Information Systems Integration – Tony Messina

Monthly Archives: February 2018

Is there still room for “dumb stuff”?

With technology growing at it’s rapid pace and more people adopting it can analog items such as simple alarm clocks or watches keep their place in peoples lives? Technological equipment allows for users to interconnect everything in their lives i.e. Alexa can be used to turn on the lights in your house or things such as the Apple watch allows for many different kinds of functionality compared to a regular watch but many people still choose to use traditional items, for example with the apple watch it “wakes up” when the user tilts their wrist (allowing for maximum battery life efficiency) but many times users simply want to know the time without a wrist tilt; thus resulting in the usage of a traditional watch.

Do you think that one day technology will replace all traditional items i.e. watches or do you think there will always be a draw to simple, non-interconnected items?

A Humanoid Robot Could Come to Your Rescue During a Disaster

The Italian Institute of Technology has been developing a humanoid disaster robot called the WALK-MAN. The main purpose of the robot is to help humans in disaster situations, and after years of development it’s is one step closer to fulfilling that as it’s in the final validation phase. Though the robot WALK-MAN isn’t fully autonomous, it functions by a human wearing a suit equipped with sensors which controls about 80 percent of its actions. The robot is put through series of tests as it navigates a disaster scenario designed to mimic an industrial plant following an earthquake, moving debris and putting out a hypothetical fire. With technology continuing to evolve the robot could eventually be helping in future disasters.

With the things we see from Boston Dynamics and their robots, to Sophia the robot with its advanced artificial intelligence it’s scary to think about how these things can evolve when eventually they come as one. Similar to the movie iRobot where artificially intelligent humanoid robots are serving humanity, this could be something in the foreseeable future. What do you guys think? Does having humanoid robots working alongside humanity is a good thing or not? How far should we go in giving them a mind of their own?

A Six-Foot Tall Humanoid Robot

Paying with Your Face

There is technology available now in China that authorizes payments, provide access to facilities and tracks down criminals. The AI described is the Chinese startup titled “Face++“. This AI is so effective for image recognition because “it makes a computer zero in on the facial features that will most reliably identify a person”. According to the article, security is very important in China and they believe this facial recognition technology can be a very efficient to not only make purchases, but protect humans as well.

Do you guys think its a possibility that facial recognition can become the new norm here in America and would you feel safe knowing that this is the norm? Why? Why not?

I feel like we as a society are already on our way there. With Apple implementing face recognition on the iPhone X, it is only a matter of time for its majority users to buy into the trend which will eventually make it common among everyone. Also, with cryptocurrency on the rise, there eventually would be no need to bring a wallet. What would be a better currency/ID than a scan of your own face? Thoughts?



Self-driving buses is on the road

Shenzheng is a very young  city, the average age of population in the city is 32, and this city has passion to try new things.

A self-driving bus route was set in the end of 2017. It was servicing a three-stop, 1.2-kilometer route with actual passengers, and the price of whole trip is 0.16 US dollar. The buses can carry up 19 passengers and hit max speed of 40 kilometers per hour. The buses were by Shenzhen Haylion Technologies at a cost of about $76,0000 per vehicle.

Capable of avoiding pedestrians, speeding up, slowing down, making emergency stops, changing lanes, and navigating traffic lights, the buses are steered automatically along a designated route. For safety’s sake, there is a driver on board, though ideally he should never need to touch the wheel.

The buses were still under the real road testing. If they continue to pass all of their tests, they could one day enter regular operation in the city.

Bringing ‘Common Sense’ to AI

Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, is adding an additional $25M to his non-profit research computer lab. The new objective, according to the New York Times, is to incorporate common sense into artificial intelligence. Although AI today has become very well-developed, it still has some gaping holes; Alexa, for example, can still only recognize basic commands and answer straight-forward questions. Allen’s ambition is to create a comprehensive database that adds common sense into AI, something that humans often take for granted– facts like which end of a cup to drink from, and why things can’t be in two places at once, may be added to this database. Allen is clearly excited for the future of this project and, on a personal level, I’m interested to see how this will improve AI going forward.

What do you guys think? Does this make the prospect of AI more attractive, or scarier? Could you imagine a machine like Alexa correcting you when it recognized that you were doing something that lacked common sense?

Is Universal Basic Income the future?

