The comedian, radio host and “design nerd” foresees a future when houses are smarter – but for now he’d just like a phone charger that doesn’t break.
Which tech innovation can’t you live without?
My iPhone. It’s my business, it’s my everything. I can work anywhere at any time. It runs everything.
What websites do you visit the most?
The Sydney Morning Herald, Mumbrella, Dezeen and ABC iview.
And what apps do you use?
You know how you see people with, like, a bazillion apps? I’ve never been interested. If it’s not practical and I don’t use it every day, it’s gone. I have Dropbox, Uber, Netflix, ABC iview and Word Swag.
You have almost 20,000 Twitter followers – you must have the app?
I don’t have the Twitter app on my phone. I also don’t have Facebook, because my life would fall over and I’d never talk to my wife or children. I made the call some time ago that something had to give. Instagram is my social media of choice.
Have you ever regretted an Instagram post?
No, I’m pretty ruthless. I’ll clean up my feed if I don’t think something works. Mine is curated along the lines of interesting houses and design things; that’s why I like it and how I built up a bit of a community. There are no photos of me with my shirt off or anything like that.
What technology do you take on planes?
We take iPads for the kids and that’s it. I’ll often write or sleep, unless the kids are with me. Then I’ll just pick up Lego off the floor and tell them to stop jumping up and down on the seat. I used to have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones but I lost them. That’s the story of my life.
Real books or e-books?
Real books. Can’t stand e-books. Never read one and don’t think I ever will.
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What technology do you wish had never been invented?
I don’t like fridges that beep when you leave the door open. I find them really annoying. It’s like having an extra person in the house, yelling at you.
What technology do you wish existed?
I’m looking forward to the next range of cars... An electric car you put your phone in and it does everything for you – and is accessible to everyone. I think a change in the way cars look and [behave] is coming.
What will be your next technology purchase?
I’m going to upgrade my iPhone. That’ll be a big deal. And if I could find a perfect charger or a cable that, you know, doesn’t break, that’s what I’m after.
Your dad was an antiques dealer. Does your fascination with the past make you resent technological advances?
I’m happy to live with this dualism where you have the best of the old and the best of the new. In the past 10 years, more has happened technologically than in the rest of my life. I look back at all these things I’ve done professionally and think, “God, I wish that [technology] was around.” My radio career began just as people were starting to use email.
You have a passion for Mid-century design and architecture. What inventions from that era do you find most impressive?
You had all those great technological advances that came out of the postwar period. Fridges became more widespread and washing machines and dishwashers were inspired by the space race. In the atomic age we saw lots of rocket-shaped stuff. They made extraordinary things, like the products – record player, radio – that Dieter Rams designed for Braun in the ’60s.
What technologies do you think will be in the house of tomorrow?
I think houses will become smarter; they’ll be the perfect temperature all the time. Shutters and blinds will [detect] where the sun is, the thermostat will read the weather forecast and the house will batten down the hatches when it’s 48°C, because that’s what it’s going to be like with climate change.
Your vision of the future is kind of depressing.
It’s pretty scary. ￼
Top image: Alexander Mayes
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