Health Professional Radio – Rotary Speech.
Ed: Without any further ado, I welcome Mr. Wayne Bucklar.
Wayne Bucklar: Thanks, Ed. Thank you, Jane and Bill. [indecipherable 00:15], members and guests, it’s my privilege to speak tonight, and I thank you for the invitation. After that bio, could you just give me a big round of applause and I’ll leave now, because that’s bloody good, don’t you think?
[laughter and applause]
Wayne: Thank you, Bill. Bill was one of my students, and he did pass, and he did very well. The check didn’t bounce.
Wayne: Tonight, sitting here with you, it’s a bit tribal. We’ve essentially shared the spoils of a hunt; thank you to the kitchen. We’ve enjoyed the warmth of the fire, as tribes have done for thousands of years; thank you to the air-conditioning system. And now, we’re gathering to tell the stories of the tribe, and you’ve outsourced that to me, and thank you for that.
The stories that we tell determine who we are. They shape the tribe we exist in and they define us. So as the tribes did thousands of years ago – they painted their history on the rocks, they developed language and they developed ways of communicating across distance. In 1984, Tim Berners-Lee came along and gave us the internet, and we’ve done the same thing ever since. Now, some of you, the cynics amongst you may say that the internet is only good for wanking and banking.
Wayne: Now, obviously those of you who are laughing are parents of teenagers, who appreciate that this is in fact true. I put this to you because many of you are my age, and I’m not going to tell you how old that is, but it’s only because I can’t count past 57. Were it not for pornography on the internet, when the internet came along in 1980s in Australia … if there was no pornography, would we have the internet today? This is my thesis. I’m going to write a PhD on this. Well, primarily because I think the research would be fascinating.
See, for many years, we couldn’t do much else with the internet. We had this phenomenon that worked. It produced images that were searchable and, I have to say, there’s a fair bit of evidence to say, that a lot of those images were what my father would call … now, he’s 93, my dad, and I bought him his first computer for his 85th birthday. He typed his first search into Google, and he typed in “cheeky ladies”. Now, I would have never thought that “cheeky ladies” would work on Google, but it does. And it brings up, guess what? Pornography.
I think that we have to acknowledge a simply truth. The internet did things to our society that are not very nice. It liberated the biggest database of pornography the world’s ever seen. It did a whole bunch of things that are not very good, and it still does. So every time we talk about the internet – and I do it all the time – we talk about things that are really, really spectacular. But we have to also consider that we need to talk about things that are not really spectacular. We need to acknowledge the pornography. And I don’t really mean pornography.
I really mean the people who lose money through Nigerian scams. I mean, people who are ripped off because they get into partnership arrangements with people who manipulate them emotionally, who get them to send money, and who lose lifelong fortunes. I talk about people who invest in shares and get done, and so on and so forth. Every crime you’ve ever heard of in the real world exists in the cyber world.
So we’ve got both. We’ve got this wonderful feature that brought tribalism to the current age. Who would have thought that you would ever walk along the footpath, so engrossed on your mobile phone that you walk into people? If you don’t believe that happens, go into the Queen Street Mall any day of the week, and you’ll see.
In fact, my favourite YouTube clip currently is the guy who’s on the train platform on his mobile phone, and walks off the edge of the platform under the tracks. I think that’s my current favourite. And it’s got to be pretty good to get it to be a favourite of me, because there’s an immense amount of pornography on Facebook as well. So Facebook. What’s Facebook doing? It’s the beginning of the social media revolution.
2004, Mark Zuckerberg decided that one of the things that college students lacked in America was enough opportunity to get themselves laid. So he said, “Wouldn’t it be good if, instead of just dating members of the opposite sex, slowly through fraternity dances and through socials, we could do it instantaneously over the internet?” And he invented Facebook. If you think Facebook is for a different purpose, talk to your teenage kids. They’ll straighten you out. Facebook works immensely well at what it does, and what it does is a massive dating site.
