Think: Digital Futures

Think: Digital Futures tells stories from the digital age.

Each episode explores how today’s technology is transforming tomorrow — from our biology, habits, relationships, spaces to our place in the universe.

Earlier this year students in years three, five, seven, and nine were assessed on their reading, writing, language and numeracy as part of the National Assessment program, or NAPLAN. The data obtained from the NAPLAN tests are collated and used to show all schools' average performance against other schools in the country on the Government MySchool website.

Just last month students and parents all over the country received their NAPLAN results admits growing national controversy surrounding the comparability of online and pen-and-paper test results and the validity of the assessment.

But is it the technology used to implement the exam, or the assessment itself that is widening the education gap?

We spoke with Dr Simon Knight, Lecturer in the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation and Lynda Pascoe, Principal of the Ngukurr Community Education Centre in the Katherine Region of the Northern Territory.

The rise of artificial intelligence has as many anxious as it does excited, with people concerned that autonomous technologies could automate them out of a job. But as technology continues to make huge leaps forward, there’s very little in the way of policy to ensure these innovations don’t disrupt people's working lives and contribute to a more unequal society.

Producer Cheyne Anderson teams up with Think: Sustainability's Jake Morcom to offer two perspectives on the possible impacts of growing automation. Cheyne chats to Nicholas Davis, Head of Society and Innovation at the World Economic Forum, while Jake meets with Nik Dawson, PhD student in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies at the University of Technology Sydney.

Journalist and novelist Behrouz Boochani has been detained on Manus Island since 2013.

And despite living in a highly controlled environment designed to prevent access to digital technologies allowing him access to the outside world, Behrouz has been our eyes and ears in to the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre for the last 5 years.

We chat with Behrouz from Manus over Whatsapp and we speak with Associate Professor Linda Leung, from the University of Technology Sydney.

In 2013, Texan crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson uploaded blueprints for The Liberator, the world's first 3D printed gun. What followed was a fiery debate over whether or not 3D printed guns should be legal.

Producer Cheyne Anderson explores how the 3D printed gun taps into deep anxieties playing out in the United States. She chats to Tim Lytton from the Georgia State University College of Law about the historical context of the debate. Then she chats to Aaron Seymour (University of Technology Sydney) about unpacking the utopian promises of 3D printing and Richard Matthews (University of Adelaide) about the practical challenges getting in the way of their widespread use.

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Australians have until the 15th of November to opt out of having a My Health Record.

This episode, producer Joe Koning explores why "opting out" is a problematic way of drawing users into a system.

We meet Lisa, a 31 year old woman living in Sydney who discovered she had a My Health Record created for her, without even knowing about it.

We also chat to Jane Hall (University of Technology Sydney) and Joshua Badge (Deakin University) about the economic and ethical "Nudge" theory behind the My Health Record.