For most people, dealing with large bureaucracies, such as government and healthcare, can be frightening and isolating. Regardless of social status, education, or ability, when vulnerable, our humanity yearns for empathy and conversation. Yet health sector organizations and governments alike have told us that we can no longer afford conversations. Driven by budget and rationing philosophies, the first two decades of the “online century” simply pasted an electronic veneer over the existing byzantine structures. This forced all consumers to interact through a maze of complex websites, portals, understaffed call centers, and thousands of online forms, none of them accessible. Only the supremely wealthy had the means to avoid these barriers.
If the past 20 years has been about avoiding the “unaffordable” conversation, the next 20 years will be exactly the opposite. The rapidly advancing ecosystem of artificial intelligence, neural networks, adaptive interfaces, and natural language will forever change the way people and the systems of society interact.
Marie Johnson shares the story of the creation of Nadia, the world’s first digital human for service delivery. Drawing on her experience developing the concept and leading the delivery, Marie presents a framework to help leaders meet exponential changes across industries augmented by digital humans, including healthcare. Nadia represents the reimagination of customer experience made possible through codesign with people with disabilities, inclusive of people with intellectual disability. Since Nadia’s introduction—and while government considers Nadia’s next steps—there’s been unprecedented interest around the world, not just in government but also within the commercial sector, who understand the massive service and financial benefits a cognitive intelligent omnichannel digital human such as Nadia can bring to their customers and bottom line.
Innovation driven by the most marginalized in our community and disability entrepreneurs who have had to navigate the world differently is driving a reimagined experience for all. This triumph of imagination made real has triggered the start of an exponential change: digital humans in every industry delivering massively scalable yet uniquely empathetic conversations to anyone anywhere anytime on the planet.
Marie brings her unique experience to explain how to create and deliver a digital human, focusing on the fundamental role of codesign, as described in the Digital Human Co-Design Framework, which describes how digital humans will augment your workforce, how they will become new powerful brand ambassadors generating new markets, and the public policy issues you’ll have to navigate.
Marie Johnson is the managing director and chief digital officer of the Centre for Digital Business, a digital services and AI company. She explores radical innovation and questions thinking that doesn’t amplify human potential or prepare us for the future. Marie conceived and led the global codesign and cocreation effort with people with disability to deliver Nadia, the first realistic AI digital human for service delivery, which has attracted worldwide interest. An internationally experienced entrepreneur, Marie has an unparalleled track record across the public and private sector delivering significant technology, innovation and digital services transformation programs encompassing revenue, business, social services, payments, identity, immigration visa operations, and disability services. The diversity of roles covers service delivery operations, global technology strategy, chief information officer, chief technology architect, technology authority, board director and advisor, and mentor to startups. Previously, Marie led Microsoft’s worldwide public services and e-government business. The e-government and digital initiatives Marie has led have been recognized globally. These include the United Nations Public Service Award in the category “Application of ICT in government: Egovernment” for the Business Entry Point, which she led for five years. In 2006–2007, Marie was named “innovative CIO of the year for Australia” and in 2013, was named one of Australia’s “100 women of influence.” Marie is a board director of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), an advisory member of the NSW Digital Government Advisory Panel, and a member of NZTech.
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