Close

Idealog Year in Review 2017: Peter Fletcher-Dobson

Kiwibank's Peter-Fletcher Dobson shares his views on the year that was and the years that could be.

Favourite innovation that isn't yours?

Amazon Echo and Alexa.

Favourite innovation that is yours?

Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator.

Most interesting launch/trend/idea/building/product of the year?

ICOs –Initial Coin Offerings creating a new way of dramatically increasing funding available for innovation.

HashGraph: the next evolution of blockchain that’s lightning fast and massively scalable.

Lamest launch/trend/idea/brand/building/product of the year?

1. Star Wars Battlefront II: EA completely got it wrong by allowing monetisation/greed of Loot Boxes to derail their game launch and see their company lose $3.1bn in value. It created a storm of backlash from consumers and prompted the threat of government involvement in the video game industry over gambling concerns. Brand disaster.

2. Juicero: Silicon Valley startup Juicero raised $118 million in funding and launched its $699 Wi-Fi connected juicing machine around 16 months ago. The machine used “the power to lift two Teslas” to deliver the ultimate juice experience.  The machine also required $5-$7 proprietary juice packs to work. Only problem was that Bloomberg published a piece that showed the juice packs could be squeezed just as easily by hand. Cue massive social media backlash and beginning of the end for the company...

Most promising New Zealand company/companies?

Sharesies, Accounting Pod, Tapi, Ando Insurance, Rocket Lab, Hnry, Figured, Banqer, Timely, Bot the Builder, Stash, Little Yellow Bird, Centrality, Zeropoint Ventures, Soul Machines, Blockchain Labs, Delta, Our Energy, Choice, Flowcoin, Fiducia, Ilumony, Flo2Cash, Propr, 2Shakes, Pledge Me, Goven, Jude.io, Brave New Coin, 9Spokes, Dot Loves Data, Thankyou Payroll.

Heroes?

Peter Beck: RocketLab launches NZ into the space. Mahia Peninsular is a space rocket launch site! And so humble.

Elon Musk: He offered a bet on Twitter that he would create a solution for power-starved South Australia to provide 100 megawatts of power capacity with lithium-ion batteries within 100 days, he launched solar roof panel installations this year; he launched the fastest production car in the world, the Roadster, and his Tesla Model 3 production problems solved; Plus with Space X he’s building commercial space travel.

Villains?

Equifax: Details of 145 million people stolen and that many of those people had never consented to Equifax holding their vital details in the first place. Plus Equifax left its websites unpatched for months after a serious flaw in its software had been publicly disclosed. And then the company executives sold nearly $2 million in Equifax stock after learning of the breach. Plus  the CEO blamed the breach on a single employee and not on a demonstrably lax corporate security culture.

Uber: Uber's list of foul-ups this year alone is extensive: The company been accused of fostering a culture of sexual harassment, stealing other companies' intellectual property, destroying incriminating evidence, and paying off hackers who stole the personal data of both drivers and passengers and then covering up the hack for a year.

Best stoush?

1. In Aotearoa the most memorable seemed to be between the Don Brash and some other elderly Pākehā men objecting to RNZ’s Guyon Espinor and others using Te Reo

2. Globally Hard not to pick on Uber again this year but the stoush between the then Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and his Uber driver was hard to beat

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-28/in-video-uber-ceo-argues-with-driver-over-falling-fares

Your own biggest success?

Launching New Zealand’s first fintech accelerator, the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator with Creative HQ and Callaghan Innovation and seeing three thriving new businesses (Sharesies, Accounting Pod and Tapi) take flight and now setting up the second.

What’s the biggest mistake innovators/businesses will make in 2018?

Underestimating the exponential nature of technology change and not thinking big enough.

What do you expect to see in the next five years?

  • In my industry incredible changes as technologies like machine learning and super speed blockchains combined with regulatory interventions redesign financial services
  • AI assistants will actually become useful and in many cases you won’t know or care if you’re dealing with a human.
  • Massive automation advances
  • Massive leaps in computational power

What will be dead in the next five years?

