The theme for SHIFT Business Festival 2018 is Redefining Normal. In keeping with that theme, SHIFT and Futures Research Consulting (FRC) conducted a joint questionnaire survey during the festival to discover what the “new normal” could mean, how soon the change is expected to happen, and whether the change is seen as positive or negative.
“SHIFT brings together top experts and thousands of people interested in the future, technology and open-minded visions. This kind of an environment provides an excellent framework for the first phase of our study”, says Jyri Karhapää from FRC.
Karhapää was positively surprised by the festival attendees’ keen interest in the study – the questionnaires, designed to take a few minutes to answer, turned out to spark long conversations. Fortunately, the flexible Delphi method used in the study allows for conversation around the intended frames of the questionnaire to be entered into the system for analysis.
Artificial Intelligence and its various applications came to the forefront in many cases, which Karhapää suggests may have been due to the nature of the festival program in general and Nick Bostrom’s keynote on Monday in particular. Beyond that, Karhapää was not inclined to guess at the results at this stage.
Collaboration with the futures-studying FRC is well in line with SHIFT strategy. “SHIFT is going to expand significantly around the two-day business festival and in the future, we will deepen our partnership with universities and other research organisations. We want to produce academic level research about the ethics of technology”, says SHIFT CEO Alexander Törnroth.
The findings of the two-phase study – what possibilities for the new normal lie in our horizon – will be published in August 2018.
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