Monthly Archives: January 2020

Are we prepared for tech development?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It is great to observe how we are changing our world. Want to share some story or read some news? We can reach to thousands of people by few swipes of a finger via a device that fits in our pockets. Tired of travelling across the world to meet some business partners? Jump into the internet and organize a conference call. Tired of traffic jams or afraid of your concentration on the road? Use self-driving cars to make sure you will get anywhere on time and without causing any accidents. These improvements and many others make our lives much easier. We do not need some researches to see that more and more people use technology. Even some of the simplest daily tasks are becoming unreachable without the help of a machine. In some cases, it is turning out to have some dramatical impact. Recent studies are showing there is a huge amount of problems caused by new tech. And the number is increasing. Are we ready to develop ourselves among with technology, or are we letting it develop us?

Nomophobia:

“The fear of being without a mobile phone.”

Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”- Facebook mission statement

I have recently played a game. I went out to a bar with a bunch of my friends. The rules were simple. We all put down our phones in the middle of the table. The first to pick it up is paying a bill. The reactions were quite the same. We all felt unconscious about not having a possibility to keep in touch with what is happening on social network accounts or about not answering the phone. I thought it is not a problem for me to get rid of my phone. Although I used to reprimand someone about the amount of time they waste on the internet I found it relates to me also. Just the fact I was not allowed to touch my phone stressed me out.

This graph illustrates one of the experiments that took place at California State University. Task was simple. Come into the class, sit down and do nothing for one hour. No talking, no moving, just sitting behind the desk. Students were separated into two groups: half was allowed to have a mobile phone in their pockets and the other half had to lean it to the professor. Surprisingly both groups had the same results. There was no difference whether students carried their phone with them or if it was taken away if they could not access it. They measured the level of anxiety throughout the experiment. It turned out that people considered as daily phone users were close to a panic attack at the end of an hour without using their phone.

 

Mobile devices are meant to create strong communities and increase the efficiency of communication. Ron Sirgley, the professor on the MIT created a survey among his students. After two weeks of not using their phone here is what he managed to figure out:

  • People bring out their phones in face-to-face conversation. It is rude and unacceptable but still, it is happening.
  • Mobile device is sometimes a shield from awkward situations. People prefer to lock in a small electronic box rather than keep eye contact or start a conversation.
  • “I have to admit, it was pretty nice without the phone all week. Didn’t have to hear the fucking thing ring or vibrate once, and didn’t feel bad not answering phone calls because there were none to ignore.”- one of the students

Students pointed out some benefits of this experiment: better quality of sleep, doing things faster, easier to communicate with others. The tone of some students felt like they were referring to spending time with the mobile phone as a type of harassment. Phones reveal themselves as a new type of addiction. Every addiction influence our life by taking our freedom of choice at some point. It should be for us in our world, not creating new world we can’t live without.

Digital dementia:

Analogous state to Alzheimer’s might be linked to the screen lifestyle is as controversial as it is potentially troubling.”

Ever met someone with Alzheimer’s disease? It is scary to see how negative it affects their perception of the world. It used to be considered as an old people illness. Turns out it may not be anymore.

https://www.fox46charlotte.com/video/622915

Recent studies are showing we can destroy our cognitive abilities just by using electronic devices daily. There is plenty of children already with similar brain changes as older people with diseases. Overuse of smartphones lead to replacing our own memory with a digital one. While using all kind of digital technology we are switching from learning, remembering and processing facts to just reacting on some stimulations. Although these symptoms are not as dangerous and advanced as real dementia we should take a closer look at this topic. Computer games can elaborate our imagination, but should we put our cognitive abilities on the line? Especially if we are talking about the youngest? It is safer not to replace normal exercises with some digital tech, although it is easier and requires less effort. It also may transfer into depression, decreasing level of confidence and various learning disorders.

