Monthly Archives: January 2016

A farewell to the Middleman

The typical business model, supply chain used to be quite straight forward; There is a manufacturer that sources the materials and creates a product. A wholesaler would buy the product from the manufacturer and resell it for a small margin to the retailer, which the again sells the product to the end customer. On every step of the way, a little extra margin is added to the original price of the item so that everybody gets its share. The internet has changed that.

middlemanFrom TechCrunch, to New York Times or WSJ, everybody has proclaimed “The Death of The Middleman”. The internet has made it possible for manufacturers to reach customers directly via a website. Thus creating a better offer for both ends as the intermediary does not receive its share anymore. The supply chain is getting shorter, as manufacturers started to sell directly to costumer, at times even via their own mobile application, which even allows customers to personalize their purchased goods according to their needs.

The middleman is redefining itself and we see him again as concierge service and the like. Offering that extra service the modern customer of today is asking for. But how sustainable is that? In a highly technologized world, will it not be only a question of time until manufacturers than again are able to offer state of the art service by themselves via an App for example?

Amazon may be one of the most extreme examples. Not only does amazon.com offer the largest product range on the web for the end consumer, they increasingly start to offer own products. We see products like “amazon basics”, which are sold under the amazon brand and cover products all across the categories. Amazon knows its customers and it knows them well. How can any concierge service compete with amazon offering tailor made products?

Amazon does it, Netflix does it too. Increasingly becoming a competition to Hollywood, by offering their customers their own productions, often financed with gigantic budgets that make Hollywood productions seem small.

What’s the value of a middleman in modern eCommerce?

 

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In 2018 robot chef is going to prepare your fauvorite dinner

A smartphone-controlled robotic chef that can cook world-class food using recipes downloaded from an online store sounds like pure science fiction – but the robot is real and in 2018 will be avaible to get for less than 10 000 £. The main idea behind this project was to deliver human friendly robot which will support us in everydays issues. Because people usually like eating rather than cooking robot is going to be able to deliver us taste sensations and move us to the world best restaurants inside of our own flats. What is more, robot is saving our time which is more and more important.

 

Moto by Lenovo

The history of mobile communications in the world started with Motorola – the first call from a cell phone rang in 1973 with the help of Motorola DynaTAC. After 40 years, the legendary brand face death. The new owner of the telecom business Motorola Mobility, China’s Lenovo, will combine “business phone” under one brand – that is, under his.

Motorola will disappear from the casing of the phone. Although recognizable “M” will remain on the case, and now the brand will be called Moto by Lenovo. “We are gradually disable the brand Motorola and focus on Moto», – the company said at a press conference at the electronics CES in Las Vegas.

This brand was very popular in the early 2000s, ringtone Hello Moto was as famous as recognizable default ringtone Nokia. But times have changed, and in 2012 the telecom business has bought Motorola Google. After a couple of years, the search giant Motorola sold to the Chinese. And the purchase amount was $ 12.5 billion, and sales – $ 2.9 billion. When purchasing Motorola CEO Lenovo Yuantsin Yang said that his company plans to protect the brand Motorola, to strengthen its position.

Interestingly, one of the most high-profile exit the Ukrainian market start-up – sale Viewdle – linked with the history of the company. In February 2014 Viewdle Kiev office was closed and most of the staff were transferred to the software division of Motorola Mobility.

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What will happen with our Facebook accounts after our death?

A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this photo illustration, May 2, 2013. Facebook Inc's mobile advertising revenue growth gained momentum in the first three months of the year as the social network sold more ads to users on smartphones and tablets, partially offsetting higher spending which weighed on profits. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - Tags: SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS)

 

Maybe some of you have already heard about the option featured on Facebook about the managing of accounts of the users when they die. Facebook gave the possibility of having our accounts permanently deleted when we die.

OR actually if some of us wishes we can point out some of our family members or friend to take ver the control of some aspects of our account – e.g. posting on the wall.

It appeared that these following features were among the most requested by users who gave feedback on its memorial page policies, therefore, Facebook decided to go further and to develop the idea of managing the accounts after the death.  Announcing the new feature, Facebook said: “When a person passes away, their account can become a memorial of their life, friendships and experience.

“By talking to people who have experienced loss, we realised there is more we can do to support those who are grieving and those who want a say in what happens to their account after death.”

Just think about the idea that your grandsons will be able to scroll down your newsfeed what can be a indeed a great memorial board!

So let’s take a look what happens when user chooses to allow someone to manage their page in the event of their death, that person will be able to

  • write a post to display at the top of the memorialised timeline
  • respond to new friend requests
  • update the profile picture and cover photo

Moreover, we are able now to choose to give our legacy contact permission to download an archive of the photos, posts and profile information which we have shared on Facebook.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Tr4y4R5QWA]

 

Inspirations: 

http://newtecharticles.com/facebook-account-after-death-digital-legacy/
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31438707

 

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AI – a cure or a curse

Almost one year passed since prominent personalities, such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates raised their concerns regards threats that AI brings to our lives in the nearest future and at the very beginning of 2016 online medias already seem to be flooded with all sorts of AI news which promise to be the year’s trend.

