Thrive spent last weekend mingling with some of the biggest names in tech. From ministers to expert panellists and tech journalists, we got to hear firsthand where technology is heading and what we can expect next.
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 among 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 from fulfilling. Not only is this putting us at a global disadvantage when it comes to tech innovation, but it is also adding extra workforce challenges to 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 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 have 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 build 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 WEB3 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 the 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’.
Thrive will be hosting a two-day workshop on a technology information training program - Tech Academy - designed for marcomms professionals to advance their knowledge, understanding, and ability to communicate in today’s tech-driven world. Stay up to date here