Young Teessiders were urged to think twice about creating a tyranny of technology, in stark advice from one of the UK’s top technology gurus.

Dave Coplin – who has worked with the likes of Microsoft, Google and Facebook – gave a special talk to scores of Middlesbrough College students, urging them to think twice about picking up their smartphones.

The self-proclaimed “envisioner” and author of two books told students they should use technology to better their lives – not become slaves to it.

He suggested students should pause for thought in situations where using the smartphone would prevent them maintaining relationships at home or at college.

Using a colourful array of props – including robot “Loomo” and a ukulele – Dave also led students on an inspiring journey through some of the technological changes that will shape their lives.

From artificial intelligence and machine learning to big data and the third computer age, students learned about the exciting trends that will shape society in the near future.

He said: “My mission is to make sure young people are equipped with the skills to unleash the potential of technology to make a positive difference to their lives.

“It’s important to know that we are in effect preparing young people for a world (and for jobs) which doesn’t yet exist.

“That means we need to give them the tools to be adaptable and resilient, because we can’t teach things we don’t yet know about.

“Technology is one of the most wonderful things anyone will ever get to experience in their lives, but it should be harnessed to extend human capability, not replace it.

“To make sure that happens young people, parents, teachers – everyone – needs to make good choices about how technology can help them access information or do things better.”

Dave usually delivers talks to adults at companies and organisations across the globe, but Middlesbrough College’s associate director of Visual Performing Arts and Computing, Anne-Marie Chiswell, thought his message was important for students.

She said: “Dave is a highly respected thinker in the technology space and is a fantastically engaging speaker.

“We knew his advice would prove invaluable to Middlesbrough College students who are on the cusp of starting all sorts of exciting careers.

“Armed with his knowledge, our students can more confidently take the opportunities afforded to them and face any challenges.”

MC Digital is Middlesbrough College’s specialist technology school, offering industry-leading computing courses to learners at all levels

Courses are designed with the input of industry employers, and range from Level 1 and 2 options which are ideal for young people leaving school with limited qualifications, to Foundation degrees and Access to Higher Education (HE) aimed at adult learners.

School leavers can also choose from Level 3 options – with BTEC pathways in networking and web development.

MC Digital also offers globally-recognised Microsoft certification.