Australia needs to make Industry 4.0 for people says Minister

Opening the D61+ Live event at Carriageworks, Sydney, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, noted that the job of those in attendance, “is to make technology as understandable to as many people as possible”.

To kick off a data-focussed, technology-driven event in such a manner set the tone for the first day, where the utility of cutting edge technology for public, commercial, and industrial outcomes was front of mind.

Organised by Data61, the data and digital specialist arm of the CSIRO, D61+ Live explored how CSIRO’s core mandate is transforming in a digital world.

Outlined by David Thodey chairman of the CSIRO board, the three core missions of CSIRO, to work for the national good, to use science and research to create value, and to ecnourgae collaboration across Australia, were on display. Arrayed in Carriageworks’ halls, the future of industry and manufacturing, in what was once a locomotive carriage-building factory, directly went to where innovation can support the Australian economy, as Thodey highlighted.

“Science and research underpins any great economy, because it is where you create differentiation and value,” said Thodey.

Understanding the value of science and research also took on an ethical dimension, as Sue Keay, research director of Cyber Physical systems at Data61, pointed out. While we are in the midst of the adoption of Industry 4.0, to do so successfully requires communicating the value of Industry 4.0 beyond the threat of humans being replaced by robots.

“We need to place humans at the heart of technology,” said Keay.

The ability of Australia to utilise the assembled minds for societal benefit, however, was not only about creating an understanding of the value that was encased in the room, but about connecting research to commercial outcomes. Thodey described this endeavour as one where Australia is lacking, as while digital innovation represents 11 per cent of GDP of other developed countries, in Australia that figure stands at 6.6 per cent.

“We have incredible skills in Australia and we need to capitalise on that,” said Thodey.

With the brightest minds and latest, Australian built technology arranged throughout Carriageworks, D61+ Live aimed to do just that.