What can we expect next from the future of tech?

Thrive's senior account director Miles Alexander spent last weekend mingling with some of the biggest names in tech at the 2022 TechLeaders conference. From ministers, to expert panellists and tech journalists, he got to hear firsthand where technology is heading and what the industry can expect next. He shares his key takeaways here.

The three key takeaways from the recent TechLeaders event in Sydney were:

1) Skills shortage

It’s true, there simply are not enough people out there who can interpret and talk tech.

The most common theme that emerged from TechLeaders was the impact of the ongoing skills shortage. This sentiment was unanimous across all key speakers and attendees, including Minister Dominello, Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government.

To put this into perspective, it is predicted that we need 1.2 million tech jobs filled by 2030, which to put it frankly, Australia is a long way off fulfilling. Not only is this putting us at a global disadvantage when it comes to tech innovation, it is also adding extra workforce challenges on
the tech community.

So how are we going to tackle this? Experts believe there needs to be a reframing of the narrative, from jobs shortage, to job opportunity, to make careers in STEM more attractive to the next generation.

But, the reality is that we need to be upskilling now, with experts arguing that we cannot wait another four (plus) years for university cohorts to graduate. The solution lies in looking at skilled migration – Australia is a nation built on migration and this can be used to our advantage.

2) Diversity is critical for the future of technology

We need to be challenging the inherent bias.

As technology continues to evolve, there is an ethical and moral obligation to ensure technology serves everyone in our society.

For most of us, we have become accustomed to using AI in our day to day lives – e.g. Siri (voice assistance), FaceId (facial recognition) as well as OTT media recommendations like Netflix who use AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) to predict which images best engage
which viewers as they scroll through the company’s many thousands of titles.

This also presents a huge issue known as coded bias, where many facial recognition systems, algorithms and artificial intelligence technologies are failing to identify faces from marginalised communities, particularly in domains such as housing, career opportunities, healthcare, credit,
education and legalities. Ultimately, this could have huge human rights implications if not addressed.

It also plays into the current skills shortage. How do we get more gender, ethically and sexually diverse people into STEM to ensure these systems reflect the diversity in society? The future could involve an AI insurance framework, an advisory committee or AI commissioner to ensure
tighter protocols are in place.

3) WEB3 – the third generation of the evolution of web technologies

The power now lies with the individual. Think decentralisation, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics. Compared to Web 2.0 where data and content has been centralised to a small group of companies, otherwise referred to as Big Tech (Apple, Amazon, Meta, the list
goes on).

Big Tech and individual control of data builds trust and increased data mobility. This allows us to invite businesses into our data set, rather than entering into a corporations’, and helps to combat the influence of large tech companies.

Some Web2.0 companies are already onto this. Thrive client Reddit has looked into ways to incorporate Web 3.0 ideas into their business already. For example, Reddit users can buy Ethereum crypto directly in the social media platform’s app thanks to a partnership with FTX.

What does this mean for Marcomms professionals?

As marcomms professionals, we need to be relentless consumers of news on these complex terms and rapidly evolving issues. The ones that are will be the difference between staying ahead of the curve, and not.

Being able to use the appropriate language will be vital to technology storytelling and, more importantly, engaging with technology journalists, experts and stakeholders now and into the future.

By doing so, marcomms professionals will have an added advantage of knowing when and where to place technology brands and which clients can offer a unique point of view to authentically contribute to the ‘conversation’.

 Miles Alexander, senior account director (tech) at Thrive PR


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