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RISK MANAGEMENT AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS

In less than ten years, digital technology has transformed access to information and daily life. Such a transformation impacts our societies and companies and makes our world comprehension more and more difficult. The digital sphere catches our habits, preferences, displacements and centers of interest. It tends to propose more and more interesting contents: movies, lyrics, books, outings, travels… 

Yesterday, access to the digital sphere was generally limited to the computer. Nowadays its services are reachable everywhere via connected objects (smartphones, connected TVs, consoles, tablets and other working tools). The borders work/private life and private life/social environment become more and more porous for many of us. 

Tomorrow in our towns, companies, houses, connected cars which become “clever”, even autonomous, we will be at every moment informed, guided in our choices. Mastering environmental impact and energetic efficiency of our towns, infrastructures, and industrial premises will be enhanced in the same proportion. 

This digital revolution offers new and important opportunities in many jobs, over all in security, dependability and risk management: instantaneous and ubiquitous access to information; use of automation and robots with 4.0 industry; the augmented reality going with on field operators making their interventions easier; the ability to control and remote act on installations, networks and infrastructures; the ability to guide flows, to product on demand and in low quantities; and of course the use of computation and data treatment power always greater for modelling, numerical simulation as well as uncertainties treatment.

Artificial Intelligence, already able to beat man at go game, to write a play of music, to help a lawyer’s office or build a TV serie script, will perhaps build tomorrow accident scenarii and propose adequate barriers. Several examples of HUMS systems – Health and Usage Monitoring System – already exist which allow to follow and forecast, using sensors, the operation and “health” state of a system. The technology evolves so does the development of new tools and methods which will allow settlement of conditional or provisional maintenance, avoiding failures while reducing costs. Accordingly, stocks management could be completely automated and optimized.

To face such technical and organizational transformations one will have to conform, or even anticipate. Companies, authorities and public offices have understood and allocated substantial budgets. Through digitalization of economic and social environment new markets have emerged, competitive advantages are offered, commercial show rooms at world scale are possible and levers of efficiency and internal performance are settled.

Control authorities and stakeholders, citizens and users will demand more transparency, namely as far as performance indicators are concerned. The digital transition will also bring its burden of threats: cyberattacks, remote control, industrial spying, intrusions, data stealing, survey of private and professional activities… Dependability shall from now include digital malevolence as soon as a system design begins. Social networks which can be used to provide information in case of emergency or to detect weak signals in pharmacovigilance can also be rumor propagation vectors.

Rupture innovations seem to replace traditional economy by digital economy in whole parts of financial life. These changes will lean upon recent digital tools and overall new work platforms and technologic developments in digital field and internet (high speed, mobile internet, geolocation…). This evolution could possibly increase unemployment, temporarily not balanced by new induced occupation.

Artificial Intelligence generates the risk of dependency, being less creative and less resilient, less open minded to novelty; less risk resilient and less open to novelty and to lose contacts with actual world.

Artificial Intelligence provides a stake for critical systems development. Last years guiding systems have been designed using neuronal networks and machine learning in the military field, and maybe tomorrow and in the autonomous vehicle and in civilian aircraft. These technologies ask in terms of safety the question of formal proof and dependability as well as responsibility attributed to decision algorithms (i.e. in an automotive craft crash).

Finally, management capability and reliability of the big data associated to both Big Data tools and automatic language processing are essential. In fact, results obtained depend on significancy and completeness of this data, which will make easier the work of objectification of complex situations in risky and uncertain universe. This will permit to identify rare accident scenarii the precursor symptoms of which have not been identified so far.

New challenges go along with this transformation initiated by technology: what will be the role of man in this environment? What remaining share will be left to human expertise? What will be the impacts on work, work organization, competence management and to a greater extent on risk management? How to go along with this transformation to get benefits and profits without enduring the threats? 

This topical thematics represents an important challenge for our working experience in risk management and dependability. During the 21st issue of Lambda Mu conference in Reims from October 2018, 16th to 18th, will be considered the approaches, methods and tools to take up this challenge. Through industrial applications and research works, problems presented and answers brought will be explored depending on the various activity fields.

Thus, I request industrials, investors, engineers, consultants, dependability specialists, risk and crisis management specialists, boards, academics, searchers, students to come and present their approaches regarding the opportunities and threats of this upheaval as well as the solutions of risk management adapted to these evolutions. You will find hereafter the various topics and technical fields of this conference in which emphasize will be laid upon t activity fields which work for risk management and innovate in it.

Leïla MARLE, ENGIE

Programme Committee Chairwoman