Alin Iftemi, Managing Director and Co-founder Modex, was one of the speakers at EY’s Automation Realized 2020 . Held online, this year’s edition (the 5th in the event’s history) focused on automation coming together to create long term value. The speakers debated on the long-term value attribute of digital transformation, looking ahead towards a future defined by a balanced human – machine interaction.

Four years ago, in October 2016, EY’s first conference covering automation topics aimed to address a question which is still relevant nowadays: “Will robots help us do less? Or become more?”. This was in the early days of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) when it hadn’t yet taken off as a global phenomenon in digital transformation. 

Today, we witness an automation landscape that is significantly broader than one technology. It is an ecosystem that advances fit-for-purposes solutions, integrating multiple technologies and/or multiple vendors with the ultimate purpose of improving our lives. Therefore, we can say that robots help us in achieving progress in our society. By doing less of the tasks that do not maximize our human potential, we make more space for creativity and human interactions that spark innovation.

Innovating and working for a better tomorrow

On the event’s second day, Modex’s Co-founder spoke during the “Automation art of the possible: food for thought to inspire brave ideas” panel. Moderated by Aurelia Costache, EY Intelligent Automation Leader EMEIA, the panel also included Marco Neves – CEO InteractIdeas, and Razvan Ion – Founder Spinnwerk Vienna. 

Before speaking about automation and the future of technology, Alin wanted to clarify some misconceptions about blockchain that have been floating around for some time: “I can tell you that blockchain is not a slow technology. Blockchain is a technology which allows trust. It brings immutability, security, transparency to all the flows we are using in our daily activities, in the software products we use nowadays; not as much as some would like, but hopefully this will happen soon enough! Blockchain technology gives us the possibility to be transparent to each other, to cooperate better and innovate in various projects while maintaining a high level of security for each of the parties involved.”

Reshaping education, art and other industries with blockchain

Moving on to the benefits of blockchain, Alin added: “In education, blockchain can be used for storing the historical activities of a student. In art, blockchain can be used for disputes related to copyright. There are so many talented people who innovate and bring value to the art sector, and it’s important to have an immutable log of who was the first to have such an idea. Blockchain could be used to store schemes, drawings, sounds – whatever is considered art in order to clarify who was the first at something. These are just two examples, but blockchain can be used in more ways, in other domains. I’m a huge fan of this technology and I truly believe in its potential.”

The future of automation and digital transformation

To drive our society forward with this vision, EY believes that all stakeholders need to be engaged in developing the adequate technical, business and regulatory frameworks that support the development and implementation of automation technologies, while guiding the individuals in this transition to a digitally advanced environment. “Policymakers, software companies, large and small organizations, and citizens have a shared responsibility to build resilience into the fabric of our society and drive long-term value”, believes EY.

Commenting on the skills needed for the future and how tomorrow might look like from a technological perspective, Alin Iftemi stated: “We have to be very serious about training our kids how to learn by themselves, how to pick what’s best for them. I think that the things they are learning nowadays in school are ‘old-school’ and there are so many other interesting things out there which can learned. Thanks to today’s advanced technologies and the progress we’ve made in this regard, our children can learn more in one year than they’ve learned in 12 years. We have to teach our kids how to choose their own way in this vast universe of opportunities that surrounds us at any given moment. As humans, we are always looking forward and our curiosity drives us to innovate, to do more and more. I believe that we should focus on what comes next and let our children judge if our legacy has been good, helpful for them or not.”