Sunderland University Graduation Speech. July 2015.
Chancellor, Chairman, Vice-Chancellor, Ladies and Gentlemen… thank you.
It’s an honour to receive this award and to be given the opportunity to speak on your special day.
May I first say how great it was to see the University excellently represented, and with such success, at the D&AD NewBlood Festival in London last week. Congratulations.
On such evidence, one could say the future is in safe hands.
I don’t believe in safe hands.
Back in 1993, whilst all around it followed traditional paths, here at Sunderland I found a course that encouraged experimentation.
I didn’t know what I was doing when I began, and after three years… I didn’t know what I was doing when I left.
20 years later… and I still don’t know.
I’m making it up as I go along.
30 years from now, 2045, it is predicted that we will “transcend the limitations of our biological bodies and brain”.
Which is a fancy way to say we become Robots.
Now maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t.
But, whichever — we stand at the beginning of an industrial revolution, and technology is changing everything. The way we live, love, fight and work.
Robots will drive your car, care for you when you are ill and take your job.
Everything will change.
But for the time being, no one knows exactly how.
It’s too unpredictable.
The future does not come with instructions, only science fiction.
We have no choice but to make it up as we go along.
What happens next… is up to you.
You can make it up.
There is no richer time, as a creative mind, to be entering the ‘work place’ — whatever that now means.
You represent new thinking, the potential for ideas with purpose, social conscience and sustainable action.
Maybe a better world.
Now is not the time for safe hands.
Don’t do it like it was done before.
Don’t feel pressure to be right.
Or to explain yourself.
Please, don’t do as you have been told — even by me.
Do it your own way.
Now is the time for experimentation.
Embrace technology as the vehicle to carry you forward.
And do something timelessly human…