Key Note Speaker: Dave Coplin – Chief Envisioning Officer, Microsoft

Dave Coplin

The Rise of the Humans

David Coplin –CEO- The Chief Envisioning officer

David Coplin was vibrant and entertaining, and he kept us spell bound by what he had to say on how to harness the power in our pocket. I felt it was hard to keep up because he was going at full speed.  I learnt the art of presenting, because the slides seemed to be following him and not the other way around. In a presentation I normally click and say what has to be said based on the slide but here I was listening to him and the slides were already there as he spoke. He did not even look at them at times. That is an art to master.

Only a very confident person can make up his own job-title that of a different expansion of the acronym CEO – Chief Envisioning Officer- He said he did that because lost in technology that was all he had that he could call his own.

Today we need not, like in Victorian times, feel that computers are stupid and do only what we tell them to do. Today we are in the third computer age. Today the computer performs as we teach it to. Today there are algorithms which choose future words based on the language you use.  For example he said if you wrote the question ‘How do I join _____?’ the answer the computer would give is ‘ISIS’. Yes this shocked the room but he explained that we, humans are feeding into the computer so much data on ISIS, asking so many questions on ISIS that the algorithms prompt it to answer this way. He calls us digital parents of algorithms where we need to use the computer and feed it with information reflecting the goodness of society.

His examples to make us understand this concept of algorithms being used to make technology perform for us were numerous and hard to pin down. But let me list the few crucial skills that he wants the children to learn for their future. He says teach skills not tools and feels that children should:

  • Stay safe
  • Behave responsibly
  • Live in the moment and not disconnect people in the same space
  • Practice critical thinking
  • Stay curious
  • Be Creative
  • Dream Big

When I met him later, I asked what his opinion was on the fact that handwriting may get obsolete because children were into computers.

He answered that it is important for children to learn handwriting for dexterity and motor skills but schools should not insist that the children cannot turn in their assignments done on computers.  If they can show their creativity through it and are not able to, by using a paper and pencil, it should be allowed. He said he still hand writes but with a pen on the computer.

Zarreen Babu


About Dave Coplin

Dave Coplin, the Chief Envisioning Officer for Microsoft UK, who helps organisations and individuals envision the full potential that technology offers a modern, digital society.  Dave is passionate about turning the technology into valuable assets that effect the way that we live, learn, work and play and in so doing, move the focus from the technology itself to the actual outcome.