Move over Humans, Software is taking over What You Can Do; Quicker and Beyond Human Capabilities

“Software is eating the world.” This quote is by Marc Andreessen, a Silicon Valley investor who made this statement back in 2011. In retrospect, it was controversial but not opposed.

Five years later, software is everywhere. It powers the current rising trend of robots, drones and artificial intelligence (AI). Your future surgeon, journalist, composer, soldier, translator may not be a person you know — but a thing.

Let’s have a look some unconventional and beneficial things robots, drones and AI can do better than you can today.

What Jobs Robots Can Do better than Humans

 Photo of the Bionic Bar from the Royal Caribbean: Quantum of the Seas.

1. Bartender

Already, robots today can be a bartender and mix you a perfect cocktail. At the Royal Caribbean cruise ship of the future, this bartender knows 300 cocktails and complete them promptly. If you’re not sure what you feel like having, you can even pick a theme where it will give you about 20 to 25 suggestions to choose from.

2. Pharmacist

Humans can make various errors when dispensing medication: not providing the correct dosage, drugs that look identical, a mix up of people with the same name, and the dreaded doctor’s illegible handwriting. Here at the University of California, a robot packages and dispenses them through reading prescriptions by computer. It was reported that no errors were made in the 350,000 doses in the first phase-in. Additionally, the robot can identify if medications a person is taking won’t interact with each other.

3. Journalist

In the near future, especially with stories with tons of number analysis, robots can write short stories and search for statistics in industries like sports or market reports. For example, a program by Narrative Science writes short sports recaps. However, robots aren’t creative, so there’s still an open job prospect there.

Alright, enough with the robots, what about drones? How can this little flying thing change the world?

What Drones can do better than Humans

Photo: Drone devliering medical supplies to Rural Virginia Clinic

1. Save lives
Drones can transport medicine, supplies, medical equipment to the site of an accident within a minute! Compared to an ambulance driving to the site, that fraction is really the factor of life-and-death.

2. Handle with Nuclear Waste
Engineers are in process of developing drones that can help transport hazardous nuclear materials for disposal. That way humans won’t be exposed to the dangers. To add,  drones can be developed by protection of the environment and natural habitats, early detection of forest fires, monitoring of pollution levels and humanitarian aid in search and rescue scenarios.

3. Construct Tall Buildings
Drones are already being used by the construction industry for aerial mapping, which is taking a photo at an elevated bird’s eye view. Drones can detect structural problems without risking the lives of humans by climbing into the high-rise structures.

What AI can do
AI superstar Watson is a bunch of processors the size of three pizza boxes that devours and computes data at warp speed.
Photo: IBM’s Watson, the AI supermachine

1. Work in Environments Humans cannot Survive

Areas like deep space, the bottom of the ocean sea, or inside a radioactive reactor, these are places humans physically cannot survive. Today, there are sophisticated robots who can match the dexterity and speed of humans thanks to a UC Berkley team whom used deep learning to teach robots fine motor skills, such as screw caps on bottles, or use the back of a hammer to remove a nail from wood.

2. Translate
Language barriers can be broken today as there are many resources out there.
Google Translate app can immediately translate text in 27 languages. Skype is using neural network technology which attempts to copy the human brain in order to understand human speech and instantly translate from English to Spanish. Microsoft, the owner of Skype, is attempting to expand it to all languages.

3. Deliver the Correct Medical Diagnosis

IBM “Watson”, the AI superstar, was the winner in 2011 against Jeopardy! human champions. Ongoing forward, one of the things this AI has done is focus on oncology and the diagnosis of cancers. In making a diagnosis, Watson’s accuracy in detecting lung cancer was 90%. Human physicians accuracy rate was 50%.

Afterthoughts:
It appears the pace of software development is not stopping or slowing down. The reality is that there still is an huge gap between what many people do and what robots, drones and AI can replace. Where do we draw the line? Is this a concern? Or are we just making our human lives better for the future?

Sources:
‘Software is eating the world’: How robots, drones and artificial intelligence will change everything
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/9-jobs-robots-already-do-better-than-you-2014-01-27
http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/21/7256437/i-spent-a-weekend-on-the-high-tech-cruise-ship-of-tomorrow
http://www.mtv.com/news/2219507/good-things-about-drones
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2623542/Could-drones-save-nuclear-waste-Unmanned-aircraft-fly-toxic-materials-safe-locations.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-zarkadakis/5-things-ai-can-do-better_b_8906570.html
http://www.wsj.com/articles/drone-delivers-medicine-to-rural-virginia-clinic-1437155114

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Internet of Things: the Dangerous Revolution?

Internet of Things: the Dangerous Revolution?

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been dubbed many names: Internet of Systems, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0; despite the multiple names, there are universal concerns.

