The 2019 Agenda

Beyond AI – what next for human empathy?

As artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated, enabling machines to carry out many of the analytical and routine skills that humans have traditionally taken care of, so our irreplaceable human ability to empathise and connect with other human beings will become more important. With the rapid development of virtual reality, these skills will also be easier to develop, creating the potential for a step-change in the way that humans understand each other. At this year’s Women of the Future Summit, we will explore the coming ‘Age of Empathy’. How will it change the way that we learn, work and run businesses? What does it mean for us individually and how can we get ahead of the game?

Timings for the day
08:30 – 09:00
9.00 - 09.05
Opening of the Summit with Karen Tso, Co-Anchor, Squawk Box, CNBC
09.05 - 09.10
Welcome address by Pinky Lilani CBE DL, Founder, Women of the Future Programme
09.10 - 09.15
Welcome from Dana Eaton, Senior Managing Director, Communications, Media and Technology Lead, Europe, Accenture
09.15 - 09.20
Introducing this year’s theme – Jules Chappell OBE, Managing Director, Business, London & Partners
Session one

What is the potential for technology that allows us to see and feel beyond reality, stepping into the shoes of others or another world completely? How will this technology change us?

Our opening session gets us up to speed. What are the big waves of innovation we should expect to see in the coming years? What difference will 5G make? How far have immersive technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, already come? As new realities become integrated into our lives and societies, what do those working day-to-day at the heart of this technology see as the risks and opportunities?

09.20 - 10.05
Peter Lacy, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Strategy, in conversation with Rachel Higham, Managing Director of IT, BT
10.05 - 10.55
Panel and discussion with questions from the audience. Moderated by Karen Tso, CNBC.

Aleksandra Pedraszewska, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, VividQ

Ambarish Mitra, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Blippar

Emily Savage, Immersive and Creative Sector Lead, Digital Catapult

Annette Mees, Head of Audience Labs, Royal Opera House

    10.55 – 11.25
    Coffee break and networking
    Session two

    If we can use technology to better understand each other’s lives and points of view, what might this mean for our society? Will it change the way we behave? Will it change the way that leaders behave? Are we on the verge of an empathy revolution?


    11.25 - 11.40
    Keynote by special guest
    11.40 - 12.25
    This house believes that it is empathy alone that will stop the machines from winning – Debate Mate and friends. Discussion led by Margaret MacCabe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Debate Mate.
    12.25 - 13.10
    Moderated discussion in tables with industry experts from the Women of the Future Programme.
    13:10 – 14.10
    Lunch and networking
    Session three

    What does this mean for me and how can I best prepare for the changes that are coming?


    14.10 - 14.55
    Practical session led by Dr Claire Yorke, Henry A. Kissinger Postdoctoral Fellow at International Security Studies and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University, and Ash Alexander-Cooper OBE, Resilience Motivational Speaker, exploring how best to harness the power of empathy within our places of work.
    14.55 - 15.10
    Keynote speech by Liv Garfield, CEO Severn Trent
    15.10 - 15.35
    Misan Harriman, Founder, Editor-in-Chief, What We Seee: The importance of our digital 5 a day and the content we feed ourselves daily.
    15.35 - 15.50
    Coffee break
    15.50 - 16.20
    Hajo van Beijma, Chief Operating Officer, SingularityU Benelux: The power of an exponential mindset.
    Session four

    Final reflections

    16.20 - 16.55
    Inspiring individual stories on empathy and tips for success
    • Rioch Edwards-Brown, Founder, So You Wanna Be In TV? 
    • Elif Shafak, Novelist 
    • Jack Parsons, Chief Executive Officer, Big Youth Group 
    Final word from Karen Tso, CNBC
    Summit closes
    Every year, in the evening of the same day, we hold the Women of the Future Awards ceremony, recognising the achievements of successful young women in Britain today. Attendance to the Awards is not included in the Summit delegate place but you can purchase a separate ticket to attend.
    Attendees Week of Women 2016
    Melanie Richards, Summit 2015
    Sir John Sawers and Roula Khalaf Summit 2016
    Summit attendees
    Summit attendees
    Summit attendees
    Viola Llewellyn, Summit 2015