Computer scientist

    Jon Whittle

    Jon works at Data61 – the data and digital arm of Australia's national science agency, facilitating collaboration between researchers, industry and students.

    Jon Whittle, director of CSIRO’s Data61, says technology is changing how we do traditional science, and digital skills will be crucial

    Jon Whittle, the director of CSIRO’s Data61, is a world-renowned expert in software engineering and human-computer interaction.

    In his lifetime, Jon has seen technology undergo enormous change – from his early interest in designing video games as a teenager in the 1980s to today. The evolution of tech continues at a breakneck pace, and it’s changing the way we do science.

    “We know the way we do science will look very different in 20 years’ time. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are creating new possibilities and allowing us to speed up the process of scientific discovery,” says Jon.

    Being fluent in tech will therefore be important for the scientists of the future. “All of this will be underpinned by digital skills, so data science and knowing how to properly and ethically incorporate technologies such as AI into scientific methodologies will be increasingly important,” he says.

    But Jon stresses that the fundamentals of science – and being a scientist – will stay the same. “While these technologies will create new opportunities, the most important aspect will always be the deep scientific knowledge and judgement of the human scientist at the
    centre.”

    This article is brought to you in partnership with CSIRO and originally appears in Careers with STEM: Technology 2021.

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    Gemma Chilton

    Author: Gemma Chilton

    Gemma is the Managing Editor of Careers with STEM magazine. She has previously worked as Digital Managing Editor at Australian Geographic and a staff writer at Cosmos science magazine.

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