Along came Twitter shortly after that. And Twitters is for all the people who want to complain about Facebook. I guess a number of users quit it. It’s where you, in 140 characters, say something. Now, I put this to you – can you say anything good in 140 characters? I find 140 characters ideal for complaining. So I use Twitter to complain, and it works exceptionally well. The other social media we should talk about is LinkedIn. Now, LinkedIn is kind of the business version of Facebook. So it’s for like, dating with business people. It’s kind of like, I don’t know, pornography in suits.
Wayne: I can’t think of a good equation. If you are one of those people who look at a bank account and get very excited, then you should be on LinkedIn. This is the business equivalent of online dating. LinkedIn now is enormously successful. It influences … more jobs, by the way, more jobs are derived off LinkedIn that are derived out of Seek, the online employment service.
So LinkedIn is phenomenal for business practices. And if you’ve never heard of it or you’re not on there, if you’re in business, you probably need to be. So these are the three great social medias. And the other thing that’s happened recently … well, not recently, it’s happened since the beginning of this process … because now I want to talk about the form factor. I want to talk about the shape of the device.
We’ve been talking about social media and what it will do. That’s the software. Now, we come to the form factor. When Bill started in computers, you needed a truck to deliver a computer, that weighed 8 ton, and they’d deliver it with a forklift. Now, we get a computer that’s considerably smaller. In fact, in Australia, we have 20 million odd people and 30 million mobile phones. So we’ve got more mobile phones than we have people. We don’t even count the computers.
So, in form factor, we start with the desktop computer. Then, we have the laptop computer. Then, we have the tablet computer – you know the Apple IPad – and then the phone. And if we have something in between them, we call it a Phablet. In the IT industry, we’re not really good with words. We’re not very good at inventing things. We just steal them or combine them. Have you noticed that?
In the IT industry, three things. If you need a new name, steal it from another industry. That’s how we got architecture. All the architects out there are saying, “Hang on. You didn’t study for seven years. How can you be an architect?” Simple. It’s IT. We just steal a name. That’s what we do. Secondly, take their letters. RAM, that’s random access memory, ROM, read-only memory. If you can’t figure out what words to steal [indecipherable 08:17]. And thirdly, if you’re really stuck, take the two words, like maybe modem. Just take two good words and glue them together. That’s how we get Phablet. That was a combination of a phone and a tablet.
So the form factors have changed. Has anyone … it’s the wrong audience to ask this question … has any one here bought one of the new smart watches that comes with a Galaxy phone? No? Well, this is the newest thing called wearable technology. My staff are here – Matthew and Dylan are here, going, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever. Like, that’s so last year, Wayne. Move on.”
The new wrist watches that come with your mobile phone now will have in them a camera, and when your phone rings, it’ll tell you who it is. Their photo will come up on your watch. And when you get SMS, it’ll come up on your watch. The new Google glasses, called Glass. This is another IT naming thing. When it’s not enough that you should shorten the name or just use the letters or bring the two words together, then leave the end off. So it’s not Google Glasses, it’s Google Glass.
These are wearable. They have a little screen over one eye. They connect to the internet, and they will bring to you information about what you’re looking at, and take photos of what you’re looking at. Now, I put this to you – I can’t explain this to women, but I’ll talk to the gentlemen here for a moment. Imagine that you’re popping into the gents, and on your wrist, you’ve got a high-resolution camera, and you’re wearing a pair of glasses that takes high-resolution photos, and you’re standing at the urinal. Do you think it’ll be enough just to not make eye contact with the gentlemen next to you? Or do you think you’re just going to be in a lot of trouble no matter what happens?
Wayne: Like, do you not see we need a whole new set of rules here? The technology is once again running faster than we are. So wearable technology – wristwatches now are going to be cameras and computers. Our eyeglasses are going to be cameras and computers. We’re already seeing policemen wearing the cameras around the place. If you check out some of the policemen, they’re now wearing personal cameras that are recording their lives.
One of the things we see is [indecipherable 10:40]. These are the small, high-resolution, digital computers. People that I’ve talked to who are going out clubbing in the valley, and it’s going to be a big night, take a [indecipherable 10:49] with them, because when they’re too pissed to remember, they want to have evidence of it the next day. They’re not sure how good a time they had until they check the camera.
