Everything old is futuristic again

October 2, 2013

recordsVinyl record sales are up 70% this year and this prompted Belinda King of Radio ABC Tasmania and I to take a nostalgic look at the future to explore what other past trends are making a comeback.

Nostalgia and authenticity are two of my 13 trends for 2013 and they usually are a response to tougher economic times as we harken back to the romantic periods in our life and try and herald their return by surrounding ourselves with modern twists on their physical manifestations.

Current clothing trends fit into this with much of today’s fashion styling being influenced by 1920’s Gatsby era and the 1950’s / 1960’s. Vintage clothes stores are on the rise. Modern twists on the good old hamburgers, milkshakes and fries as well as “honest” cooking and cooking at home are all rising big in the world of food and restaurants.

These trends will be with us for the next year or so and behind it is a softening of technology envy, for most of us we’re over the gadget being the most important thing, as evidenced by the recent more sedate hysteria around the iPhone 5C and 5S launch, and instead we are looking for “hyperpersonalised” experiences these devices can offer us.

Have a listen to this segment and let me know what nostalgic period you would like to bring back and why.


Year 12 – a parents sanity guide

September 23, 2013

art729-VCE-620x349As a baby boomer (or rather a Gen Z stuck in a Baby Boomer’s body), I bought into society’s linear dream of finishing high school, finding a vocation, getting a job or going on to higher education.

The employer I started with would see me through most, if not all, of my working life, promote and reward me and after 40 years organise my retirement party and golden watch before handing me over to the Government for a pension and a good time.

Today’s young adults aren’t offered this cultural work dream and are instead mostly on their own as they work their way through 6 careers and 14 jobs in a 60 year + career, in a life span of 100 years +.

Tomorrow’s workers will work locally, remotely and globally.They will exert themselves both physically and digitally. They will work as employers, employees, partners, collaborators, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and socialpreneurs.

Their work hours and workload will be task and project driven and they will be responsible for their own career path, up-skilling, promotions, rewards and retirement.

With this new landscape of employment David Dowsett of ABC Wide Bay and I set out in this week’s segment to look at how parents can help their Year 12 students survive and thrive end of year exams and beyond and navigate themselves into future employment.

We discussed some of the career paths of tomorrow including health, aged care, robotics, gaming and other horizon industries, as well how students study today and how important on-line is to their study, well being and world view.

As parents it’s imperative we don’t hold onto the old education and employment dreams but instead we base our advice, assistance and well intentioned, but often not well received views on taking the best from what we had and know and blend that with what will our young adults will need if they are going to exceed their own beliefs and dreams.

and for all fellow Year 12 parents take heart, there are only 58 days left till exams are over (for me anyway), but who’s counting!?!

Take a listen now:


This week in the Future

September 9, 2013

Samsung-Galaxy-Gear-Watchnissan-nismosamsung watchsony watchqualcom watchWith the imminent arrival of the new iPhone 6s and 6c, with what we are led to believe will be fingerprint recognition scanners, better graphics faster processors and in the case of the 5C rainbow colour choices and a cheaper price tag, David Dowsett of ABC Wide Bay and I took a look at what else is happening in tech land.

The other big story is the purchase by Microsoft of Nokia mobile, as the software giant takes another big step into the mobile space, we also look at the avalanche of new smart watches about to hit our shops and Google’s newest operating system Kit Kat.

Listen now to our round up of all things tech…


Home James!

August 26, 2013

Future-CarsOne of the most often asked questions I get asked is about flying cars and although we’re not quite there yet we are a long way down the road towards getting a whole lot of new shiny cars that do some pretty magic stuff.

On the back of a series of keynotes I delivered in the last month around Australia on cars of tomorrow to automotive roof body’s and a number of large and well know fuel distributors, David Dowsett of ABC radio and I set off on our discussion this week to explore where cars are headed and what fuels we might use in 5, 10, 20 year from now.

Along the way we chatted about how many cars in Australia we have now and in 2020 and the three sorts of cars we are and will be buying in the next decade and my belief that we will not drive cars in 10 years, but rather ride in mobile devices.

Connected cars are already around and becoming a standard for many buyers as they demand to be able to connect up there smart phones and tables and surf the world whilst driving.

We are already starting to get a number of car manufacturers that have gone beyond this with vehicles that park themselves, accelerate, brake, anticipate road conditions and a whole lot of other cool stuff, these are known as semi autonomous cars.

