Talks

Learn more about our speakers.

“The Social Implications of E-Commerce for Rural China” Barney Tan (The University of Sydney)
Since the commercialization of the Internet in the mid-1990s, most of the emphasis has been on the strategic and business implications of e-commerce while far less attention has been paid to its social implications. In this talk, we will go on a journey together to a number of agricultural villages in rural China. We will look at how traditionally disadvantaged groups capitalize on the opportunities offered by e-commerce to realize important social benefits such as improving the standard of living, community empowerment, and stemming the “brain drain” associated with rural-urban migration. In doing so, we will discover that e-commerce has not only the power to disrupt established industries and revolutionize the basis of business competition, but it can be a powerful enabler of social change as well.
“When software is eating the
world, what’s on our plate?”
Jess Ross (Wilson Fletcher)
The potential for digital control, automation and optimisation of the physical world offered by the Internet of Things (IoT) effectively puts the agriculture sector on the same exponential curve that has driven the astronomical growth of computing and information technology over the last fifty years.

We are heading into an era of dramatic disruption and opportunity: exponential technological progress is fuelling a multitude of key trends such as in agriculture from the total re-engineering of agribusiness supply chains, the use of big data and precision technology to increase agriculture yield quality and quantity and water utilisation,to the growth of cloud computing, data mining, modelling, and neural networks to drive artificial intelligence (AI) farming.

At the same time there has been an explosion in food culture around the world. From MasterChef to Instagram, never has there been greater interest in what we eat, where it comes from and how it’s prepared. In this talk, Jess will explore the ever widening chasm between the urban (where people live) and rural (where food is produced) experience and values, and how consumer needs (convenience, control, trust) will need to be reconciled with technological change to the food production industry.

“Turning it off to turn it on” Anthony Henry (Macquarie Bank)
In idle moments I’ve started asking friends and colleagues the question; if the World Wide Web was to be turned off tomorrow, how much would you really miss it? Yes I would have trouble keeping an eye on the projected lives of my 347 Facebook friends and the fridge wouldn’t know that we didn’t have milk, but would it have a material impact on levels of happiness and personal productivity?

Thomas Berry wrote: “Always be aware of what you lose as well as what you gain.” Living in the time of a technology revolution we have much to gain but it’s also worth pausing to reflect on what we may endanger or lose in the process of adopting these new technologies. This is something I see as we evolve the workplace and endeavor to synthesise physical environment, information technology and work culture.

You need to mindfully resist the tendency to over design and create technological complexity. The power of the workplace lies in its ability to foster wellbeing, social cohesion and community. Despite the sophistication of our age the solutions are often surprisingly simple! This talk is an argument for intuitive simplicity when it comes to the design of workspace.

“Tech Girls Are Superheroes: Empowering our next generation of creators and leaders” Jenine Beekhuyzen (University of Southern Queensland)
Digital innovation is key to Australia’s future and preparing our next generation of creators and leaders is key to us competing globally. Enter the Tech Girls Movement, led by social entrepreneur Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen. With an ambitious goal of changing the world and an innovative long-term strategy, the Tech Girls Are Superheroes campaign exposes school girls in Years 1-12 to positive female role models and entrepreneurial activities. Key to the strategy is empowering young women to create their own futures through learning hands on entrepreneurial skills. The current competition hosts 125 girls (8-17yo’s) matched with 33 industry mentors working through a 12 week curriculum which ends in building an app and pitching their ideas on YouTube to a panel of industry judges.
“Virtual Reality Goes to War: Advances in the Prevention, Assessment, and Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress” Albert “Skip” Rizzo (USC)
War is perhaps one of the most challenging situations that a human being can experience. The physical, emotional, cognitive and psychological demands of a combat environment place enormous stress on even the best-prepared military personnel. Numerous reports indicate that the incidence of posttraumatic stress in returning OEF/OIF military personnel is creating a significant healthcare challenge. This situation has served to motivate research on how to better develop and disseminate evidence-based treatments for PTSD and other psychosocial conditions. In this regard, Virtual Reality delivered exposure therapy for PTSD is currently being used with initial reports of positive outcomes. This presentation will detail how virtual reality applications are being designed and implemented across various points in the military deployment cycle to prevent, identify and treat combat and sexual trauma-related PTSD in military Service Members and Veterans. He will also present recent work being done with artificially intelligent virtual humans that serve in the role as “Virtual Patients” for clinical training of healthcare providers in both military and civilian settings and as online healthcare guides for breaking down barriers to care. The projects in these areas will provide a diverse overview of how virtual reality is being used to deliver exposure therapy, assess PTSD and cognitive function, provide stress resilience training prior to deployment, improve clinical training, and its use in breaking down barriers to care.
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