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What keeps me up at night: NewZealand.AI's Justin Flitter

What keeps me up at night: NewZealand.AI's Justin Flitter

Justin Flitter is the Founder of NewZealand.AITech.KiwiAI-DAY and host of The AI Show monthly events showcasing the practical business applications of AI and Emerging Technology. Here's what keeps him up at night. 

What worries you the most about technology?
 
What worries me most is that technology is advancing at an increasingly accelerated rate of change. And that most of the developments that will pose the greatest threats to humanity are being done behind closed doors, so by the time they are released it’s impossible for us to prevent or stop it’s impact on the world.
 
What’s your scariest prediction for the future?
 
Their will be no privacy. Forced to live in a world where governments and organisations are monitoring everything we do, from sleep to public behaviour and transactions, the services we’re offered will be directly related to our personal performance rating. 
 
What’s your most encouraging prediction for the future?
 
Societies around the world including New Zealand are at the forefront of policy and humanitarian impact assessment of emerging technologies like Artificial intelligence. Together we’ll drive a social conscious to design and build AI System that positively augment humans and empower us to live sustainably, focusing on local produce, enterprise and safe societies. 
 
What do you think New Zealand will look like as a country in 2038?
 
New Zealand’s Kiwi Saver and investment funds have been proactively invested in infrastructure, education, healthcare, science and technology. As a small nation we well and truly punch above our weight with an economy and society that attracts the best minds from every sector to live here. We’re a Digital First Nation thats fully adopted the best of emerging technology to enable people to work anywhere, driving residents back to provinces and small towns. Creating hubs of hyper innovation with global commercialisation pathways.
 
What’s your social media usage like?
 
Flitter is an acronym for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter - right? I utilise the three main platforms to listen, learn and connect with interest groups and communities around the world. It’s now I connect with people and stay connected to the leading thinkers around New Zealand and the world.
 
Do you try limit how much personal information is available about you online?
 
I don’t share that much about my personal life. Social Media is very much my work and professional activity. I use 2-factor authentication where possible and regularly change my passwords and I’m very selective what applications I use or authenticate with using social media platforms. 
 
What will be dead in the next five years? (Products, companies, trends, etc)
 
I wish the laptop would become extinct. We own far to many devices and with the internet and Artificial Intelligence becoming as pervasive as electricity any surface could become and interaction point. Smartphones will project virtual keyboards. Tables will be connected devices, recognising your face, fingerprints or voice ID. 
 
What do you hope will be invented in the next five years?
 
Perhaps this is a Blackmirror episode and it’s almost but not quite here. I believe people will get sick of hearing everyones voice commands as they interact with their devices. So I hope Thought Activated / Mind Control will be the way we get things done. Literally talk to yourself to type your essay or ask your virtual personal assistant to do something for you.
 
Will the robots become sentient and kill us all?
 
No I don’t think so. I do believe that there will be occasions when robots take actions that kill humans but they will be random errors in the AI or rogue bots like criminals.
 
How likely is it that we’re living in a simulation?
 
Totally. There are forces out there trying to test us all the time. 
 
How far should we take human enhancement? (Bionic limbs, computer chips in brains, designer babies)
 
As far as there’s demand. Humanity has always pushed technology and what’s possible. That’s never going to stop. People will always be curious and ask “What if?’
 
If you are not counting sheep, what are you counting?
 
The number of days until my next holiday!
 
What is it about the future that gets you up in the next morning?
 
That it’s so friggen exciting! There are so many incredible Kiwi businesses developing products and services with emerging technology that could change the world. I love hearing about them and sharing their stories. My business, what I do is centred around helping more people learn about emerging tech like Artificial Intelligence. Their curiosity and imagination with what becomes possible for them and their business is so fascinating and exciting. 
Find Justin on Twitter – @JustinFlitter.
 
What worries you the most about technology?
 
That we won’t have enough people with the right skills to really make the most of all the advancements. I see it in my industry already. It is so difficult to find people with the skills and experiences that we are looking for and in a way that’s holding us back from progress.
 
What’s your scariest prediction for the future?
 
That we could lose in-person interactions all together. Technology has been able to bring us closer together, but it also means that we don’t think long about moving overseas away from our friends and family.
 
What’s your most encouraging prediction for the future?
 
I hope that in a number of years we will get to a stage that knowledge will be completely democratised. We have already made great leaps in that direction. You no longer need to be privileged to go to university in order to gain a certain skill; provided that you have an internet connection you can learn anything you want.
 
What do you think New Zealand will look like as a country in 2038?
 
No one will own a car, autonomous vehicles will take us anywhere we need to. I also think that more and more people will move out of the big urban centres and work remotely from rural locations. No traffic nor housing shortage – rather positive I think!
 
What’s your social media usage like?

I am fairly active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I really do enjoy using these tools to stay up to date with what is happening around the world and also keep in touch with my friends and family.
 
Do you try limit how much personal information is available about you online?
 
Not really. When I was around 20, I made an active decision the person that I am on social media would be a reflection of who I am in real life. I remember that a lot of people were worried at that stage that a ‘potential employer’ would judge them based on their profile and this could jeopardise their future. I am proud of who I am both off and online and don’t have much to hide. I also love it when I get suggestion/ads for things that are relevant to me. If by sharing more information about me my life improves my day to day, then I am all for it!
 
What will be dead in the next five years? (Products, companies, trends, etc)
 
Flash memory sticks, listening to music on the radio and watching traditional TV.
 
What do you hope will be invented in the next five years?
 
A robot that will be able to clean the entire house: kitchen, bathroom, windows, everything. A robot vacuum cleaner is just not enough.
 
Will the robots become sentient and kill us all?
 
I wouldn’t be in the business of creating Artificial Humans if I thought this was true!
 
How likely is it that we’re living in a simulation?
 
I have always dabbled with that thought. If we are, then there are some impressive computing capabilities working behind the scenes!
 
How far should we take human enhancement? (Bionic limbs, computer chips in brains, designer babies)
 
In a way, we have always played a part in selecting features for our offspring. When we choose a partner, we subconsciously look for qualities that we want to see in our children. I am not sure where to draw the line in terms of artificial enhancements. Ultimately, the most important consideration would be to assess whether it improves our lives (without jeopardising other people’s lives).
 
If you are not counting sheep, what are you counting?
 
Don’t worry. I don’t have problems falling asleep.
 
What is it about the future that gets you up in the next morning?
 
The prospect of making lives even better by tackling some of the biggest challenges.
 

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