17 Things I Learned from Future Assembly.

Future Assembly was an event celebrating all things tech. It was held in Melbourne November 13/14 to explore the connectedness of things. In a ultra-connected world what are the implications for us? My interest is in the Future of Work and how the changes in technology will change the way we work. I’m keen to learn what skills and mindsets will enable us to thrive into the future. I learned a lot over these two days, saw some very cool stuff and met some interesting people.
From the event website.
In 2008, the number of devices connected to the internet overtook the number of humans on earth. What will a connected world where most things can talk to each other mean for our world and future generations?
So what did I learn? Here’s a snapshot taken from my twitter feed (#FA15) and my memory:
  1. There are ethics to consider in the development of technology, especially AI, it’s important to ask ourselves “Why and for what purpose?” More stuff?
  2. Getting a mini-me figurine of oneself from a body scan is a vain pursuit until you see how bad your posture is!
  3. Being a last minute ring in exhibitor and being candid about how crappy your prototype is and how much of a pain it is taking the thing through customs, being mistaken for an explosive device, doesn’t always detract from how cool the device is. It was a bluetooth enabled iteration of a Thermomix like device that had only one button, all controls via iPad/iPhone.
  4. The internet of things can include a fork that analyses your food and tells you when you’re are eating too much sugar.
  5. Iceland is beautiful, I felt like I was there but I wasn’t, I had my first Virtual Reality experience.
  6. The Loon Cup, a Kickstarter-funded smart menstrual cup, may struggle in the marketplace unless they can address the issue of bluetooth emanating from one’s cervix to communicate how full the cup is. Not to mention battery life.
  7. We have a discomfort with injectable tech yet we’ve been using it for our pets for years.
  8. The hoverboard is real! I saw one in real life! My partner, an early adopter, has been wanting to get one, being able to talk to someone about functionality, price, run time, etc. was gold! (Update, since then she bought one and we’ve been having heaps of fun with it!)
  9. The Tesla has nothing but additional storage space under the hood. I guess all the machinations are under the chassis.
  10. Skills related to design for Virtual Reality are likely to be in demand very soon.
  11. Facebook bought Oculus Rift for $2bn. Get ready for the merging of social media and virtual reality!
  12. Medtech seems to be bringing about a pivot in the medical industry, one that is characterised by a purpose-driven focus on actual health and wellness, such as preventive health via genetic analysis, enabling an antiquated system to go beyond ‘one size fits all’ medicine.
  13. CSIRO has an acceleration platform for tech ideas and are looking at ways to bring the cost of health care down globally.
  14. CSIRO have something called a Metal Organic Framework that looks like a powder and has a molecular structure that allows a speck of the stuff to have an interior the size of the MCG, application includes carbon capture for climate change mitigation.
  15. Design thinking and Human Centred Design are the new black. Workshops on these topics were standing room only.
  16. The future looks bright when you look at it through a clear lens. The mainstream media would have us think otherwise. We’re living in an era where crime is low, literacy is up, poverty is down dramatically, we’re living longer and it’s more important now than ever to develop a good bullshit meter to detect what’s real. FutureCrunch showed some great stats to help reframe the modern context. Bring on the future!
  17. Empathy is a critical skill for the future, as machine labour shifts the job market to more human-oriented skills.

What about you? What are you learning about this kind of thing? Were you at the event? What were your thoughts? I’m keen to hear what stands out for you here, what alarms or excites you?