Dr Deane Hutton: Predicting the future
They say hindsight is 20/20 but what if you could gain clarity in advance? Futurist and host of The Curiosity Show, Dr Deane Hutton, shared his insight with AETM Conference-goers.
“We must be prepared.”
That was the initial battle cry of futurist and AETM Conference keynote presenter, Dr Deane Hutton.
Deane is perhaps best known as the 18-year host of The Curiosity Show, or his appearances on Hey Hey It’s Saturday! and The New Inventors. Arguably, he’s Australia’s answer to Bill Nye, the ‘science guy’.
“The world is changing at an ever-increasing rate. Our great grandparents would not believe the amazing inventions which we take for granted,” he says.
“If we want to be involved in creating the future, we need to look for opportunities and turn those opportunities into action.”
Given his extensive history in science and technology, Deane is perhaps better positioned than most to have an understanding of what’s to come. So, what does he see in our future?
“Computers, mobile phones, digital photography, the internet and social media provide us with new and exciting ways of communicating. Technologies are converging. Robots are taking over traditional jobs. Half the jobs that will be essential in 20 years’ time don’t exist yet.”
“Dramatic leaps in life expectancy have resulted from advances in medical research. In the future, we will be able to replace damaged tissues with reprogrammed stem cells. We may be able to clone body parts and break the code of the ageing process – and perhaps reverse it. Many young people alive today may live to an age of 120. Some may live forever.”
“New developments in solar energy, geothermal energy, and wind and wave technology, may result in cleaner and cheaper energy resources. Nuclear energy may offer distinct advantages. Young people with science, technology, engineering and mathematical skills (STEM) will be needed to manage our future energy options.”
“Driverless cars will become commonplace. Crashes between vehicles will become rare. Rocket travel will deliver two hour journeys from Adelaide to London or New York. Vacations on the moon will be possible.”
“The development of polymers, alloys, ceramics, supermagnets and superconductors by scientists and technologists has radically changed the world we live in. And the creation of new materials is expanding and accelerating. We live in a world of ‘designer materials’ in which an engineer can give a list of properties to a technologist who can produce the required material. Understanding these changes in materials science is part of science and technology education.”
CREATING THE FUTURE
“Citizens, politicians, business leaders, parents and children need to be alert and able to recognise opportunities to tackle real world problems. An opportunity is nothing more than a possibility – until it is put into action. It then becomes part of our changed future. The best way to predict the future is to create the future we want.”
After being off-air for 23 years, The Curiosity Show relaunched on YouTube in 2013. You can check out what Deane and his co-host, Dr Rob Morrison, are up to by visiting www.curiosityshow.com.au.