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Digital Workplace Impact

The podcast where Digital Workplace Group CEO and Founder Paul Miller investigates
and explores ideas, practices and people impacting the new digital worlds of work.

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Episode: 53

Would Mary Poppins raise ethical robots?

Would Mary Poppins raise ethical robots?

“Finding the right balance between respecting people’s privacy, but also potentially using the power of technology to truly help people get better training and ultimately have a more delightful experience at work is a very typical example. And this is not science fiction. It’s right here, right now.”

– Florin Rotar, Avanade

As the world, and in particular the workplace, employs more and more artificial intelligence (AI), digital ethics is no longer a nice-to-have but an essential. In 2019, digital ethics was listed as one of the top ten strategic trends by Gartner. From GPS and cameras in the office to behavioural analytics and algorithms, finding the balance between optimizing employees’ potential and respecting their privacy is crucial.

Joining Paul on the podcast this week are three heavyweight minds who specialize in this area: David Oskandy, Former Global Counsel at Avanade; Florin Rotar, Global Modern Workplace Lead at Avanade and co-author of “We, The People: Human Purpose in a Digital Age – A guide to digital ethics for individuals, organizations and robots”; and Josh Simons, graduate fellow at Harvard and author of (soon to be published) “AI vs. Democracy: How citizens can rule machines”.

Follow the conversation as they discuss the connection between morality and power; how technology shapes politics and vice versa; establishing digital workplace principles; oh… and Mary Poppins!

Show notes, links and resources for this episode:
What Mary Poppins can teach us about raising ethical robots, article by David Oskandy for the Financial Times
We, The People: Human Purpose in a Digital Age – A guide to digital ethics for individuals, organizations and robots, by Florin Rotar and Peter Temes
Sorry we missed you, film directed by Ken Loach


David Oskandy, Former General Counsel, Avanade

As a global General Counsel, David Oskandy has led legal teams around the world with top companies including Andersen, Honeywell, Wrigley and Avanade.

Welcoming challenges that often do not have precedents in the digital era characterized by pervasive technological disruption, David has set high standards of speed, accuracy, flexibility and leadership necessary to optimize client and employee experiences. He has developed hyper-performance teams able to reinvent themselves on a continuous basis using design-led thinking and the latest technologies and platforms to foster instant collaboration across a variety of dimensions.

Recently, legal publisher Transatlantic Legal recognized David as its General Counsel of the Year and his team as its Legal Department of the Year for pivoting the legal team from traditional technology consulting to an ambitious digital and cloud strategy based on the application of the expectations, culture and practices of the technology sector to an in-house legal setting, including initiating and managing development of Avanade’s framework on digital ethics.

Florin Rotar, Executive, Global Modern Workplace Lead at Avanade & Accenture Microsoft Business Group

Florin is a passionate, optimistic and energetic business and technology leader, interested in disruptive tech, innovation and digital ethics. He currently owns and executes the strategy for the digital workplaces of Avanade and the Accenture Microsoft Business Unit.

Florin is the published co-author of the book, “We the People: Human Purpose in a Digital Age – A guide to digital ethics for individuals, organizations and robots of all kinds”.

A goal is to redefine and lead in the WX market (WX = workplace experience), i.e. the extent by which employees are enabled or constrained by organizational capabilities, practices and technologies to do their jobs today, as well as to redesign their jobs of tomorrow – plus the sustainable, measurable impact this has on business performance.

Florin is a proud father, husband and avid runner – and a world citizen.

Josh Simons, Graduate Fellow, Harvard University

Josh is a Graduate Fellow at the EJ Safra Centre for Ethics and the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He is currently finishing his book, “AI vs. Democracy: How citizens can rule machines”, which outlines how regulation of artificial intelligence and big tech companies can strengthen, rather than undermine, democracy.

Josh has worked with Facebook, seeking to change the way the company makes decisions about the design and deployment of AI systems. Previously he worked as a Policy Advisor for the Labour Party in the British Parliament and graduated with a starred double first in Politics from Cambridge University.

Josh is also a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Future of Work, a Technology Fellow at New America Foundation’s India–US programme, and a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Future of Democracy in the UK.

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