It’s a strange time in history to be a fan of sci-fi – when world governments seem determined to pitch us headlong into a dystopian future, when climate change is changing the face of the planet we inhabit, when humans are actively engaging with the concept of living on Mars, and when the exponential speed of technological advance sees us becoming more and more reliant on our tools. Parts of the Techweek’17 programme read like a sci-fi novel, so if you’re interested in near-future tech that’s fast becoming now-future, start here:
Kea’s The Future of Money kicks off the Techweek conversation about cryptocurrencies, the future of finance, and how our financial institutions will be forced to adapt to stay relevant. This topic will be examined in even greater detail at TheBlockchain.NZ, when world-renowned speakers will come together to talk about how blockchain technology is changing the world (very quickly), not just in the financial industry, but in academia, law, insurance, healthcare, and even democracy itself. This blockchain can be difficult to get your head around, so if you’re interested, come along and hear from the best speakers in the world, who will undoubtedly help put it into its very powerful context.
“While blockchain is still a very nascent technology, it promotes the promise of a better future. Applied correctly, it is likely to be the most impactful digital transformation in our lifetime, changing the way we record and process data and transactions, and even changing the way we think.” - Leanne Kemp, Everledger
Perhaps one of the most fascinating things about near future sci-fi storytelling, is how its creators have imagine entertainment – how soon will we be living like Joaquin Phoenix in Her, whose living room that transforms into a gaming virtual reality hologram each night? If you want to find out about the latest technology in virtual reality, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things, then look no further than Future Realities in Auckland and Wellington – an immersive expo that brings the latest hardware and software in these fascinating fields to the public, alongside a phenomenal line-up of speakers, including award-winning sci-fi novelist and futurist, Neal Stephenson.
In Auckland, the Magnify AR/VR Expo is coming to SKYCITY, showcasing the latest gaming hardware and software, and a line-up of speakers, both local and international, who will be talking about the future of gaming. At MOTAT, during the Week of Play and Wonder, you can play with experimental gaming technology, or see it demonstrated by local innovators from Arcade Auckland, the NZDGA, and AUT.
The subject of Artificial Intelligence has inspired a multitude of nightmarish sci-fi stories – from Terminator to Ex Machina – but, rather than focus on this technology’s potential to bring about the end of humanity, the Techweek’17 programme will focus on the ways in which AI technology will change the way we work and interact with each other. Datacom’s AI: Reimagining Customer Engagement event will offer real examples of AI benefiting customer experience, and will feature FaceMe founder Danny Tomsett, talking about increasing the emotional intelligence of AI to create ‘human-like’ interactions between business and customer. At Auckland University’s Annual Gibbons Lectures, academics from across the country will talk about the impact of AI technology on many of the facets of human life – topics will include the impact upon the elderly, applications to deep learning and big data, and an exploration of the questionable impacts of AI on human civilization. It will be fascinating to see what conclusions are drawn, and how quickly this area of research becomes our reality.
This blog is just a tiny insight into some of the coolest science ‘non-fiction’ events taking place during Techweek’17. Dive into the programme to see what else the future has to offer.
Techweek wouldn’t be possible without the visionary support of our partners, and so the Techweek’17 team would like to take this moment to thank two of our city partners, ATEED and WREDA, for helping to bring this science fiction future to life in Auckland and Wellington at Techweek’17.