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Trends and technology: Preparing for a more connected future in 2025

Intel Security’s Safeguarding the Future of Digital Australia in 2025 report reveals technology trends that may shape our future and Australian attitudes about identity, safety and security

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McAfee, part of Intel Security, has released its first Safeguarding the Future of Digital Australia in 2025 report which found that only a third of Australians (32 per cent) feel safe and secure in an increasingly connected future.

With safety and security on their minds, the report also found that nearly half of Australians (49 per cent) feel a general level of comfort about the rate of technological change, and according to the report, by 2025 technology may have advanced to the point where it is implanted or connected to our physical selves.

The use of human enhancement technologies that monitor our health and improve our natural biological capabilities was also investigated, with 39 per cent of Australians indicating they would be comfortable with devices transmitting personal information directly to health providers.

Launched at the start of Stay Smart Online Week, the report was compiled by futurist Ross Dawson on behalf of Intel Security, to provide a forward-looking view into the technology trends and what we can expect over the next decade.

The report also includes a Newspoll survey on Australian attitudes about the role technology plays in their lives, as well as contributions from technology, security, privacy and parenting experts.

Key trends identified in the areas of home, social networking, work and younger generations included:

  • Our homes will nurture and protect us, keep us healthy and may even love us
  • Our reputation, personal opportunities and identity will be shaped by our participation in social media
  • There will be big winners and losers as collaborative technologies, robots and artificial intelligence transform the nature of work
  • The brains of tomorrow’s adults may be networked to technology, transforming how they learn and interact

Welcoming the report, Federal Minister for Communications, Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP said, “Intel Security’s report makes a major contribution to our understanding of how to safeguard Australians online and into the future.”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, The Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, launched Intel Security’s Safeguarding the Future of Digital Australia in 2025 report in Canberra, saying, “This report makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of how government, industry and the community can be prepared for our digital future.”

Keith Buckley, Managing Director for McAfee Australia and New Zealand, part of Intel Security, believes the report has delivered rich insight into what our digital lives might look like in 2025.

“By seeking to understand how we’ll interact with technology over the next decade in our homes, at work, via online connections and how our young people will develop along side technology, we can better prepare for both the benefits and risks that closer connectivity will bring,” says Buckley.

“There is no doubt that technology is advancing and innovating, presenting opportunities and challenges for governments, businesses and consumers. However, Australians have a right to feel safe and secure about their connected future and trust that they have control over their digital information and privacy,” he says.

Sean Duca, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee Asia Pacific, part of Intel Security, says, “With the rapid changes and advancement in technology that collects and shares personal information, security cannot be an afterthought. When you add that we may be implanting technologies into our bodies and relying on them for enhanced function, and to keep ourselves healthy, it becomes even more imperative that we can trust them and that we enable a safe future.”

Online identities

According to the Safeguarding the Future of Digital Australia in 2025 report, unbounded online socialisation will shape young identities as digital connectivity and technology implants may become the norm. However, Australians are not yet comfortable about this prospect, with two thirds (68 per cent) indicating that they would be concerned if young people’s sense of identity were defined by their online persona and interactions.

Australians are also uncomfortable that their reputations and personal opportunities will be shaped by their participation in social media. More than half (54 per cent) said it would be unfair for financial credit ratings or job opportunities to be based on their online reputation.

“What the report highlights is that 10 years from now we will have an increased ability to collect information on our everyday lives and will likely live in a more openly sharing culture, but that we are also concerned about a lack of privacy and maintaining a sense of self that is separate from our online identities,” says Michelle Dennedy, Chief Privacy Officer for McAfee, part of Intel Security.

“Starting now, our digital lives must include controls around privacy so that we define and decide our level of participation and set acceptable boundaries that will help shape our online person and reputation,” she said.

Rate of change and quality of life

Australians are concerned about the impact technological advances are having on quality of life, with only a third (33 per cent) saying technology is making life simpler rather than more complicated, and 44 per cent believe that robotics and intelligent technology in the home would make their quality of life worse. Fifty per cent are comfortable with the current pace of technological change.

“It’s hard to conceive how technology could make such a huge impact on our lives, but with the current rate of change, the next 10 years will see many innovations and adoptions we can’t yet imagine,” says Safeguarding the Future of Digital Australia in 2025 report author, futurist and CEO of Advanced Human Technologies Group, Ross Dawson.

“By 2025, there will be opportunities for increased sharing and connectedness in everything we do — our homes will be smart and feature robotics that help with household tasks and look after us and our families. Our work environments and interactions will be more global thanks to virtual reality, and cognitive function for upcoming generations will evolve differently as they accommodate technology into their everyday activity,” says Dawson.

Preparing future generations

In his predictions on future trends of technology, Dawson indicates that today’s approach to schooling will be challenged by highly connected children, many of whom will learn faster than the pace of the classroom and be intensely frustrated by antiquated structures for learning.

The research, however, highlights that nearly half of Australians would be concerned about children being educated at their own pace via online tools. Although, a significant portion of those surveyed (27 per cent) think it would be a good for children, and this positive sentiment is higher among those with children (33 per cent) than those without (24 per cent).

Keith Buckley says keeping the next generations and our future leaders engaged and safe in a highly digital world needs to be a community effort.

“McAfee works hand-in-hand with government, police, educators such as Life Education Australia, as well as parents, to teach kids to be safe and respectful digital citizens,” concludes Buckley.

For more information, please visit http://www.intelsecurity.com and www.mcafeecybered.com

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About McAfee

McAfee, part of Intel Security and a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector, and home users to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its visionary Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique global threat intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com


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