SCP E22: Bringing Together Talented Humans, Robots and Automation, with Michael Milford

real estate in the city-17

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a super awesome chat with Robotics and AI guru Michael Milford. Michael is a professor at QUT and has his own start up Math Thrills. Michael and I talk about some of the cool things he is working on at the moment and the different aspects of autonomous vehicles and AI. We also have great discussion on keeping and attracting local talent and had a pleasantly unexpected convo about the importance of diversity in the tech space. I really enjoyed this Friday afternoon chat!

Listen Here:


“cities for the last century have this reputation [of being] static, unchanging, concrete jungles…I think it’s going to be really fascinating to see how radically the very concept of what a city is and what a Smart City will become with all these very exciting, but also very much still in development, technologies”

“in most cities some form of intelligent transport or autonomous vehicle transport is probably, although not certainly, going to factor in a big way in redesigning what the Smart City of the future looks like”

“Dull, dirty and dangerous jobs where robotics has the biggest role to play…so if we can remove people from harm’s way and replace [that task] with robotics and automation that’s a good thing”

“providing some really exciting projects, initiatives and incentives that really capture the imagination of the public, are going to be really key to nourishing that local talent development and retention”

“in order to try and get ahead…we need to really be plugged into what’s happening overseas…if you can start responding or planning for a new technology advance 2 or 3 years earlier, that gives you a much better starting platform than if you are just playing catch up”

“even if 90% of what you hear about in the media is hype, the 10% that’s actually true is enough to transform society”

What we covered:

  • Michael’s background in robotics and artificial intelligence and passionate in making education in STEM fun and engaging
  • Thinking about how the concept of a city will change with technology
  • Saving lives with autonomous vehicle and the challenges in the technology
  • Combining data and AI to gain insights into a city
  • Improving mining through robotics and automation
  • Behavioural impacts of autonomous vehicles and interaction with the infrastructure
  • Why Brisbane is a great place to pilot Smart tech as well as undertake the research and development
  • Local talent development and retention
  • Perks of living in Brisbane and improving global collaboration
  • Integrating tech companies, governments and corporations
  • Planning for new technology advances
  • Brisbane’s talent pool and cultural change in education
  • The importance of having relatable and regular role models and inclusivity in STEM
  • Call out for Elon Musk to come on The Smart City Podcast
  • Iterative transformations happening in society and inadvertently creating human level intelligence
  • AI assisting humans in the workforce


Math Thrills

Advance Queensland


Australian Centre for Robotic Vision

Cooperative and Highly Automated Driving (CHAD) Pilot


Elon Musk @elonmusk


Connect with Michael through QUT, via email or Twitter @maththrills

Connect with me via email:, Twitter or Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

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