Icon 3d printed house

Let’s talk technology

The dynamic duo from Future Crunch will be sharing insights on the technologies changing the housing industry at HIA’s National Conference in May.


Laura Valic

Download and print a home in 24 hours? An artificially intelligent robotic astronaut? 3D-coloured x-rays that not only show bone, but nerves, tissue and sinew?

You may be surprised to discover that these concepts have all become reality in the past 12 months.

It’s these types of narratives which celebrate humankind’s technological progress that excite Future Crunch co-founders Dr Angus Hervey and Tané Hunter. Their Melbourne-based research organisation offers an antidote to the fearmongering and misinformation circulated so easily in our digital world by consciously publishing stories centred on intelligent, positive thinking about the future.

All in the hopes of empowering people to contribute to it.

‘We wanted to trial optimistic, uplifting and intelligent stories about technology because we felt many of these stories were often quite negative or scary,’ says Angus Hervey, a political economist and media commentator. ‘What would happen if you had something that was the opposite of a black mirror? We thought it was important to tell the story of how technology is improving people’s lives, rather than how it is ruining them.’

Future Crunch
(L–R) Future Crunch co-founders Tané Hunter and Dr Angus Hervey
3D printing
The team will discuss ‘everything from artificial intelligence to 3D printing’

Angus believes that today, with digital technologies in the hands of most of the world’s population, we’re getting 24-hour access to the worst stories happening to everyone, everywhere. And it can lead to what he terms a ‘fear pandemic’ or a ‘fear virus’: by hitting post, one person’s negative story can be broadcast to millions of others, spreading like wildfire.

There’s a problem with that, he says, because of what fear does to the human psyche. Not only do we experience an adverse physiological effect (increased stress levels and we lose the ability to think rationally), but we’re more susceptible to the next message of fear, and a new bout of anxiety. (For further reading, check out Angus article ‘The Fear Virus’).

However, in an effort to counter the impact of this, Future Crunch joins a global movement of scientists, technologists, hackers and creatives who believe technology is improving people’s lives and leading to a more peaceful world. And they’re using their diverse knowledge to speak out and educate their growing numbers of followers.

‘We’re about trying to provide a voice where people can get good news about technology and gain interesting insights about how it’s changing their specific sector,’ Angus says.

The science communicators have held audiences captive all over the world and will soon be sharing insights with HIA members about the opportunities to be found in our time of technological disruption at the upcoming HIA 2019 National Conference in Perth from 23–25 May (more info at the end).

‘We’re going to have a broad look at the global economy…and we’ll be diving into specific technologies we think could really change the housing industry,’ Angus says. ‘We’ll focus on the bigger, broader changes as well, offering a bird’s eye view of what’s going on, with a lot of content that will be interesting to HIA members.’

Angus says the team will discuss ‘everything from artificial intelligence to 3D printing, how code and the ability to program our machines is coming to the construction and housing industry’.

Icon 3d printed house
The first permitted, 3D-printed house by ICON was unveiled in the US in 2018

ICON, a US-based construction technologies company, is working on this. It unveiled what it says was the first permitted, 3D-printed small house (sans roof) in Texas in 2018 – a sign companies are beginning to move beyond the testing phase. With patents pending for composite cement specifically designed for its mobile 3D printer, the company says it’s hoping to soon launch an upgrade that can build homes of double the square footage at double the speed.

The idea of ‘disruption’ – where no industry is off limits to a raw burst of change – and with it a sense of inevitability, no doubt causes trepidation for some.

While ‘it hasn’t really arrived yet, things are starting to happen’, Angus believes this type of disruptive technology is something to get excited about.

‘I hope that [HIA members] will take away [from the talk] the idea that there’s a lot of exciting change happening right now in the built environment and in the housing industry, and that they’ll get excited about [the possibilities of] technology, rather than be fearful of it,’ he says.

‘They will be able to walk away with a few things that they can start implementing [straight away]…using a few key steps.’

Angus adds that Future Crunch will also be diving into the hot topic of energy as it relates to the housing industry.

‘We’ll also be generally looking at energy trends, in particular a lot of the innovations around clean energy. There are some incredibly exciting things happening there.’

The science communicators have held audiences captive all over the world and will be sharing insights with HIA members at the HIA 2019 National Conference

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