Overall, my main concern is that there is a lack of awareness around technology (how it works, what is currently going on, the impact of our decisions when engaging with technology, etc) which means that a lot of society is unaware of the impact that their decisions and ways they interact with technology have on their lives, and the lives of others. To be more specific, things like geo-location tracking that goes on without a consumer being aware of how accessible this data is and putting themselves at risk of being tracked down. Another is data protection around things like passwords and bank account details/digital money. Also how companies utilise our data to sell or influence our societies without people realising that this is what is happening. These are just a few of the ways that technology impacts us as individuals and without an awareness of this people become more vulnerable to being taken advantage of.
Also the idea of the power that technology brings getting into the wrong hands worries me a bit too. Whether that's through robotics, artificial intelligence or infrastructure I think that it is the responsibility not only of the consumers who interact with these technologies to keep themselves educated, but also the responsibility of the companies and organisations who hold this power to be transparent with their operations so that consumers can make informed decisions about what they chose to use and interact with, and how.
Lastly I get really worried about technological addiction and reliance and the effects that this behaviour has on things like self esteem, self worth and confidence. There is inevitable social impact of hyper-connectivity on peoples self image and pressure to perform, and this is concerning for me, especially when it comes to the development of our younger people. In order to have a future where the power of technology is harnessed in a way that has positive social outcomes for humanity, then we need to raise the leaders and society members of tomorrow who value that.
What’s your scariest prediction for the future?
That everyone is controlled and tracked, and being made to live without free will and access to nature.
What’s your most encouraging prediction for the future?
That the education industry moves fast enough to empower and instill knowledge to as many people as possible about understanding technology so that everyone has a fair chance and choice to utilize technology to benefit society and themselves for the greater good.
What do you think New Zealand will look like as a country in 2038?
Hopefully not too much change. Maybe less pollution if we make the right choices now, less people in poverty, smart cities would be the norm, probably flying cars – I used to dream about flying cars when I was a little girl!
What’s your social media usage like?
Intermittent. I like to share things that happen in my life that are fun and that I enjoyed and thought were cool. Also I use it a lot for business. Sometimes I just can't be bothered with social media and would rather be present in real life. I guess it really depends on what is happening in my life at the time. One of the most important reasons why I use social media now is to stay in touch with my family.
Do you try limit how much personal information is available about you online?
Not really something I think about. I don't feel like there is anything out there that I am worried about someone knowing about me and that I wouldn't talk about myself in person.
What will be dead in the next five years? (Products, companies, trends, etc)
First thing that comes to mind is parking meters. I think they will be gone. Maybe cash is at threat too as technology is taking over and more and more people are shopping online. Education that isn't tailored to your specific needs will be gone too with the help of learning analytics and data analysis. I think there are some islands and countries that are at risk of disappearing too so hopefully some action is taken to address this.
What do you hope will be invented in the next five years?
A technology that helps girls with frizzy hair like mine to be able to wear it out and not have to think too much about styling it. I know that there are some treatments out there already that deal with this problem, but I am looking forward to how this develops further and improves!
Will the robots become sentient and kill us all?
It depends who has their hands on that power. My opinion is that humans create the technology and therefore programme the robots – so it really comes down to who builds them. To me, artificial intelligence is a replica of human brain so look at humans – we have good ones and some that can be cruel. Robots are an extension of that human tendency. It's all about perspective and what the technologist is focused on.
How likely is it that we’re living in a simulation?
How long is a piece of string?! From my observation this seems to be one of the great debates of our time. I personally do not have an opinion on this because I still have decided on what I believe about this.
How far should we take human enhancement? (Bionic limbs, computer chips in brains, designer babies)
As an ex athlete and qualified personal trainer, this is a subject that is close to my heart. I naturally have a part of me that is against this type of work, as I really believe in natural beauty and nature. However there are situations where these technologies really can truly changed peoples lives for the better, such as for amputees and disabilities, and in those cases I totally understand and support this. This is a space that I watch closely to see what developments are happening and how people are responding to them.
There is something kind of creepy about the thought of having chips in my body and the fact that that means I am being tracked. I know regardless of opinion the research and development in this field is happening so for me keeping an openness to this fact is crucial at the moment.
At the end of the day, the implications on our personal lives and society of these technologies are too big to turn a blind eye to them, and I hope that more and more of our communities are exposed to this type of information so that they can make informed choices and decisions around the uptake and usage of these types of products and technologies.
If you are not counting sheep, what are you counting?
There a two patterns for me regarding this - they alternate between what I am grateful for that happened during the day and in my life (Mostly the people that I appreciate) and/or the amount of things to do on my to do list.
What is it about the future that gets you up in the next morning?
Things like ticking off my to do list, sport, food, appointments, travel, fun, sunshine always get me up and excited about the future. Learning and being better everyday are key drivers for me and just remembering to appreciate the life that we have while we have it.
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