Australia 2030 – Where the bloody hell are we?

| August 6, 2020

Australian professionals’ sentiment about the decade ahead, based on a major study conducted before and during the eye of the COVID-19 storm, is featured in Australia 2030! Where the bloody hell are we?, a new book by Futurologist Rocky Scopelliti.

Australia 2030 explores ‘what’s on the other side’ and how Australian professionals feel about it. The research contrasts their views about the future and how they changed during the eye of the COVID-19 storm 1.0.

By invitation, 673 Australian professionals (170 classified as CEOs, Chairman, Board Directors) participated in the quantitative and qualitative study conducted during January– April 2020 that is referred to as the Australia 2030 research.

Amongst other, the research considered Australian professionals’ attitudes towards the decade ahead, including the following technological and scientific questions:

• How do we feel about the impact of technological & scientific developments on our personal, professional and family lives?

• Are we optimistic or pessimistic about technological & scientific developments?
• What parts of their life they expect will change the most in 2030 due to technological

and scientific developments?
• What do they think they will be experiencing in 2030?

Key technological and scientific insights:

The Australia 2030 study revealed that whilst 89 per cent of CEOs are positive about technological and scientific developments over the coming decade, 78 per cent were not confident that government has effective plans with industries for the economic, technological, social and cultural transformation over the coming decade.

Additionally, during the COVID-19 period, 88 per cent became concerned that Australia is not investing enough in technological, scientific and skills development compared to other countries over the coming 10 years.

1. How do we feel about the speed of technological and scientific change.

The Australia 2030 research revealed that with 77 per cent of respondents felt positive about the speed of technological and scientific change over the coming decade and only 8 per cent feeling negative and 15 per cent neutral.

Which technological and scientific developments do Australian professionals believe would have the greatest impact on innovation or disruption in Australia?

The Australia 2030 research sort to understand how Australian professionals felt about four predictions I am making about the decade ahead. These relate to a range of technological and scientific developments I believe will have the greatest impact on innovation and/or disruption to Australia, our personal, professional, family lives and the world over the next ten years. These predications have been based on the speed, scale and impact of developments associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution centred on the augmentation of our digital, physical, biological and environmental worlds. These are:

  1. Our Digital World becomes decentralised and more widely distributed through increasing our computing capacity, automation, connectivity and speed through technologies such as Quantum Computing; Block Chain; Internet-of-Things; 5G Mobile Networks.
  2. Our Physical World becomes intelligent and interactive such as cities becoming smarter, vehicles becoming autonomous and independently coordinated, factories becoming automated and robotic through technologies such as Artificial Intelligence; Robotics; Autonomous Vehicles; 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing; Augmented Reality, Advanced Robotics; Material Science.
  3. Our Biological World becomes blueprinted, programmatic and synthetic. This is achieved by leveraging increased computing power, data intelligence, through artificial intelligence making highly targeted therapies possible, improving quality of life, next generation scientific innovations in a range of new areas such as genetic sequencing and gene editing. Synthetic biology, an emerging area of research, will enable the design and construction of novel artificial biological pathways, organisms or devices, or the redesign of existing natural biological systems, opens up new ways of thinking about medicine and agriculture such as surgical procedures performed remotely, improving agricultural production, precision medicine for treatments through technologies including Biotechnologies; Neurotechnologies; Virtual/Augmented Reality.
  4. Our Environmental World becomes clean and expanded into our universe through renewable energies, colonisation of other planets through technologies including Energy Capture, Storage and Transmission; Geo-engineering; Space Technologies.

The Australia 2030 research showed overall support for each of those, and significantly so for Our Digital World with 48 per cent of respondents who ranked that number 1 as having the greatest impact on innovation and/or disruption in Australia in the next 10 years.
In particular, those who believe that technology and scientific developments will impact the world the greatest over the coming decade (60 per cent). Interestingly, during the month of March as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded in Australia, sentiment shifted away from Our Digital World to Our Biological World with that being ranked number 1 by 57 per cent of respondent in the month of March 2020

4. What part of Australian professionals lives they thought would change the most due to the technological and scientific developments?

Whilst ‘job/career’ was seen by one in two (47 per cent) Australian professionals to be the part of their life that would change significantly due to technological and scientific developments, ‘better physical and mental health’ was seen as the least (4 per cent). That quickly changed during the month of March 2020. Sixty-five per cent of respondents in that month chose ‘better physical and mental health’ to be the part of their life that would change significantly due to technological and scientific developments.

5. Amongst a range of technological and scientific developments, which ones do Australian professionals predict they would be experiencing in 2030, and what they felt about them.

Of all of the five predictions studied in the Australia 2030 research, Australian professionals expect advancements in ‘Our Biological World’ (68 per cent) to be the most likely they will be experiencing in 2030 (See Exhibit 1). That increased significantly for respondents in March 2020 to 86 per cent. Demographically, more Millennials believe that ‘Robots will become more intelligent than humans and augmented into their work and family lives (18 per cent).

Exhibit 1: Q. Which one of the following statements, do you think you will most likely be experiencing in 2030 (%)?

5. Did Australian professionals think positively or negatively about the role technological and scientific developments would play in their lives.

Australian professionals look forward with much optimism over the coming decade about the role that technological and scientific developments will have on their lives with 50 per cent feeling positive and 36 per cent feeling very positive. The Australia 2030 research found no gender, demographic differences with that finding. However, the research found that optimism and positiveness accelerated by respondents in the month of March 2020 to 85 per cent feeling very positive (+ 49 per cent). That suggests in the face of our worst crisis, technological and scientific developments become even more important to the way Australian professionals feel about the coming decade.