Issue date: 22 November 2016
Professor Chris Melhuish, Director of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), based at the University of the West of England, joined some of the most influential people in UK politics and business to speak at the CBI's annual conference.
Talking about people and work in a robotics age, Professor Melhuish discussed the need to address the industries and markets of the future.
Identifying opportunities for mass connectivity, Professor Melhuish said: "If we define a robot to be a physical entity with intelligence capable of interacting with humans, or perhaps as an autonomous entity, then this really represents a phenomenal element which can fit into many areas. If you take that element and begin connecting it, you have a fusion of the digital world with the physical. Businesses have an opportunity to join in, to discover how new technologies can affect how they operate and, importantly, how they can adapt."
Professor Melhuish also spoke about BRL's Technology Business Incubator and the award-winning businesses supported, as well as the need for additional funding to support the start-up to scale-up journey.
He welcomed the Prime Minister's earlier announcement at the conference of an extra £2bn a year investment into scientific research and priority technologies, and the development of a modern industrial strategy tailored to the UK's strengths, which include robotics and autonomous systems.
Other speakers at the conference, held yesterday (21 November 2016), included: Paul Drechsler (President, CBI); Jeremy Corbyn MP, Nicola Mendelsohn (Vice President EMEA, Facebook); Sir Martin Sorrell (Group Chief Executive, WPP), Matt Brittin (President, EMEA Business & Operations, Google UK); Paul Kahn (President, Airbus Group UK); Katherine Courtney (Chief Executive, UK Space Agency); David Abraham (Chief Executive, Channel 4).
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