An Interview with Tech Journalist and Presenter of The Gadget Show, Georgie Barrat
Georgie Barrat is a leading technology journalist and presenter of The Gadget Show. We caught up with her at our recent Knowledge Guild event to chat about tech, innovation and the importance of diversity in the STEM industries.
Hi Georgie, it’s great to meet you – can you tell us a little about yourself please?
I’m a tech journalist on Channel 5’s The Gadget Show. This means I get to travel the world testing the latest consumer trends, including a trip to Boston to check out the Humanoid robot they are planning to send to Mars called Valkryie, and I have a VR world record for being in virtual reality for 25.5. hours!
What can we do, and what can businesses do to get more women into STEM careers?
There’s only 17% of women that make up the tech industry which is horrendously low. Considering they are making the technology that is going to power tomorrow’s world it’s important we re-address this balance in a number of ways.
Firstly, we really need to address the pipeline of girls studying STEM subjects. If they’re not studying STEM subjects at A-Level they will never make it further into the tech industry. At the moment, under 5% of girls are studying STEM subjects.
Next, we need to create systems and make job adverts which are appealing to women. If it’s an industry which is incredibly male dominated it’s easy by default to create something which is only appealing to a male audience. We need to look at how that company is portraying its culture, attracting talent and the interview process.
Finally, it’s making sure women hang around in the industry. It’s about looking at flexible working, welcoming back mothers returning from maternity leave etc and ensuring there is the right support and systems in place to make the working environment more conducive for women.
What are Generation Z going to bring to the tech industry and the workforce as a whole?
Gen Z are incredibly exciting as a generation because they are able to learn and adapt to do anything because they are digital natives and the one powerful thing about the internet is that it’s a mechanism to teach yourself different skills.
It also teaches them about creating an online brand, how their image is portrayed, how others think about themselves, how to interact and create that authentic voice.
Smartphones, wearable tech, streaming, contactless payment – what do you think the next big thing is going to be in terms of tech, changing everyday life?
I’m really excited about how personal assistants will play a bigger role and how they’ll be using AI and natural language processing to allow us to converse with them almost like a normal human being.
At Google’s recent conference they announced Google Duplex, an incredible AI assistant that sounds like a human being. They do the errs and ums and they even understand the context of the previous question that’s happened before.
When this is fully developed we’ll be using AI assistants to book things for us and act as our concierge service. That’s incredibly exciting as by implication we’ll talk to our gadgets a lot more, we’ll be dictating, and they’ll be bringing up auditory dashboards. Things will happen a lot more instantly as we’re not glued to our tiny dashboards.
And finally, what’s next for you?
We are back again for another 3 series so from September time I’ll be back filming, including a trip to China and they have some really interesting tech start-ups over there! It’s going to be exciting…
Thanks for speaking with us Georgie!
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