Former Clinton advisor predicts future industries

3 February 2016

Alec Ross

Former Senior Advisor for Innovation to Hillary Clinton, Alec Ross.

Big data, robotics and human genomics are the three emerging areas that will shape our working and family lives in the future, according to leading technology expert and former Senior Advisor for Innovation to Hillary Clinton, Alec Ross.

Speaking on ‘Industries of the Future’, Alec addressed industry and alumni guests at the University’s recent Technology Innovation event in San Francisco.

Of big data, he stressed that whilst it has the potential to help us solve many big global challenges, privacy is a key issue. With the average adult already having approximately 75,000 of their data points collected and potentially available for sale, it is already a contentious and much-debated topic.

Alec also noted that the huge investment in robotics will create a shift in the way we work, and will lead to the automation of many white-collar jobs in the next 5-10 years. He identified that its impact on healthcare will be far-reaching, with enormous potential to support our ageing populations.

His final prediction was that human genomics will become the next mainstream billion dollar industry and, just as the internet did 20 years ago, will dramatically shift the way we lead our lives. From enabling personalised healthcare and more accurate diagnoses, to new approaches for managing mental health.

As her Senior Advisor for Innovation, Alec travelled to over 40 countries and had many opportunities to witness the application of technologies in new and emerging contexts. Many of these have been included in his recently published book ‘The Industries of the Future’.

This event was the fifth in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies’ Technology Innovation Series and was jointly hosted with the University of Sydney Business School.

The Technology Innovation event series is part of our faculty’s longer term vision to offer a framework of support to students and alumni working the innovation and entrepreneurship space across the globe. Previous event themes include disruptive change in China, going global from Australia and mental health and wellbeing.

In 2016, the series will include a ‘clean energy and sustainability’ event in Sydney and a ‘robotics and the future of society’ event in London.

To register your interest in attending the upcoming Technology Innovation events in Sydney and London, contact