In conversation with hugh bradlow campus morning mail electricity prices by state

Bradlow comes equipped with an array of academic-research expertise, including a doctorate in experimental nuclear physics from the University of Oxford, a professorship in computer engineering at the University of Wollongong and another in electrical engineering (digital systems) at the University of Cape Town.

He’s also a first-class communicator, a seasoned public speaker who has carved a global reputation for thought leadership in telecommunications and ICT centred on a deep understanding of emerging technologies and their likely impact on consumers, businesses and society as they become mainstream.

To this end it has actioned a Strategy Plan that identifies eight key areas for “sustained research and action”, including ensuring technological readiness, boosting technology and engineering career paths, improving STEM education, and promoting gender equity and diversity.

“Our fellowship is 40 per cent academic, 40 per cent industry and 20 per cent government, and includes some of the most influential names in technological sciences and engineering; people behind some of the key technological advancements over the past 40 years.”

The internet of things, artificial intelligence, digital infrastructure, quantum computing, materials technologies, biomedical advances, new energy technologies – such developments are already beginning to make an impact and this will only become more profound in the years ahead.

“One notion which is getting quite a lot of momentum is that we’ll soon be able to have meat produced in a factory as opposed to on a farm. It could be a lot sooner than we think,” he says, citing a US company working on producing artificial chicken meat in the early part of the next decade.

“We may be able to have a society in which people can afford to live quite happily, comfortably, materially. The lower two layers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be taken care of – but the upper layer, the self-actualisation is destroyed.

“When I started talking to universities about MOOCs when they first came out, the attitude was ‘oh yes we’ve seen this before, it’s just the Open University’, and I was saying – actually it’s different because these are self organised. MOOCs are still evolving but I think they are going to have a massive disruptive impact.”

“The logical extension of most of the technologies I’m looking at is that online delivery methodologies are going to be more effective at meeting educational needs because of better personalisation than that offered in our current educational system.”

“If I were the universities I’d be looking at these ‘personalised learning platforms’, do some substantive research and work out ones to adopt to improve student outcomes. We don’t need professors or lecturers giving classes of coursework that would be better delivered through those types of platforms. Free the professors to do what they want to do – which is to go off and do research.”

Bradlow is enjoying his time in the ATSE leadership and he believes the Academy is increasingly making its presence felt through engaging in national debates around Australia’s future and by promoting practical and innovative measures to promote, for example, industry-university research collaboration.

Among other things, ATSE’s experts have fed their expertise into the Finkel Review into the future security of the national electricity market; promoted the establishment of a Digital Economy Strategy; and have been active in urging reforms to national water policy.

Bradlow believes ATSE’s new three-year strategy plan will be instrumental in helping to focus national attention and research into climate change, advanced automation of the workforce, and on how to develop social cohesion in the wake of the digital revolution.