Not Humans vs. Robots, but Humans & Robots / AICCWA Perth Keynote, slidedeck and audio

AICC(WA)’s ECU futureNOW Sundowner Event, 27 April 2016 at GHD Perth, featuring Business Futurist, Morris Miselowski – my slidedeck and recording of this keynote are at the bottom of this post.

GHD’s new state of the art facilities provided the perfect setting for the first AICC(WA) futureNOW series presentation of 2016.  Mr Morris Miselowski, world renowned business futurist, innovation provocateur and media commentator addressed the topic “People vs Technology, Who Will Win?

Mr Craig Walkemeyer, Manager – Western Australia, GHD

In welcoming attendees, Mr Craig Walkemeyer, Manager WA, GHD spoke of the innovation focus of GHD, and in particular of the Smart Seeds initiative.   Smart Seeds is an annual innovation program for young professionals focused on generating fresh ideas to solve complex infrastructure challenges.  Hosted for the first time in Perth, Smart Seeds is developing solutions including water sensitivity, connecting people to places, off- grid infrastructure for Perth airport and improving the livability of Perth City.

The keynote speaker was introduced by sponsor Professor Margaret Jones, Director, Office of Research and Innovation at ECU.  Professor Jones also discussed the ECU and cross-academic sector initiatives to collaborate with advanced Doctoral students promoting innovation.  ECU is a young university promoting advanced scientific and technological disciplines, including a world renowned cyber security research institute.

Professor Margaret Jones, Director, Office of Research and Innovation, Edith Cowan University

Professor Jones introduced Morris Miselowski noting his reputation as the “swiss army knife of futurists” and “the secret weapon future proofing business”.  Mr Miselowski works with CEO’s and Boards across the world to guide creative foresight strategy development.  Immediately challenging his audience, Mr Miselowski qualified that real change is driven by people and not technology.  Demonstrating how three decades of technological change has impacted the way we communicate, work, shop, live and love, he posited that all we have really done is put the infrastructure, culture and thinking together to improve lifestyle.  It is however the pace of change moving forward that we need to better prepare for.

So too, organisations have changed.  The company lifespan of and S&P listing has decreased from 60 years to 20 years, and is predicted to further decrease to 12 years.  In the meanwhile, the world is growing “unicorns” defined as companies that obtain $1billion capitalisation within 3 years.  Some achieve $10billion.

Mr Morris Miselowski

The corporate sector is now devolving its view of project driven automation.  “Robots will never take over” said Mr Miselowski, “We will simply look for further ways to transition from manual to creative work. Robots will take physical jobs, but human nature is supplementary to this”.  He cited that although 500,000 to 600,000 jobs in Australia have already been replaced by technology, a further 2 million new jobs have been created in more advanced industry settings.

            From L to R: Professor John Finlay-Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Edith Cowan University, Mr Craig Walkemeyer, Manager – Western Australia, GHD, Mr John Cluer, Chief Executive, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA), Mr Morris Miselowski, Professor Margaret Jones, Director, Office of Research and Innovation, Edith Cowan University, Mr Larry Lopez, Vice-president, AICC(WA) and Partner, Australian Venture Consultants

Mr Miselowski shared some examples of this process, including;

  • Further evolvement of 3d printing that will become a domestic norm that decentralises all forms of manufacturing
  • Reshoring via robotics that return production to its source by undercutting human labor costs.
  • Drones, including those that do what humans have not, cannot, or should not be able to do
  • Self driving cars and new modes of transportation with global distribution reach
  • Rehabilitation and life science medical technology.  Medicine will no longer be invasive with bots that are frontiers for medical diagnosis living inside of us.
  • Transfer of information through wearable technology (the Internet of Things).  We are already providing information about where we are and what we need and our activities are being digitised.

As the next frontier Mr Miselowski talked about moves towards Artificial Intelligence, and our role in writing the narrative by questioning, arguing and providing intuition and wisdom to this process.  He noted it was about outputs not inputs, and that Artisanal Wisdom will allow us to create jobs that are the products of technological evolvement.  He does not fear a loss of human control over technology.

