Friday, May 11, 2018

Disruptive technologies and how they impact on us - presentation at Ara Institute of Canterbury -

Note from a presentation at Ara, yesterday evening.

Vaughn Robertson, Group manager for technology strategy and ‘designated futurist’ for Beca presented on his favourite topic. See here for a 2016 article on similar lines.

Dr. Michael Edmonds, Head of Department of Architectural studies and Engineering introduced the talk. Following the presentation, scholarships are awarded to Ara students.

Trending technology and how it impacts us
Vaughan shared his interest in monitoring technology and impact on us humans. Began with discussion on Why should we care about disruptive technology. Disruptive technology often leads to some dividends, it depends on which perspective you take. Points to note – time frames are critical and difficult to judge and often we will not see them coming, terminology shifts, watch the intersections between different technologies. An example is industry 4.0 which required several technologies to mature before it can become effective. Another is the IDC third platform, first over 30 years ago with ICT, second, the movement into intelligent agents now and the third, with autonomy near 2020.

However, need to be careful and ensure information is corroborated.

Presented on several technology disruption areas.

Internet of things – potential about to finally appear. E.g. fitbit trackers on elephants by researchers; bringy – track your dog’s exercise.

3D printing – again, has been slow but now shifting due to being able to move beyond physical dimensions of printer and use non specialist materials – e.g. buildings can be extruded.

Drones /UAV – EHANG 184 – personal helicopter/drone. Drone which lifts skiers – Scandinavia. Kitty hawk Cora.

Augmented / VR – Beca uses for 3D VR model for design verification.

Robotics – has come a long way with increase in autonomous and AI, lighter materials, higher bandwidth, cloud etc.

Cognitive augmentation – new generation beyond Siri / Cortana – cloud based AI allows customisation to individual habits. Look up Amazon echo/dot with Alexa - bluetooth speaker with voice control.

AI / machine learning – currently used across many fields – photo classification, real-time facial recognition, transportation optimisation, optimal character recognition, email spam filters, topic spotting for newspaper clipping, language translators. Need to distinguish between automation vs augmentation. Narrow AI is useful for single purpose and up the continuum to the singularity where AI is ‘like us’. Broad AI is for transferability between specialised focus eg recognise cats and then learn how to recognise dogs. General AI enabled to pick up skills across range of knowledge. Both broad and general still germinal. check this one for similar classifications.

Ethics / legislation – a reminder as legislation takes time to catch up. Currently interest due to recent media on fake news, privacy, data ownership etc.
Encouragement for us to be responsive to change.

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