20th International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society

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Monday, July 2nd




Welcome Addresses and Introduction


Joan Fontrodona, Professor, Business Ethics Department, and Chairperson of the Symposium, IESE Business School


Plenary Session I: The meaning of work in a world without work


The first panel lays the groundwork for the symposium. In the context of a world where machines seem to be replacing human work, we explore the value of work from a philosophical perspective, and the feasibility of machines replacing human work from a scientific perspective.

  • Marta Bertolaso, Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma

Is work as human activity still meaningful and valuable?

  • Ramón López de Mántaras, Director, Artificial Intelligence Research Institute, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Will machines substitute human beings?

  • Amitai Etzioni, University Professor and Professor of International Affairs; Director, Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, The George Washington University

The coming job collapse and the new sources for a good life[video conference]

Chair: Joan Fontrodona, Professor of Business Ethics, and Head of the Business Ethics Department, IESE Business School


Coffee Break


Plenary Session II: The rise of machines and the future of human work


Technological advances can have a strong impact on employment and generate new forms of work. In this panel, we analyze, from a macroeconomic and strategic perspective, how companies should react, and the challenges they face, in this new context.

  • Anne Maria Engtoft Larsen, Knowledge Lead, Science and Technology Studies, World Economic Forum
    Technology at work: the future of innovation and employment

  • Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Director of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound)

The future of work

Chair: Alfred Pastor, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Banco Sabadell Chair of Emerging Markets, IESE Business School




Concurrent Sessions I




Plenary Session III: Looking at the light side: How technology can help to improve business and society


Technology can have a positive impact on professional performance and living conditions. This session considers the ethical and social implications of AI, both for the workplace and for society.

  • Paula Boddington, Senior Researcher, Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford.

Towards a code of ethics for artificial intelligence

  • Thomas Malone, Professor of Management, Director MIT Center for Collective Intelligence

Superminds: the surprising power of people and computers thinking together

Chair: Marc Sachon, Professor of Production, Technology and Operations Management, IESE Business School




Concurrent sessions II


Conference Dinner


Tuesday, July 3rd


Plenary Session IV:  The meaning of work in the 21st century: A religious perspective


In a world dominated by technology, we must not forget the spiritual dimension of the human being. Work must also be seen from this perspective. In this panel, we will have a conversation between representatives of different religions to reflect on how they can contribute to making work meaningful.

  • David P. Goldman, President, Macrostrategy LLC

Work and leadership in traditional Jewish thought

  • Martin Schlag, Director, John A. Ryan Institute; Alan W. Moss Chair for Catholic Social Thought; Professor of Catholic Studies and Ethics & Business Law, University of St. Thomas

Integrating faith and work: contribution of the Catholic SocialDoctrine’s principles

  • Lord Griffiths  of Fforestfach,  Chairman of The Center for Enterprise , Markets and Ethics

Faith and work from a Christian perspective

Chair: Domènec Melé, Emeritus Professor of Business Ethics, and Business and Ethics Chair, IESE Business School




Concurrent Sessions III




Plenary Session V:  Leadership and management in the Fourth industrial revolution


The new scenario occasionedby the Fourth Industrial Revolution poses challenges regarding the management of talent and the leadership of companies. In the final panel, we reflect on the competencies and capacities required for managers to succeed in this new environment.

  • Jordi Canals, Professor of Economics and Strategic Management, IESE Business School

The meaning of leadership and management and the future of work

Chair: MireiaLas Heras, Associate Professor of Managing People in Organizations, IESE Business School


Special Social Event and Farewell


To close the symposium, there will be a short act with a social component to remind us of the centrality of people at work, and to serve as a tribute to the symposium’s 20 editions. Please stay and celebrate this milestone with us.




Dates and Location

Barcelona, July 2 and 3, 2018

IESE Barcelona
North Campus
C/Arnús i Garí, 3-7
08034 Barcelona


Prof. Joan Fontrodona

  • +34 93 253 42 00
  • 20symposium@iese.edu

  • Deadlines

    Paper proposal:
    February 13, 2018
    Full paper: June 5, 2018