Stay up-to-date

Get the latest news, announcements and offers on HRtech.

Privacy policy | Cookie policy

What the hack

Sophie has been called many names: futurist, technologist, researcher, anthropologist, keynote speaker, you name it. She is an unrivalled busy bee bombastically buzzing her way through the tech savvy world of CEOs, nerds, fashionistas, politicians, media moguls and the like. Her career path reads like the Bible, Koran, Tora and the Mexico City Yellow Pages combined. Sophie is a terrific translator between academics, technologists, corporates and governments. Rather than providing answers, she challenges organisations to question themselves.

She launched and ran WIRED Magazine’s consulting business, a monthly American magazine published in print and online editions, which focuses on how emerging technologies affect culture, economy, and politics.

Sophie spent two years in Silicon Valley working at Singularity University, a group based at a NASA research park tasked with understanding and harnessing exponential technologies.

The future is not a race against the machines, but a race with them.”

Sophie Hackford

Prior to California, she worked at Oxford University, raising more than 120 million US dollars for a research group called the Oxford Martin School. She is also co-founder of 1,715 Labs, an AI and data company.

The AI in the sky

AI is a controversial topic facing countless ethical challenges to say the least. Pessimists rant about job displacement and severe social implications including depression, suicide, substance abuse and subsequently social unrest. Positivists focus on the possibilities of using AI for disaster management, health monitoring and fast and repetitive task execution and many more things.

And above all, who will be the gatekeeper of AI’s regulatory framework? Currently big data is in the hands of major unelected companies, opening the door to malevolent practices.

Your wish is mAI command

Although the topics are varied, there is a recurring theme running through Sophie’s talks and her work in general: simpler than the applications of emerging technologies, or the ethics of AI development, Sophie’s talks are about new possibilities.

Sophie is undoubtedly a supporter of the beneficial side of AI.

Yet, she stresses the importance of avoiding the creation of a world in which humans are subservient to machines. “Tech is here to serve us, not the other way around.”

How powerful is AI and how do we consider its role in society, that is the main question.

We are currently at a breaking point where tech creators are sounding the alarm instead of proclaiming the classic tech utopia.

Sophie is very excited about the humanisation of our communication with machines. “In the near future it will be considered silly that we typed commands and did not converse straight with all of our devices.”

Her overall statement is that AI is a foundational tech that underpins every existing tech from medical monitoring to powering autonomous vehicles. She goes even further and names it a possible everyday commodity like water, electricity or WiFi.

“The future is not a race against the machines, but a race with them.”