QUTeX Returns to the Future!

Prof Melinda Edwards with Prof Michael Milford at the Real World Futures event.
Prof Melinda Edwards with Prof Michael Milford at the Real World Futures event.

Even thinking about how to prepare for the impact of transformative technologies like AI is a daunting task for most of us, which is why we decided to tackle it head-on when we relaunched QUT’s Real World Futures Series in November. With the guidance of QUT’s multi-award-winning researcher and entrepreneur, Professor Michael Milford, we explored tools to understand, navigate and anticipate the future through his presentation: Navigating Transformative Technology – A Case Study in Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics.

Professor Melinda Edwards

Following a tasty breakfast, it proved to be a rich intellectual feast offering some delicious morsels for us to take away and ponder:

  • AI represents an opportunity for improved fairness, but as a powerful technology, it also comes with risks, and achieving higher levels of cybersecurity will be vital for the AI enablement of the Australian economy.
  • In the future, robotic dogs may be the answer for lonely apartment dwellers facing hostile body corporate committees.
  • We are amid the hottest AI summer ever but that has nothing to do with global warming.
  • If we humans are going to surrender some level of control to a machine, we will need to trust that AI will do the task at least as well as us and that it won’t inappropriately divulge or delete our confidential data. As it is hard for the average person to see or check its performance, it seems the big issue for AI is the same one currently facing our banking and finance sector in Australia – public trust.
  • Automated cars may only be financially viable if simultaneously used as advertising platforms, meaning we may be forced to watch ads unless we pay for the privilege to turn them off!
  • Widespread adoption of automated vehicles also won’t happen until people trust them and the way they are programmed around ethical dilemmas is going to require thoughtful debate.

Conference room with participants at the Real World Futures event.

And the big take-away for me, as a reformed lawyer, was that whilst technological change has become the hare, the law is still the tortoise. Leaving a huge gap between what we now can do and any regulation of what we agree we should do into the future. Making AI and Ethics our next hot topic for this series!

Huge thanks again to Professor Michael Milford for such a topical and thought-provoking way to announce our return to the future through this series.

Please add your reflections of the event in the comments below…

Save the date

From the information supplied by our participants, our next event will be a deep-dive into AI and ethics. Save the date: we propose to hold the next Real World Futures event on Thursday, 20th February 2020. Details will be released early in the new year.

People in the networking area of the QUT Executive Education Centre
The Real World Futures events are a great opportunity to network with like-minded people and learn about future thinking.

Real World Futures


Melinda was a Litigator, Professor of Law, Assistant Dean and Managing Director of her own business before joining QUTeX as a Professor of Practice. She has custom-designed corporate education programs for a range of sectors including mining and resources, the legal and medical professions, government, banking and NGOs. She also has extensive international experience including projects in Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, The Czech Republic and Papua New Guinea. Melinda teaches Negotiation, Leadership and Business Law in the Graduate MBA and EMBA programs, is an Executive Coach and also leads the Ethical Leadership in Practice Series for QUTeX.

1 Comment

  1. avatar
    Glenda Markwell Reply

    Hi, I would like to share some of the comments from our participant survey:

    • Prof Michael is such an inspirational speaker and has the ability to make a complicated
    topic ‘simple’ for the appropriate audience to understand and g e t excite d about.

    • Great topic, great speaker, great venue.

    • The presentation was interesting and informative. It also made me understand
    what was really happening in this space and the realities faced by industry.

    • The speaker was excellent and introduce d some new perspectives into widely
    discussed topics.

    • The speaker was confident and so knowledgeable , which made the presentation
    enjoyable and informative. I learned a lot during the presentation and came away with
    some interesting points to discuss with my team at work.

    • Understanding the complexity of introducing AI into the real world. Although the
    technology is there it is still a cost-benefit problem (which we all face on our projects
    when we introduce new technology!)

    Well done Melinda and the QUTeX team! I am looking forward to the next event.

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