North East business leaders have been given an insight into the future impact of new technology at an event hosted by Teesside University.
Leading futurologist Dr Ian Pearson addressed the latest meeting of the Business Exchange at the Centre for Professional and Executive Development at the University’s Darlington campus.
Dr Pearson was BT's Futurologist from 1991 to 2007 and now runs Futurizon, a futures institute.
He has more than 1800 inventions to his name, include text messaging and the active contact lens, and, more recently a number of inventions in transport technology, including driverless transport and space travel. He has written eight books and made well over 750 TV and radio appearances.
Speaking at the Business Exchange, he told members that the era of disruptive technology was now over and we were now in the age of stimulative technology, which would create more business opportunities, with local economies once again taking on more importance.
He outlined how advances in fields such as AI meant that emotional intelligence would become more important in business, as machines and robots would handle routine work with extra value being created by the human element.
He also warned that we would need to go to greater lengths to ensure that our data was protected, and that without more education and training, there was a danger that very few people would understand the technologies that have such a growing influence on our daily lives.
The Business Exchange is a network of senior leaders from businesses and organisations in the North East and North Yorkshire, with events held at Teesside University throughout the year.
Each event features a high-profile figure from the business world, speaking on a topical theme.
Laura Woods, Director of Academic Enterprise at Teesside University, said: “Ian gave a fascinating insight into the ways tech developments, many of which are already in place or almost here, are likely to affect our future lives.
“It was particularly interesting to hear his thoughts on the need for higher-level skills, and for more education on the technology that will underpin our future society.”
After the talk, visitors were given a tour of Teesside University’s new National Horizons Centre, a UK centre of excellence for the bioscience sector.