Knosys CTO, Nic Passmore, the self-proclaimed \u2018antichrist of AI\u2019, advises Australian businesses in 2019 to consider the cost-benefits of \u201cshiny, new technologies\u201d like AI and instead bolster existing systems first in order to drive technology transformation forward.\nPassmore, who leads Knosys\u2019 technology strategy and is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of product design, development and operations, caught up with CIO Australia to discuss technology trends he believes will and won\u2019t disrupt Australian businesses and industries in 2019.\nIn particular, Passmore thinks AI, quantum computing and the 5G market won\u2019t come into commercial reality, and that the market and investors should avoid the \u201chalo effect\u201d of these \u201cnew and shiny\u201d technologies.\nCIO: What are the technology trends of 2019?\nNP: Augmented reality (AR), automation and cybersecurity will be the key strategic trends for business leaders in 2019; in particular, those looking to improve productivity and customer experience while simultaneously shifting the digital mindset of the organisation.\nAR will continue to be a major consumer trend in 2019, as opposed to virtual reality, with tech companies like Apple and Google already pushing for AR updates in their operating systems. As consumers use AR more and more, Australian businesses will need to consider how they\u2019ll use this technology to improve their customer experience, interact better with customers, and ultimately sell more.\nAutomation will continue to be a theme in large enterprises and government agencies, but we\u2019ll also see this extend to smaller organisations, as these technologies become more accessible and easier to use. \nHowever, the biggest change around automation in 2019, will be the shift in business thinking from \u201cautomate and replace\u201d to the rise of the \u201cknowledge worker\u201d. I think we\u2019ll see government agencies and organisations investment more to buffer the downsides of automation, by retraining and upskilling their employees so they can better service the strategic priorities of the organisation. CIO: Do you agree with Gartner\u2019s top trends? \nNP: While I agree with Gartner\u2019s top trends on smart spaces and digital ethics and privacy, to drive disruption and new business models in 2019, it was slightly alarming that cybersecurity didn\u2019t make the cut. As an industry, we know that cybersecurity will only continue to grow in importance in 2019 and that extends to both the security of the systems we use, but also information security.\n2018 marked a new era for data breaches and outbreaks of WannaCry and other ransomware; but I don\u2019t think the impact of those attacks was really felt in Australia. One of the largest areas of concern for cybersecurity in Australian organisations is the internal theft of information and internal data leakages \u2013 and that threat is only going to become more prevalent as we move towards cloud-based services, and as we store more customer and personal information.CIO: What advice do you have for other CIOs and CTOs? NP: Ignore the technology halo effect in 2019. I don\u2019t believe that the Internet of Things (IoT) or quantum computing will come into commercial fruition in 2019. Yet, they continue to be overhyped by technology vendors and investors in the Australian market.\nThe IoT hype is centred on faster connectivity and dedicated networks for these systems and sensors. If Australian businesses are waiting for the 5G revolution to spur a boom in IoT, they\u2019ll be waiting a little while longer \u2013 particularly in a country as vast as Australia. \nBusinesses thinking about IoT in 2019 should look at traditional networks over which these systems operate: low power; low bandwidth; and designed to provide constant connectivity, rather than focusing on getting data from A to B as fast as humanly possible.\nWe\u2019re also still a wave off having a general purpose for quantum computing systems in place. While technology does move quickly and quantum computing has significant advantages in the speed in which it can process things, I don\u2019t believe that businesses\u2019 understanding of quantum physics has matured to a point where we can build general purpose quantum computing farms that will replace the technology we currently use. It\u2019s likely we\u2019ll see commercial quantum computing take off in Australia in the 2020s.CIO: What are your thoughts on AI? NP: Stop believing AI to be the panacea to all business problems. Let\u2019s get one thing straight \u2013 AI is a buzzword, while machine learning is the real deal. Machine learning today has many benefits for businesses and over the next 5-10 years we\u2019ll continue to evolve algorithms and methods of implementing such as neural networks, deep learning and statistical processing of data.\nThere needs to be a correction of thinking of AI in 2019. Today many businesses and their leaders see AI as a panacea for every issue impacting their organisation and that by implementing AI, it will fix a plethora of problems \u2013 when we are still in a position where an implementation of any single machine learning system requires a tightly-defined problem. We\u2019re not yet at a stage of development of these technologies, where they can be easily applied to solve a broad spectrum of business problems.\nIn 2019, Australian businesses will need to do a cost-benefit analysis of implementing these technologies and consider if they are implementing them for marketing or market-purposes. As the business focus intensifies on getting the customer the right information fast and ensuring that it\u2019s consistent in how it\u2019s delivered across the entire organisation, there will be a greater investment in \u201cback-to-basic\u201d technologies like knowledge management. CIO: What\u2019s your key advice for navigating 2019? \nNP: In 2019, Australian organisations need to be attuned to the long-term planning of their technology needs. You can\u2019t expect vendors to bring and deliver on shiny new technologies, when you\u2019re still running on technology that\u2019s 30-40 years old.\nAs an industry, we also need to start talking more about those \u201cboring technologies\u201d \u2013 the less flashy aspects of technology that Australian organisations and investors tend to gloss over. Until we start talking about bolstering existing systems and core networks - making sure they are secure, up-to-date, can be supported and upgraded - I think we\u2019ll continue to see organisations chasing their tails.