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TRAILBLAZERS WORKSHOP - PAM FERGUSSON CHARITABLE TRUST

WHY ARE WE HERE?

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FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY


There is no doubt that there is rapid change on the way, in all parts of our lives, driven by technology. Today it’s blockchain, synthetics, CRISPR, automation as AI and robotics.

Tomorrow who knows?!?

Technology is changing how we live, work and play. Entertainment, jobs, healthcare, transportation, energy...

The only certainty is that technology is going to change.

We want to focus on what technology features, but how. How do our people adapt and take advantage of all that these changes bring us.

Be in charge of change, not just consumers of it.

It starts with having a positively inspired and engaged youth. It’s their future and they need to feel connected to it, believe they can be a part of it and engaged in shaping it.

They will be the creators of the future technology not just consumers of it.

Then we will have a country empowered to innovate and solve the right problems for Aotearoa NZ.


10 BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGIES

…according to Bill Gates


MIT Technology Review have been publishing Breakthrough Technology lists for eighteen years, and in 2019, for the first time ever, they asked Bill Gates (of Microsoft fame) to be a guest curator. As the Editor-in-Chief Gideon Lichfield says: "Bill's list reflects his belief that we're approaching a tipping point in humanity's technological development - from technologies that mostly make life longer to those that mostly make it better. His choices highlight some of what he considers the most important challenges and opportunities of our time."

Click here to read more about each item.

Robot Dexterity

Robot Dexterity

Custom cancer vaccines

Custom cancer vaccines

Sanitation without sewers

Sanitation without sewers

New-wave  nuclear power

New-wave
nuclear power

The cow-free burger

The cow-free burger

Smooth-talking AI assistants

Smooth-talking AI assistants

Predicting preemies

Predicting preemies

Carbon dioxide catcher

Carbon dioxide catcher

Gut probe in a pill

Gut probe in a pill

An ECG on your wrist

An ECG on your wrist

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DISCUSSION

What do you think of these technologies? Do you think they will be breakthrough technologies like Bill Gates thinks they will be?

  1. Do they affect you in your context?

  2. Do they affect the tamariki that you teach? Should they?


BOSTON DYNAMICS' BIG DOG


This is Big Dog. Big Dog is the first advanced rough-terrain robot to leave the lab and take on the real world.

BigDog has four legs that are articulated like an animal’s, with compliant elements to absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule.

BigDog's on-board computer controls locomotion, processes sensors, and handles communications with the user. BigDog’s control system keeps it balanced, manages locomotion on a wide variety of terrain, and does navigation. Sensors for locomotion include joint position, joint force, ground contact, ground load, a gyroscope, LIDAR, and a stereo vision system. Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring the hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine functions, battery charge, and others.

BigDog runs at 10 kmh, climbs slopes up to 35 degrees, walks across rubble, climbs muddy hiking trails, walks in snow and water, and carries up to 150kg loads.

Development of the original BigDog robot was funded by DARPA. Work to add a manipulator and do dynamic manipulation was funded by the Army Research Laboratory's RCTA program.

Read all about Big Dog here

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DISCUSSION

  1. Big Dog was originally funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) - an agency of the United States Department of Defence. They are responsible for the development of emergent technologies for use by the military. Is this important? Why?

  2. Would it be 'better', 'worse' or just 'different' if Big Dog was not funded by the military?


HANSON ROBOTICS SOPHIA


This is Sophia singing a duet with US late night host Jimmy Fallon on a TV show.

Sophia is Hanson Robotics' latest human-like robot, created by combining our innovations in science, engineering and artistry.

Hanson Robotics claim that Sophia is here to help people in real uses like medicine and education, and to serve AI research. My very existence provokes public discussion regarding AI ethics and the role humans play in society, especially when human-like robots become ubiquitous.

Sophia is a citizen of Saudi Arabia, she has a credit card and is learning about humanity by watching Youtube reaction videos.

Read more about Sophia here.

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DISCUSSION

  1. One thing we have said as humans is that "creativity" is something that only humans have. It is the one difference between robots and humanity. If Sophia can sing a duet, does that mean Sophia is creative?

  2. Hanson Robotics is a private company. Does this matter?


SKIN VISION


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Much closer to home, skin cancer is a big deal here in Aotearoa. SkinVision is an app that helps you check your skin for signs of skin cancer with instant results on your phone. It uses a clinically-proven technology, combined with the knowledge of dermatologists specialized in skin cancer. With over 3.4 million pictures in its database and 27 thousand skin cancers found, it can be more accurate than your GP.

Read more about it here.

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DISCUSSION

  1. One thing technology can provide is convenience. Even for us urbanites living in the center of the city, it is hard to find the time to get to a doctor, and frequently things like suspicious moles get forgotten about. Would this be a technology that you would use?

  2. If things like simple diagnosis is becoming app based, what does that mean for the people who can't access or don't know how to access technology?


ZEPHYR'S CORA


Cora is a autonomous, fully electric flying car. It is being tested here in Canterbury since October 2017. It can take off and land vertically, much like a helicopter. It has a range of 100 kilometres and can hit speeds of 150 km/h.

Our prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has given a stamp of approval on the programme, saying that it was about "sending a message to the world that our doors are open for people with great ideas who want to turn them into reality".

Cora is being developed by California-based Kitty Hawk Corporation, which is reportedly funded by Google co-founder Larry Page. The New Zealand operator is called Zephyr Airworks.

Read more at:

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DISCUSSION

  1. When Aotearoa banded together and said no to Nuclear technology in 1987, a lot of the public probably didn't understand the details of nuclear technology, but we decided as a country that it was not for us. If the debate was being held today, do you think the NZ public would still vote for nuclear-free Aotearoa?

  2. Science and Technology has been put on what seems to be an unattainable pedestal. Does this affect the debate of the appropriateness of technology in the public sphere?


EXERCISE

What do we value - Group Discussion / Brainstorm

Materials Needed:
Either a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. Or share a Google Spreadsheet to include your remote colleagues.

  1. What is it we really value about ourselves that makes us different from machines, and other life forms?

  2. What do other people value in us that makes them willing to offer us jobs?


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