 

Sources:

Manfred Spitzer: “Cyfrowa demencja. W jaki sposób pozbawiamy rozumu siebie i swoje dzieci.” (parts)

https://www.brainfacts.org/for-educators/teaching-techniques/2019/nomophobia-the-fear-of-being-without-a-mobile-phone-091919

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614934/teenagers-without-cell-phones/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/mind-change/201507/digital-dementia

UK Police Will Soon Use Facial Recognition to Catch Criminals

Reading Time: 3 minutes

UK’s Metropolitan Police has announced that they will soon start using live facial recognition cameras for the first time on London streets. This controversial decision has been made in order to provide more protection and safety on the streets of the UK’s capital, but their main purpose will be looking for wanted criminals. Nick Ephgrave, a Met Police assistant commissioner, said: “As a modern police force, I believe that we have a duty to use new technologies to keep people safe in London.”. Unfortunately, the public isn’t sure about this new idea.

 

Image: Metropolitan Police Federation

The Met Police has already been testing this technology for the past two years and is happy with the results. According to their research the accuracy of this system, recognizing people by their facial features, is around 70%. It’s still a very new and risky way of surveillance and hasn’t been introduced in many countries. In the beginning, they will only install a few cameras in chosen communities, after consulting their inhabitants and other authorities, because, without their consent, they won’t be able to do so. They will cover only a small targeted area and work for the duration of only a few hours at a time. These limitations have been implemented because the system is still in the testing phase.

Image: The Mirror

 

The Met Police are very happy with their newest technological improvements, but what does the public think about that. At first, they weren’t very happy, but that’s not surprising. Most people would feel weird if they were to be observed by my cameras for most of their day. Many of them even objected against this idea, but after hearing how this concept can lower the crime rate in their neighborhood, they changed their minds. That’s why the consent and permission from the residents were needed, before the installation of the cameras.

The idea of cameras able to recognize people, by their facial features, is still very fresh. How does it work? After a person steps into the camera’s field of view, it precisely scans the geometry of the suspect’s face and creates from it a unique code called “faceprint”. Then, the faceprint is compared with those from the police’s database of suspects and if they match with a flagged person, a supervisor checks if the system didn’t make the mistake and if everything is alright, a special police patrol is dispatched in order to apprehend this criminal.

Image: The Guardian

The Met Police plans to increase the number of cameras in London and to extend their operating time during the day. They want to fully reduce the crime in their city, but they still have a long road before them. Maybe in the future, more countries will start using facial recognition surveillance. It has already proved its worth, and some say that it does the police job’s better than themselves.

 

References:
[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51237665
[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49726101
[3] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/24/met-police-begin-using-live-facial-recognition-cameras

Google’s self-driving company makes a shift from cars to trucks

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania waymo trucks

Google’s autonomous driving company, Waymo, makes a shift from cars to trucks. Their newly developed software for self-driving trucks soon is going to start testing in Texas and New Mexico. That is a clear indication that the company is not only interested in self-driving robo-taxis but also want to make their contribution to long-hauls. 

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania waymo

These tests are not Waymo’s first attempt at the autonomous driving experience. They have already clocked 20 million miles in testing. That, however, has flown under the radar. They are using standard American Semi-trucks loaded with equipment and software, taken from their Waymo self-driving car. 

here you can find how it works and how Waymo utilizes it. They have re-shaped their program to fit the needs of big trucks and their chassis. Trucks supported by Chrysler Pacifica, which are standard in testing autonomous software in Waymo, for better understanding of truck’s movement and its choices. 

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania waymo trucks

They say they are going to focus their attention mostly on highways because most of the freight deliveries are made through there. The goal of this project is to make roads safer by allowing truck drivers to ease some of their fatigue and mistakes made. The demand for this kind of service is very high. Waymo predicts that they are going to reach 6700 units globally, which translates to 54 billion and saving the transport industry 70 billion annually. The company doesn’t explain if they want to eliminate human truck drivers altogether. We can assume that is the final plan, which is not that far away. Some speculations say we are only a decade away from the world that will be almost 50% driven by robots and AI. The future of automotive cargo and passenger hauling industry is unknown. It is both scary and thrilling at the same time. 

 

Sources:

https://waymo.com/tech/

https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/23/waymos-self-driving-trucks-and-minivans-are-headed-to-new-mexico-and-texas/https://venturebeat.com/2020/01/23/waymo-expands-autonomous-truck-testing-to-texas-and-new-mexico/

 

Can clean energy stop climate change?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Obtaining power and energy without damaging our planet is one of the most important problems of humanity. After all, if we keep on destroying the planet we live on by burning massive amounts of fossil fuels and emitting CO2 and Greenhouse Gasses, the entire climate will change, which might cause the extinction of all life on Earth. So how to effectively obtain energy and not put our future lives in danger?

