Report: Adoption of new technologies crucial to Australia’s future

Published on September 23, 2015

New technologies offer unprecedented opportunities for economic growth and community wellbeing, but only if Australians are ready to adapt and learn, according to a new report from the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA).

Technology and Australia’s Future explores what it takes to win in the technology race and manage the human costs of disruptive technology.

Professor Robert Williamson, the report’s lead author, said it was vital not to underestimate the pace of technological change and its widespread impact on people and society.

“All new technologies disrupt the current way of doing things; this brings both benefits and disadvantages. The challenge is to leverage and share as many of the rewards while limiting any damage,” Professor Williamson said.

The report draws from the expertise of Australia’s four Learned Academies and considers how new technologies arise, how their impacts occur, to what extent they can be predicted, what technologies mean to people and how society’s interaction with technology influences behaviour.

The report makes 18 major findings, including the disruptive role that new information and communication technologies, especially data analytics, can have on existing business – from transportation to mining, healthcare and education.

Other findings focus on the skills that Australia needs to invent and harness new technologies and develop competitive strengths that outlive the resources boom.

The report is available at www.acola.org.au