Wayne: It’s a different world, but that’s pretty much where we’re heading. So the form factors are changing. Connectivity’s changed. Remember dial-up computing? Yeah. It made all of those fun noises. I remember the first time I got a 300 board, 1200 board modem connection for … wow! 1200 board, that’s spectacular! What will I do with all that speed? A board, by the way, is a term used for sending Morse code signals. So it was an equivalent of how fast you could tap out a character.
Now, by the way, the modems you’re using at home are probably of the order of hundreds of thousands of boards. So, anyone got broadband down here yet? Oh, aren’t we glad we voted liberal?
Wayne: Was that a political announcement? I’m sorry, it slipped out. I wasn’t watching. We started with dial-up. We now use ADSL. We’re going to cable if ever we get broadband in. We’ve also got wireless. We have the third generation and the fourth generation currently. I guess we’ll get fifth, sixth and seventh generation. My point with all of this is that connectivity has become ubiquitous. It’s here in this room. It’s around us. It’s everywhere we go.
Whether we get the NBN or not, one of the things that will happen is we’ll turn off the old copper wire network. So when the NBN comes through your house and you’re thinking, “Should I or shouldn’t I,” just remember that two years after they offer it to you, they will turn it off your old phone. Just mentioning that in passing.
So we’ve now got form factors that are small and portable and wearable. We’ve got connectivity that’s everywhere, ubiquitous, and depending on you who talk to, it’s either dear or cheap. Some people think it’s too expensive. Some people think it’s too cheap. So if this is the new world, why are all of us not rich business people? Most of us have got webpages. Most of us invest in the internet. If this is the new world, why are we not rich?
Now, tonight, I was going to bring a PowerPoint presentation with me, because I thought being a technology person, I should do that. But then I thought, “Well, I could just, you know, speak in short sentences with three dot points after each one, and I can look at the back screen in between while I’m speaking, rather than engage with you as an audience.” See, what PowerPoint did was taught us to accept this idea of a technology-led discussion.
And the worldwide web did that to us in business, you know? If you remember the last 20 years, they said, “You gotta have a webpage for your business. You gotta have a domain name. And the world will beat a path to your door.” And for many of us, it didn’t. It did for a few people. But for a lot of us, it didn’t make a difference. And now, social media came along, and there are Facebook pages and there are LinkedIn pages, and we’re going, “Hang on. Why am I still not rich?”
It’s a bit like the Jetsons. I expect my rocket pack. I expect my motorized car, and that didn’t come either. Where is all this technology going? And I put it to you, that what I’m doing to you now is much more powerful than anything I can do to you over the internet. That the conversation we’re having, the speech, is more important than the technology.
So my point, I guess, in talking to you now is about the words. And I thought I would quote something from West Wing, because Aaron Sorkin, who wrote West Wing, I think, has a marvellous command of language. And he said, through his President, Josiah Bartlet, “Words, when spoken out loud for the sake of performance are music. They have rhythm and pitch and timbre and volume. These are the properties of music. And music has the ability to find us and move us and lift us up in ways that literal meaning can’t.”
Words are like music, can soothe the savage beast. It can move us. And yet, we’ve gone to this technology in the mediated world where we get results from databases. We get all these [indecipherable 15:22] phrases. And so, all of you who are in business know, you absolutely know in your heart, you don’t do business with webpages. You do business with people. You do it with people you know and trust and like. You learn those things through words. So I put it to you that words are critically important, and with that in mind, I think the next phenomenon we’re about see on the internet is internet radio.
Now, I declare my self-interest. I put the cards on your table. I’ve already invested in this. This is my business. But I’m telling you not because I want you to invest in my business, but because I think it’s the way the future’s going to go. Here’s the problem that I have with Facebook and the internet and webpages. It has no soul. Now, someone said at my intro I work in ABC every week. And I do, and I guess many of you are ABC listeners. You certainly fit the demographic.
Wayne: You don’t fit the demographic. You’re about 30 years too young, lady.
Wayne: When my mum’s listening, my audience goes up considerably. Many of you would know Kelly Higgins-Devine, or the other people who are on 612. These are warm people, aren’t they? These are people you listen to and it’s like you’re in the room with them. It’s like they’re talking to you. We build relationship. And so radio gives us the warmth, the immediacy, the relationship that other technologies have knocked out.
