Searching for the Super Human

I had the great pleasure of being interviewed today by Ms Anja Taylor in Los Angeles today. Anja works for Wildbear Entertainment that does co-productions with all the major television channels in Australia. She was formerly a researcher and presenter on Catalyst. This interview will form a part of the documentary series: “Searching for the Super Human” that will air on ABC in Australia later this year.


Here are some of the topic Anja and I talked about:

  1. Brief discussion about the internet of things and the emergence of big data. What effect / impact this is having on society.

  2. You have mentioned “ambient intelligence” in your articles - what is it?

  3. What are “insertable chips” and what is their brief history? What types of new insertable chips are starting to emerge?

  4. Recently we have seen trials for insertable chips which can be used to open doors or pay for public transport, the trials found largely that people found them useful and painless – do you have concerns with these?

  5. What smart chips are you most concerned with?

  6. We are already being tracked with our smartphones – is this different?

  7. Our pets are now chipped as a matter of course – do you see this happening with humans? What are the implications?

  8. Can we not just opt out? Can it be done responsibly?

A special thank you to Luke for filming.

Data Expert Warns Encryption Laws could have Catastrophic Outcomes


A University of Wollongong data expert has labeled the government's proposed encryption laws delusional and warns they could have catastrophic consequences.

The changes would force technology companies to help police access encrypted messages.

Professor Katina Michael, from the School of Computing and Information Technology says the powers are unprecedented and have no oversight.

She is speaking to ABC reporter Kelly Fuller.

Citation: Katina Michael with Kelly Fuller, “Rushed Encryption Laws Herald a Watering Down in National Security”, ABC Illawarra: Radio, 6 December 2018,

Emerging Technologies: In The Loop Gong

We sat down with bright mind professor Katina Michael to talk about her research into emerging technologies like wearable tech, nanotechnology, and biohacking.

Meow Meow with his implantable Opal Card using NSW Rail Reader

Meow Meow with his implantable Opal Card using NSW Rail Reader

Biometric Behavioural Analytics

– Professor Katina Michael – Professor at the School of Computing and Information Technology at University of Wollongong chats to Trevor Long and Nick Bennett on Talking Technology about facial recognition technology and whether it could distinguish between twins.


Citation: Katina Michael speaks with Trevor Long and Nick Bennett, "Can twins fool facial recognition technology?", Talking Technology on Talking Lifestyle at 8.40pm-9.00pm, September 7, 2017.

Original source:

When Cameras can Hear and See: The Implications of Behavioural Biometrics

Ms Jennifer Luu is a student at the University of Technology, Sydney completing a Bachelor of Journalism. She also has begun producing stories at 2SER. I am appreciative that our interview on behavioural biometrics was recorded and transcribed by Jennifer herself. Above an audio download, and the full transcription available here.

Does Google Maps New Update Breach Our Privacy?

Google Maps have announced their latest feature that allows for a user to share their location with others, by tracking their location in real time on the map. While the app aims to assist its users , the question lies whether the feature enables privacy concerns? Joining me on the line to discuss how the new feature can be abused, is Katina Michael, Associate Dean at International Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at University of Wollongong.

Produced by Brooke Taylor

Social media monitoring apps shine spotlight on internet addiction

Report by Jusin Huntsdale, ABC Illawarra

Social media monitoring apps targeting programs like Facebook and Instagram are revealing alarming habitual behaviour and extreme levels of smart phone use.

You may not realise it, but you are probably reaching for your smart phone with high frequency.

It just takes a free app to give you the cold, hard statistics.

"If you ask people to report on how often they use their smart phones, they may under report or they may be missing information and consider themselves average users," University of Wollongong technology expert Professor Katina Michael said.

"We see others on smart phones at train stations, bus stops and at work and we think it's become a normalised activity."

Professor Michael is an ambassador for a free app called Anti Social, which not only displays time spent on social media, but also the number of times a user unlocks their home screen and compares the data to other demographics.

She said people are usually shocked at the results.

"It's aimed at everyone because no-one is immune to smart phone addiction or any form of internet addiction," she said.

The demographic most at risk

Professor Michael said she was most concerned about adolescents' social media use.

Not only are they exposed to the risk of addiction, there is also the fear of missing out on seeing things that are posted to social media.

Technology is also a compulsory part of their education as tablets and computers are used to access school resources.

"We are seeing a huge wave of technology into our education systems, and it's allegedly supposed to be bettering our literacy levels and our maths and science skills, but what we see is the increase of technology actually decreases students' ability to read and speak to others clearly," she said.

"We are seeing younger children exposed to [electronic] tablets without any nuanced control of what media literacy is.

"Most psychologists — including one of the famous ones — Kimberly Young [who specialises in internet addiction] says there should be zero screen time between the ages of birth and three."

Professor Michael said statistics showed many young people were spending a cumulative 3.5 hours per day on social media, and it is not surprising that many are either not completing homework or are struggling with assessments.

"I think more and more adolescents are considering that the pressures of social media are so vast that it's best to get off," she said.

"[Young people] need to be connected and feel they can't be disconnected, and a quarter of our teens are constantly connected and send about 150 texts per day."

PHOTO: Social media monitoring apps are revealing interesting statistics about people's social media use. (ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)


How to address the problem of social media addiction

Apps such as Anti Social work on the assumption that people are aware of social media addiction and want to do something about it.

However a large proportion of the population who have a social media addiction are likely to not even know it.

Is your mobile ruining your relationship?

In an age when smartphones and tablets rule our lives, how important is it to put down technology and talk to your loved ones?


"What we need to do is get the discussion going between parents and children, between teachers and children, and employers and employees," Professor Michael said.

"A quarter of the workforce uses the internet for non-related work activities at work, we're losing in productivity and having young people mesmerised by this gadgetry.

"It's about teaching our young people independence and responsible use of the technology."

She said young people needed to balance their technology use with some form of physical or real-life social activity.

Part-time work can also be helpful in reducing the amount of time available to spend on social media.

"[This way] there's less appeal to be there because they're not bored," Professor Michael said.

"We need to replace some of this addiction behaviour with real physical activity in the real world."

More here

Can an app help curb your social media addiction?

According to Wollongong University’s Professor Katina Michael, who specialises in online addiction, the AntiSocial app is exciting.

“I have been working within the social implications of technology space for 20 years and this is the first of its kind,” she says.

“It exists to help people be mindful of their phone usage and hopefully it will encourage people to reflect on their personal goals and patterns of interaction with others in their physical surrounds,” Michael says.

“If Fitbit’s are the answer to improving our physical health, AntiSocial is the app for our mental health,” she pips.

More here