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Communicating, connecting, and caring in a technologised world.

Communicating, connecting, and caring in a technologised world.
We shape our brains constantly all through our lives.

How do we do this? How do we shape each other?

How does technology shape us? And how should we shape technology?

Dr Fiona Kerr is investigating these questions, and more, as she engages with business leaders, policy-makers, engineers, scientists, and thought leaders in a quest to maintain human connection, leverage the transformative power to technology and create quality interaction and partnerships between humans and technologies.

She does this because she has always been amazed by the brain as a work in progress, the neurophysiological impact that humans have on each other, and the power of direct human engagement to change how we think, feel, connect and flourish. She is fascinated by the way that direct engagement allows us to rewire ourselves and each other, by building new brain, a process called neurogenesis.

She has also been involved, throughout her thirty-five years in industry, in the adoption of new technologies, and has witnessed how they impact human interaction, our lives and our societies.

While technology has transformed our everyday lives and our society in many positive ways, our unique cognitive abilitites and the transformative capacity of human interaction is equally profound, and equally important in shaping our future. So how do we harness the capacity of human thought and interaction, and shape technology, to ensure a human-centric future?

To this end, Fiona has founded The Neurotech Institute in order to explore the neurophysiology of interactions between humans, and humans and technology, using a truly multidisciplinary approach.

Scientist & Researcher

Do you want a robot to hold your hand when you die? Or do you want a human? Why?

The development of the technology that may make this a reality raises many interesting technical questions, but there are other relevant questions that are not being sufficiently explored. Apart from the moral and ethical considerations, what is the difference between a robot and a human carer – is a human more beneficial? What happens in our brains and bodies when we interact with other humans? How does this positively affect our immune systems, or our capacity for complex decision making and trust? And does this change when we interact with or through technology? Once we begin to include the science of human neurophysiology, what does it mean for AI and our relationship with it?

These questions are at the centre of Dr Kerr’s work as a scientist and researcher. As the Neural and Systems Complexity Specialist at Adelaide University in Australia, Dr Kerr’s work is intrinsically cross-disciplinary, embracing engineering, cognitive neuroscience, the professions and health sciences – for more information about Dr Kerr’s research at the University of Adelaide click here.

Through The NeuroTech Institute she is able to work with government, public and private entities internationally to research complex issues and trial solutions.  Dr Kerr works in collaboration with research institutes, tech designers and universities in Europe, North America and Finland, where she has advised  the ministerial AI program steering committee In 2019 she is partnering  with a robotics company, universities here and overseas and tech companies to investigate a number of aspects of physiological activity in regard to the interaction with and between humans and robots/AI. Results will  inform both interactive technology design and use, and government policy .

Consultant to Industry & Government

When is a robot ‘better’ than a human? When is a human more effective or efficient than a robot? When is it neutral? How does this inform the design and use of new technologies, especially AI? How do you integrate new technologies responsibly, whether a CEO, a care facility or a parent? What are the key considerations for government and industry?

Dr Kerr  consults and advises to government bodies in Australia, Finland and the USA, and to a range of entities including a robotics company, two technology companies, a US boutique teaming organisation, a ‘tech led cultural consultancy’, an art performance company and two government AI bodies. She holds board positions in sectors of aged care, economic development and the arts.

Having roles in both independent and state research institutes and a university allows Dr Kerr to consult seamlessly in this wide variety of organisations, as does the collaborative network that Adelaide offers, where Fiona was recognised as one of SA’s top 100 influencers and shortlisted as a South Australia of the Year for 2018.

Keynote Speaker

Dr Kerr is an international speaker with an engaging presentation style. She shares a fresh perspective on both human interaction and technological transformation, exploring how we shape each other, how technology shapes us, and how we should shape technology for a human-centric future to promote informed debate with academia, industry, government and the wider public .

Click here to see her presentations.

“We are hard wired to connect. When human beings who trust each other interact face to face, their capacity to have a positive cognitive effect on each other’s brain and body is something which no robot or screen has”.
TEDx: Look Into My Eyes

 

Changing Our Minds׃ How Great Leaders Rewire Brains

 

Author

We are hard wired to connect and we have amazing neurophysiological effects on each other when we do. Our brains are still bafflingly intricate, yet we are an ever more  technologised society, with constant new options ranging from simple efficiency to awe inspiring intricacy. So how do we take advantage of both to ensure technologies  truly enable us while maintaining the advantages of human cognition and human-to-human interaction?

Dr Kerr has contributed both academic and non-academic works on a variety of subjects, including a paper on The Art and Science of Looking Up, released nationally this February, ABC RN’s Ockham’s RazorThe Conversation and public written media. She has co-authored a book on “Creatively managing complex systems” with two French academics, written an eclectic range of book chapters such as Operationalising Innovation: Hotwiring the Creative Organisation and Taking a Premium Quality Chocolate Family Business onto the E-Market – Haigh’s, drafted a manual for government on Using Value Chain Mapping to Build Comparative Advantage, and she is currently working on a number of writing projects.

Media

Over the years, Fiona has published numerous articles in the media, been featured in interviews on radio, podcasts, on stage and in print.

She draws attention to important human issues and how each of them impact us on a personal and global level.

Media
Over the years, Fiona has published numerous articles, been featured in many interviews on radio and in print, and given a variety of stimulating keynote presentations.

She draws attention to important human issues and how each of them impact us on a personal and global level.