We watch television, but when we watch television, it’s like we’re sitting outside the goldfish bowl watching what’s happening inside. It’s kind of a voyeuristic experience. Do you know what I mean? When we listen to radio, it’s not so voyeuristic. It’s like we’re in the room with them. It’s like we’re participating in the conversation. And so I think, the new phenomenon that the internet is going to bring to us is going to be about language.
And Stephen Fry, who’s a bit of a hero of mine, Stephen Fry said, “Language is my mother, my father, my husband, my brother, my sister, my whore, my mistress, my check-out girl. Language is a complimentary, moist, lemon-scented cleansing square or handy freshen-up wipette. Language is the breath of God. It’s the dew on a fresh apple.” Language conveys to us all of those images, and as the spoken word – as the spoken word, not only does it convey the image, but it triggers the emotion.
And so, I think the internet is not going to go away. It’s going to be here. People are still going to walk off train platforms looking at their phone and texting. When we tie that texting to a broadcast medium in voice like radio, we move away. Radio was always called theatre of the mind. It started in the 1900s and it had big audiences. They did radio plays – remember that? My dad, my mum used to listen to Blue Hills every day, and many of you might be in the same boat.
Yes. Gwen Meredith, God bless her. In 1942, they said on Blue Hills, “And there’s no teabags left,” and the ABC was swamped with bloody teabags mailed into the ABC because people wanted to help the characters in that show. It was such an engaging process. So I suggest that in the future, we will see a voice in the mediated internet-based technology, and that’s going to be internet radio that will tie together social media.
If you haven’t looked into it for your business, do look into it. If you haven’t considered where it’s going to go, get some advice. I know the internet’s challenging for many of us. I know it’s a pain in the bum for the rest of us. Thank God, there was pornography there 20 years ago or this would have gone away. But now, we need voice and we need reason. And the two will tie together to give us a world of social media, intermediated, with a voice message.
Now, that’s been me. I think my time is very close to being up. I’m happy … I think I’m happy to take questions if you’re happy to ask questions. Bill will tell you, as an academic, I can talk for a semester at a time without drawing breath, so I’m happy to go on, but I’ll leave you know in the hands of our chairman. Thank you very much.
Ed: Well, I did say it was going to be provocative. So any questions? Chris.
Chris: Yeah. So I’m interested, very interested, in the points you’re making, because on the one hand, there’s that kind of that dystopia. You know what I mean when I say dystopia … which would characterise where pornography drives … provides the economic base etc., etc., which is pretty grim if you think about it. I think your other point, which was [indecipherable 20:27] pornography for the 612, which was rather nice, I felt, because it reminded me what my old man used to say, “There’s no fool like an old fool.” It meant that a lot of people here have done a bit of growing up.
So when you’re listening to 612, you’re actually listening to grown-up conversation. So I guess by the end of this speech, I got to feel pretty optimistic. I got to feel, “Yeah, if the internet goes in that sort of direction, there’s some hope for us all, really.” Because this club consists of a whole lot of people who love talking with each other. They wouldn’t turn up every week if they didn’t. So [indecipherable 21:13] conversation’s not dead. I’m interested – to ask my question – what you have to say about online blogging and online comments in newspapers and other places?
Wayne: Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve grown up to become the people you used to despise? I sometimes think, 20 years ago, I was rallying against the person I’ve become. It’s a bit scary. Here’s the answer for me. If you take any new technology and thrust it upon the world, the range of responses will be everything there is in the world, from evil through to good. And right now, if you look at comments on websites about newspaper articles and the blogs and all the rest of it, you’ll get the spectrum of results.
You get the people who are paid to comment. One of the ways young people now make a living is, instead of working for McDonalds, they get paid to type in the comments given to them by the marketing companies, and to edit them into their own words, so that their non-scripted, independent results are in fact the carefully scripted results of marketing companies. So all the trickery and chicanery in the world. But for all of that, there are still lots of people who are saying lots of things. And l believe the next iteration will change it.
