By next year there will be test flights of a driverless hover-taxi in Singapore to offer an escape from the chronic gridlock that millions of people deal with every day. Even though Singapore itself does not suffer major traffic, it is the perfect test-bed due to its size and openness to innovation. Similar to a helicopter and based on drone technology, the air taxis will take off and land vertically. It is designed specifically for inner cities, is very quiet so it cannot be heard over typical noise of a city, and can withstand minor turbulence around skyscrapers, allowing for smooth rides. The air taxis will complement helicopter-hailing services which are already taking off in some cities to beat traffic jams.
Many companies are focusing augmented reality on games and entertainment, but Spatial is finding ways on how everyday people can use AR for work places. Spatial had two components, one a remote that lets people feel like they’re face to face. Second, a knowledge toll and an infinite desktop that uses the room as a monitor. Spatial is used by putting on an AR headset to scan your environment and then you can share that environment with anyone to join. In this augmented reality you are able to see co-workers’ avatars and share documents, websites, and images. Having this advancement in technology, I think that augmented reality was always a vision for the future but was not attainable. Being able to experience this kind of technology rise and maybe even become a norm is astonishing. I do believe that there is many more years to improve this and AG/AR lays somewhere between innovation Trigger and Peak of Inflated Expectations. This kind of technology has so much potential and they’re just now starting use in the workplace for better collaboration.
Soon technology will blend further into our human interactions to the point that we won’t be able to tell the difference between AI and a human. Google is on the forefront of this. They announced a new capability for the Google assistant that can book appointments for you. This may include the assistant calling the business and impersonating a human. This technology is what they are calling Google Duplex, which combines “all our investments over the years in natural language understanding, deep learning and text-to-speech,”. They are rolling this out slowly, as an experiment. This will change us socially because now we won’t even have to call to book anything. We also may not realize we are talking to a computer.
Is private information of users on big time social media companies kept private? Over the past couple of years, it has become hard to tell whether a company is using my private information to send me ads and get me to use the platform even more. In the terms and policy privacy of the social media company our private information is said to be kept private from ads and companies to use to their advantage. Facebook’s new technology portal is a great example of user information not kept private. The portal itself is not using private information but it is logging what is being done by users and this type of data can lead to invasive ads which users don’t want which shows that there is privacy breach. How much of our information are kept private?
Music was usually an emotional art that humans composed, but now AI has the ability to compose music that sounds just as good as a human production. Most of the AI music systems work by using deep learning networks. They are fed tons of data, from pop hits to disco classics. Then it picks up details such as chords, tempo, and length. The system learns from the data and creates its own tunes that is almost undistinguishable from human-composed music. I included an example of AI music, the instrumentation of the song Break Free by Taryn Southern was compose by AI. She used the platform, Amper where you input genre, instrumentation, key and beats per mute to generate your own unique song. Personally for me, it is strange to have a connection with a song if a person didn’t create it because there was no emotion and thought behind the tune. On the other hand, it is an amazing tool for musicians who want to supplement their music, and create unique sounds such as Taryn Southern. Will we start seeing robot concerts in the future? Will AI composition be superior to humans?
As the future of transportation is rapidly approaching, auto makers are looking to alliances to secure their spot in the worl dof autonomous driving. With autonomous vehicles, the the skillet needed to compete in this competitive environment is vastly different than the previous competitive skills that were key to be successful. Taking the human out of the equation results in a very different product for transportation which requires a whole new strategy. Also, the self-driving venture is just too much for one company to do itself and without partnering many of these huge auto makers can not compete in the future. So as the future in the industry is moving away from actually building cars to focusing on the data, ride-hailing and connect car-services, the number of alliances is increasing. From 2016 to 2017 there was an increase of 131 alliances to 271 partnerships involving self-driving cars. The most recent partnership, between Honda and GM which agreed to develop a fully automated car, with Honda committed to investing 2.75 billion in GM’s self-driving Cruise LLC over the next 12 years. Also, Toyota has partnered with Uber and GM has partnered with Lyft to collaborate on self-driving technology. As the alliances are forming, it is also making way for newer competitors in the industry. Huge tech companies are increasing competition with auto makers to capture this huge opportunity. I think as time goes on and market share gets shifted, a lot of the iconic auto makers that had decades of success will no longer be able to compete in the changing industry.
