At a recent conference at the WWF’s Living Planet Centre in Woking staged by the office furniture firm Kinnarps, I had an off the cuff chat with James Woudhuysen who had just delivered one of his typically entertaining, erudite and challenging talks on the future of work alongside equally renowned speakers such as Philip Tidd and Namrata Krishna from architecture firm Gensler. James is an academic, writer, commentator and (dread word) futurologist. If there’s one thing you can say about James it is that he is never boring. He never sticks to the staid narratives and so when he is invited to talk about the future of work and especially the potential impact of automation and AI, you can expect to hear something you haven’t heard before or don’t typically hear.
Underlying our conversation is a profound faith in people, even with all their imperfections. James rejects the ideas and reasoning of those who take a pessimistic and dystopian view on such matters and argues passionately that we must see things for what they really are and embrace them. We also talk about the outliers of workplace design, how we live alongside technology and the true nature of Millennials. You can listen to us in conversation in your browser. This is the first in a new series of podcasts.