Humans and Robots

Posted on: Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 3:04:57 PM

Not Humans or Robots, but Definitely Humans and Robots

AICC(WA)’s ECU futureNOW Sundowner Event, 27 April 2016 at GHD Perth, featuring Business Futurist, Morris Miselowski


GHD’s new state of the art facilities provided the perfect setting for the first AICC(WA) futureNOW series presentation of 2016.  Mr Morris Miselowski, world renowned business futurist, innovation provocateur and media commentator addressed the topic “People vs Technology, Who Will Win?


 Mr Craig Walkemeyer, Manager - Western Australia, GHD

In welcoming attendees, Mr Craig Walkemeyer, Manager WA, GHD spoke of the innovation focus of GHD, and in particular of the Smart Seeds initiative.   Smart Seeds is an annual innovation program for young professionals focused on generating fresh ideas to solve complex infrastructure challenges.  Hosted for the first time in Perth, Smart Seeds is developing solutions including water sensitivity, connecting people to places, off- grid infrastructure for Perth airport and improving the livability of Perth City.

The keynote speaker was introduced by sponsor Professor Margaret Jones, Director, Office of Research and Innovation at ECU.  Professor Jones also discussed the ECU and cross-academic sector initiatives to collaborate with advanced Doctoral students promoting innovation.  ECU is a young university promoting advanced scientific and technological disciplines, including a world renowned cyber security research institute. 


 Professor Margaret Jones, Director, Office of Research and Innovation, Edith Cowan University


Professor Jones introduced Morris Miselowski noting his reputation as the “swiss army knife of futurists” and “the secret weapon future proofing business”.  Mr Miselowski works with CEO’s and Boards across the world to guide creative foresight strategy development.  Immediately challenging his audience, Mr Miselowski qualified that real change is driven by people and not technology.  Demonstrating how three decades of technological change has impacted the way we communicate, work, shop, live and love, he posited that all we have really done is put the infrastructure, culture and thinking together to improve lifestyle.  It is however the pace of change moving forward that we need to better prepare for.

So too, organisations have changed.  The company lifespan of and S&P listing has decreased from 60 years to 20 years, and is predicted to further decrease to 12 years.  In the meanwhile, the world is growing “unicorns” defined as companies that obtain $1billion capitalisation within 3 years.  Some achieve $10billion. 


Mr Morris Miselowski

The corporate sector is now devolving its view of project driven automation.  “Robots will never take over” said Mr Miselowski, “We will simply look for further ways to transition from manual to creative work. Robots will take physical jobs, but human nature is supplementary to this”.  He cited that although 500,000 to 600,000 jobs in Australia have already been replaced by technology, a further 2 million new jobs have been created in more advanced industry settings. 

             From L to R: Professor John Finlay-Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Edith Cowan University, Mr Craig Walkemeyer, Manager - Western Australia, GHD, Mr John Cluer, Chief Executive, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA), Mr Morris Miselowski, Professor Margaret Jones, Director, Office of Research and Innovation, Edith Cowan University, Mr Larry Lopez, Vice-president, AICC(WA) and Partner, Australian Venture Consultants


Mr Miselowski shared some examples of this process, including;


  • Further evolvement of 3d printing that will become a domestic norm that decentralises all forms of manufacturing
  • Reshoring via robotics that return production to its source by undercutting human labor costs.
  • Drones, including those that do what humans have not, cannot, or should not be able to do
  • Self driving cars and new modes of transportation with global distribution reach
  • Rehabilitation and life science medical technology.  Medicine will no longer be invasive with bots that are frontiers for medical diagnosis living inside of us.
  • Transfer of information through wearable technology (the Internet of Things).  We are already providing information about where we are and what we need and our activities are being digitised.

As the next frontier Mr Miselowski talked about moves towards Artificial Intelligence, and our role in writing the narrative by questioning, arguing and providing intuition and wisdom to this process.  He noted it was about outputs not inputs, and that Artisanal Wisdom will allow us to create jobs that are the products of technological evolvement.  He does not fear a loss of human control over technology. 

Citing Israel as on of the leading places with the intent and purpose to produce the technology that will allow “humans to win”, Mr Miselowski noted that Israel is a microcosm of the culture that embraces a necessary conversation about our future development and prosperity. 



Mr Morris Miselowski

A fascinating dialogue followed Mr Miselowski’s presentation.  When asked how our universities will prepare more futurists, he cited communication (soft skills and wisdom), creativity (developing students who will make jobs as opposed to get jobs) and community (working in tribes) as the key areas of focus.  When asked how to ensure we are not overwhelmed by the pace of growth he commented that “technology is a dumb tool but we are even dumber if we let it control us.  We still need to know how to turn technology off and be human.” 

A copy of Mr Miselowski’s presentation notes can be found on

Further articles and resource material from Morris Miselowski can be obtained from Eye on the Future and his eMagazine FutureCurious Times.

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