EZ10 Generation II is the autonomous electric shuttle designed by EasyMile. The shuttle can hold upto 12 people. EZ10 Generation II is used as the school bus on September 5 to take children to and from Babcock Neighborhood School in Babcock Ranch, Florida. However, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent a letter to Transdev, requesting that it stop using its EZ10 Generation II autonomous shuttle as a school bus. NHTSA’s deputy administrator worries about the safety of this electric shuttle and having children on this shuttle is dangerous. NHTSA claims that Transdev was only given permission for testing and that the company never received the green light from the feds to use it as a school bus. Transdev said the 12-person shuttle bus would operate from a designated pick-up area with a safety attendant on board and would travel at a top speed of 8mph (13kph), with the potential to reach speeds of 30mph once the additional infrastructure was completed. It had a human driver on board in case of an emergency, but it operated autonomously on its single route between the school and the designated pick-up and drop-off point. Is the self-drying shuttle safe enough to be a school bus?
AI has many uses, such as predicting an outcome to identifying patterns. Most of the AI uses right now are predictions, such as what ads to show you, and product recommendations. However, as the AI technology matures, virtually any field can benefit from AI. For example, Deep Genomes is a company that is aimed to transform the economics of drug recovery. Currently, it takes years and billions of dollars to introduce a new product because of clinical trials on humans. With AI technology, it can potentially reduce the cost and time tremendously by predicting how the drug will react in humans. Aside from clinical trials, AI is also being used in agriculture. The AI assistant called Nuru is an app that can be used by farmers to identify disease or pest blight. Simply wave the phone over a plant leaf, and the AI can show the diagnoses as well as generating low tech treatments.
Between April and June of this year, the number of people using Snapchat dropped about 3 million users to roughly 188 million users globally. Social Media relies on the number of daily active users and a decrease this drastic has started making market analyst think that Snapchat, a public company, will be going private in the near future.
Social media has a low barrier for entry when in comes to market competition so these tech business need to continue staying up-to-date and cutting edge. One tactic Snapchat did recently was develop its augmented reality lenses to work on people’s cats. Maybe this tactic will work to increase activity day-to-day users, maybe it won’t, but what is certain, Snap is not the only company working on developing “face recognition” that works on animals – Sony is to0, but for very different reasons.
It is just interesting to consider what a technology bases social media company has to do to stay relevant and a market leader, even if it introducing cat filters.
Tourism is usually about exploring the world and finding personal connections between us and everything around the location. People create memories that can be recalled and reflected upon and shared for lifetime. With the evolution of VR technologies, tourism can be integrated with physical and virtual worlds. As shown in Black Mirror episode “San Junipero” with use of technology virtual travel can be felt like the real world. Of course, there is a lot of development needed in VR field to get there but we are on the path. Virtual tourism can help preserve these precious sites. It gives the ability to explore threatened locations and locations that are harder to get to. This can really provide an opportunity to explore a location to someone that is disabled to physically get there.
VR gives you access to thousands of destinations around the world on your fingertips. Our brain has VR like inbuilt mechanisms that allows us to live imagined experiences. VR will propel this imagination and the brain process these images through same neural pathways as they do when they stimuli the real world. This will justify the experience and make it extremely close to “being there”. Although VR equipment is expensive it’s nowhere compared to high flight fares and hotel costs. Once main steamed high end VR equipment will be more budget-friendly allowing more people on budget to explore. Overall this can be more sustainable for the tourist sites and the environment around globally as it leads to fewer emissions and waste. VR experience of a location can be integrated such that it is interactive to the user and shows all the necessary information about a location with reliable credibility within the virtual world. This can disrupt many industries along with hospitality and tourism.
Image from black mirror episode “San Junipero”