The Future of Work in the 4th Industrial Revolution

Lord Chris Holmes, Diversity Adviser to the Cabinet Office and Chair of the Global Disability Innovation Hub, delivered the closing keynote speech of the conference, exploring the interplay of inclusion and innovation, and talent and technology in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Having himself experienced first-hand the potential of technology to drive Diversity & Inclusion, Chris shared his predictions for the future of work in a time of change:


  • We are bombarded with a narrative of fear around automation and its impact on the future of our jobs, but if we think about artificial intelligence or machine learning, these have been around longer than we realise (see IBM’s Deep Blue, Alpha Go, etc).

- As soon as such technology becomes integrated into the mainstream (mobile phones, cars) we cease to see it as something fearful. We just need a better understanding of it to remove fear.

  • There are opportunities for technology at every stage of the process but to avoid fear and scepticism, pick a discreet part of the journey, get some good research of what’s out there, experiment and deploy. Get your key stakeholders involved to help them feel comfortable and confident operating it.
  • With every piece of technology, data privacy should always be front of mind. Ask yourself what data you have, whose it is, what you want to do with it, what part of the organisation it sits in. Check your datasets for any biases to avoid these transferring into your technology’s algorithm. This demonstrates that, as humans, we will always be able to have control over technology.
  • One of the greatest KPIs of an inclusive organisation is when employees feel fully comfortable and confident to work alongside a bot, knowing it’s all part of the same process but just a different kind of intelligence.

- Only by connecting diverse talent with technology can organisations truly flourish in the 4IR.

The 4IR offers us vast tools and opportunities, but in deploying them we should never suspend our own intelligence, Chris warns. Solutions will always be in everything that is to be human – in leadership, collaboration, connection and culture. Only then we can truly have augmented recruitment pathways and future-proof organisations.

View Lord Chris Holmes' presentation


Keynote Speaker: Lord Chris Holmes, Deputy Chair at Channel 4 & Advisor to the Cabinet Office

"The Future of Work in the 4th Industrial Revolution"