Citing Israel as on of the leading places with the intent and purpose to produce the technology that will allow “humans to win”, Mr Miselowski noted that Israel is a microcosm of the culture that embraces a necessary conversation about our future development and prosperity.

Mr Morris Miselowski

A fascinating dialogue followed Mr Miselowski’s presentation.  When asked how our universities will prepare more futurists, he cited communication (soft skills and wisdom), creativity (developing students who will make jobs as opposed to get jobs) and community (working in tribes) as the key areas of focus.  When asked how to ensure we are not overwhelmed by the pace of growth he commented that “technology is a dumb tool but we are even dumber if we let it control us.  We still need to know how to turn technology off and be human.”

and here’s my slidedeck:

Driverless Cars and Scalpels / Hong Kong 3, ABC Far North, Austereo

singaporeSingapore is set to take the driverless revolution up a notch, by this week announcing it will put driverless public transport electric pods on the road by the end of this year.

We’re not quite sure where they’ll travel, but we do know they’ll hold 24 passengers each and be capable of transporting up to 8,000 passengers per hour and this seemed like a great conversation starter for my regular on air catch ups with Hong Kong 3’s Phil Whelan, ABC Far North’s Kier Shorey and  Austereo’s Anthony Tilli.

Talking driverless and electric also let us look at China’s newest auto maker LeSee, a voice activated autonomous car, that could give Tesla a run for its money. It boasts a complete LED interior that changes the display according to anticipated drivers needs, has swapped out the front exterior lights for a display bar that can project lights, indicator signals and much more.screen shot 2016-04-20 at 9.42.00 am

We also took a look at the newest tech for Surgeons in the operating theatre with a “smart-knife” scalpel that can distinguish between healthy tissue and cancerous cells and an ingenious New Jersey student who realigned his teeth by 3D printed his own orthodontic braces.

As always great chats, so have a listen now…

Hong Kong Radio 3 – Phil Whelan – (15 minutes 36 seconds)

ABC Far North – Kier Shorey (11 minutes 34 seconds)

Austereo – Anthony Tilli – Driverless Cars 26 April (2 minutes 09 seconds)

Austereo – Anthony Tilli – Surgeons Scalpel 30 April (1 minutes 54 seconds)


Who’s watching the drones & HK’s top IT awards / Hong Kong radio 3

article-webgraf-1127A near miss between a drone and a London bound British Airways passenger jet was the start of this weeks chat with HK3’s Phil Whelan looking at drones and how we might keep them away from planes, trains and automobiles and whatever else they shouldn’t be near.

The sky’s are full of non commercial recreational drones and in theory there are guidelines around where they can be flown including flying below 400 metres, keeping your drones where you can see them, not flying within 5 miles of an airplane, not flying near people or stadiums and in America your drone should be registered.

These are all useful guidelines but for the amateur drone pilot these rules and knowing how far away planes may be are not top of mind and for the malicious and thrill-seeker they only add to the sport of putting drones where they shouldn’t be.

In commercial terms there is a new industry and range of products emerging that block drones from flying in specified areas and will see more of these electronic no-fly zones established over the next few years, but for now it seems that we are stuck with ever increasing numbers of drones buzzing around us.

Our chat soon turned to the recent HKICTA awards and a look at the 2016 Best Smart Hong Kong awards recipients.

1st prize went to Well Being Digital for its’ dynamic real time heart rate measurement technology – ActivHearts, which allows you to use your earphones and wrist watch to obtain an accurate heart rate in real-time.

Second prize went to Viewider, which finds the best price and deals on a range of merchandise and the Pokeguide App won gold in the public service section for an app that lets you know which MTR train compartment is the best for you to get into.

All in all a mixed bag of worthy winners, but Phils’ dilemma is where’s the invention, where’s the new?

As always a great chat, have a listen now (15 minutes 26 seconds) and then share what you think Hong Kong inventors should be working on.