The next big push, due around 2020 are autonomous cars – cars that can drive themselves. Much like an airplane pilot these cars will allow you to hand over the controls of the car to your own on-board digital chauffeur – James. Every car manufacturer on the planet is working toward this goal and the thought is that by 2022,20% of all of the worlds cars will be capable of autonomous driving.

This ushers in a new world of transport and heralds in the beginning of a huge shift in the way we travel, where we travel and when and is set to revolutionize some industry’s, decimate others and even change where and how we live.

Have a listen now and then share your thoughts on the future of the car.


Money, money, money

August 16, 2013

$1 notePaper money and coins seem so old fashioned now.

In Australia we began the march towards plastic money in 1974 with the introduction of the first mass credit card – BankCard and towards digital banking when online banking became possible in 1998.

At both those events the mass outcry was “we will never use this”, but we have and we are very content.

In this radio interview we explore the Less-Cash society phenomenon and a future where banking and financial transactions will no longer be done via plastic credit cards and instead live inside our mobile devices and eventually into inhabit the digital nether-regions as they magically appear and disappear a myriad of devices, walls and holograms just when you need them.

Have a listen to this, the rising digital economy including BitCoin and Ven and my belief that we will soon see a global digital currency emerge to carry on from where PayPal, Visa, MasterCard and others are currently placed.


Eat it, or not

August 6, 2013

synthetic hamburgerBy 2050 the demand for meat will have doubled across the globe, but we will have less water, land and farmers to grow it with.

Given that it’s unlikely we will decrease our universal appetite for animal protein, nor will we unfortunately get any better at sharing what we already have and making it go further, so how will we solve our ever-growing problem for meat production?

One solution that’s gaining momentum is to take an exponential leap and grow meat in a laboratory, without ever having to raise any livestock.

Dr Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands and his team, including his benefactor Google’s Sergey Brin have just demonstrated the first commercial lab grown hamburger, after almost a decade of experimentation.

It started life as a mere handful of muscle cells taken from the shoulder of a cow, before being transferred to a petri dish, smothered in nutrients and left to grow to 20,000 strands that formed this AUS$434,166.29 hamburger.

Although the taste was not quite there, the mouth feel and texture were and with the addition of a bit more fat (which is present in every hamburger) we could in 7 – 10 years have a viable contender for our dinner plates.

This new technology should be able to produce the equivalent of 50,000 tons of meat from these same 10 cells within 2 months and has the tacit approval of PETA.

The argument here is not whether this new form of food will eventually do away with farming livestock (because it won’t), but whether this can in time become one part of our everyday food chain and find a place in some of our shopping baskets and my guess is, it will.

This was a popular topic and here are some of the radio interviews I did on it:

Jill Emberson – ABC

Tim – ABC

David Dowsett – ABC Wide Bay


Who said TV is bad for you?

July 29, 2013

startreknology.jpg~original

It’s amazing how many of today’s ordinary technology, started their life as an extraordinary prop in a book or television show.

This week ABC Wide Bay’s David Dowsett and I took a look at the top 10 innovations that were first seen in the 1960’s Sci-Fi series Star Trek and now probable, possible and in many cases ordinary.

1. Mobile phones
2. Warp speed
3. Transporter beams
4. Tractor beams
5. Replicators
6. 3D medical holograms
7. Medical tricorders
8. Holodecks
9. Cloaking devices
10. Friendly androids / robots

Take a listen now and let me know which Sci-Fi or movie innovation you’re still waiting for.


This Week in the Future

June 17, 2013

FF_Parable-Oxford_English_DictionaryIt normally takes at least 10 years of consecutive use for a word to appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, but like everything else nowadays things happens fast. Last week the word “Tweet” was accepted as both a verb and noun, this may sound insignificant, but it goes along way to proving the case that when innovation strikes it can in an instant change culture, society, business and language irrevocably. Others words included Big Data, Crowdsourcing, e-reader, mouseover, stream as web, geekery, flash mob and BFF.

This was one of the topics I chatted about with ABC radio’s David Dowsett in our regular look ahead.

nasa pizza printerWe also looked at NASA’s commissioning of a 3D printer capable of printing pizza’s in space.