Technology is transforming the American economy and economies across different nations. With the rise of new technologies such as robots, AI, and machine learning a lot of jobs are being automated. Investment research by Forrester predicts “automation will create nearly 15 million new jobs by 2025, but at the same time, wipe out nearly 25 million jobs.” Using this prediction, thats 10 million people who will be out of jobs; however, a possible solution for the future is Universal Basic Income(UBI). UBI is unconditional cash payments from the government to its citizens.

UBI may seem like an idea that’s ridiculous however, former president Obama has stated how he was not sure if UBI is the right model but it is a topic that will have to be discussed in the next 10 to 20 years. Also, Elon Musk has agrees that there won’t be many other options stating “There is a pretty good chance we end up with universal basic income, or something like that due to automation.”

I don’t believe UBI is an idea that is in the distant future, like former president Obama and Elon Musk, I think that due to the increase in automation and AI, Universal Basic Income is a conversation that people will have to start talking about sooner rather than later.

The Future of Technology and Business

By the end of February 2018, five of the most valuable companies in the United States are all technology firms. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook have pushed out ExxonMobil, Berkshire Hathaway and General Electric within the last five years. As tech companies continue to grow and expand, future business leaders see how technology is going to play a huge role in companies. The article states that, “20% of the Harvard MBA Class of 2018 secured internships with tech companies, and a record 25% of Northwestern’s Kellogg MBAs accepted positions in the technology industry in 2017.” Some of the most well known universities are changing their curriculum in their business schools to adapt to the increasing presence of technology in companies. As AI and digitalization continue to develop in consumers’ daily lives, the ability to interact with, and have knowledge of, technologies proves to be extremely valuable in today’s job market.

Think about the MIS program at Temple: How has it changed since you first became involved in the major at Temple? Based off of your own observations, and by talking to fellow peers in other majors, do you think the Fox School has done a good job providing all majors with exposure to technology that can potentially disrupt that specific business function? As an MIS major, are you excited about the potential opportunities we will be given due to our knowledge in business and technology?

Why Technology Is The Bright Future For Business Schools

Tailoring Drugs To Your DNA

Sequencing a human genome is taking a sample of a person’s full set of DNA, including his/her genes. Back in 2003, sequencing costed around $400 million to perform, now it’s less than $1,000 and falling. If Genome sequencing becomes routine on newborns and the information is kept on file, the the healthcare system as we know it will change forever. Every person processes a drug uniquely, even if they are the same height, weight, age, gender, ethnicity, etc. The technology of Genome sequencing will allow pharmacists to alter a drug specifically for each individual. These person-specific drugs will disrupt the current model of the “one size fits all” pharmaceutical industry. In the near future your routine medications will work more efficiently and life saving drugs will have a higher success rate.






Amazon Has Developed an AI Fashion Designer

Amazon armed to become “the best place to buy fashion online” by using AI algorithm. This system can learn from images, which means it can catch the trend from studying social media’s images, and draw out a style. It could be a big deal with Amazon’s business umbrella. With disruptive innovations strategy, the movement Amazon is doing is the disruptive innovation of new market because it changes the way of design clothes styles and would reduce the headcount of designers eventually.

As many people believe that Artificial Intelligence can replace many jobs in the near future, but designers’ jobs are usually considered to be safe in the shadow of AI. However, not all designers’ jobs are safe with the trendy of Amazon’s algorithm, such as Microsoft AI can draw objects by text descriptions, AI music by Aiva Technologies, etc.

So the question is: Can Artificial Intelligence replace designers’ job? In my opinion, AI cannot replace artists, but AI can replace some designer’s job if those jobs are not actually creating. Therefore, it is important to improve creative, management, and leadership skills, and do not satisfy with relatively repeat works. What do you think?


Automation: Replacement or Supplement?

Sometimes there is no replacement for a human being, like trying to call your cable company or dealing with the government, right?

Virginia Eubanks tells several unique stories of automated systems failing the government and its users in critical public services in her book, Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor.  She tells Nation Public Radio of Indiana’s attempt to save money and streamline their state welfare system. She also brings attention to the systems in place in southern California to deal with resource allocation for the homeless in Los Angeles.  In both instances, the author acknowledges the systems in place do have tangible benefits, but speculates the government is trying to outsource decisions to automation and “avoid some of the most pressing moral and political challenges of our time.”

She suggests that automation is simply not the solution in public service, needing a more hands-on approach, quoted in her book, “Homelessness is not a systems engineering problem, it’s a carpentry problem.”


Is the solution more automation, better systems and technology? Or is there no replacement for a real person at times?