2035: Tech ForesightplayJul032015
Event: 03 July 2015

2035: Tech Foresight
Future of digitisation, automation, artificial intelligence and robotics

Information for delegates


Queen's Tower Rooms, Sherfield Building
South Kensington Campus, Imperial College London SW7 2AZ

The closest tube stations are South Kensington and Gloucester Road.


Registration opens at 08:30 for 09:00 start. The day ends at 17:30.


Digitisation, automation, artificial intelligence and robotic systems are fast becoming indispensable pillars of industry. As today's initial successes translate from research labs to commercial uses, the numbers of smart machines can only grow, finding applications across all sectors. Very soon, these technologies will begin to demonstrate skills that we've never seen before. Machines will start seeing and listening, use increasingly sophisticated mechanisms to learn and act in complex environments, and even start working collaboratively together – in swarms. For 21st Century businesses, there has never been a better time to prepare for a paradigm that is shifting from labour to capital to technology, and there is no better place to start with than 2035:Tech Foresight, a special one-day event by Foresight Practice for Imperial Business Partners and invited guests.

On July 3rd 2015 we take a journey 20 years into the future with Imperial College professors and academic faculty.

  • How will a new generation of cooperative robotics augment our human capacities to control, explore and shape our environment? What will this mean for the conduct of commerce and industry?
  • How far away are machines that know how to learn and rewrite their own code, adapt their behaviour to change and make collective decisions rather than as individual agents?
  • What are the pitfalls if their behaviour doesn’t comply with our expectations?

Meet the speakers


Prof Guang-Zhong Yang
Keynote: The disappearing robot


A global pioneer in the field of robotics, Professor Yang explores the growing promise of a ‘step-change’ in robot design, fabrication and machine learning. By combining these techniques, ‘docked’ human-machine operators are already transforming the way that sophisticated tasks, ranging from surgery to precision manufacturing, are performed. Looking ahead, an increasingly cooperative man-machine relationship will extend the range of human capability far beyond its biological limits. When we become superhuman, will it still make sense to talk of robots as a distinct category? Or will the boundary between man and machine ultimately disappear?


Dr Will Knottenbelt
Life in a block chain world


Public trust in governments and institutions has fallen to an all-time low, and yet the mechanisms by which trust is assured are stuck firmly in the 20th century. In 2009, computer programmers challenged the status quo by offering an alternative. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are mediated by a trustless public ledger – the block chain – that does away with centralised control. How does block chain prove the authenticity of the past? And what could a block chain world mean for the way we live, work, conduct commerce and deliver services in the future?


Dr Esther Rodriguez Villegas
Sensing and the future of health


The diagnosis and monitoring of serious health problems is too often delayed, fragmented and incomplete. A new generation of low-power sensors and advanced algorithms raises the possibility of cheap, portable diagnostic devices for point of care testing, continuous monitoring and self-diagnosis. The technologies have potential impacts far beyond healthcare, affecting industries where human performance is critical. What are the implications for our conceptions of disease and health when the rhythms and patterns of our body systems can be routinely quantified?


Prof Alessio Lomuscio
The race against ‘thinking’ machines


We think nothing of taking a transatlantic flight managed by autopilot, but while computer automation is ubiquitous in industries such as commercial aviation and manufacturing, current systems have limited autonomy to plan and adapt their behaviour to changing circumstances. Recent developments in computer science will change this. By 2035, the prevalence of intelligent rational autonomous agents – perhaps even those that cooperate in large numbers – is set to increase and profoundly diversify within sectors such as mining, military, transportation and space exploration. As system complexity grows, the potential for novel, unexpected and emergent behaviours increases. What will happen when an autonomous machine displays erroneous behaviour that causes damage to life or property?


Dr Mirko Kovac
The future ecosystem: human, nature and robot


Robotics is hailed as the next industrial revolution that will enable society to lead more healthy lives. Future smart cities may look more like complex ecosystems in which autonomous robotic systems and people co-exist in symbiosis – with their human designers deriving inspiration and novel engineering principles from living organisms, such flying insects, swarming bees and nesting birds. Dr. Mirko Kovac looks 20 years ahead to ask: how can the metropolis be radically reimagined?

Venue details

Queen's Tower Rooms, Sherfield Building
South Kensington Campus, Imperial College London SW7 2AZ


Watch what happened last year

What's in store at TF2035?

  • An original and inspiring one-day event that serves to prepare the minds of business leaders, industrial scientists and R&D chiefs for what lies downstream of today's breakthrough lab discoveries.
  • Deep-dive exploration with ‘Futorials’ that stimulated new thinking on how science-driven innovation will impact your business.
  • Panel discussion and debate involving board level executives from Imperial Business Partners.
    Panel members

    Dr Mike Short, Vice President, Telefonica Europe
    Wendy Tan White, Vice President Digital, Hibu
    Sam Dickinson, Lead Inventor, Google
    Prof Guang-Zhong Yang, Director, Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery
    Mike Hearn, Lead Developer, Bitcoin

  • Technology demonstrations from Imperial labs and spinout companies.
  • Networking with world-leading faculty and executives. 

Related content

Imperial Business Partners


2035:Tech Foresight

Presentation Development: Alex Ayad, Kit Huckvale, Ali Salehi-Reyhani, Smarties

Futorial Development: Chloe Stockford, Martin Farrell, Alex Ayad

Event Management: Chloe Stockford

Speaker Training: Sarah Lloyd-Hughes

Graphic Design: Robert Osborne

Videography: Tom Walker