Wearable technology also got a look in this week with smart socks that monitor your body, its exertion and movements and provides real time information to a myriad of mobile devices and spray on liquid fabric that allows you to spray on directly to your body reusable and washable clothes, first aid sterilized bandages, as well providing a vehicle to carry nanotechnology into the skin including vaccinations, UV protection and even provide a fire proof coating to our skin.

Robots throwing the first pitch at a baseball match also made the list, the kicker in this story is it was thrown remotely by a 13 year old suffering from aplastic anemia who can’t be exposed to crowds. Using Google’s Fiber’s a special room was built in which the boy, his friends and medical staff witnessed him throwing the first pitch as did a host of sensors that sent all of his movements to a remote robot that replicated them 1800 miles away and remotely through the ball for him.

Sushi-DroneIf this wasn’t enough, how about flying sushi trays. Yo!Sushi is using iTrays, hovering restaurant trays, to deliver food from the kitchen direct to the guests table.

It’s an incredible world ahead, so have a listen to this weeks segment and as always let me know what what you see ahead.


Robots aint what they used to be, they’re what they’re going to be…

June 8, 2013

robots antiqueRobot butlers and maids seems to be the most common expectation we have of our new metallic friends. Robots that are lifelike, technically called androids, may still be some time off, but Robots of all other sizes, shapes and complexities are making their debut into the world of work and play.

In this week’s on air discussion James Lush of ABC Perth Local and I had a look at what we can expect to see and have in the world of Robots, Androids, Bots and Nano Bots.

In the world of medicine and health care we will see the growth and surge in telemedicine allowing Doctors and medical professionals to share, consult and even operate anywhere from anywhere, as Doctor’s climb inside a virtual robot and drive themselves around remote hospitals and operating theatres.

In offices and factories we will also have remote vehicle robots jockeying their virtual executives and workers around distant and remote global offices and factories.

There will also be an array of factory robots including Baxter who can learn and replicate any repetitive task in 90 seconds and costs around $22,000 to purchase, giving him an operating cost of $3.52 per hour, the same cost of the average Chinese worker – will this bring back some of the manufacturing to Australia? – stay tuned.

In our homes, we have already seen the march to the automation of lighting, heating, security and appliances as well as robotic washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers, but as they say in the TV ads, wait there’s more…

Our roads over the next years will start to be populated by self driving cars and remote controlled heavy vehicle will continue to grow in popularity, what will this mean for road conditions and safety?

Aged Care, retail, defence, security and all other things Robot were all part of this weeks segment, so have a listen and let me know what you’re most looking forward to about your first Robot.


Future of Tourism

May 27, 2013

world handsBy 2020 the average Australian will take 10 holidays, of various lengths and destinations, per year; Australian will welcome 8,162,000 visitors to our shores and will farewell 11,222,000 Australians traveling abroad, all adding up to a tourism industry that will be worth $113.8 billion to us in 7 years time (up from $101.8 billion in 2012 / 2013).

This vital sector will welcome increasing visitors into Australia from middle-class China (worth $6.9 billion in 2020) and India (worth $1.9 billion in 2020) as well as continue to be one of the worlds premier tourist destinations, but behind these statistics is a deeper tourism tale of an industry that is restructuring and re-purposing itself to the needs of tomorrow travelers.

120 years ago when cars started to become an everyday item, we grew a local road bound tourism industry. As aviation became accessible to more and more people we added overseas trips to our travel diet, for the young this meant a gap year back to mother England and for the retired the Women’s Weekly coach tour of Europe, now if t means we see the world as our own backyard ripe for to explore.

Tourism has continued to evolve in Australia and in this week’s segment David Dowsett of ABC Wide Bay and I chat about where tourism is headed in the future.

We looked at who’s traveling and where the various forms of travel including cars, trains, planes, space and cars that fly and how we will go about finding and booking tomorrow’s great holidays.

We also explored emerging specialty tourism sectors including medical tourism, ancestry travel, sustainable tourism and others and how to find local people to act as your tour guide taking you on bespoke local tours as seen through the eyes of locals and the technology that will turn us into locals by providing real time insights, information and translations.

As always we end our segment with a look further down the tourism road to see how virtual travel and holodeck like experiences are set to burst onto the holiday market as virtual travel begins to take off in the not too distant future.

Have a listen now and let me know your thoughts of the future on tourism.