Dr Scott Bolland's interest in technology started early, hacking code from the age of 12, when the first PCs were released on the market. Fascinated by the human mind and the thought of true artificial intelligence, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Queensland in Cognitive Science – an interdisciplinary study of how the mind works, spanning such fields as psychology, philosophy, computational science and neuroscience. He graduated in the top 1% of university students, receiving a University Medal for outstanding scholarship.
Scott continued his research into psychology, neuroscience and artificial intelligence, for a further 10 years, firstly completing a PhD in Cognitive Science, in which he implemented FAE (the Fluid Analogies Engine) - a generic AI platform capable of advanced levels of perception, problem-solving and creativity. He continued with various post doctoral research positions, exploring the mental mechanisms underlying human memory, learning and problem-solving, and received independent funding to form his own multi-disciplinary research program seeking to develop computer systems and robots capable of intelligent thought, self-awareness, creativity, learning and emotion.
It was during this period of research that he became a parent and started to wonder how his research could be harnessed for the greater good. It was at this stage that the idea of iKnow was born - Artificially Intelligent tutors that could better personalise education to ensure that no child gets left behind. This is an area that Scott believes can really make an important contribution. Currently around 63% of students are disengaged at school, meaning that they withdrawal from learning either physically or mentally before they have learned the skills required to truly flourish in life. Helping address this problem through technology, can change lives.
Not only is Scott interested in changing HOW children learn, but he is also interested in improving WHAT they are taught. In particular, Scott has a special interest in positive psychology - the scientific study of human happiness and success. Many of the skills that are scientifically linked to human flourishing (such as mindfulness and emotional intelligence) are not taught in the school system. Apart from New Dawn Technologies, Scott is the co-founder of Aha Entertainment, a company that specialises in teaching positive psychology to the masses, featuring Queensland's leading performance coaches and musicians to challenge the mind, and inspire the soul.
Sean Howard has been involved in technology since 1980 when he launched Australia’s first computer magazine, Australian Personal Computer. In 1984 Kerry Packer’s Australian Consolidated Press purchased 60% of Sean’s publishing business establishing Computer Publications, which Sean managed for the next eight years. During his time as Managing Director, Sean established Computer Publications as the leading technology publisher with market leading publications including Australian Personal Computer, PC User,PC Week and Australian Communications.
In 1992, Mr Packer bought the remaining 40% of Computer Publications and Sean launched his next venture, an Internet Service Provider by the name of OzEmail. Over the next seven years, Sean built OzEmail into a company employing over 700 people, with in excess of 350,000 customers and an unrivalled reputation for innovation and customer service.
In 1996, OzEmail became the first Australian company to be undertake an IPO on the NASDAQ stock exchange in the United States, raising A$55 million. The company was also listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1998 and in 1999 OzEmail was sold to the WorldCom for A$520 million.
Since that time, Sean has been heavily involved in charities and humanitarian causes supporting organisations including the Sydney Children’s Hospital, the Victor Chang Institute, the Duchess Of York Charity and in particular Youth Insearch an organisation which aims to assist children who are or have been sexually abused, physically abused or both. Sean also served as the Chairman of Youth Insearch for nearly a decade.
For the last 15 years Sean has been involved in caring for the elderly in a number of his own retirement villages and aged-care facilities across Australia, employing some five hundred people.
In January 2015, Sean’s efforts were recognised by the Australian Government when he received the award of Australian Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia.
Despite being involved in charitable causes and in caring for the elderly, Sean’s passion remains technology.