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New Zealand discusses the future of technology in What Next?


In tonight’s premiere episode, co-hosts Nigel Latta and John Campbell asked New Zealand how we should approach the upcoming challenges and opportunities that advancing technologies present.

Over the past month, whatnext.nz  asked New Zealand to give their opinion on a range of issues which will affect us over the next 20 years. Tonight’s episode combined those answers with new data collected during the broadcast, totalling over 85,000 responses.

Tonight's episode identified that despite the reservation to put their lives in the hands of robots, a large number of New Zealanders believe that technology will make their lives better. The majority of Kiwis also believe that technological advances will not take away their jobs, but it will impact their children’s careers. 

When asked if Kiwis would put their life in the hands of a robot, 55% of New Zealanders said no. Kiwi women are less trusting of robots than men, with only 37% of women willing to put their life in the hands of a robot, while 57% of men are happy to. 

Nigel and John looked at the possible repercussions of robots joining our job market, asking if New Zealanders are keeping their heads in the sand when it comes to job security.

According to a report released by the New Zealand Chartered Accountant Association, due to advances in automation technology, there’s a 95% chance that the number of accountants working in New Zealand will eventually reduce from 17,669 today, to just 19.

Nigel and John asked New Zealand: “could a robot could do your job better than you?”

New Zealand’s response was definitive. 74% of Kiwis do not believe a robot could do their job better than them. The numbers differed by age group, with 40% of under-35s believing that a robot could do their job better than them, while only 21% of those aged 31-50, and 24% of over-50s believe they could be replaced by a robot.

While many New Zealanders believe their jobs are safe from technology, they are united in their belief in the benefit of technology. When asked if technology will make your life better, 86% of New Zealanders believe that it will.

Recognising that our lives and livelihoods are changing due to technology, Nigel asked if our education system is keeping up with the evolving nature of the workplace.

85% of New Zealanders believe that our kids should be preparing for technology-based careers, over traditionally focused jobs.

New Zealand’s responses identified that Kiwis have a mixed outlook on how they see the future of technology. The final question Nigel and John put to New Zealand is: should we go with Plan A - maintaining the status quo, with a small tweaks? Or Plan B – taking a more radical course now to create a New Zealand capable of dealing with the technological challenges that are coming. Have your say at whatnext.nz

John and Nigel continue the conversation tomorrow night. Monday’s episode will look at how our environment can survive until 2037 and beyond, LIVE at 8.30pm on TVNZ 1 and tvnz.co.nz.

Catch up on tonight's episode at TVNZ OnDemand.

Click here for images from tonight's episode. For interview requests, please contact Dominica Leonard.