Catch SA futurologist Dion Chang at MWOT, Sandton next week


To the man or woman in the street, technology on the face of it appears to be about making super sleek smartphones, computers that promise a level of productivity we could never have imagined, and networks that aspire to connect us our loved ones faster than the blink of an eye.

This is true in parts, but technology encompasses more than than just the tablets, smartphones and high end gaming consoles we’re sold on a daily basis.

The My World of Tomorrow conference which takes place next week will focus on these different areas of technology, with the help of Dion Chang, one of its keynote speakers and Trends Analyst at Flux Trends.

Chang is best-known for his work in the fashion industry but as he explains, he was always more interested in the media side of fashion.

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“My fashion career was much more in media. I was part of the launch team for Elle South Africa and I then went on to help Lucilla Booysen kickstart South African Fashion Week. When I looked back it occurred to me that my interest in fashion was not so much shoes and handbags but the social dynamic side of things like what brought along the punk movement and so on,” he explained to us.

Today Chang is a lecturer at the Graduate School of Business, where he lectures a trends module. This, as Chang points out, represents a change in business where five years ago lifestyle trends and pop culture was skirted over as unimportant.

Today these trends help shape business, whether it be using social media as a customer interaction tool or how these trends shape the skills businesses need and look for in employees.

A matter of perspective

Knowing this, it makes sense then that Chang has taken a good hard look at the technology sector, and in particular lifestyle technology. The subject of lifestyle technology includes instances such as storing frozen embryos, holographic projections and even 3D printed urns with people’s faces on them.

Chang will be looking at this from the perspective of how this technology impacts and affects our lives from birth to death, but more specifically how this technology affects our humanity.

It’s going to be a light-hearted one (keynote) but also a sobering one because we always look at technology and how it will impact how you work and all those things, but I don’t think we always look at the human side of it.”

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He will also look at the negative aspects of these technologies and unwanted by-products like cyber bullying and trolling. The keynote will use instances from lifestyle trends to illustrate not only these negative aspects but the positive aspects as well. Chang will use the inclusion of augmented reality and voice recognition in toys, ransomware apps and positive things like augmented food from Pizza Hut to help people make up their own minds about the positive and negative aspects of technology.

Speaking about what attendees can look forward to at My World of Tomorrow, Chang said “I think a lot of people view technology as gadgets or devices, and I think you do see a very broad spectrum at My World of Tomorrow. It shows how we can use technology for good like using augmented reality and virtual reality to change behavioural patterns. These are lesser-explored avenues of tech that people don’t really see or think about, but which can have a very big impact on their lives.”

htxt.africa is an official media partner for the My World of Tomorrow conference, which takes place from the 22nd to the 24th of October at Sandton Convention Centre. Catch us on the main expo floor – it’s free!

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