Technology. Humans. Machines. Looking Over the Horizon at Another Frontier.

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Technology. Humans. Machines. Looking Over the Horizon at Another Frontier.

  • Technology Frontiers 2012 dates announced – 5 and 6 March 2013

  • Founding Sponsor is Ricoh Europe

London 05 November 2012, Ricoh Europe --- The Economist Group’s Technology Frontiers programme is back and this year we’re exploring the theme of humans and machines.

As machine-to-machine communications, robotics, data analytics and numerous other technologies permeate business and society, the roles of human intuition and imagination in
various activities seem to be narrowing.

This year’s Technology Frontiers programme will explore how companies in different sectors are approaching the challenge of ensuring that technology is adequately complemented with human intelligence and imagination. How are organisations ensuring that the two enrich, rather than compete with, one another?

The programme backed by founding sponsor Ricoh Europe, comprises a high-level research project, steered by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Denis McCauley and a 2-day summit, once again chaired by Tom Standage, Digital Editor, The Economist and will explore in detail how technology is redefining who we are, taking into consideration the following themes:

The case for imagination
Technology-driven automation is increasingly common in HR and other back-office functions. But how far can automation go in functions where the organisation’s “creative spirits” tend to reside, such as R&D and marketing? In what parts of the business has human creativity most receded in the face of technology?

Robots in the classroom?
If robots replace teaching assistants in classrooms, as some predict, how will student reactions to robots be monitored and the academic results analysed?

Doctors and patients
As some types of diagnosis and treatment become managed by technology, how will hospitals and other health providers assign accountability for patient outcomes – including unsuccessful ones?

Risky financial decisions?
As the stakes involved in investment risk management grow higher, how will financial institutions square their reliance on technology with personal executive liability? And how automated should bank-customer transactions become?

Citizen, governor and policymaker
Putting public services online has helped governments to streamline interactions with citizens. But how do governments determine where the civil servant must remain involved?  And will policymaking also become subject to technology.

Social production networks
While automation continues to streamline mass production, technologies such as 3D printing and social networks promise to bring humans back into manufacturing. What are the implications for producers of different sizes.

The optimal customer experience
Retailing is arguably more in need than other sectors of retaining the human touch with customers. How will retailers determine the right mix of human & machine as consumer technologies become more sophisticated?

The future of intuitive decision-making
How far can technology go in automating decisions at organisations? How to ensure that human intelligence and intuition remain part of the management decision-making process?

The Economist’s Digital Editor, Tom Standage, a global authority on technology & business issues and one of Wired magazine's Top 100 digital power brokers will once again deliver his top ten technologies to watch across 2013 and 2014. Commenting on this year’s programme Tom Standage said ‘"The aim of Technology Frontiers is to look beyond new technologies themselves and to examine them in a broader context, considering their effects on the way we live and work, and on society as a whole. With technology reaching into every corner of our lives, taking this wide-angle view becomes ever more important."   

Carsten Bruhn, Executive Vice-president, Ricoh Europe said: “The Economist Group programme, sponsored by Ricoh for the second year, provides the ideal forum for business leaders from around the world to collaborate and share ideas about how to manage technology-led change in the future. It is essential we do not underestimate technology driven change, and that alongside it, organisations review their business processes, to connect employees with the technology.  By doing so, organisations can create a working environment where human creativity and innovation are empowered for future success.”

Confirmed speakers for the 2013 Technology Frontiers summit, taking place on March 5th and March 6th 2013, include: Will Self, Novelist and Journalist, who will join Lane Greene, Business Correspondent, The Economist amongst others on a panel to debate how technology is not only changing the way we communicate but dramatically changing the nature of our relationships and even the way we think. Jaron Lanier, Computer Scientist, will take to the stage to talk about how technology is changing human beings and why this concerns him.
As Bran Ferren of Applied Minds reminded us during Technology Frontiers 2012, business and society are only at the very start of a long technology development curve. The story continues at Technology Frontiers.

For general queries or further information about the event please call 0207 576 5118 or e-mail

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| About Ricoh | 

Ricoh is a global technology company specialising in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group, operates in more than 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2012, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 1,903 billion yen (approx. 23 billion USD).

The majority of the company's revenue comes from products, solutions and services that improve the interaction between people and information. Ricoh also produces award-winning digital cameras and specialised industrial products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the exceptional standard of its customer service and sustainability

Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change. Ricoh helps companies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees. For further information, please visit  

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Ricoh Europe PLC
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Press enquiries:
For enquiries relating to Technology Frontiers, attendance, please contact:
Anna-Louise Maloney, +44 (0)20 7576 8378

For enquiries relating to the research, please contact:
Denis McCauley, The EIU

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