  • More jobs and professions than we can currently comprehend
  • Anti-climate change thinking
  • Fidget spinners

What should be invented and/or un-invented?

Invent

  • Warp drive (or similar)
  • Human and AI symbiosis
  • New laws of robotics to minimise life or death decisions that adversely impact on humans

Uninvent

  • Patriarchy
  • Wired electricity

Favourite book/TV show/podcast/album/website/magazine/story/performance-enhancing drug of the year?

Favourite TV show: Marvel’s Luke Cage.

Favourite book: The Son, by Philipp Meyer/The Lean StartUp Way by Eric Ries.

Favourite podcast: Breaking Bank$ by Brett King.

Favourite Album: Ragnarok by Wardruna.

Favourite website: Twitter (if that can be classed as a website).

Performance enhancing drug:

1. Meditation

2. Garage Project Pernicious Weed (beer)

What’s the one piece of tech would you have on a desert island?

iPhone with internet connection and solar powered battery. Nothing else needed.

Will the robots become sentient and kill us all? (asking for a friend)

They will become sentient and there will be a singularity. So in that respect humans as we know them will have a pretty incredible operating system upgrade.

How long before we have:  

  • Driverless cars: Trucks and some passenger vehicles in 3 years cars in 10
  • Flying cars: Mmmm, I’d say never for mass market. Enough carnage on roads.
  • Immortality: Our intelligence will be able to be backed up to the Cloud by the middle of this century. Seems a logical step to then download into new physical containers. So within my lifetime definitely – as I will be living forever if I can make it to 2050!
  • Cities that all look like Venice: 70,000 NZ properties may be uninsurable due to sea level rises within 20-30 years according to the NZ Insurance Council so having intelligence downloaded to an aquatic body is sounding prudent.
  • No planet to live on: Musk is hoping to get first humans to Mars by 2024. Settlements from 2050. If we can become multi-planetary species then maybe there’s hope for us and our original planet.
  • No animals farmed or eaten: By 2050 we’ll be a long way there. The recent Power of Plants food hackathon by Creative HQ and Lincoln Hub showed the innovation work into alternative proteins that’s here right now in NZ. Globally companies producing synthetic proteins, insect and plant based are getting billions of investment dollars. The impracticality and high cost of using current animal farming to feed 10 billion human beings will create a tipping point. It’s possible the whole idea of ingesting food for energy may be replaced by patches. Makes sense on Mars!
  • No cash: 2027. Central banks are already considering digital fiat currencies. New blockchains are promising many times the transaction processing speed of credit cards. Our digital money will sit on digital wallets in the cloud and payments will recede into the background, like how you pay for an Uber today.

  • Non-human lovers: Ewww. But yes that’s the final destiny of the porn industry. They are kind of here now. Just ewww.
  • Fusion energy: 2027. An Australian company is expecting to have a prototype reactor within a decade
  • Universal basic income: 2027. Trials undeway in Netherlands, Canada, Kenya, India, Switzerland, Finland and France. AI and robotic automation will not create new jobs for the ones removed and these technologies are moving exponentially. Korea already has 4.78 robots per 100 workers.
  • Chips implanted in our brains: Tied with the immortality prediction. A neural lace will make us symbiotic with AI.
  • Colonies on Mars: 2050. Humans are really well designed for multi-planetary life – and big brains and opposable thumbs will be augmented by AI and robotics. The exponential rate of technology change this century and our own planetary issues makes living in space seem actually the only rational alternative. It will create a species-saving mindset shift in humans as we become the nomads we once were – just on a galactic scale.

*****

Want to make a change in 2018?

Accelerate your career, launch a new product, service or business and grow your knowledge to prepare for the future of work.

Check out our Tech Futures Lab, one-year Master's designed to help you find your innovation future!

APPLY NOW: https://www.techfutureslab.com/master-degree

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription, an Idealog t-shirt and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).