Published on 24/05/2024
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New podcast: Aston University experts discuss why businesses can benefit from support while going through a digital transformation
  • Aston Digital Futures Institute was set up last year to provide thought leadership on ‘Industry 4.0’
  • In a recent podcast its three top researchers discuss the benefits of embracing AI and data analytics 
  • They also discuss the benefits to businesses of working with the Institute to take advantage of future opportunities. 

Aston University AI experts discuss the opportunities that digital transformation will present to business and society in a new podcast.

Aston Digital Futures Institute (ADFI) was set up in September 2023 to provide thought leadership on what is often referred to as ‘Industry 4.0’. One of the Institute’s key aims is to build strategic partnerships with businesses and public sector organisations in the Midlands and beyond to boost digital innovation.

Speaking in a recent podcast, the director of ADFI, Professor Abdul Sadka, called on organisations that are going through a digital transformation to consider working with the Institute.

In the interview he explained why the change is so important: He said: “The digital transformation process is a necessity for the business sector otherwise they will miss the trend. 

“Any business that wants to embrace AI and data analytics to enhance profitability, reduce expenses or streamline processes has to bring in new talent or nurture their own talent internally. And this is what the institute can help them do.” 

Professor Sadka and his colleagues believe that as digital advances accelerate and Industry 4.0 evolves into Industry 5.0. there will be enormous opportunities for innovation. They believe these will include sectors such as advanced manufacturing, digital health and personalised healthcare, smart cities, sustainable technologies, professional and financial services as well as intelligent transport. 

Also speaking in the podcast, professor of gamification, Manolya Kavakli, added: “We are in the fourth stage of the industrial revolution, the first stage was about production and the second was about mass production and the third stage came with automation. 

“The fourth stage is here, and the Institute is here to help industry and society. The fifth stage will be about human and machine interaction and put the human at the centre of what we do.”

Their colleague Maia Angelova, who is professor of AI in health at ADFI, addressed the issue of the fear of AI. In a 2023 survey the Office for National Statistics found that 32% of working adults think the technology might put their jobs at risk. However, the professor added: “AI is not here to reduce jobs or threaten society.
“It is here to make jobs enjoyable and to put the person at the centre of activities so that people can move towards more inspirational types of jobs and leave the machines to perform the more time-consuming tasks.”

To watch the podcast visit

Businesses that want to explore working with the Institute can get in touch via  

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About Aston University
For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.
Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.
Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming The Guardian University of the Year in 2020.
Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.
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