Myriad Live 2017 with Mic Black, Creative Tech Innovator

Live with Mic Black, creative tech innovator about being a dad and Sunshine Coast

Posted by BeachCity on Thursday, March 30, 2017

Video Transcription:

Suzzanne: Usually it's easier than this. Hi there, I'm with Mic Black. I say Mic, because he doesn't call Mike, and Mic is like a microphone just like this. Now, we've ruined forever your name.

Mic: That's right, yes.

Suzzanne: Can you introduce yourself?

Mic: Yes, so I'm Mic Black. I'm a creative technologist. What that means is I use technology in creative ways. I'm kind of like a commercial makeup.

Suzzanne: Pretty much what he does is, one of his favourite projects, and one of my favourite projects, is that he's got an excavator - like a real excavator. And kids control so it looks like they're playing with their arm. So whatever arm movement they have, the excavator arm does this as well.

Mic: That's right, yeah. It's a 33 tonne Hitachi excavator. We set it up in an airport in Macau at a big event to promote mechatronics. And kids just did this and the excavator mimicked their every movement wirelessly.

Suzzanne: That's amazing because you pretty much combined using technology in a creative manner, and that's what you do. But you do other exciting projects as well.

Mic: Yeah, so one of the things I really, really love working with is brain-computer interfaces. So, stuff where ... Like for me as a UX guy, it's like the final frontier is the UX of your own mind, so ...

Suzzanne: UX of your own mind? That's mind blowing.

Mic: So it's like, you think of mindfulness and things like that lets gamify that and make it competitive or collaborative or stuff you can do with groups. Make it more accessible so that people can have control over their mental state in their everyday life.

Suzzanne: I do notice a growing sector of us about ... mindfulness and health is a growing tech sector.

Mic: Absolutely.

Suzzanne: And you're tapping into that, but more than that, I also think that you're an awesome dad. Like you say you love working with kids.

Mic: I do.

Suzzanne: Because they're the future in many ways, right?

Mic: Look, I think kids don't realise how it's not gonna work yet, so they're willing to give it a try. I think that's my favourite thing about working with kids is that they just don't have all those barriers that adults put in place. And they also don't have that tall poppy syndrome that starts doubting other people, when things actually go well, they're like,"oh, they just must have rich parents" or something like that. Kids don't even have that consideration, they're just like,"wow, that's cool. Let's do that".

Suzzanne: When did you know that you were gonna be a ... Did you drop out of school? Did you go to finish school and you were just like,"I'm gonna be a creative technologist"?

Mic: Oh no, no, no. I'm not that planned and organised. I just followed the fun. I'm like a 33 year old Peter Pan, and my entire working career has been following the fun and exploring what is shiny and exciting on the other side. I just somehow managed to make that commercially viable.

Suzzanne: How did you do that? That's the secret.

Mic: No, it's not. I want that to be available to everybody. I would love to make a movement to be something that isn't just for art projects and little things that people, like a stool or something like that on the side.

Suzzanne: It is a viable pathway. Being a creative, being a tech, it doesn't matter if you combine the two, it's a viable pathway to say,"hey, you don't need to go to a nine to five job". There are a lot of resources and opportunities for you to be an entrepreneur.

Mic: Well, I think the other part of it as well is you've got to consider, look at where software was maybe fifteen years ago, it was okay to be functional but ugly. And we saw that change now, where we actually got user experience with it. Armies of user experienced people, just around trying to make it a great experience for people. So, that's starting to happen with hardware now. If you look at the Fitbit and compare that to a [inaudible 00:03:28], like that you would wear in a medical environment twenty years ago, there's a very big difference. I mean like, there's a difference use-case but it's making it more accessible, it's making it more friendly, making it something somebody would actually identify with and enjoy the experience of using.

Suzzanne: I thought it was lacking that Australia doesn't have focus or resources ... or even the network to focus on robotics. Or hardware. And I'm glad that you're pushing and saying now, you can be in Australia and you can do robotics.

Mic: Well yeah, look, it's a very small blue dot in a very large cosmos. So, we're really not that far away from everybody else. I think, what we do have is a really good advantage. We've got the opportunity to come up with creative ideas and so, if you're in the land of plenty and, you consider that you could just go out there and just buy anything you wanted off the shelf, you're less likely to explore what it would be to explore something. That's why I think farmers and people who live on the land, or people who live in other sort of environments such as in South America, where they have to make it, they can't just buy it; I think they're the people that are going to create the next amazing things.

Suzzanne: Wow. And let's leave it at one final question, it's going to be super serious. Are you ready?

Mic: Sure.

Suzzanne: What's your favourite beach?

Mic: My favourite beach? I'd have to say Nusa Beach.

Suzzanne: That's an amazing beach.

Mic: It is beautiful. There's a gorgeous little walk, you go out and start onto the rocks there. I really like that space.

Suzzanne: All right, thank you so much and I'll go drop his link so you can connect and see more of his stuff. Thank you for the conversation. Can I have a high five? Thank you.