"Disrupt Well" conference held in Bismarck

Nov 1, 2017

Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Changing technologies and a changing workforce were the main drivers behind a conference held in Bismarck Tuesday.

"Whether it's mobile Internet, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, the Cloud, we have to deal with this change," said Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary, one of the sponsors of "Disrupt Now," the day-long conference held at the National Energy Center of Excellence at Bismarck State College.

Seminary said the “Disrupt Well” conference came out of discussions he’s been having with business leaders about these trends.

"We agreed with McKenzie Global, probably the leading think-tank in the world, that new innovations in technology are going to impact everything," Seminary said. "Every industry, every job, every market sector."

Seminary said he wants to try and get in front of the trends, identifying what might be coming in terms of technology, and the new jobs to go along with them. He said the question is – should there be policy discussions now to deal with those trends.

"Right now, we're saying, 'Boy, we should have had some different discussions when it comes to policing the Internet, data and privacy,'" Seminary said. "We're now looking back and saying, 'Maybe we should have.'"

Seminary said he doesn't want it being a case of trying to lasso a runaway stallion, when that stallion is going 70 mph.

"I believe this is one of those times that we as leaders have to say, 'Just because we can, doesn't mean we really should,'" Seminary said. "Maybe we should slow down a little, sand say, 'Technology is great -- it's improving people's lives -- wonderful! But if it displaces lots of people, if entire market sectors disappear, is that necessarily good/'"

Seminary said this will likely be an on-going discussion.

“Disrupt Well 2018” has already been scheduled for next September.