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Free talk on robots, AI and the future of work

Free talk on robots, AI and the future of work

The growing impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on the workforce – and how it will affect our children – will be explored in a free event at Lot Fourteen on November 11.

Professor Anton van den Hengel, Founding Director of the University of Adelaide’s Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) will be the keynote speaker at Future Thinkers – Are Robots Taking our Jobs?

The event is subtitled “The Terminator, and other fictitious risks to future employment”.

“Much of the fear about the impact of AI on future of employment is driven by a fundamental misunderstanding of what the technology can do now, and what it is likely to be able to do in the next 20 years,” said Professor van den Hengel.

“The scenario where the Terminator not only comes into existence, but also wants to work in a fish and chip shop is fictional at best, and predictions made on this basis are inevitably flawed. The true impact of artificial intelligence on the workforce is likely to be far more complex, and lasting.”

The AIML, which is set to move to Lot Fourteen, is Australia’s largest machine learning research group, and on many measures its most successful. Professor van den Hengel is also a Chief Investigator of the Australian Centre of Excellence in Robotic Vision, and a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Adelaide. He has been a chief investigator on over $60m in research funding from sources including Google, Facebook, Canon, BHP Billiton and the Australian Research Council.


This session is part of a Future Thinkers series being presented by Renewal SA and supported by Lot Fourteen to help inspire a more connected, creative and innovative future in South Australia. It will be facilitated by CityMag editor and publisher Josh Fanning.

Professor van Hengel will be joined by panellists Dr Michelle Perugini, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Presagen and Life Whisperer, both based at Lot Fourteen, and Adrian Fahey, Chief Executive of SAGE Group, based at Tonsley Innovation District.

Lot Fourteen and Tonsley are innovation precincts being developed by Renewal SA on behalf of the state government to create jobs and business opportunities in industries that build on South Australia’s inherent strengths.

Dr Perugini is an academic, entrepreneur and internationally renowned expert in health, medical research, and advanced analytics technologies. She has a PhD in medicine and was a stem cell biologist for a decade. Presagen co-creates scalable AI products with clinics around the world while preserving data privacy and sharing the commercial value. Presagen’s first product is Life Whisperer, which uses AI to help clinicians select viable embryos to improve outcomes for couples wanting to have children via IVF. International clinical studies have shown that Life Whisperer is 30% more accurate than visual selection of embryos by skilled embryologists.

Adrian Fahey is the CEO of SAGE Group, which includes SAGE Automation, Nukon, Embedded Expertise and Skills Lab.

Adrian is responsible for developing and executing the strategic plan for the business and has led the growth of SAGE over the past 25 years from $44 million to $98 million. The company has expanded from one to 13 offices across Australia as well as three in India, acquired five businesses and leads a high performance team of more than 400 people.

SAGE Automation develops smart automation and control systems for traffic management, defence, utilities, the resources industry, manufacturing and other sectors. Nukon designs customised digital solutions to improve business performance. Embedded Expertise provides companies with high quality engineers to work in clients’ businesses, while Skills Lab provides training in specialist areas including industrial automation and control, instrumentation and hazardous area management.

Adrian serves on the board of the international Control System Integration Association (CSIA) which has a mission is to advance the industry of control system integration.

This Future Thinkers event will be held on Monday 11 November from 5.15pm for a 5.30pm start, finishing at 6.45pm. The venue is the Lecture Theatre in the Eleanor Harrald Building at Lot Fourteen, with entry via Frome Road. Admission is free but seats are limited, please register below.

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