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 Winter 2017

Issue #65, Winter 2017

The Technology Issue: 'Reality Check'

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Idealog + Tauranga

When Captain James Cook first laid eyes on the shores of Tauranga in the 1700s, he aptly named the town the ‘Bay of Plenty’ in reference to the many villages and bountiful produce he could see from on board the Endeavour.

Idealog Fiction

"Everyone says it was nothing, like a coincidence. But I tell you what, nothing is nothing. Even nothing is something. When they found that ship, the Trojan II, it was drifting, completely empty, crew all gone. Everyone said, ‘oh, we can’t find anything on it. It’s like a tragic mystery. Case closed’. Bullshit. It’s lazy.”

Reality check

Entrepreneurship is well known for having a culture of grinding towards success, with workaholics like Elon Musk and Tim Cook held up as successful modern-day superheroes. However, this same culture has given way to serious concerns around founder mental health, both here and further abroad. BizDojo co-founder Nick Shewring opens up about his experience with anxiety and depression, and shares some of the insights the company has gleaned into New Zealand founder mental health through its research.

Idealog fiction

“Why do you want to be senator, Malcolm?” Paul asked. “I want to serve the great people of this state, from the destitute and downtrodden to the most fortunate and successful. I want to create opportunity for all and help bring our state and our country into a new era of prosperity,” Malcolm replied.

A face in the crowd

New Zealand company Soul Machines is on a mission to reverse engineer the brain and humanise AI interactions. And it’s making very good progress. Jihee Junn explores the rise of – and potential uses for – its ‘digital humans’.

AI and you

For the techno-optimists, artificial intelligence may well be as close as we get to a super power. But, for the techno-pessimists, the rise of artificial intelligence could be hastening our own demise. So is this burgeoning ‘super power’ a blessing or a curse? Depends who you ask, writes Maya Breen. 

Idealog + Insight Creative

The growth of fast food and the plethora of quick and easy meal solutions has spawned a competing movement for slow food, which is focused on quality and the deeper experience associated with cooking and eating. These same principles are echoed in a growing move back to print communication mediums to engage audiences, win hearts and minds, and deliver better results, writes Insight Creative’s CEO and strategy director Steven Giannoulis. 

Idealog + Dot Loves Data

Good businesses all know about the importance of data. But Dr Paul Bracewell of Dot Loves Data says there’s too much talk and not enough action when it comes to turning these data-driven dreams into commercial realities.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

When the World Wide Web was first ushered into existence by founder Tim Berners-Lee in 1991, he and many others envisioned it as the dawn of a new era. For the first time in human history, people would be more connected than ever, while information would be free from corporate and government powers and democratically accessible to all. More than 20 years later, the world and everyone we know within it can be found at our fingertips. Of course, technology is much bigger than the internet, but this development has arguably been the most influential in terms of the impact on society in recent decades. While there have been numerous positives, his vision for an egalitarian free-for-all hasn’t quite panned out the way he’d hoped. Here's how tech has been designed to become so addictive.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

Come up with a name. Print some business cards. Get a website. Three things almost all businesses do when they’re starting out. But Peter Dingle says the rise of AI, the increasing sophistication of chatbots and virtual assistants, and changing expectations around customer service mean building that fancy new website is probably a waste of money.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

Technological innovation has been central to the development of Aotearoa, beginning with the first travellers and their epic ocean voyages across the Pacific 700 years ago. And although it’s impossible to sum it up through a small selection of objects, we asked our mates at MOTAT, which has over 300,000 artefacts spanning transport, technology and innovation, to highlight three of their favourite New Zealand technology-related tales. 

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

Idealog's agony aunt, David Downs, answers your burning questions about the pros and cons of playing the New Zealand card in overseas markets and whether focusing on a very specific niche is the best approach if a New Zealand company hopes to go global. 

Signs of the times

Emoji use is growing like a particularly good crop of  🍆. But the universal emoji keyboard is a closely guarded volume, with each icon painstakingly selected based on a huge number of criteria, ✏️  Jessy Edwards. So how does one get an emoji accepted onto this 📇 , what does the proliferation of emojis mean for the future of  💬 , and what do a 🇳🇿  living in Amsterdam and a reality TV star have to do with it?

Idealog fiction

Ted Robertson woke beneath a wave of anxiety, an unexpected and inexplicable mood of the type that a man occasionally discovers upon consciousness. And though he didn’t know where it had come from or what it meant, he sensed already that it was going to set a mildly unwelcome tone for the next few hours; an emotional dunking from which he’d remain damp for the rest of the evening.

Idealog + Chorus

There's a lot of excitement about the arrival of autonomous vehicles. But we need a whole infrastructure and 5G cellular technology before a driverless future arrives. Nikki Mandow talked to Chorus’s network technology strategist, Kurt Rodgers, and the New Zealand Transport Agency’s director of connected journeys, Martin McMullan, about what New Zealand needs to do to prepare.  

Idealog + Kiwibank

Bitcoin, blockchain, banking. Ask any tech-inclined financial brain and they’ll tell you that 2017 is the year these three B’s – as well as AI, robo advice and host of other new technologies – collide. Brace yourself, says Jonathan Cotton, because the way we borrow, lend, save, spend and transfer money is about to change radically if the innovators, entrepreneurs, big thinkers and progressive incumbents focusing on this sector have their way.