1. Security

Security is one of the biggest key issues when it comes it IoT.  There is a greater potential to hack more systems. Products need to find a way to stay updated. They should be changed frequently or be strong. Otherwise, these are some of things that had happened:

  • “Smart” traffic lights were hacked; driving could be a nightmare
  • Hackers at the Black Hat security conference compromised a Nest thermostat in front of a live audience:  the thermostat transformed into spy that can learn routines of the inhabitants of a certain home or office
  • Bugging and hacking an entire home: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27373328
  • Car electronics taken over remotely: The electronics within a car can be hacked, taking control of the headlights, locks, steering and even the brakes.
  • IoT botnet – thingbot: An IoT botnet (or thingbot) is a group of hacked computers, smart appliances and Internet-connected devices that have been co-opted for illicit purposes

2. Privacy

Privacy, although similar, is not the same as security. There is a high risk for identity theft, going after financial information, obtaining information from corporations or governments. And guess what — the Big Money in IoT is in Big Data. This is dangerous because these sensors are learning everything about you. Your routine, habits…the more they know about you and how you behave, the easier of a target you’ll be.

3. Device Interaction

Things will be full of bugs, constantly requiring updates, newer versions will come out. Also, how do we know how to track and monitor things? Measure and optimize performance? How will the devices communicate with each other? Are smartphones the constant link to the devices? How do we deal with malicious attacks? There’s a lot of questions and issues to address

Protection: Fight Back!

security-1202344_640.png

Despite these concerns, IoT is a growing investment being made. We can only well equip ourselves. What can we do?

1. Strengthen your networks:

Ensure that only authorized devices and people can get access; consent and knowledge is always the first line of defense against attackers

2. Stay up to date

Make sure your software is up to date: security updates, but also staying on top of potential issues your devices might have

3. Know what you are putting in or on your body

WiFi pacemakers can’t hurt you if you’re not using it. Smart contacts might be a thing of the future but what happens if it goes wrong? You’ll only be hurt if you allow them to and consent should be given by you. For example. if you will be getting something new implanted on yourself, get all the details on what device is capable of. Read the fine print or seek professional opinion if necessary

The Internet of Things still has a bright future. It may always be vulnerable and unsafe, but we can do our best to prepare ourselves, as a producers and consumers of the new world that is coming.

Sources: http://anandmanisankar.com/posts/IoT-internet-of-things-good-bad-ugly/

http://www.networkworld.com/article/3026315/internet-of-things/6-critical-issues-facing-the-internet-of-things.html

http://www.slashgear.com/the-internet-of-things-will-always-be-vulnerable-12451599/

 

 

 

Smartphones: Yesterday, Today and the Future

It is no secret the future we thought we’d only see in movies is a reality today. Looking at the cell phone we went from physically big to small, to big again, but equipped with amazing features and endless apps to equip and personalize it to you. Once upon a time, a phone was simply used to send and receive calls. Today, we can e-mail, browse the web, banking, and so on.

Let’s commemorate by looking at the typical cell phone 20 years ago.

Yesterday: 1996

moto

When the Motorola StarTAC came out, it was revolutionary as the first flip phone. External antennas got shorter and if you owned this phone, you were lucky to have such a slim phone.

Yesterday: 2006

 

rimlgrazor

 

10 years doesn’t seem so far away, but having a look at our phones may make us feel old. Kids today will never realize the struggle of texting with T9, what a luxury it was to have data and internet on our phones. Watching videos have never been so hard on our eyes. These phones took a more personalized approach to cater to the end user.

Today: 2016

iphonesam.jpg

You might be living under a rock if you don’t own a smartphone today…or we’ll say you’re old fashioned 🙂 Today’s smartphone is your mp3 player, camera, camcorder, alarm clock, personal trainer, newspaper…you name it! We’ve gone buttonless touchscreen technology and even cooler features like fingerprint recognition to get into that movie sci-fi vibe.

The Smartphone of Tomorrow?

What would we like to see in our smartphones of the future?

Flexibility

flex


Flexible display screens are already becoming a thing. The technology used in flexible smartphones is known as OLED or Organic Light-Emitting Diode. Here are some of the benefits:

1. Better Durability – 
Since flexible displays employ OLEDs made out of plastic, they provide more durability as compared to traditional glass displays. In other words, this reduces the chances of your smartphone display being smashed to smithereens when you drop it.

2. Lighter Weight – Did you know that plastic is lighter than glass? The atomic composition of plastic makes it relatively lighter in mass than glass of equal size. Plastic OLEDs can make the devices lighter.

3. Thinner Dimensions – Flexible displays can allow smartphone devices to be manufactured with thinner dimensions and in shapes different than the conventional rectangular screen.

Holographic

holo
Holographics would make an interesting use of our phones. Being able to see things in 3D light projection could take mobile games to newer heights. In the picture above, Holoflex claims to be the first smartphone to combine flexibility with holography.

Transparency

Let’s face it, it just look really cool. Imagine the capabilities with 360 degree camera. Makes taking that selfie a little easier.

This ends our trip down memory lane. What future trends would you like to see in your smartphone?

Sources:
http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/flexible-smartphones/
http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/5/11604680/holoflex-flexible-holographic-smartphone