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Reality Check: Wrestler's Ben Forman

As part of Idealog's Technology Month, we've picked the brains of some of the movers and shakers in the industry to find out their favourite tech-related things, their biggest fears for the future and what other companies and individuals inspire their work. Here's Wrestler's Ben Forman.

What’s your favourite…

Technology you can’t live without?

Phone. Obviously…

Underrated or old technology?

My Nana’s old filter coffee machine. We use it everyday in the office. 

New Zealand tech company or individual in that space that’s doing seriously cool things?

Big fan of Peter Beck and Rocket Labs. Also a fan of Rod Drury and his passion for new things.

Global tech company or individual in that space that’s doing seriously cool things?

Elon Musk is an obvious favourite. Does it his way and nails it.

Tech project or product you’ve had a hand in?

8i. Helped out in early stage camera tests. Was super exciting and bizarre. 
 

Tech project or product that isn’t yours, but you're envious of?

Wingnut's new AR stuff. I’ll get there.

What first drew you to this industry?

My friends were better at BMX than me and I didn’t want to do the big jumps, so I started filming them instead. From there I went onto parody rap videos and then obviously branded content. It just sort of happened but I love it.

What do you enjoy the most about working in tech?

I love the storytelling capabilities of tech. 

How would you describe New Zealand’s tech culture?

Pretty good. Sometimes I feel like more people need to travel outside of New Zealand to understand scale and that we’re tiny and our problems are minor sort of thing. We can get a little bubbled.

Where does inspiration come from for you?

It never just appears, it slowly bubbles to the surface. I’ll have this vague thought and then it will keep coming back and growing and then in a week or so I see it clearly.
 

Reality check

How has tech impacted on your work? How will it impact on it in the future?

I built my business on using the latest technology to tell stories effectively and efficiently. I wouldn’t survive without my knowledge of tech and it’s fast moving opportunities. It will impact my future massively. I have to know exactly what’s on the forefront of technological change to stay ahead.

What’s been the most concerning change that technology has made to human behaviour, in your experience?

Social media has definitely fucked with my brain. Not in a good way. I’m always reaching for my phone to fill gaps in time. It’s lame.

How would you describe your relationship with technology? Do you think you’re addicted to any form of it?

Yup, addicted as a mofo. Just started doing a no technology after 9 thing last night. Lets see how long that lasts.

Do you think social media is a blessing or a curse?

Meh. I’m not going to try and split it either way. Like everything in life, it’s about balance. If you can’t balance social media (like me) then it’s most likely bad. If you can, then it’s an incredibly awesome and powerful social tool.

Do you think technology needs more laws surrounding it, or a form of resource consent regulation?

I wouldn’t say laws, but understanding of it’s impact yes. The government needs to focus WAY more on tech and what it means for our future. If the government embraced tech the world would be a better place. Tradition sucks arse.

What needs to be done to tackle the diversity issue in tech?

It’s not an overnight fix, you’re not going to find thousands of woman in tech by simply wishing it. We need to start encouraging younger woman and girls in primary school that tech is a place for them as much as it is for the boys. 

Ben Forman and Kat Lintott

What worries you the most about technology?

It’s not a worry, but I do think technology will evolve beyond humans, and therefore we become somewhat obsolete, or at least secondary. Humans don’t like being secondary… So how that conflict will be resolved I’m not sure. Maybe the evolution of man is to go beyond the organic and transcend to AI. I’m ok with that. One super computer with more knowledge than all of human kind combined is going to be way less impact on this planet than all of us.

What’s your scariest prediction for the future? Will the robots kill us all?

See above. 

What will New Zealand look like as a country in 2037?

I hope we’ve embraced the speed at which tech evolves and design a society than can bob and weave with it. We’ll be a bit of an innovation/tech mecca I think. Silicon Valley is a little obsessed with us, and I think we’ll see more and more talent coming over for the awesome work/life balance.