Prepare to embrace tech revolution

21 July, 2017

Businesses should expect incredible technological changes over the next decade and embrace them—that’s the advice of Telstra’s retiring chief scientist, Dr Hugh Bradlow.

Bradlow, who is speaking at a CCI breakfast on August 4, says while the past 40 years have seen some astounding developments, the next 10 will produce even more because of the advent of the “internet of things”, big data and machine learning.

He says these three advances are going to change most aspects of our economy.

“What they are allowing us to do is measure and calculate the real world and then control it in a way we’ve never been able to do before,” Bradlow says.

The “internet of things” is the connection of everyday items, such as fridges or heaters, to the internet.

Bradlow says this will give business more control over energy usage and security management than ever before, while big data will use information collected from these items to allow better analysis.

He says this will come in handy, especially in the health sector.

“Measurements of your body functions from your wearable technology, your heart rate, movements in your sleep and all those sorts of things, will be feed it into a series of cloud computing technologies,” he says.

“It will allow you to collect and manage vast amounts of information and apply new forms of analytics like search and artificial intelligence.”

Bradlow says machine learning is already making an impact, but this will increase many fold over the next few years.

“If you think about recognising speech, for years people tried to do it with conventional algorithms and they were just totally unsuccessful,” he says.

“Then people applied machine learning and now machines can recognise speech almost as well as human beings, in fact in some instances better than human beings.

“That allows you to have things like Google Home or Amazon Echo where you can instruct them to perform tasks around the house.”

So, what should businesses do in the face of this technological onslaught?

Simple, says Bradlow; prepare and embrace.

“They need to think through all the parts of their activities that are subject to this technology and then start planning to apply them,” he says.

“If you don’t get on the bandwagon very quickly you’ll fall right off it and find that suddenly you can’t catch up.”

► Want to hear more about the technologies set to reshape the way we live and do business? Book your tickets to CCI’s Breakfast with Professor Hugh Bradlow now.