Mitsubishi Motors head of marketing and corporate affairs Reece Congdon discusses what keeps him up at night as a part of a series in conjunction with Tech Futures Lab.
What worries you the most about technology?
I think we are now getting scarily detailed when it comes to the data that we can collect and the tracking tools available in the market. With great power comes great responsibility and how we use and protect that data as marketers is under more scrutiny than ever.
What excited you the most?
I think purely from my industry, it would have to be the continued development of EV and PHEV technology and how that will eventually move us away from a future reliant on fossil fuels. I think also that Mitsubishi Motors globally are doing some great work through ‘Mitsubishi Connect’ - which in the future will provide even more integration between your car and the world your phone is connected to outside the vehicle.
What’s your scariest prediction for the future?
The rise of plant-based faux meats. That’s a terrifying potential future.
If you could go back in time, what’s one technology advancement you would rave about to your great grandparents?
It has to be video calling. You can argue the merits of being a pub quiz master by having the world at your finger tips via Google, but the ability to see family, friends or colleagues on the other side of the world wins every time.
What do you think New Zealand will look like as a country in 2038?
I’ve been round long enough to have seen many outlandish predictions about what the future will look like, and more often than not the timeline is much longer on those advancements than predicted. The micro stuff moves quickly, but the macro ‘big picture’ items often take generations. Outside of more autonomous transport options, a surge in EVs and smart homes, I don’t envisage a seismic shift in our way of life in the short-term.
What’s your social media usage like?
A lot lower than it was in my 20s. As I’ve moved onto a stage of life where I now have young children, I’m very cognizant about what I’m posting as my kids play a large part in my content.
Do you try limit how much personal information is available about you online?
Absolutely. From a professional point of view it’s the bare minimum, from a personal perspective it’s even less.
What will be dead in the next five years? (Products, companies, trends, etc.)
Print has been trending down for a long time, but I don’t think we’ll see the death of the industry. There’s a certain part of society who value having something tactile to consume information from – especially when it comes to niche titles. I also think the current climate in regards to social media will see social media as we know it change. People are becoming more aware of what they’re posting and who is reading it, so I foresee people continuing to share, but behind more walls. Less of the ‘town hall’, more of the ‘living room’ mentality.
What does your ideal robot look like?
Non-humanoid for a start. I’m not sure why we have an obsession in creating robots that mimic the shape and movements of mankind.
Will the robots become sentient and kill us all?
No, I don’t foresee a dystopian Terminator-style future.
How likely is it that we’re living in a simulation?
From memory, in TheMatrix the machines set up that nifty simulation to keep everyone cool, calm and collected while they harvested our brains like batteries. If that were the case, then the machines would be failing miserably with the current geo-political situation they’ve got going on in their simulation. So that’s a no.
How far should we take human enhancement? (Bionic limbs, computer chips in brains, designer babies)
Enhancements no. Reparations yes. So that’s a big tick to advancements in bionic limbs for amputees, helping people walk again etc, but a big cross under messing with genetics.
What’s the best use of a chatbot you’ve seen?
I haven’t seen a chatbot used well to be honest.
How would you feel about interacting with a chatbot fuelled by a deceased loved one’s texts and social media posts?
I don’t trust a chatbot when I’m shopping for running shoes, so why would I trust a chatbot to mimic a deceased loved one?
What about being a part of a social credit system, Black Mirror style?
I haven’t seen a single theme or idea come out of Black Mirror that’s ever made me think “man, I’ve really got to jump on that train”. So that’s a vote of no confidence from me.
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To read what's keeping other industry folk awake at night, click here.