Dr. Catherine Ball is a scientific futurist, speaker, advisor, author, founder, executive producer, executive director, and company director working across global projects where emerging technologies meet humanitarian, education, and environmental needs. Ball also likes to create businesses and champion movements, collaborate with peers, and advise game-changers.
A sought-after voice across the start-up, futurist and tech world, Ball works globally across a wide range of projects from creating documentaries and world leading conferences and events, to advising on the use of novel approaches (e.g. drones) across environmental and humanitarian projects. Ball is a proponent of community engagement with STEM, and likes to demystify emerging tech.
Having been called a ‘social architect’, Ball likes to connect people from different backgrounds across common themes. A champion of diversity and inclusion, Ball believes we need points of difference to truly innovate and curate the changes we want to see in the world. Working to protect the natural environment and empowering all members of society through mutual education are core aspects of the projects Ball chooses to spend her time and energy on.
Ball continues to support Australia as being the world leader in the advancement of ethically driven technological applications. Industry 5.0 is emerging; with society and community at the heart of how we operate and curate emerging trends and capabilities. Ball lives in Queensland with her husband and two sons.
Ball holds a BSc Honours (Environmental Protection) and a PhD (Spatial Ecology, Descriptive and Predictive Statistics) from the University of Newcastle- upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom.
‘Diversity and Success are Two Sides of the Same Coin”: Why we need points of difference to truly innovate.
Want to put a bet on a business? Invest? Buy shares? A start-up is doing a ‘friends and family’ round of funding? Could there be just one metric alone that could give you an indicator of performance for your possible investment? Some people believe there is, and they call it ‘diversity’. More diverse companies are more stable; plus female founded businesses gives, on average the best return on every dollar invested. Diverse companies not only are more successful, they are also happier places to work at and have better staff retention.
If these ideas are true, then why is it that only approximately 2% of global venture capital goes to female founded businesses. In the top 100 share indices across the world you’re more likely to find a bloke called Richard in charge than a woman at the top of the table. Some companies unbelievably still have all male boards. Is this something you ever check when making large purchasing decisions?
Diversity is not just about gender. If you’re sat around the table and looking back at you are people who look, speak, were educated, or live the same kind of life as you, then ‘Houston, we have a problem’. Diversity and inclusion in the corporate world can seem like an uphill battle. Diversity is being asked to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance. Just numbers are not going to make the difference, the final push towards equality will be a change in culture, where differences equal corporate strength.
Look to mother nature, diversity is directly related to ecosystem health: The same is in the business world. Engage with the idea of 2D diversity, which means you can increase your own diversity quotient by training in a new language, learning to dance, picking up a card game or chess, and hanging out with people different to yourself. Travel broadly, try new things, and broaden your horizons in ways that translate to better performance at work.
‘Beauty and the Beast’: How emerging technology and Industry 5.0 will allow us to be more human.
The Singularity: When we create an artificial intelligence of the same power as a human brain. Is this smoke and mirrors- can we truly recreate the magic of the mind? How would you teach such a thing? How do we ensure that there is diversity in this being? Who are the people creating AI? And what on earth is #AIForGood all about?
Robots, like people with English accents, are very often the baddies in the movies. AI or robots going mad and killing all the humans is something many famous Sci-Fi movies are based on. But, in reality AI, (or IA: Intelligence Augmentation as some now refer to it) is the only way we, as humans, are going to be able to cope with an increasingly digitised world. Some 90% of the current data that exists in the world was created in just the last two years. Big Data and AI go together like strawberries and cream- and we need AI to help us separate the signal from the noise.
With AI and robotics doing the boring, repetitive tasks there will be more time for us to smell the roses, talk to a neighbour, hang out with the family, and/or tackle some of the hard challenges we face today such as climate change, and world peace.
How can you get educated and up to speed with the latest hot topic and also the ethical and economic issues and opportunities they bring? What are you able to apply at work and home that can make immediate and positive changes in your life? If you could change one thing about new technology, what would that be? And, what is the kind of tech waiting for us to call it into action? Life on Mars? A cure for cancer? A chance of a longer, healthier, and happier life? Or just a better social media photo filter? In the end it is up to us to create the “5th Industrial Revolution”; Industry 5.0 where humans are the reason why.
‘Every day is a school day’: The future of education and the age of the never graduating student.
Micro-learning, non-accredited training, virtual classrooms, immersive avatar experiences, gamified learning, haptic suits, virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality, and appbased teacher tracking… what ever happened to sitting and making notes in a classroom with a text book? Technology is the new teacher, and the universities never want you to graduate. The phrase “Every Day is a School Day” is becoming literal as we constantly imbibe from new ways of learning. And what is this all doing to our brains- can we really still have good recall when we are overwhelmed with hyperlinks? In order for our brains to develop long, stable neurons and neurological connections we still need the slow-food of education: good, old fashioned reading, writing, and arithmetic. Ever feel like the internet and social media are making you less smart? You might just be right, so let’s look at how we can flip that on its head. Personalised education is just as much a hot opportunity as personalised medicine. What would you want to learn about?
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