In a world where machines are intelligent and learn for themselves, where algorithms and technology are all around, what does this mean for the professions and ethical behaviour? This is the focus of the Harris Debate 2018. On Wednesday 14 November, guests will gather at RICS headquarters in Parliament Square to examine what lies ahead as technology continues to shape our working lives.

“The introduction of the steam engine in the 18th century disrupted the life of the agricultural labourer and fuelled the rise of cities, creating new industries and new jobs. Traditional professions such as medicine and law were largely unchanged. But the latest industrial revolution has the potential to change almost every form of work.”
Sir Mark Walport

What future for professions in a world of algorithms?

The Harris Debate is an annual CPD Foundation event held in recognition of RICS Past President Jonathan Harris CBE. Last year’s debate delved into history, looking at how professionalism and ethical behaviour has changed over time. This year, participants will explore the future in a world of algorithms, including:

  • The future role of professionals
  • The ethics of machine learning – how will ethical behaviour be regulated / maintained?
  • How do algorithms filter access to information, and impact on decision making?
  • What are the potential risks and impact?

Guest speaker Professor Richard Susskind OBE FRSE will get the conversation going with a talk exploring the future of the professions. There will then be a panel discussion, chaired by Lord Bichard KCB, and a chance for attendees – whether watching in person or online – to ask questions and contribute to the debate.

Harris Debate 2018 participants


Tim Neal FRICS – RICS Senior Vice President

Tim is the President and CEO of CallisonRTKL, Arcadis’ global architecture and design practice. Previously the Global Director of Buildings at Arcadis and the head of UK and European Regions at EC Harris, Tim is an internationally recognised leader with more than three decades of experience in the buildings market, large-firm operations and talent management. Tim is a Board Trustee and Secretary of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a Fellow of RICS and until November 2017 was a member of their Global Regulatory Board.


Lord Bichard

Michael Bichard has served at very senior levels in local government as Chief Executive at both Brent and Gloucestershire. He then moved into central government working as Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency and then as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and Employment. Since his retirement from the Civil Service in 2001, he has held a variety of posts including Vice Chancellor of the University of the Arts London, Chair of the Legal Services Commission, Chair of the Design Council and founder Director of the Institute for Government. He is currently Chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, Chair of Shakespeare’s Globe and Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords.


Professor Richard Susskind

Professor Richard Susskind OBE is an author, speaker, and independent adviser to major professional firms and to national governments. His main area of expertise is the future of professional service and, in particular, the way in which IT and the Internet are changing the work of lawyers. He has worked on legal technology for over 30 years. He lectures internationally, has written many books, and advised on numerous government inquiries.


David Wood

David was one of the pioneers of the smartphone industry, and is now a renowned futurist commentator, speaker, and writer. David is now an independent futurist, consultant, and writer, at Delta Wisdom. His clients include businesses, organisations, and governments around the world. As chair of London Futurists, David has organised regular meetings in London since March 2008 on futurist and technoprogressive topics. Membership of London Futurists now exceeds 4,000.

Katie King

Katie King is a recognised international trainer, author and Keynote speaker on artificial intelligence, as well as digital transformation. She is also a frequent commentator on BBC TV and radio, and has delivered two TEDx presentations. Katie is CEO of Al in Marketing and Zoodikers, and co-founder of Al in FM. A soon-to-be published author, Katie’s book, entitled Using Artificial Intelligence in Marketing: How to Harness Al and Maintain the Competitive Edge, will be published in January 2019 by leading business book publisher Kogan Page. Her marketing and consultancy career spans 29 years, and in that time she has advised and trained numerous brands in the built environment and beyond, including ISS, Mitie, Accenture, NatWest, Virgin, O2 and many more. She has an MBA, and a degree in languages, as well as a Diploma in Marketing.

Watch the Harris Debate 2018 online here.