The evidence is in: we are all born to be futurists

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I believe that we all need to be our own futurists: in a rapidly changing world we need the skills and capabilities to think effectively about the future so we can act better today.

Perhaps humans are all in fact born to engage deeply in the future, it is simply a capacity we need to develop further.

Renowned positive psychology professor Martin Seligman, in a recent New York Times article prefacing his forthcoming book Homo Prospectus, says humans are intrinsically focused on the future.
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The case of the rebirth of the Nokia 3310: why our appetite for retro-technology is increasing

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Last night I was interviewed on ABC News24 about the rise of ‘retro-tech’. The story was sparked by the re-release this week of the 17-year old Nokia 3310, one of the best-loved original feature phones, racking up sales of 126 million through its life. You can see the interview below.


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Machines are starting to read our minds – and letting us read each others’ minds

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ABC recently published a very nice compilation of perspectives of the year ahead titled Do you want the good news or the bad news?, giving readers a choice of whether to read ‘Exciting’ or ‘Scary’ perspectives.

Their interview with me on mind-machine interfaces was published under the ‘Exciting’ section:
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How the next generation – and all of us – will save the world

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I was recently interviewed for an article Why the world will be better in gen Y’s hands. Below are some excerpts from the article (by the way I’m not a Dr., but I won’t object 🙂 )

The impact of these powerful attitudinal shifts are playing out in the workforce and how organizations attract talent.

Millennials, on the whole, don’t question the concept of rights for women, gay and transgender people, that climate change is a reality or that every race is equal.
Their focus as leaders will be less on arguing a point than doing something about it.

“One shift is wanting to create a better world,” prominent futurist Ross Dawson told news.com.au. “It’s exceptionally difficult to hire talented young people if they don’t feel their work is making a positive difference. Social enterprise and innovation is very apparent in Silicon Valley but also in Australia.”


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How virtual reality, augmented reality, robots and real-time translation will transform travel

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Navit_Reality_View_next_to_realityI was recently interviewed for an extended feature on the future of travel, Technologies that will change the way we book, plan and experience travel.

Below is a selection of quotes from the article.
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How Science Fiction shapes our future

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As other futurists, I’ve had done quite a few media interviews recently on Back to the Future 2, which was set on October 21, 2015.

One of the most interesting broader issues around the film is very simply the degree of interest people have in the film, which captured people’s imaginations about the future, even though it was primarily a comedy.

ABC’s 7:30 Report on Wednesday ran a segment on Back to the Future 2 and tweeted this quote from me:
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In a syndicated piece by AFP on Back to the Future and in an earlier article in Newsweek I made the same point:

The reason people have been trying to create a hoverboard is that it was in the film and it captured people’s imaginations. They weren’t trying to predict the future, they were trying to create an interesting film, but I think it’s interesting that everyone is saying “Where is my hoverboard” and now people are trying to create that. We discover what we want. Science fiction creates the desire for the technology that we see, which means that entrepreneurs can see if there is a desire and they then work hard to be able to create the technologies that we’ve discovered that we want.

Countless technology innovators have said how they were inspired by William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash to create essential elements of the connected world we know today.

Science fiction in movies and books has shaped what we desire, as well as what we fear. It is a critical driving force in helping us shape our future, as it uncovers what we want to happen and don’t want to happen. Let us celebrate all science fiction, from the most serious to light-hearted comedy.

Jobs of the future: sports referees out, emotional designers in

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This morning I was interviewed on the national breakfast program Sunrise on the future of jobs, discussing a report that suggested 40% of jobs could be replaced by automation in the next 10-15 years.

Click on the image to see a video of the segment:
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In the segment I pointed to some of the broader trends shaping the future of work, as well as particular jobs that would be disappearing or growing.
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Tech dangers: Will smart clothes make us obsessive about weight?

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Yesterday I was interviewed on the Channel 9 Mornings show about Google and Levi’s announcement that they are working on smart jeans that will provide a touch interface to digital devices and could include sensors to monitor weight gains and health.

Click on the image to view a video of the segment.
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The real role of education is to teach us to play

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Earlier this year I gave the opening keynote at the annual thought leadership forum of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, with the conference this year titled “Future Proofing the Profession: Preparing Business Leaders and Finance Professionals for 2025”.

An interesting article titled The uncertain future of work reviewed some of the ideas presented by speakers at the event. On my session it reports:
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What people value in creating better lives: differences around the world

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The OECD has created a wonderful interactive visual map of the world, showing the Better Life Index – what people value most in their lives – in different countries around the world.

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Source: OECD

It is fascinating to see what people value the most around the world. When we look at cultural differences between countries, the simple question of what people value show deep differences, and strong insights into national identity.
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