“The greatest risks you face are found with the undefined – the trends that have not yet occurred, the science not yet discovered, inventions not yet invented, and ideas not yet crystallized!”
That was the essence of my closing keynote for several thousand executives at the National Safety Council annual conference.
The talk? The future of risk!
The quote captures the essence of my talk – while safety professionals are all busy understanding, managing, and mitigating existing risks, it’s the unknown that might get someone in the end.
And those unknowns are coming at us at a staggering speed.
How will we know if the spatial vision algorithm used by a cobot (cooperative robot) working next to a human has been properly programmed?
When we have fleets of interconnected, AI-driven packing and shipping devices scurrying around our factory floor, how do we ensure the proper assumptions have been built into the model?
When we build and implement the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) into our processes, how will we ensure their security and integrity, thus providing for proper safety?
These are the things that I think about as a futurist.
We’ve got a lot of challenges around us today, but there is a lot yet more to come.
The key thing is that an organization must commit to keeping up and managing complex new safety risks – and these safety professionals need to make sure that they have a seat at the strategy table to ensure their concerns and actions are properly heard.
That can be a challenge since organizations are scrambling to keep up with our faster future. They are busy investigating 3D printing, new methods of manufacturing, the acceleration of robot technology, and more – and often, don’t take the time to think about the new safety risk that might be unfolding.
And in the end run – it’s the unknown that will get you every time!