Rise of the Bots: chatbots, cobots, AI and robotics – future trends and how automation may impact your business

Workspace Business Insights is an exciting events programme brought to you by Workspace and Knowledge Peers. Past speakers have included guests from Facebook, McKinsey & Company, Moon Pig, Pret a Manger, LinkedIn, Microsoft, IBM Design, Monzo Bank, UCL and O2

We leave ample time for attendees to network with the other senior leaders and of course enjoy a delicious dinner and drinks.

This Workspace Business Insight Dinner brings together leading researchers and some of London’s most innovative tech business leaders for an evening of thought provoking discussion, that has deep relevance to businesses.

Our panel will be looking at some key questions:

  • How might AI and robotics transform the quantity and quality of work, and how should business leaders prepare?
  • Automation Anxiety: There are many different camps of opinion on the potential impact of automation’s technological change; What are these different camps, and what role does ‘choice’ play in automation’s development?
  • How does a geographically (U.K.) sophisticated understanding of the potential impact of automation aid leaders of London’s businesses?
  • How are chatbots and conversational experiences redefining the way companies and brands interact with their customers, employees and partners?
  • What opportunity do collaborative robots (cobots) present for business leaders to transform the way their companies operate?
  • What impact are bots and AI having on businesses and industries today (beyond their customer interface). E.G. HR, Sales, procurement, compliance


5:30pm to 5:45pm | Welcome Drinks

5:45pm to 6:15pm | Panel Discussion Part 1 featuring Dr Matthew Fenech MD, PhD and Benedict Dellot

6:15pm to 6:45pm | Audience Q&A

6:45pm to 7:45pm | Networking #WBIDinner

7:45pm to 8:30pm | Panel Discussion Part 2 featuring Jacob Tomlinson, Brooke Roberts-Islam and Rory McElearney

8:30pm to 9:00pm | Audience Q&A


Phil Westcott, Co-Managing Director at Filament, Workspace customer based at Cargo Works @philwestcott

Phil is a former Director at IBM, and a specialist in applied Artificial Intelligence and business transformation. Phil previously ran the IBM Watson Ecosystem in Europe and launched IBM’s global IoT practice. He is a Chartered Engineer, holds an MBA from IESE Barcelona & Columbia New York and is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Nottingham University. 

Filament is a venture-backed expert services and tooling firm specialising in applied Machine Learning, NLP and Computer Vision. The team of 25 AI specialists is drawn from IBM Watson, Capgemini, top academia and a leading London digital agency. Since mid-2016, Filament has delivered expert AI services for the likes of Deutsche Telekom, Google, HSBC and American Express.


Jacob Tomlinson, Lead Engineer at the Met Office Informatics Lab @_JacobTomlinson 

The Informatics Lab is a specialist team which focuses on solving long term issues within the Met Office by creating prototypes of solutions. A major focus is making the hundreds of terrabytes we produce useful for people. The Informatics Lab is currently developing and deploying a public-facing weather chatbot on Facebook. Following the successful work done with Microsoft developing the weather and climate bot the Informatics Lab have been busy creating a more user-friendly, public-facing bot, due appear on Facebook Messenger as a prototype in the very near future. 

Using virtually the same tool set (Microsoft Bot Framework and LUIS) significant time and effort has been spent working on features that will hopefully make their bot respond similar to how a person might, they hope this will provide a more conventional messenger experience than some existing similar bots currently provide. 

Jacob leads the technical infrastructure in these projects. This ranges from designing experiments to evaluating new technologies such as Docker, Kubernetes, Hadoop and Spark, to architecting big data systems on AWS or Azure. Jacob also writes, gives talks and shares the lessons we have learned in the Lab.

Rory McElearney, Conversational Interfaces Lead at Filament, Workspace customer based at Cargo Works @RMcElearney

Rory is a front-end engineer and chatbot architect. Rory designs and develops for chat interfaces leveraging cutting edge Natural Language Processing and conversation management techniques. He has written on conversation UX for D/sruption magazine.

Filament is a venture-backed expert services and tooling firm specialising in applied Machine Learning, NLP and Computer Vision. The team of 25 AI specialists is drawn from IBM Watson, Capgemini, top academia and a leading London digital agency. Since mid-2016, Filament has delivered expert AI services for the likes of Deutsche Telekom, Google, HSBC and American Express.

Benedict Dellot from The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) - Associate Director in the RSA’s Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing team. @BenedictDel

Ben is an experienced policy researcher and writer with an interest in technology, jobs and the new economy. Most recently, Ben has explored the rise of new working patterns like self-employment, the impact of robotics on the availability and quality of jobs, and the ethical implications of artificial intelligence.

Ben is co-author of the RSA’s ‘The Age of Automation – The RSA’s new report on artificial intelligence, robotics and the future of low-skilled work’

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive at the RSA noted “The Age of Automation’ is an important and timely contribution to the growing debate about the impact of technology on work. It encourages us to look behind the lurid headlines of a workless future and beyond the polarised debates between utopians and doomsayers. Instead it helps the reader to get to grips with the range of technological change possible and the very different ways this might impact on a range of types of work”

Brooke Roberts-Islam, Co-Director at BR Innovation Agency, Fashion Tech Writer and Lecturer @Thetechstyler

Brooke Roberts Innovation Agency (BRIA), creates materials-tech collaborations and products, as well as technology-led installations, for brands from sectors spanning fashion, technology, healthcare, smart homes and IoT.

In September 2017 as part of the London Design Festival, over 60,000 visitors saw BR Innovation Agency’s Slave/Master installation at the V&A in collaboration with Kuka Robitics. The installation explored the "borders" around human/robot interaction, reversing the traditional “fear” portrayed in sci-fi films of robots oppressing and interfering with humans.

The installation used collaborative robots, sometimes referred to as cobots, which were able to work alongside human co-workers and can interact with them safely in a common working environment. 

Dr Matthew Fenech MD, PhD, Artificial Intelligence Researcher and Advocacy Coordinator at Future Advocacy @MattFenech83

Future Advocacy is a think tank and consultancy working on the greatest challenges humanity faces in the 21st Century. Their work focuses on stretching the decision-making horizons of government, business, and citizens to allow global problems to be solved.

Matt Fenech worked as an NHS hospital doctor and clinical academic for 10 years. His experience on the front line of the NHS helped him understand the value of large-scale, ambitious advocacy projects in improving societal well-being. He now works on Future Advocacy's artificial intelligence (AI) project. His aim is to better understand the impact AI will have on the workplace, social cohesion, health and our sense of self, and to advocate for policies that maximise the opportunities and minimise the risks of these technologies.

Matt is lead author of ‘The Impact of AI in UK Constituencies: where will automation hit hardest?’ The report is based on detailed new research into the impact of automation in each parliamentary constituency in England, Scotland and Wales. They have taken the most cutting-edge analysis of automation by sector and applied it to constituency level employment data.

What to expect?

The insight events combine an interesting mix of ‘live’ case studies of senior directors from companies who have encountered a relevant challenge, together with Q&A with industry experts.

Our insight events focus on what you can learn and how it might impact you or your business. We don’t spend that much time talking at attendees and we build in plenty of opportunities for attendees to question case study subjects.

How to Join?

Register for a complimentary spot at our #WBIDinner, Rise of the Bots on Tuesday 20th February at The Leather Market from 5:30pm to 9:00pm. This #WBIDinner is open to Directors and Senior Leaders from current Workspace customers and Club Workspace members and selected guests.

Would you like to bring a guest to our #WBIDinner?

Email WBI@knowledgepeers.com and let us know.

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