Because in text, you’re very anonymous. In text, anyone can type something. If we engage the next level, which is about voice and vision, audio and voice, it’s much harder to fake. People are much more real. And I think conversation is very important and grown-up conversation is very interesting. Stephen Fry, my hero, says that “Beyond gluttony,” and by gluttony, he means food and sex. “Beyond glutton, all pleasure is conversation.” Now, I think he’s right.
And we – I guess some of us are baby boomers and some of us are on the trailing edge of baby boomers – we have never been a generation to take the world casually. We have been a very demanding generation. We’ve wanted the best, and generally, we’ve got it. In post-World War II civilization, we’ve done pretty well. You think we’re going to lay down and die quietly? Not a chance in hell. We’re going to want the world to suit us as well. So I’m also optimistic.
Ed: Shelby? This should be good.
Shelby: Just following on from that, Wayne, last week in Australia, we had the very sad death of Charlotte Dawson, who was a celebrity and who, because of what happened … oh, sorry. Sorry, people. I was just saying at the end of last week, we had a death in Australia of a celebrity called Charlotte Dawson. Charlotte was someone who not only suffered with depression and mental illness, but she was hounded and hounded by the internet and by what is termed as trolls. I think it was Twitter, where she had these dreadful, dreadful things said about her. How do we, as a society … I guess we can’t stop it, but how do we monitor it and how do we do something about it when it can be so anonymous?
Wayne: Trolls by the way, on the internet, are just people who are unreasonably critical of you. Depression is real. Suicide is real. You’re more likely, in Australia now, to die, by the way, of depression, than you are to die of a heart attack. Mental illness is a real and serious thing. It’s something we have to take very seriously. So trolls on the internet, say attacking things. Whether you’re a 13-year-old or a 50-year-old, it doesn’t matter. You get criticized on Facebook.
And a lot of people go, “Well, it’s easy. Just turn it off. You know, turn it off.” But it’s not that simple and it’s not that straightforward. When who you are and the validation of your existence is tied to the internet … it’s kind of hard to explain this unless you’re part of it. But if you’re a 13-year-old and part of your world is your Facebook account – it’s how you know whose birthday it is, it’s how you know what parties are going on, it’s how you know who had puppies and their dog, it’s how you know what the world is.
Then turning off the Facebook because you’re being trolled is turning off your life. It’s like being disconnected. So you can’t just do that. But the answer to this is – we can’t stop people being trolls. There are laws, and sometimes, you’re prosecuted, but it’s like one in a million. What we can do is say, “This is not acceptable.” Now, the woman, the journalist that killed herself, committed suicide, and was servery attacked by trolls.
But for everyone what trolled her and criticized her, if just one person had said, “Look, I know they’re giving you the shits but it doesn’t matter. I think you’re pretty cool. Stick with it.” That anonymous voice, that anonymous validation is so important. So if you’ve got kids, grandkids who are being picked on and bullied online, take it very seriously. Take it very seriously. If you’ve got friends in the same boat, again, just equalize the trolling. I don’t think we can do anything else, but I think one lone voice can make a world of difference.
Ed: Anybody else?
Speaker 1: Sorry, Bill. Just explain the internet radio. So, are we going to be able to talk back to the radio or is it just like 612 or [inaudible 27:20]
Wayne: I have to say, I didn’t bring this man. I didn’t pay him any money.
Wayne: I will now answer the question. Radio started in like 1910 or whatever, was broadcasted, and the only way you could get an audience … you and I had a radio station, so did 50 other people, most of the radio stations were owned by local businesses. The only way we could segregate them was by demographic. So we said, “Alright. I’ll play music for 13-year-olds; you play music for 50-year-olds; you do talk-back for old people, you do whatever.” And we had the one audience split according to their age.
And that’s what we still do. Triple J plays different music to FM and so on and so forth. If we take that radio signal – the voice, the music, and the sweepers [sp] and the commercials, and instead of broadcasting it, we stick it on the internet. We now have a much bigger audience. My particular is health professionals, that’s what I’ve stuck on the cards, and [inaudible 28:15]. I’ve got 35 million potential people worldwide who speak English who are health professionals. It’s an enormous audience.
