Today, there are extraordinary people all over the world working to create new social, economic, and cultural codes for a gender-equal future. And at UNSW Business School, we are lucky to count many of them among our UNSW Business School alumni.

As part of International Women’s Day 2023, UNSW Business School interviewed three graduates – leaders in the fields of economics, blockchain technology, and climate change action – on what they see as the momentous changes coming in their field, and the role women have to play in cracking the code on gender equality in 2023.

We spoke to Alyse Sue (she/her), Co-Founder of Transhuman Coin and Director of Metaverse at KPMG, and UNSW Bachelor of Commerce 2011 graduate. 


What did you study at UNSW and how did that set you up in your career?

My UNSW Business School degree has given me business and financial savviness. And I've required it in almost every role that I've been in, whether it's software engineering, management consulting, or as a founder. 

The network has also been valuable. If it wasn't for studying at UNSW, I may not have had the opportunity to be part of this blockchain community I am part of.

As a member of the technology and social media industry, what thrills you about your work? 

Working in emerging technology, such as the metaverse, and being able to shape what the next five to ten years will look like is pretty exciting. 

One of the most exciting moments is ChatGPT. When I saw the capabilities of ChatGPT, I thought, things are going to happen much faster than we think. We always read about this in sci-fi, but we don't think it's going to happen in our lifetimes. But once we see technology that is getting closer to that, it's both very scary and very exciting that we have the ability to shape what the future looks like. But at the same time, maybe it's the technology that's going to shape us if we're not careful.

What do you do as Director of Metaverse and as a technology founder?

As Director of the Metaverse at a Big Four, my role is to build new business models using metaverse technologies such as blockchain, 3D modelling, and mixed reality. The role is a mix of being a futurist and entrepreneur and providing a venture space for the firm.

I'm also a co-founder of Transhuman Coin. We are a DeFi project (or decentralised finance project) that funds science and technology that helps people overcome the limitations of human biology. We fund projects in gene editing, brain-computer interfaces, exoskeletons, and the ‘Tesla’ of wheelchairs.   

How did Transhuman Coin start for you?

We built up a community of 20,000 transhumanists, starting eight years ago, and then two or three years ago, we launched a token for the community called Transhuman Coin. 

This was a way in which we could fund projects. You can build an economy around this token and use it to donate to these companies. And they could use it to fund their activities, or use it as collateral to borrow against.

What do you see as the future of blockchain technologies and social media?

Social media is about the organisation of people and blockchain is about the distribution of power. Both technologies are driving the creation of these communities and societies, with the idea that they will better serve the needs of people.

An example is the Network State and  online communities. They may spend time in the metaverse and then go on to acquire physical land and officially be recognised as a state. This is the vision we have at Transhuman Coin.

What I see is that technologies like social media and blockchain and even AI will drive the creation of these communities and societies. The question is if people have the ability to shape what happens to them, when will more people start looking at using these technologies for the creation of these newly aligned communities and societies. 

Many people are interested in web3 as it represents better distribution of power and control. The real issue with the current iteration of the internet is that power is concentrated in the hands of a few big tech companies. Many of us don’t want that to happen on an ongoing basis in the future.

So, the issue really is if we have these technologies available, will we use this to realise their full potential? Hopefully what people actually want it to do, is to provide decentralisation and distribution of power.

That’s fascinating. And what about the future in the next year or so?

These technologies lower the barriers to people starting their own companies, as well as the ability to shape what society looks like. 

This is because you've got the costs of technology decreasing, and you've got these technologies like blockchain, which is enabling people to access capital easier. This gives you the power to create really powerful companies or communities or societies. 

All this enables participation and empowers people to take more control, even if they don’t want to start their own companies.

For example, if you work for a DAO (a decentralised autonomous organisation, which works in a bottom-up structure and with no central power), instead of a traditional organisation where control is held by a few execs at the top. In a DAO, you as an employee will be able to vote on some key decisions of the organisation you work in that will affect you.

Specifically for women and non-binary gender identities, this could have big effects.

For example, if we believe in a future where the DAO structure will be used for all types of things from education to governing a country, redistributing power from the powerful few to all.

Another is social media, which allows more people to become citizen journalists, and publish their opinion to the world, without being reliant on some organisation to give them permission.

Then you've got the metaverse, which is allowing people to take on these virtual identities which are infinitely changeable and scalable. If you can infinitely change and scale yourself, we can be in several places at once with virtual clones of ourselves.

What stands out to you as female-led innovations in your industry? What are they?

Mira Murati, the Chief Technology Officer at OpenAI (the company behind Chat GPT); and Lightning Network, a Bitcoin payment network led by Elizabeth Stark.

What concrete steps can the tech industry take to embrace equality?

I've built a global community called Transhuman Coin. It supports science and technology that overcomes the limitations of human biology.

Transhumanism is a great equaliser. The merging of humans and technologies, such as pacemakers, and cochlear implants to the smartphone, is allowing people to extend their life and provide them the ability to hear again or to hear in the first place, and it's providing access to education for people in poor and remote areas. 

As technology improves, and we have gene editing and mind uploading available to us, people will be able to choose the physical bodies they have. The concepts of gender, age, and ethnic background will no longer be important. 

Overall, the takeaway here is having a transhumanist mindset and then using or thinking about the possibilities of scientific and technological developments is integral to creating equality. 

Could that leave people behind? 

The smartphone is a good example of where it started in the hands of a few people who could afford a $1,000 or $2,000 smartphone, and then eventually they became so cheap that almost anyone in a developing country has a smartphone, which has become ubiquitous. 

The smartphone became de-monetised over time as the cost of technology decreased, and it filtered down to the masses. This is going to be the case for a lot of the technologies such as brain-computer interfaces. You do need a few wealthy people to invest to develop these technologies, and eventually, it makes sense for corporations to make them cheaply and easily available.

If you could click your fingers and change one thing about your industry to make it more gender inclusive, what would it be?

I would lessen the importance of physical appearance and being judged on looks. I want it to be more about how much you contribute to the betterment of society. More merit-based. Though the beauty of the metaverse is that we can choose any avatar we want as well as our facial features and voices. It’s so much more accessible to be anyone you want. 

What is your advice to women thinking of going into your area?

Just get hands-on with technology. Get as hands-on as much as you can to understand the technology, so that you can start making the connection between that and how it will affect your chosen career. 

There are too many times when, not just women, but anyone will come up to me and ask me what do you think the future of the metaverse is, or can you tell me about Web3? And I say, go and buy some crypto, go and mint an NFT and then you'll understand what it actually is about. 

Then you'll start making the connection between what you're doing now and what you plan for the future.

Want to keep reading? Check out these other articles in the UNSW Business School "How can we crack the code on gender equality in 2023?" article series.

See also: The future of: The economy with Diana Mousina, AMP

See also: The future of: The climate with Camille Goldstone-Henry, Xylo Systems