“Everything is different,” Nathan Nickens, Argentum’s vice president of programming and innovation, told McKnight’s Senior Living about the organization’s 2018 Senior Living Executive Conference May 14-16 in San Diego.

Argentum implemented several changes after listening to previous attendees, to provide attendees to hear even more ideas and best practices as well as interact with fellow attendees, he said.

Main stage speakers: One of the biggest changes, Nickens said, will be that instead of two general sessions with keynote speakers, the conference will feature a main stage with multiple keynote-level speakers.

“We’re anchoring the program with some really special people,” Nickens said.

For instance, David Hanson, Ph.D., of Hanson Robotics will travel from Hong Kong to introduce attendees to Sophia, the company’s most advanced robot to date, in a session examining the potential of artificial intelligence and robotics as well as related moral and ethical questions.

“We’ll talk about what effect that would have on providing care and solving workforce challenges in the future,” Nickens said.

Additional main stage speakers will include researcher Marcus Buckingham; former Airbnb and Coca-Cola executive Jonathan Mildenhall; IBM executive Lilian Myers, who leads the company’s Global Aging Initiative; Victor Regnier, a University of Southern California professor of architecture and gerontology; and Bruce Tulgan, founder and chairman of RainmakerThinking.

Nina Easton, co-chair of the Fortune Global Forum, will host the speakers on the main stage.

The Hive and Fireside Chats: Concurrent to the main stage sessions, this year’s meeting will feature The Hive, peer-to-peer knowledge exchange sessions led by a facilitator. About 20 attendees will be able to actively participate in discussions on topics such as workforce recruitment or purchasing and procurement, and other attendees will be able to watch and listen if that is their preference.

Additional Fireside Chats will feature panel discussions of owner-operator company leaders talking about topics such as women in senior living or small-operator issues.

Heroes Awards: Joan Lunden will return to host the Heroes Awards ceremony, to be held the morning of the second day of the meeting, May 15.

More: The meeting also will feature an exhibit hall, social activities, the Executive Director Leadership Institute and a test preparation course for executive directors planning to take the examination to earn the CDAL (certified director of assisted living) credential.

For more information, visit the conference website, https://conference.argentum.org. The early bird savings deadline is Friday.