So you can now provide that warmth and immediacy and intimacy to them. And yes, you can do all the things you’re talking about. You can do talk-back. You can do response. You can do all of that stuff. But now, take it and tie it up to your social media. The other day, I said online, “If you think your hospital is being run by a lunatic, if you think the lunatics have taken over the asylum, if you think your administrators are completely mad in your hospital, and you’ve got an e-mail as an example of that, send them into us. We’d love to share them with the rest of the world.”
Now, I just stuck that on a Facebook page, and 88,000 people read it. So many … 88,000 people. That’s more people than I’ve ever spoken to in my business life. I mean, I ran newspaper ads that didn’t reach 88,000 people. And here it is, the combination of social media and voice, just this enormous reach. And that’s what I think will be the future. So yeah, imagine ABC radio, imagine it on your computer or your phone, and tied to the ability to respond and talk back. You see a bit of it now in Q&A. You know when they have the Twitter screen? That’s the kind of little, tiny beginnings of what I’m talking about.
Ed: You have a question, John?
John: Wayne, first thing, do you think it’s possible, and if you do, how far are we away from a situation where we will have a modem either internally in our heads or externally on our bodies, that will connect to our brains, that will basically access information? [inaudible 30:05]
Wayne: A guy called Ray Curzon [sp] has just written about this for Google. He’s one of the kind of heroes of predicting the future stuff. He says that his mission with Google is, in one sense, Google has to understand plain language. That is, we don’t have to put stuff into different formats. It just has to understand how I’m talking to you now. And then, Google will know everything you ever said, and everything you ever thought, and every question you’ve ever asked, and the consequence of that, and he says, by 2030, will be an intelligence which is artificial and which knows more about what you want than you do.
Now, do I think that’s absolutely true? Yes, I do. I think it’s achievable. This year, we’ll see most of the mainstream cars come out with radios in the car – you know, console thing, with a hard drive in them – you get that now – but with a SIM card. So you actually buy a SIM card for your car, like you do for your phone, and you’ll stick it into your car, and it will receive Pandora. I guess many of you use that already. It’s an online radio station, and if you don’t use it … with Pandora, you don’t say, “Please play me Dustin Springfield.” That’s what I would do.
Instead you say, “I really like Dustin Springfield,” and it plays you music like Dustin Springfield. You say, “I really like Rachmaninoff,” and it’ll play you a program of music like Rachmaninoff. So Pandora’s coming out in about 6 of the big brands, cars from July on, and by the end of this year, you won’t be able to buy a car without a SIM card in it. They will all be connected to the internet.
Your Google Glasses, connected to the internet. It’s only a little way away. We don’t have good brain-computer connectivity yet. We do have the ability to take the electrodes on your scalp – don’t have to drill them into your head – just wear the cap and drive the mouse around the computer screen. We do that now. People in wheelchairs do that, people who are profoundly disabled do that with alphabet and stuff.
It’s only like, so close, you can almost taste it. And 3D printers – you’ve heard about 3D printers? You can buy them now at Officeworks for $1,400. They work. They’re achievable. They’re not science fiction. They’re there right now. They’re not really, really great. They’re a bit gumby-like. But do you remember your first fax machine? Man, it was gumby-like, but you were still proud of that, weren’t you? So it’s very close. And it’s an exciting time for technology. The trick that we have, all of us – and I think you play a huge part in this – I think you have to have an opinion about we regulate and how we control it, how we don’t let it be bad in our society.
Ed: Next, we’ve got a question over here …
Speaker 2: Just a quick one though. I’m one of those blokes who get up [inaudible 32:58] but the problem with that is that the digital technology is continually dropping out. So, say, if something happening in the digital technology world that’s going to be able to connect it.
Wayne: Yeah. Spencer, thank you, if you’re listening early morning. Number one radio DJ in Australia is Spencer in Brisbane, on ABC, who gets paid bugger-all for doing a great job, and I think he’s a [indecipherable 33:30] …
Wayne: Now, the ABC invested in DAB, Digital Audio Broadcast technology. If you bought one of those radios, we’d like to thank you. It’ll make a great paperweight in the future. It’s just one of those technologies, like … just didn’t take off, crashed and burned. The technology that is taking off is your mobile phone and the 4th generation on it. And if you listen to ABC on that, you’ll get a much better result.
