The virtual agent of the future: Real-time photo-realistic human faces that bridge the human/ machine divide

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I recently gave a series of opening keynotes on The Future of Customer Experience as part of a roadshow for omnichannel customer experience platform provider Genesys, which is running a global series of events for their lead customers, which includes organizations such as News Limited, Vodafone, Western Union, and the Australian Taxation Office.

The central theme of my keynotes was the boundaries and relationship between humans and machines in customer experience.

Today, extraordinary insights from data and analytics enable us to address individual’s unique preferences to an unprecedented degree.

Yet the emotion, empathy and engagement of humans cannot be replaced – we all seek personal connection and a real sense of caring.
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What happens when the home of the future crashes?

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This morning I was interviewed on the Mornings TV program about the future of homes, based on an interesting interactive infographic of how our homes may change over the next 15 years.

Click on the image below to watch a video of the segment.
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The potential of open source 3D printed housing and community

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This morning I was interviewed on the Mornings program about open source 3D printed houses.

You can view a video of the segment by clicking on the image below.
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We primarily discussed the fantastic Wikihouse project, which provides Creative Commons plans for parts which can be 3D printed or machine cut and readily assembled to build inexpensive homes.
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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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40-50% of jobs are at risk of being lost to automation, but where will they disappear fastest?

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The Committee for Economic Development for Australia (CEDA) today launched a landmark publication Australia’s Future Workforce?

It’s an excellent report, bringing together contributions from leading researchers from Australia and globally, looking at the exceptional challenges of the changing landscape of work, and some of the policy prescriptions that will help nations and their citizens to prosper.

One of the highlights of the report was an analysis of the likelihood of automation replacing jobs in Australia, adapting the methodology used by the Oxford Martin Institute in examining the risk of job losses in the US.

The Australian study looked at the likelihood of different job sectors being replaced by automation.

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Source: CEDA
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Six compelling reasons we should have driverless cars

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Yesterday morning I was interviewed on Channel 9 Mornings about driverless cars. You can view the segment by clicking on the image below.

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While daytime TV isn’t an ideal form to discuss all of the ins and outs of big issues, we did start to discuss some of the advantages of driverless cars. Some of these are:
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The need for innovation across boundaries and the power of big data analytics

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I attended a very interesting lunch today hosted by EMC launching a study and report on Information Generation, drawing on a survey of 3,600 executives globally looking at what will drive their business in coming years.

The primary themes of the report were around spotting opportunities, innovation, transparency and trust, personalization, and 24/7 availability, and the implications for business.

One of the interesting insights from the study was on what executives believe their organizations can best do to foster innovation.

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Source: EMC Information Generation
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Cities reconfigured: How changing work, shopping, community, and transport will transform our collective lives

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One of our companies, Future Exploration Network, recently created a detailed report for a client delving into the most important shifts shaping the next decade and beyond.
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One of the themes was Cities Reconfigured. The section began:

Urbanisation has proved to be a dominant global force, shaping both developed and developing countries. We know cities are both spreading out and become denser at their centres, but radical shifts are now reshaping the structure and shape of cities. The rise of flexible, remote and freelance work and shifts where and how people shop and socialise are significantly changing travel patterns. The widespread deployment of data sensors is providing real-time insights into environmental, traffic and infrastructure conditions, enabling rapid response and a deeply-needed increase in urban efficiency.
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The future of events: technology to make presentations interactive and social

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Some events today have innovative formats and strong audience participation. However many conferences still sport essentially the same format as ever, a series of people presenting on a stage in front of a passive audience. It needn’t be this way. Technology eenables us to re-conceive what a presentation is and can be.

I approach this idea as both a speaker and an event organizer. I have been a professional speaker for over 15 years, and have also organized many conferences and events, including our Future of Media Summits, the first cross-continental conferences ever held.

A recent article in Sydney Morning Herald on how the new app Zeetings helps “keep audiences awake” looks at Zeetings, “a presentation app that is both interactive and social, and promises to stop audiences slumbering in their chairs.”

The article describes the background of the app and goes on to quote me:
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Shazam will recognize objects as well as music: the implications for retail and design

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The music recognition service Shazam will branch out into new domains, said CEO Rich Riley at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today.
Reuters reports:

The next phase of development will be to enable phone users to Shazam actual objects, said Riley, such as a cereal packet in the grocery store to get more nutritional information or a DVD case at home to buy the movie soundtrack.

The capability is not new, with services such as Amazon Firefly allowing users to identify objects and buy them on Amazon, and Slyce identifying objects within a store for lookup and purchase. However Shazam’s excellent and long-standing service suggests they will execute well on object recognition and take the domain further.

There are massive implications for both retail and product design.

Design
A couple of years ago, anticipating this development, I wrote about the idea of “Shoezam“, that could recognize and order shoes on the street. I wrote:
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