Embrace technology, don't fear it, says data scientist
The key to a digitised future lies in embracing technology rather than fearing it, says one data scientist.
Future Crunch came to Taranaki on Monday to talk about the future of economy and the technological trends shaping the way people live, work and play in the 21st century.
Speaker Tané Hunter from Future Crunch, a cancer researcher, bioinformatician, and science communicator, told a large crowd of businesspeople at New Plymouth's Devon Hotel that technology will enhance jobs rather than replace people.
"It shifts the type of job but it doesn't actually replace jobs," he said.
"Technology used to be a subject on its own; now it's a layer over everything.
"It's not actually a replacement of everything; it's an improvement."
Hunter also said children should have more technology taught at school earlier and work on creativity rather than just focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths, or STEM.
"I think it's important to foster creativity, not memorisation like 'memorise this for the test'.
"Put a camera on a drone or build a robot...It's that kind of creativity that's missing in the education system because of the focus on STEM."
He advocates changing STEM to 'STEAM' - adding arts to allow a chance at creativity.
"Foster the creativity, not just with paint brushes and sculptures but with a much broader understanding of what creativity is."
Businesses need to engage in the technological process, and focus on what can be done instead of what will change, he said.
"Start telling stories about what we can do with it...Try and really cultivate an attitude of optimism. Cut the 'robots are coming to take our jobs' stick."
The Q and A segment raised questions from how to embrace technology in the community to what the world will look like in 30 years.
"It's pretty hard to predict what's happening in two years, let alone 30 years," Hunter said.
He did suggest an increase in life expectancy, artificial intelligence devices in the brain to aid your own intelligence, driverless cars, an end to world poverty, more bio printing of organs with a person's own DNA, and everyone having internet access and an education.
"There will be teething problems but there is great prosperity ahead."
He said those who do not embrace technology are the ones in danger of being left behind.
"It doesn't have to be a big investment but it's about learning how to use that technology in your life."