Speaker 2: It still drops out.
Wayne: That’s a Telstra issue. Sorry, not necessarily Telastra – also Vodafone and all the rest. That’s a carrier issue. It’s getting better and better. My family comes from [inaudible 34:12]. They would say what you’ve got here is fabulous by comparison. But it’s about where you are.
Speaker 2: Yeah. It seems to be that unless that catches up, then the technology is not going to happen.
Wayne: Yeah. But it is catching up and it is being rolled out. The broadband that the … if we get NBN broadband, like [inaudible 34:33]. See, in America, if you talk to an American about a capped internet account, and paying by the megabyte for the data, they’d go, “Why are you …? What are you talking about?” This is such a strange concept. Like, in America, you have the internet or you don’t. There’s no such thing as paying per megabyte.
And so, every McDonald’s has free and open internet access. I was in the Philippines recently. Every café has open access. Everywhere you go. Why is it so different in Australia? Well, because we only had Telstra here. And if you remember Telstra in the good old days, it was about making a dollar, and they were very good at it. And they said, “Oh, we can do a couple of things. We can charge for access and time and bandwidth.” And they do, and that’s caught on.
NBN will kill that, because if we’ve all got fibre-optic cable, there’ll be no issue about how much data we consume. It’ll just be more of it than we can. Now, Malcolm Turnbull – and Malcolm knows better, by the way. I’ve known Malcolm for years, I’ve worked with him. Malcolm’s a very well-accomplished technology person. Malcolm knows exactly what he’s doing. Malcolm would love to give us all fibre-optic, plus he’d find a way to take money off us all out of it.
He did that OzEmail. He did that with WebCentral. He did it with all these companies. But we don’t need a half-arsed broadband. We don’t need a broadband that comes with fibre to the house, and then a bit of copper wire and whatever. Have a look at what they’re using in Japan and Europe and everywhere. It’s never, ever going to be cheaper to build high-speed broadband than it is today.
If you’ve driven out West, and if you’ve driven on one of those beef roads, you know those little narrow roads that they put in during World War II, and they cost a fortune but thank God they did it, because otherwise, we’d still have dirt roads. Thank God they built the tunnel. It might not be paying itself, but for the next 100 years, it’s going to be there.
Broadband’s the same. We have to bite the bullet and invest in this, and we have to put it in everywhere. So that’s the problem – we’ve still got this mentality in charging for bandwidth. We don’t have the capacity, and we need it. But I think it will happen. Right now, by the way, good old AM from ABC – pretty spectacular technology, isn’t it? You get it at home, it works, it’s cheap, it happens in the radio. We’ll get a better of technology, but it will take a while.
Speaker 3: The big problem [indecipherable 36:57] small population and big area to cover.
Wayne: Yeah. And that’s the Australian legacy, isn’t it? Boat people aside, we just don’t have enough of us to fill in all the spaces. That’s the problem.
Sandy: Wayne, you’ve just said that Spencer Harrison [sp] is number one in Australia. But would you explain to old people like me the rubbish that he was talking last week, about saying something and something, repeated what he said? It’s just a load of rubbish, as far as I’m concerned.
Wayne: I have to say I can’t, because I’m never in bed early enough to hear him.
Sandy: [inaudible 37:31] The voice thing. He would say something, and he had this machine that he had, and it would repeat exactly what he said, like, “Chipmunk, chipmunk.”
Wayne: Yeah. I don’t know what he was doing.
Sandy: Anyway, it was rubbish.
Wayne: [laughs] [indecipherable 37:47]
Sandy: This is a problem that I find for guys of my vintage. I have a mobile phone, but when I took it out in front of a lot of young people the other day, they’ll said, “What’s that?” I said, “It’s a mobile phone.” They said, “What’s it do?” I said, “I can talk and ring out.” And they took it in their hand and they’re trying to get it to move. And I said, “Mate, this is 15 years old.” They said, “A mobile phone?” So we have a problem, us old guys, trying to pick up the new technology.
