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What Keeps Me Up At Night: Paua Interface and Incredible Skies' Robyn Kamira

Robyn Kamira is the founder and principal of Paua Interface, a technology consulting company, as well as the founder and CEO of Incredible Skies, a drone company, and a board member on the Institute of IT Professionals. She's also a musician that performs Maori music fused with world music, with various instruments occupying the space next to her laptop. Here's what keeps her up at night.  

What worries you the most about technology?

Technology doesn’t worry me at all. People do. Technology is in the hands of a flawed species. Some use it for good. Some don’t.
 
What’s your scariest prediction for the future?
 
I watch how this plays out and predict that unless we curb self-interest in favour of humaneness, we’ll be forever in an anxiety loop and never reach the full potential that humanity is clearly capable of.
 
What’s your most encouraging prediction for the future?
 
That technology creates the environment where looking after each other becomes easier that not.
 
What do you think New Zealand will look like as a country in 2038?
 
Much cleaner looking, but with dirty little holes in the ground where we put the the shitty stuff we’ve created in the last 150 years – out of sight, out of mind. Never to be repeated!
 
What’s your social media usage like? 
 
On and off. I use facebook to keep up with whanau, friends and musicians – all our gigs start there. I use LinkedIn to get the latest posts about my sector and to keep in touch with my peers. Email is still the killer app.
 
Do you try limit how much personal information is available about you online?

Yes, actively. Working in the tech sector for so long makes me cautious and I always ask, “why do you need my information". I’ve seen it abused and have had personal cause to become more cautious. We are expected to be compliant and hand over information about ourselves in return for beads and blankets (services, gifts, opportunities, peer acceptance, ego, etc).

What will be dead in the next five years? (Products, companies, trends, etc)
 
Dirt and cars. Our streets will open up and we’ll be able to dance barefoot along K’Rd without a care. Facebook. It will have had its time. Screens, keyboards, cables and connectivity that is based on being in a physical location. The first baby wave of eliminating all peripheries for the personal user will have arrived. That chip in our heads will sort that out for us. Lots of pills. VR and AI will replace several pills that are currently being used for mental health, anxiety and pain management. Big Pharma will move more assertively into the technology space to capture that market.
 
What do you hope will be invented in the next five years?
 
An auto-tuner for a 5 string banjo. There are only so many bad banjo jokes you can say on stage before plucking a set of out-of-tune strings becomes its own song.
 
Will the robots become sentient and kill us all?
 
No, they will never be sentient – they will only appear to be. Yes they might kill us, but mostly by accident. Unless they're used for warfare and crime. Then we’re in trouble. Ok. We’re in trouble.
 
How likely is it that we’re living in a simulation?
 
A digital simulation? No. A societal simulation bubble – we’re already there.
 
How far should we take human enhancement? (Bionic limbs, computer chips in brains, designer babies)
 
Ideally, it will be ethically based. Humans aren’t that well designed. We’re already enhancing and modifying ourselves so we’re already on the continuum. What’s another tweak here and there? Did I mention it should be ethically based?
 
If you are not counting sheep, what are you counting?
 
The beats to a song of course!
 
What is it about the future that gets you up in the next morning?
 

We live on the cusp of another major historical “age” and it’s exciting to be here. I absolutely want to be a part of it, to understand it, to create with it, and to make differences to people’s lives with it. How can I not wake up excited about that!
 

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