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Science, Technology and Optimism

Professor Stephen Hawking

 "Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one, industrialization. We will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty. Every aspect of our lives will be transformed...I am an optimist and I believe that we can create AI for the good of the world, that it can work in harmony with us."

Dr Alan Finkel, Australia's Chief Scientist

“I’m optimistic because I believe that human ingenuity is in unlimited supply and will be directed by engineers and scientists to solving problems.”

Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist in his 2020 National Press Club address

"The stunning technology advances I have witnessed in the past ten years make me optimistic."


Luci Ellis,  Assistant Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia

“Some of the pessimism about productivity is happening alongside great optimism in some quarters about a new Industrial Revolution built on better algorithms. The truth may well lie somewhere in the middle. It might also take a while to assert itself.”

Logan Chipkin

"Our deepest laws of physics provide a rational case for optimism: Any problem-situation, no matter how dire, is solvable by people as long as the laws of nature do not forbid its solution from being discovered and rendered."

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook

“Technologists have always been optimists.  We're optimists because we have to be. If you want to do something that has never been done before, so many people will tell you it cannot be done.”

Michael Nelson, Public Policy at Cloudflare

“I remain VERY optimistic about technology (and the scientists and engineers who create and apply it) and very pessimistic about politics (and particularly that subspecies of politician that holds back technology and progress to protect narrow special interests).”

Bryce Vissel, Professor of Neuroscience, UTS

"What makes me optimistic? The possibilities generated by human endeavour.  There's definitely a long way to go, and a lot more research to do in spinal cord research and research of the brain.  Optimism and belief that science holds the answers underpin everything we do. As we do the hard work, we remain optimistic and thankful to the people who believe in our vision of creating a world where cure is possible for spinal cord injury and brain disorders."

Elad Gil

“I think fundamentally, optimism is one of those things where the more people believe that you can do great positive things to the world through technology, the more people will and the bigger you’ll think.”

Nicola Watkinson, Austrade Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for North America

“I remain optimistic about the impact disruptive technologies will have on the way in which we work and live. It would be easy to believe that new technology will lead to a loss of opportunity for many people. Yet new inventions have been displacing human labor for many years and they have led to a growth in employment and new job opportunities. There are many characteristics of humans that cannot be replaced by machines like creativity, intuition and empathy. By having people work with machines there is the potential to create great new strides forward and address some problems which have seemed intractable until now.”

In "Optimism: The How and Why"

Warwick Peel, Co-founder, Future Directors Institute

“The case for optimism stems from my belief in robots shaking the life out of us! If the Edelman Trust barometer states 85% don’t trust the system and Gallup says that only 15% are thriving at work, then humanity is somewhat dead. Many of us in the western world are asleep at the wheel, we are digital consumers of nonsense, we are often self-driven egos striving for what? We need to better address mindfulness and equip ourselves with the joys of life, to be, not to have. Artificial intelligence will leapfrog those who are not solving real problems and those who are not passionate about purpose, and so the machines and human interaction will harness the rise up for better solutions for our planet and society. My optimism stems from the machines teaching us how to thrive in life again, because A.I and tech-enabled solutions to enormous problems like climate change, health, food security and water scarcity will be in our grasp, we will regain empathy, we will relearn to be.”

Alison Rowe, Chair of the Future Business Council

“Our energy market is experiencing a transition like no other. As we move to decentralized sustainable energy grid, we must ensure we balance the environmental, social and economic impacts. This transition creates amazing opportunities for the future business of our world through the alignment of technology and energy, whilst giving ownership of energy back to the people.  I’m an optimist and have surrounded myself with action-driven optimistic people to provide more opportunity to all and especially those who are disadvantaged.”

Bradley Deacon, Advisor, PrivacyShell Corp

 “The Fourth Industrial no doubt the technology Revolution, is our fourth revolution and like its predecessors, will create a range of jobs in industries such as IoT, AI and digital technology. It will also create fear like previous revolutions, in particular the industrial revolution, however as we embrace the technology and see its benefits we will adapt to all the good it will bring to society overall and optimism will prevail as to its value.”

Roger Leonard, Community Planning and Development Expert, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

“In the short term, I am not optimistic at all. Politics seems to be Pandora's box which is the wild card as it seems to divide us more everyday... But long-term the future looks bright and very interesting. Robotics will make life easier, and to allow more to leverage their work in ways as unknown to us as the Internet was to my grandfather. Medicine will unlock a better, longer life with health not uncommon into one's 100's. Technology will bring a merging of knowledge and expansion of the mind, allowing us to better understand nature and ourselves. If we can survive each other, we have glimpsed a bright and productive future. But every generation might have also said the same…”

Linny Thom

“The Case for Optimism?  Economic change, changing environment, growth industries, introduction of new technologies and planning for the future.”

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