Wayne: Yeah. I agree. I absolutely agree. And you know, 20 years ago, I was saying, “All those bloody 50-year-olds, they should just move over.” Now I am one. I’ve joined the crowd I despised. The good news is, many of us have caught up along the way and we continue to catch up with stuff as it comes along. I guess my point, Sandy, is that what I’m increasingly becoming aware of is that around the world, the technology’s taking second place to the word, and a man in your profession should understand the word. You’ve been flogging the same book for 2,000 years.
Sandy: And the same number of people haven’t been listening!
Wayne: But it’s that ability to engage people in language. It’s so important.
Sandly: I think the one thing that upsets me more than anything else is my frustration. If I could only stop thinking I’ve got to be up with these young guys … and my phone does what it does, the way I put the bulletin onto the website is antiquated, it’s 2003 technology. It works! But there’s a sense in which I’ve got this problem – if it goes, when am I going to find some new thing that’s going to spend two or three hours trying to work out how the hell to do it.
Wayne: Well, it is lovely to hear you say, “the way I put this onto the web.” Because 15 years ago, we wouldn’t have been saying that, would we?
Ed: Last question, Kent Neyeta [sp].
Kent: Just interested in your comment–
Speaker 4: Can’t hear you, Kent!
Kent: Just interested in your comment on the digital car idea. A couple of you would have read recently where a couple of the new vehicles coming in later from overseas will have digital radios in them. Previously, they haven’t been available. But talking about Spencer, I had him talk to our voters’ [sp] club a year or so ago, and he was mentioning the effect of digital radios and mentioning a certain brand, which you’d be well aware of that he was recommending.
However, the limitations of the digital radio, which somebody … Mick [sp] mentioned before, were such that I said, “Okay, there’s quite a lot of [inaudible 40:31] just said, “Stay with the ordinary and well, forget the digital, it’s not going to work.” But the interesting thing is you were talking about putting a SIM card in, but the digital radios are only just starting to come in later this year in Australia, because it hasn’t fitted the system before. So it’d been interesting to see what you think their reception’s likely to be.
Wayne: Yeah, it’s a good question. And it’s confusing, because, as we always do in the IT industry, if you can’t make a dollar honestly, just confuse the hell out of the market, and hope a lot. Digital Audio Broadcast Systems, DABS radios, are what they’re talking about. And I think DABS is going to be like Betamax video. I think it’s a great technology that’s just going to die. It hasn’t grasped the stuff … You can still buy them. They’re overpriced. They don’t look cool. They don’t fit in very well. And I don’t think they’re going to take off.
ABC has invested a bucket-load of money in being able to broadcast on them. Most of the other big broadcasters have not. I think it’s going to fizzle. What I think will happen instead is that big radio stations and TV stations will take their broadcast signal and retransmit it onto the internet. So that’s actually not radio at all, is it? It’s an internet signal. And when I talk about internet radio, it’s really just a webpage with words. But it feels like radio and it acts like radio, and if you’re in a caravan in [indecipherable 42:01] and you can get a phone signal, you’ll be able to get a radio signal.
Now, in many places, when you go 15 kilometres out of town, you can’t get a phone signal. It’s going to be hard to beat AM. I mean, AM just has worked so well for so long. And I think if the big broadcasters got out of it, community broadcasters will pick it up, but we’ll see. But yeah. Don’t get confused about internet radio and internet streaming, and DABS, the Digital Audio Broadcasting. I think Digital Audio Broadcasting is … I think even now, the ABC is starting to say, “Ooh! Might not have been our best decision.” Thank you.
Ed: Thank you, Wayne. Can I have a round of applause for Wayne?
Ed: On behalf of the club, Wayne, I’d like to thank you for putting in the work you have tonight. I call upon our president, Eric, to come up and present you with a certificate. It’s for immunisation of …
Ed: It’s for immunization for people against polio. So thanks for your time, Wayne. I’ll hand over to Eric.
Eric: Wayne, I don’t know how much you’ve heard about our polio program, but we’re immunising children all around the world. And by you speaking to us here tonight, we’re going to immunize another 20 children. There’s a certificate in your name to say that we’ve done it in your name.
Wayne: Thank you very much.