COGx is an annual event that includes the Global Leadership Summit and the Festival of Artificial intelligence and Emerging Technologies. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the three-day event was run entirely as a virtual conference. Running the event virtually radically reduced the event’s environmental impact and saw a massive overall rise in the number of global attendees. This year over 37,000 visitors attended online, which as a significant increase from the 15,000 visitors who attended the previous 2019 event held in Kings Cross, London.
The calibre of speakers was impressive. From Tony Blair to Sir Martin Sorrell the who is who of different industries gave their views and insights on what COVID-19 means for now and how we can improve moving forward.
There were so many thought provoking ideas and insights such as the fantastic presentation by ex-Apple brand guru James Vincent that emphasised the importance of humanity in your brand.
And what’s the impact of COVID-19? Our favourite quote:
It’s not really about change or disruption but serious acceleration.
Sir Martin Sorrell
The scale of the virtual event was enormous. The virtual event platform had 18 virtual topic stages to choose from: all running talks concurrently between 8th-10th June. There were also over a hundred side events to the main stage talks, including Fireside and networking chats with industry leaders.
We explored themes of ethics and society, the Future of Work, the Ed-Tech revolution, Smart Cities, exploring space, start-up to scale up to IPO and beyond, createch, health, wellbeing and COVID-19, research – the long view, web 3.0 and decentralisation, cyber and defence, GenZ, fintech and financial services, and next gen infrastructure and cloud services. All from the comfort of our home which was a surreal experience all round.
Here’s who we tuned in for during the event:
|Speaker||Job||Key points||Twitter handle|
|Baroness Joanna Shields||CEO, BenevolentAI||A leader's key to success lies in their ability to act with empathy. Baroness Shields highlighted how technology of the future would be created to serve humanity in the next decade, and from this mantra she set up We Protect Global Alliance. She urged that AI should be created with magninity as opposed to malignancy, in order to best integrate within society.||@Joannashields|
|Bryony Worthington||Co-Director Quadrature Climate Foundation|
Environmental Defence Fund Europe
|Pushed for the need fors systematic change to combat the ever evolving climate crisis which have spired from the ‘tragedy of society’.||@Bryworthington|
|Dame Angela McLean||Chief Scientific Advisor|
Ministry of Defence
|Exploring the necessity to evaluate a worst-case scenario for our next decade, while working with positivity to support the government response to frontline key-workers during the pandemic. Dame McLean also championed the need for kindness amongst leadership teams and a greater understanding of how equality has been affected by the pandemic.||Not on twitter|
|James Vincent||One of the key brand advisors of Apple, AirBnb and Snapchat||Believes in the story within us all, and the human element driving it. Emphasised the need for that human connection in order to build superbrands. |
Vincent stated the last decade was about disruption, distribution and distraction. The next decade will be adaptation, contribution and interaction.
|Not on twitter|
|Leanne Kemp||Founder & CEO of Everledger||Kemp states that we’re already moving from the world wide web, to the world wide ledger. “One company’s output is another company’s input”. Supply chains need to be more transparent, companies can work together to make this as effective as possible.||@Leanne_kemp|
|Leif Johannson||Chairman of AstraZeneca||The power of optimism behind science is critical for our future wellbeing as it becomes ever more entwined with technology. That is optimism about the industries potential, in addition to acting favourably and willingly to new technologies and programmes.||@Leifjohannson|
|Mariana Mazzucato||Professor, University College London; Author of The Entrepreneurial State and The Value of Everything||Authored the book, ‘The Entrepeneural State’. Urged the need for financial support for small businesses and acting with opportunistic integrity in times of economic uncertainty. Vocal on the need to re-design grants and loans to support bottom-up experimentation across industries.||@Mazzucatom|
|Sir Martin Sorrell||Founder of WPP PLC|
Warned against financial reports liability and impact in the next years due to the rise of digital media forms and downfall of print, in addition to lack of clarity and hard information available to the public.
Evolving changes in cultural acceptance need action and not simply word based campaigns. We as a society need to accept the next era as our ‘next normal’ as opposed to the ‘new normal’ commonly referred to in popular media.
|Tara Buckley & Fabio Thomas, Lisa Gray||Project Managers at Beatfreeks, founder of Black Meteor||Introduced Beatfreeks, an engagement and insight agency with a vital community of young creatives.|
Their research highlighted the negative impact that news has on the younger generation, both through inciting fear and driving the guilty emotion of feeling ‘fomo’ - fear of missing out.
Beetfreaks also explored how young people don’t consider their offline lives in the same way as their online space, with many confusing their online sources for reliability and accuracy.
They are three times more likely to be experiencing mental health issues due to the pandemic than the general population.
|Tiernan Mines||CEO & Co Founder - Hello Lamp Post||Mines assured that our cities can be adapted to be smarter and more effective for |
CEO & Co Founder - Hello Lamp Post
Mines assured that our cities can be adapted to be smarter and more effective for citizens by building on existing technology and infrastructure as opposed to building new. He uses his own company Hello Lamp Post as an example for playful artificial intelligence being installed globally, acting as a voice on the streets to connect objects and nature with councils and the city goers.
Mines also pushed our need to start trusting AI technology as a force for good and citizen benefit, highlighting the data protection and safety surrounding new AI softwares being implemented for general use.
The overarching themes that the talks highlighted were the need for leaders to understand people and remain human. The next few year are less about disruption and more about acceleration and evolution of technology, never forgetting us, the human beings, in the process.
We heard from cross-sector regulators how innovative new technologies should be there to benefit our lives and not hinder or control which requires transparency and education about what AI does and what decisions it’s allowed to make. A particularly interesting point made was that it’s when AI is making the decision rather than supporting a human in making decisions when concerns are raised.
Our team garnered trust from Cogx in the next decade, igniting faith that the evolving economy can still thrive despite the pandemic – it shall just be a different model than we had perhaps expected. But we are ready as a global unit to adapt to the next normal. We are more than ready.
How do you see the next ten years for yourself and your industry – and how are you going to move forward faster in times of change?