In the post I’d like to consider if AI is a real menace that can wipe us out within 20 years perspective or it’s about to give us the future our ancestors would only dream of.

First, let’s consider what Artificial Intelligence is and what goods it is able to offer us nowadays:

  1. Some academics describe AI as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”, but since it sounds too nerdy and boring I would rather say it is an imitation of a human intelligence which is able to handle dozens of problems the way people do but with a higher speed and success level. To add, it is still a programming but unlike writing text in word or playing a movie it changes humans and does their job in turn.
  2. To name the first good of AI, science and medicine are said to be first in the row where it is applied. Thus, AI is at work in hospitals helping physicians understand which patients are at highest risk for complications, and AI algorithms are helping to find important needles in massive data haystacks. For example, AI methods have been employed recently to discover subtle interactions between medications that put patients at risk for serious side effects.
  3. The second good is GPS and autonomous transport (which relies on it). We plan trips using GPS systems that rely on AI to cut through the complexity of millions of routes to find the best one to take.
  4. Personal assistants, such as Siri and Cortana embedded into our phones and computers that give us not only helpful vocal hints but also detect faces and recognize people.
  5. And the last example in this list is search engines which seem to know us better than we do, when predicting our intentions.

But as it always happens, after the rain of prayers, critics do spring up like mushrooms in a forest. Those point out at potential threats of novelties and like predicting bad scenarios. Amid well-known T-1000 with a machine gun destroying everything and everyone, such predictions sound alerting. Currently, they say these facts serve as points of concerns:

hey-girl-wanna-kill-all-humans-520x520

  1. Artificial Intelligence, is a computer program first of all and only then – intelligence. And like any other code it is exposed to break down sometimes, either giving the wrong outcome or lagging. It is fine with Windows, and everyone is used to it (yes, windows is a crap), but stakes rise significantly when it comes to serious tasks.
  2. Being undividable from the rest of the computer network, there are people who will try to challenge AI, thus break into its’ nature and force it to do something it is not supposed to.
  3. Bad instructions. As said before, high stakes bear serious threat if AI works improperly, thus like any other instrument it has not only to be free of bugs but also know its limits, e.g. have proper calibration. For instance, if a driverless car is to be asked to deliver a passenger to an airport as fast as possible, will AI consider it an urge to put the pedal to the metal and drive at 150km while running over pedestrians?
  4. And the last one, which is considered as the main threat by the mentioned personalities at the very beginning of the article, is when AI starts thinking far beyond of what it is supposed to think of. Once it gets really autonomous it might become a super brain, knowing everything better than people do, and who knows consider people as bugs in its own code or even bugs of the Earth who prevent it from a proper functioning?

As the conclusion, I need to say that AI doomsday seems to be more of a film scenario than a real life example, however, greater attention and control should be paid and imposed upon the way AI evolves, especially amid the level of interest towards it from all the parties: business, politicians, IT-ninjas and even regular people from the crowd, willing to master it.

Obligatory drone registration

 

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When drones appeared on the market there were many ideas how it can be used. Everyone can buy a drone today so there is huge variety of potential use of this product. Some ideas are very noble like saving people’s lives delivering first aid kit and other medicines to help people. Other ideas are very interesting logistic solution for example Amazon Prime Air which is a future service that will deliver packages up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones. Drones can be useful while taking photos, live video transmissions during events eg. concerts, for archeological purposes and many more. Imagination is the limit while using the drones, but as it is becoming more and more popular governments are trying to create some restrictions to it.

Few days ago Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that require all private owners of unmanned aircraft weighing over 250 grams to register them with the Federal Air Transport Agency. From 21st of December registration of drones is obligatory in United States of America. People will be able to make it through the internet, registration cost is $ 5. Those who bought the drones before that date have to be registered within 60 days. After that point, drones will have to be registered before their first flight. Each flying vehicle subject to registration will receive a special number, which has to be painted in a visible place. Regulations concerning the registration of drones can reduce the risk of plane crashes. In the last two years in the United States reported 240 cases of approaching these vehicles on a dangerous distance from airliners. In more than 50 cases, the distance was less than 15 meters. What is also interesting the register is going to be public so everyone can easily find the owner in case of any accident or problem.

In my opinion this solution should be implemented worldwide because drones can cause some problems and can be used as spying machines. Many civil users are checking for example what is the neighbor doing and validate his privacy. This little tool in the hands of the wrong people can result in a lot of trouble so it is good to at least have possibility to find the owner.

 

Sources:

https://www.rt.com/politics/327536-russian-introduces-obligatory-registration-of/

http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/14/news/companies/faa-drone-registration/index.html

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Is Google slowly taking over the world?

google-skynet

Is science fiction coming true? Is the world as we know it transforming into something more surreal every passing day? Continue reading

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