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Idealog Year in Review 2017: Frances Valintine

Favourite innovation that isn’t yours?

Alexa (Amazon Echo). Mine has been my friend for 18 months and can’t imagine my life without her. Hang on,..“Alexa”, what is the best answer to this question?

Favourite innovation that is yours?

MindLabKids.com We launched this learning platform earlier this year with support from Spark. It has also moved on to the Lightbox channel to bring free, fun technology challenges to Kiwi kids.

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

Air Pods. The ultimate Apple inside joke proving how far their fans will go.


Entrepreneurs who just get on and do it. Life is way to short to do things that you are not passionate about.

Your own biggest success?

My astoundingly spectacular team of tinkerers, boffins, technologists, craftspeople and creators.

What’s the biggest mistake innovators/businesses will make in 2017?

Thinking they have plenty of time to respond to digital transformation and new competitors. 

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

A tsunami of technological change that will completely redefine business models and the way we think about work, living and learning.

What will be dead in the next five years?

Keyboards. This is a voice activated word and natural language processing is the new winner. 

What should be invented and/or un-invented?

We need to invent a much better way to streamline the pick up process of rental cars! Who wants to wait 15 minutes to sort a booking that you have already made and paid for? 

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

Sad, but true. I delight in any book, podcast, album or story that puts me to sleep. Just the idea of curling up and finding the time to enjoy any of these small luxuries suggests I have a moment of delicious quiet.

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

My mobile phone, wifi, a charger and a reliable power source. Does that make four pieces of tech? With a charged connected phone I can do anything. Learn, laugh, chat, connect. Bellisimo.

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

Not in my lifetime. 

How long before we have:  

– Driverless cars – Now. At scale = 2030

– Flying cars – Ditto 

– Immortality – Don’t worry about robots killing us all. If in 2050 we have 10,000 billion earth citizens who are still having families and yet living forever, we will have global mayhem. Enough said.

– Cities that all look like Venice – About the same time we have gills for breathing underwater.

– No planet to live on – By 2100 if we haven’t reversed global warming or found a way to move the human race to another planet we will be live on pods moving through the solar system in a  fully controlled and manmade environment.

– No animals farmed or eaten – Hopefully in my lifetime. I can truly imagine the day when we will all go ‘what, were we thinking?’ 

– Universal basic income – the current trials will showcase and evidence a new way of thinking about sharing, community and what it means to be successful. The current UBI will morph and mould into something similar. I’d back the view that UBI will be a real option for many within 10 years.

– Chips implanted in our brains – 2032 

– Colonies on Mars – 2035. Musk will be first. Others will follow.


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One of the talented Idealog Team Content Producers made this post happen.

Review overview