ITx Rutherford 2019 Programme

Jump to: Wednesday 9th | Thursday 10th | Friday 11th

Using a mobile device?
Visit programme on mobile site

The ITx Rutherford 2019 Programme may change without notice

Should We Fear The Robots... or be Worried They Won’t Arrive?

Friday 11:00am - 11:30am, IT Professionals NZ (CCL Room 2)

How will technological change influence work in New Zealand over the next 10 to 15 years? The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to investigate. There is wide concern that automation technologies using artificial intelligence will make workers, or even work itself, redundant. But early evidence suggests that these worries are misplaced, at least in the medium term.

Instead, perhaps we should be more worried about losing out on the wider economic benefits of technology diffusion without sufficient investment in new technology. What policy changes might encourage – or be less discouraging to – technology adoption and its attendant benefits? And what policies might best compensate those negatively affected, either directly or indirectly?

Dave Heatley from the Productivity Commission will address these questions.


Dave Heatley

Principal Advisor, Productivity Commission

Dave Heatley is a principal advisor at the Productivity Commission, currently working on the Technological change and future of work inquiry. He joined the Commission at its inception in 2011 and has worked on five inquiries: international freight transport, trans-Tasman economic relations, services sector productivity, social services, and tertiary education.

Dave recently completed Growing the digital economy and maximising opportunities for SMEs - a joint project with the Australian Productivity Commission. This fell into his “sweet spot”: he has lived and worked in both countries, and – prior to studying economics – spent 25 years in the computer industry. He has worked for, managed and owned small businesses. He launched successful (and not-so-successful) software startups in the 1990s and 2000s. His most successful startup was Echoview software, winner of the 2018 Australian Digital Export Award.

Before joining the Commission in 2011, Dave was a Research Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation at Victoria University of Wellington. He has an MBA (with distinction) from Victoria University of Wellington and a Bachelor of Science (computer science) from the University of Tasmania.

Outside of work, Dave volunteers for bird conservation projects in Fiordland and for land search and rescue in Wellington. He is a keen skier, tramper and runner and irregularly post at