Technology can be brilliant, world-changing and a force for good. History, however, proves it can just as easily be a force for damage. Take electricity, smartphones and cars: all have improved our means of connecting with one another, but they've also had a significant impact on our health and the environment.
Now, we're standing at the edge of a new technological revolution: we're teaching machines to think, and space exploration is undergoing its most exciting developments since the Space Race.
So if we recognise that the decisions we make now will affect the future, how can we use technology to leave the world in a better place for generations to come?
It's a fascinating question, and one that will be explored at this year's Tech Conference at Hybrid World Adelaide.
The removal of space junk is a hot topic, and space archaeologist at Flinders University, Dr. Alice Gorman, will speak about the issue. So, how are humans doing?
"Pretty badly, it has to be said," says Gorman.
"Everyone recognises we have a huge problem with the amount of space junk in earth's orbit, and everybody would like to do something about it, but the technological difficulties are so great that no one has yet."
The guidelines that regulate space junk, Gorman says, are not followed by almost half of all satellites that enter space.
"It's terrible… and the reason they don't do that is because it costs money," she says.
"There is often fuel left in them, and the fuel is unstable and explosive. You have all these rocket bodies floating around with unstable fuel, and you don't know when or if they're going to explode."
Also on the two-day conference program is Chief Scientist and Founder of Neumann Space Dr. Patrick 'Paddy' Neumann, who is developing the solar-electric plasma thruster to run on nearly any metal found in asteroids, and Professor Genevieve Bell, a renowned Australian computer engineer. Known for her pioneering futurist research with the Intel Corporation, Bell will examine how humanity can prosper in a data-driven world.
2012 Young Australian of the Year and founder of Robogals Global Marita Cheng will also speak, and the author of The Finnish Miracle, André Noël Chaker, will deliver a keynote. Chaker will examine what Australia can learn from innovative countries like Finland to help succeed in business, as well as live a happier life. His expertise will also be shared with applicants for the HWA LAB, where he will be a guest mentor.
Win a Trip to Hybrid World Adelaide
Thanks to Hybrid World Adelaide CNET is giving our lucky Australian readers the chance to attend HWA 2018. The prize includes flights for two from your nearest capital city, 3 nights accommodation and tickets to the conference. All you need to do is complete the form below telling us what you think the next big tech trend is that will change our lives and why?
The competition is only open to Australian residents 18 years and over. Full terms and conditions are available in the details tab below.