Sunday March 29, 2020

It is hard for communities to sometimes adapt to the reality of the natural world

17th February, 2020

What's your name?

Vincent Mc Carthy

What’s your current job?

CEO, Curiosity Studio

Co-founder & CEO, The Festival of Curiosity

How long have you held the position?

Seven years

Can you describe your daily work routine?

My daily work routine can vary from day to day. At the Curiosity Studio I work with clients to understand their problems and merge the latest in science, technology, design and the arts in innovative and curious ways to connect them with their audiences and stakeholders. Another day I could be helping develop a new cultural event at The Festival of Curiosity that will inspire and excite people to believe in a future that they can be part of.

I meet a lot of different types of people from performers, artists, designers, researchers to business leaders. All are trying to lead change in their organisation or in society so we look for was to support them in their mission.

My work is really interesting and varied so I enjoy it. Between meeting people I am like everyone else in an office, writing emails, reports and proposals trying to fit everything I can into 24 hours.

What is your professional background?

I originally studied Physics and Maths in college and then did a Masters in International Relations to give myself a varied background. I did some work with the Department of Foreign Affairs as a consultant on science and technology projects in Mozambique. I was the Curator for Dublin European City of Science in 2012 which lead me to be co-founder of The Festival of Curiosity.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

My work involves meeting a lot of people and interacting with groups, so away from work I try to relax and not meet that many people. I usually spend time visiting parks in Dublin, like the National Botanic Gardens or I head back to my home in Cork and catch up with some friends. I also read as much as possible to keep up to date with how people see our world.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I spent some time on RTÉ as a young people’s science and technology contributor on shows like ‘The Why Guy’. The older I get the less people know about it….which is a good thing!

You are speaking at the forthcoming 2020 Summit in Croke Park. What is the focus of your talk?

The focus of my talk is powering change in society. Change is inevitable but what we want is positive change that benefits as much of society as possible. Ireland is working hard to be a leader in AI but I think we should be working just as hard to be the most trusted AI community in the world.

One of the key issues that we as an AI community need to work on is ensuring that the public are connected with the latest developments in AI and we treat them as stakeholder in the AI ecosystem.

How do you think AI will Ireland’s future over the next 5 years?

I think AI has the potential to radically and positively impact Ireland’s future over the next five years but I worry that we aren’t preparing well enough to ensure we maximise it’s benefits.

A recent report from SFI stated that the public ‘…perceive [science] as too intellectual or specialised; they don’t feel they have a part to play in the direction of STEM’s role in society.’ This is a big risk for the AI community moving forward and I believe the AI Summit can play a crucial role as platform to bring stakeholders together so we can minimise this risk.

Can you comment on whether you think Ireland’s workforce has the right kind of skillsets to enable the future workforce to deal with the oncoming fifth revolution?

As can be seen with the issue of climate change it is hard for communities to sometimes adapt to the reality of the natural world and technological innovation. We do have an excellent education system and a highly educated workforce but the skillsets for the future workforce will need us all to be constantly learning and developing skills outside our comfort zone.

I believe the big lesson for business leaders is to start developing the skills we will need our workforce to develop, e.g. empathy. This will help them to understand the challenges faced by different groups of workers and identify the best methods to build capacity in workers at a pace they can adapt to. Building capacity will be particularly challenging in the fast moving fifth industrial revolution where we need to move quickly but step gently so we don’t irreparable break the trust of the people we need to make change happen.

Vincent will be speaking at the AI Summit on March 5 in Croke Park, Dublin.

For more information see www.aisummit.ie

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