The Idea Log

The Idea Log, Idealog's spirit 'animal', is back once again to propose a few innovative solutions to help get our country’s A into GDP. He's already provided numerous million – perhaps billion – dollar ideas in the areas of food, apps, culture and design thinking. And for the Technology Issue, he spat on the graves of our generalist forebears and their useless no. 8 wire and developed some cool names for new regional tech hubs that will help show off their specific areas of expertise. 

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

No longer is the modern canvas confined to being flat. Fostered by the advent of powerful projectors and more advanced methods of mapping, large-scale walls, sharp edged buildings and peculiarly-shaped objects have all become receptacles for today’s ambitious creatives. As photographers, designers and directors increasingly dabble in the world of video projection, Jihee Junn talks to three different artists to discover their take on the intersection between technology and visual art. This time, Ash Bolland.

Idealog + Fisher & Paykel

We tend to take our appliances for granted and expect them to keep on working, no matter what. But, if you’re a manufacturer, how do you ensure your product can stand up to the real world? If you’re Fisher & Paykel, you give the DishDrawer a proper battering, try your best to make it fail, and ensure the often strange behaviour exhibited by unpredictable and demanding humans is taken into consideration.

Idealog + Kordia

Local tech success story RedShield, an innovative web application shielding service which Kordia offers as part of its cybersecurity portfolio, is helping businesses fight back against cybercriminals and online threats. CEO and co-founder Andy Prow talks to Ben Mack about the growing number of global cyber-attacks, the need for constant vigilance and the threat New Zealand businesses face.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

No longer is the modern canvas confined to being flat. Fostered by the advent of powerful projectors and more advanced methods of mapping, large-scale walls, sharp edged buildings and peculiarly-shaped objects have all become receptacles for today’s ambitious creatives. As photographers, designers and directors increasingly dabble in the world of video projection, Jihee Junn talks to three different artists to discover their take on the intersection between technology and visual art. Feast your eyes on the work of Vaughan Brookfield and Tom Lynch. 

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

No longer is the modern canvas confined to being flat. Fostered by the advent of powerful projectors and more advanced methods of mapping, large-scale walls, sharp edged buildings and peculiarly-shaped objects have all become receptacles for today’s ambitious creatives. As photographers, designers and directors increasingly dabble in the world of video projection, Jihee Junn talks to three different artists to discover their take on the intersection between technology and visual art. First up, Joseph Michael. 

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

Silicon Valley is worshipped by many for being home to some of the largest technology behemoths in the world. But the ultra-competitive environment and rapid pace of innovation comes at a cost to workers. An anonymous New Zealander shares what it’s like to work in the tech bubble – and it isn’t all free, organic lunches and nap pods.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

Composite manufacturing is an integral part of New Zealand’s globally renowned boat building industry. But, as Michael Barrett writes, these technological processes are also finding other applications in architecture, infrastructure, entertainment, transport and even art. Now 21 high-tech, ice-white ‘islands’ milled and routed by Warkworth-based Core Builders Composites are getting some airtime in Auckland’s new Objectspace Gallery.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

Milk without the cow, meatless burgers that bleed, chicken and shrimp made from plant matter, and now foie gras without a force-fed goose in sight. A new food revolution enabled by science and biotech is brewing and, if it succeeds, animals will have little to do with the future of food. For some, that future looks rosy, but, as Dr. Rosie Bosworth writes in part three of a series, the implications for New Zealand’s agricultural sector could be less than palatable.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

As part of our recently published Technology Issue, 'Reality Check' – and inspired by Wired's recent fiction issue – we asked some talented friends of the Idealog family to examine the role technology could play in the future and created a special 20-page fiction section that was printed on beautiful Renoir paper supplied by B&F Papers. To add a technological element to these stories, we asked Booktrack, a New Zealand-born AI company that creates movie-style soundtracks for audiobooks, to help us out (to listen to all four stories and their soundtracks, mash your pointing device here). We will be publishing one of these stories online every week as part of Technology Month. But we enjoyed the stories in print so much, we wanted to ask our readers for some of theirs.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

Vend's Vaughan Rowsell knows things, wants things, predicts things, worries about things and improves things. In this first installment, here are five things he wishes New Zealand would do right now.

The great food disruption

Milk without the cow, meatless burgers that bleed, chicken and shrimp made from plant matter, and now foie gras without a force-fed goose in sight. A new food revolution enabled by science and biotech is brewing and, if it succeeds, animals will have little to do with the future of food. For some, that future looks rosy, but, as Dr. Rosie Bosworth writes in part three of a series, the implications for New Zealand’s agricultural sector could be less than palatable. 

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

Idealog’s just-released Technology Issue – 'Reality Check' examined some of the ways new technologies are improving us, amazing us, entertaining us and, in some cases, harming us. Now, thanks to the support of our friends at Springload, an independent, award-winning digital creative agency, we’re dedicating the month of August to a continuation of those discussions online. We’ll also be conducting a bunch of tech-related experiments, showcasing the best of this booming sector and sharing a bunch of wise words from local tech luminaries. So get ready to fill your internet-connected hover boots.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

Milk without the cow, meatless burgers that bleed, chicken and shrimp made from plant matter, and now foie gras without a force-fed goose in sight. A new food revolution enabled by science and biotech is brewing and, if it succeeds, animals will have little to do with the future of food. For some, that future looks rosy, but, as Dr. Rosie Bosworth writes in part one of a series, the implications for New Zealand’s agricultural sector could be less than palatable.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

Vend's Vaughan Rowsell knows things, wants things, predicts things, worries about things and improves things. In this first installment, here's five things he wishes he knew before he started his career in tech.