Anekanta Consulting was invited to bring leadership and innovation insights to a lively round table debate at one of the UK’s most exiting new Universities, the University of Cumbria.
Best known as host to the UK’s nuclear and military/defence Industries, it should not be a surprise to those who don’t know the region, that Cumbria attracted the label “Britain’s Energy Coast”. Not only has Cumbria one of the world’s largest concentrations of nuclear innovations, including robotics for non-human survivable environments, it is also home to many AI developments including computer vision for rail track monitoring, and social distancing/people flow predictions for safety/security purposes for the transit sector. The region has a lot to offer innovators and those wishing to enter the technology sectors, whether they are early, mid or experienced in their career stages.
In November 2021, Anekanta Consulting’s founder Pauline Norstrom was invited by the University of Cumbria, to share her experience of her diverse leadership and innovation journey. Surrounded by a packed “theatre in the round” style gathering of innovators, industrialists and academics, Pauline cited her challenges and successes in taking new technology to market over the last three decades. The last two of which are in the video surveillance/analytics/defence and security domains. She explained her relentless persistence underpinned by resilience and hard work. Driven by incessant curiosity and a thirst for learning and sharing knowledge, she explained what it takes to stand out and lead in an uncertain world. Never allowing the unexpected to deter her, she shared her experiences of various “pivots” driven by rapidly changing external global economic and market conditions.
Pauline placed innovation and specifically AI high on the corporate agenda, sharing business forecasting challenges solved by AI; threat detection capabilities in national security processes; also highlighting the need for leaders to develop awareness of the different AI capabilities. She encouraged a cross functional approach which in turn connects organizational strategy and culture to the “dev-ops” teams who experiment with new ideas.
Responding to the burning question from the audience, “should we fear AI’s potential”; she responded with her view that where AI has the potential to alter someone’s perception of an issue and narrow their perspective, let’s say by only offering up related content online, and the user is not aware of this, there could be a danger to objectivity and an increase in bias.
She went on to explain that AI’s which hold the potential alter an individual’s decisions to their detriment will be banned under new EU AI Law which will come into effect in the next few years. She also touched on the concerns about privacy and the use of facial recognition software, explaining that the developers and users of the technology for COVID safety, access control and public safety are working hard to create new guides to its safe, ethical and legal use. The first guide of its kind having been released by the British Security Industry Association in early 2021. (Anekanta played a substantial role in the development of the guide alongside respected security industry peers). She also reassured the audience that the sectors developing the technology were also calling for specific regulation “EU AI Act” style to ensure safe consistent and transparent application without infringing upon the human rights of individuals.
Look out for further updates from the University in the coming months.