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KEYNOTE: Building Smart and Reliable Self-Driving Robots

Starship Technologies is building a fleet of autonomous robots designed to deliver goods locally in 15-30 minutes within a 2-3 mile radius. Currently, our robots are on the streets of 7 cities across 4 countries delivering packages, groceries and food. Starship wants to revolutionise the way goods are shipped and received, making it more efficient, cost effective and convenient for businesses and consumers.

There are many challenges in our operation that I'm not sure where to start! The robots must be really smart and solve problems in a vast number of situations, but they must also be reliable. The robot hardware must be well tested but we're also wanting to change, improve and replace parts as often as possible. We constantly test the entire robot ecosystem but something is always changing and the robot has so many programs communicating with each other in an asynchronous way, it becomes very difficult to construct the tests. I will discuss the complexities, benefits and challenges of this very exciting R&D operation bringing new hardware and software into public spaces for the first time in the world.

KEYNOTE: Enjoy the Ride!

We are tech people. We understand apps, we understand gadgets. Some of us even understand what the cloud is and why it works or does not work. We get it.

But have you seen any actual users? The ones we, the industry, make this stuff for? Think about them for a second. These people had just about got used to the computers, Microsoft Office and printers that didn’t eat their sheets of paper anymore when everything changed again.

Now it’s about the cloud, collaboration, mobile devices, apps and so on. On the one hand, life can now be so much easier for an average user. On the other hand, however, they now have 10 different chat apps on their phones. And this is just one example.

In my keynote, I will talk about what I think is broken for users in tech and how these things should be fixed. A million small things. I will then move on to highlight bigger things and upcoming changes that will shape the lives of both tech people and users in the coming years: the continuing shift to mobility and new devices, the explosion in the number of internet users and the question, what is a computer and what it is supposed to do.

Everything is going to change, again. You’ve probably heard it from guys in suits for a million times but it’s actually true. I will explain. And I will not be wearing a suit.

KEYNOTE: Creating Yourself as a Tester - Make Your Own Testing Path

We are not born testers. We become testers. Some of us become testers by circumstance, we "just stumble into it". Some of us choose the path of a tester. In both instances we then make choices to determine if, and when, we improve as testers. Everything we do in the name of 'testing' shapes us as a tester. By our every day actions we create ourselves as testers. And its important that we recognize this because we have to take responsibility for our own test approaches. Similarly we have to take responsibility for making ourselves better testers. 

In this talk Alan will describe the dark times before he recognized his own responsibility, when he allowed circumstance to control his testing path, and the steps he has taken to improve his testing skills and make his own testing path, in the hope that you will be able to add some of those techniques to your own self improvement regime.

KEYNOTE: 10 Commandments for Ethical Software Testers

Where does a software tester’s ethical responsibility begin and end in a world of all-powerful software?

A recent Business Insider article described a “huge” online discussion between programmers about “the unethical and illegal things they’ve been asked to do”. Chances are high that you as a tester will someday be asked to do something in your work that conflicts with your values.

Software runs the world.

Software exerts great power over our lives: in our cars, homes, banks, medical labs and hospitals, governments, civic and emergency infrastructure… Algorithms and “learning systems” are increasingly taking over critical decision making. The sheer pervasiveness of software means that we frequently ignore its impacts. Yet when decision-making systems fail—or even when they work “correctly”—they can do irreparable and invisible harm.

Even seemingly insignificant software can present ethical issues for the people who build and test it. Apps that track locations or collect apparently trivial personal data can be used by corporations or governments to invade privacy, influence elections and shatter human rights.

Testers need to talk about potential ethical issues and how we can manage them positively and with integrity.

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