning strategist, putting our heads together, looking at the emergent picture in organisations and taking these conversations and turning them into practical steps. That’s what we’ll be sharing with you at SxSWEdu 2017 if you help making it happen. Please vote for our session at the SxSW PanelPicker and in the meantime, keep watching for more on the topic in the coming months.  Thanks for voting!