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Vocus Inspire: Technologies to Change the World with Futurist Dr Bruce McCabe

It was a pleasure having futurist, writer, and international speaker Dr Bruce McCabe speak at the most recent Vocus Inspire virtual session. The current series of Vocus Inspire focuses on innovators and game changers from Australia and beyond.

Dr McCabe’s presentation was one for the books. He began his career at IBM in 1988 and went on to hold senior roles there and at WordPerfect, Novell, and Gartner. In 2002, Dr McCabe founded S2 Intelligence, a think tank to support organisational innovation through grounded research.

During his session, Technologies to Change the World, Dr McCabe took the audience through some of the most exciting technological developments and ideas that are already underway or coming soon and shared his optimism about the ways that tech and connectivity are leading the way in transforming our world.

AI transforms “boring” problems. Using machine learning to solve problems that, at first glance, aren’t very exciting, can have massive returns and economic benefits for society. AI, for instance, is being used in some recycling centres to recognise different types of rubbish, enabling the machines to do the job much more quickly. Eventually, more diverse types of companies will employ these types of technology, freeing up people to do more “thinking” work.

The future of work will be a balance. While most people had to quickly become adept at working remotely during the pandemic, people are social creatures. Because building relationships with colleagues relies on interpersonal interaction, the idea that the days of city CBDs will become obsolete and all work will be remote is premature, Dr McCabe said. Instead, the future will be more flexible with a variety of options.

Innovative solutions for cities, climate change and healthcare. Utilising machine learning for capacity utilisation of vehicles to reduce congestion in cities, advancements in technologies that will halve the cost of renewables in three years and lifesaving advances in regenerative medicine and cancer T-cell therapy.

Disruption supports innovation. The pandemic is the biggest disruptor most of us will see in our lifetimes. The good news is that out of disruption comes a willingness to try new things and to think differently about the way things have always been done, because people are more open to it. For businesses and governments, that means right now is an excellent time to try new ideas, fail fast and embrace new technologies, and, whether it’s with customers, employees, or citizens.

Telecommunications are key. From incorporating the internet of things in cities that improve the lives of citizens to worldwide internet coverage via satellite, advances in technology and the way we live all rely on robust networks and telecommunications. It’s impossible to have one without the other.

Next up in Vocus Inspire: Innovators and Game Changers, Digital Transformation: The LEGO journey, featuring Lars Silberbauer, Global Head of Brand, Marketing and Digital at the Olympics (IOC), former Senior Global Director of Digital at LEGO, live on Zoom at 3pm on Wednesday 15 September. Register here.