Swearing Bots & #AI gone mad / Hong Kong Radio 3

images Microsoft was recently forced to wash Tay, its Twitter bot’s, mouth out with soap for the foul and abusive language it was using online. In its defence it was just doing what it was programmed to do, use its vast database of information; listen to, learn from and engage with its community in a purposeful and relevant way and as soon as the community smelt a bot and not a human behind the keyboard some of them set about getting it into trouble and soon had it making racist, foul and inappropriate comments in reply to what the community was telling an asking it.

This was as good a place as any for radio HK3’s Phil Whelan and I to start our regular chat, this week looking at the Artificial Intelligence and its possible uses and abuses.

The others story that caught our attention this week was Baidu, the Chinese search engine giant, commenting that if requested to it could use its database of 1.35 billion Chinese citizens and its 657 million Chinese map subscribers to predict imminent crowd gathering, possible intent and behavior.

Artificial Intelligence is a machine’s ability to quickly find, assemble and try to make sense out of vast amounts of data and as we get better at getting it to “think” we are going to have to get better at teaching it how to it effectively, within the parameters of culture sensitivities and also set human rules around when, where, how this synthetic brain can be used.

As always a provocative conversation (16 minutes 52 seconds), take a listen now and add your human thoughts to the rise of AI.

Online and physical #retailers have finally kissed and made up / Hong Kong Radio 3, ABC Far North, Austereo

Amazon-books-storefront HK3’s Phil Whelan’s comment “everything old is new again” strikes a chord as we catch up for our weekly on air chat, this week to explore why online retail giants like Amazon are experimenting with opening physical bricks and mortar store and it all comes down to maturity and you can’t keep a good topic down so later in the week I caught up with Kier @ ABC Far North and Anthony Tilli @ Austereo to keep the chat alive and look at it from a regional Australian perspective.

The red cordial hyper phase online shopping era has thankfully passed and with it we are returning to demanding the best and most appropriate retail experience regardless of whether its online offline or a mixture of both and the appropriate buying experience will be dynamically be determined by the transaction and the people involved.

Amazon is reported to be opening up to 400 USA physical bookstores, and although these have not been confirmed, if they do eventuate they will be unlike the large format bookstores of old Borders and instead will the Amazon retailing secret sauce, which when boiled down is that Amazon is an incredible logistics company, that know which products customers want, where and when and can get it to them at a great price and super fast.

These stores will be merchandised with a smaller range of books personalised to that location using Amazon’s analytics of what that regions interests and past buying habits are; the books will be front facing and using an app on your mobile phone you’ll be able to explore its price, contents, reviews, buy it there and then or buy it online for delivery.  Using this business model and smarts Amazon can dramatically lower the traditional costs of running a retail store and if they wish could also use these outlets to digitally show and push anything from their vast digital product catalogue.

The other driving force is growing digital retail fatigue, with recent research finding that there are 800,000+ on line retail store making it harder to be found and the costs of key words, used to drive traffic to sites, increasingly dramatically with the likes of Macy and Nordstrom each spending around US$6.4 million annually to  get the online jump on their competitors.

In Australia we’ve had Kogan trial physical retailing, Milan Direct announcing a roll out of stores and pop up stores galore each stuffed with online retailers posing as bricks and mortar sellers , these and may others are heralding in an devolution in retailing.

We’re going back to the core of great retailing, where sales are the end purpose, but to get a sale you’ve got to give the customer what they want.

In these new blended digital physical stores, it’s not just about selling, it may be about showrooming or webrooming (digital showrooms), it may be about customer engagement, it may be about see and feel, or brand experience and progression, or for a myriad of other marketing reasons.

No longer does one size have to fit all as we finally return to a maturity level where retail is retail, customers are customers and the coming together of the two will be dictated by the where, how, when and why of the transaction and the ability of the retailer to engage and satisfy their customer.

So have a listen now

Hong Kong Radio 3 – Phil Whelan – 5 April (14 minutes 10 seconds)

ABC Far North – Kier Shorey – 12 April (11 minutes 02 seconds)

Austrero – Anthony Tilli – 12 April (4 minutes 21 seconds)