The most obvious answer would be to use renewable energy sources. According to International Energy Agency renewable power capacity is set to expand by 50% between 2019 and 2024.

The most popular type of renewable energy is of course solar energy. Solar panels are relatively cheap to install, can be placed on roofs of most of the houses and don’t require much space or maintenance. Many countries in Europe cover the cost of installation of solar panels by their citizens, fully or partially.

Another great example is wind power, either offshore or onshore. Wind farms consist of many individual wind turbines, which turned by wind turn electrical generators and generate clean and sustainable energy. It is estimated that wind power will grow and become more popular with each year.

Hydropower or Hydroelectricity is renewable energy that has the greatest impact on global power supply. It provides over 16% of global electricity generation. The energy is provided by using falling or fast-flowing water to generate electricity. The main advantage of hydroelectric stations is that they are extremely cost-efficient and have long economic lives, with some plants being in service for over 70 years. They also generate barely any CO2 or Greenhouse Gasses. Unfortunately constructing hydroelectric power plant cause major damage to local ecosystem and increase local water evaporation.

However, renewable energy sources are not the only solution. Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel that is burned with oxygen to produce clean energy. It can be used in either fuel cells or internal combustion engines, which can reduce emission generated by commercial vehicles by up to 70%.

In conclusion, I believe that reducing the usage of fossil fuels is by far the best way to combat climate change. There are many alternatives that are as efficient, and with time, they will become cheaper and more accessible. However, to properly implement those changes great co-operation and involvement is required, which I believe is not possible right now. Hopefully further progress in this field of technology in the future will bring us closer to solving climate change problem, and it will be already to late.

References:

https://www.iea.org/reports/renewables-2019

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy#Mainstream_technologies

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroelectricity#Low_cost/high_value_power

 

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Are self-checkout, cashier-free, tech based shops the future?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As the technology moves forward, companies try to implement more and more of it into their business. One of the futuristic ideas being already developed and test-implemented is cashier-free, self-checkout stores. The idea is that such store can operate without any employees on site. It only needs restocking, cleaning, and maintenance once necessary. It is a great way for companies to lower the cost of having a retail store to a bare minimum – basically the rent/price for the place.

The idea is that a person has some kind of app or device that lets him in one at a time. The person can choose whatever he wants, and the payment is automated through the app. The idea seems simple, but there is a lot of technology and processes involved. First of all, the shelves must be weighted. Additionally, the exact weight of all the products in sale must be known. This way, the shop “knows” how many products, from which shelf was taken and can assess what exact products are those. Thus there is no waiting in line to scan or weigh the products for the customer. Ideally, the customer takes it off the shelf and carries with on the shopping. The second of all is the payment, identification, and safety. The shop must have a few cameras to see what is happening outside and inside. The identity of the person must be known in case of any problems with payment or damage. So the app (or the entrance to the shop) must have some facial or other type of recognition along with all the credentials and credit card number. In China, the shops that work are based on Wechat app with is operated and developed by the Chinese company Tencent. The app is Whatsapp-like. It allows communication, payment, identification of the person, among other features.  So if a person has Wechat app on their phone, they can enter the shop. And the shop instantly has all the information about the person along with credit card number and etc. This allows them to enter the store and proceed with shopping. Third of all dealing with all the problems, unawareness, maintenance is a bit harder due to no employees on site. So the logistics with the restocking but also customer help may be tricky. But can also be solved with technology – for instance, chatbots (in the app). The lack of electricity or malfunction of the app or banking system may cause some problems as well.

The idea of such technology-based stores, as described above, is more than possible with existing technology. It is necessary for the customer to have a smartphone and an app essentially. That means most people in developed countries with access to such stores will be able to shop in such places. It is a lot cheaper for the company due to no necessity of hiring many workers (one or more per store). It can have “Service teams” which operate on few stores or certain districts with troubleshooting. The AI (chatbots) can help customers with the shopping process. So such a store, except restocking, ideally is operated by just the technology. There are some easily visible dangers – malfunction or lack of electricity. And above all, the more hidden ones. About our privacy, our free choice (every move being recorded and digitsed).

Will the technology be widespread on the streets very soon? I think that is quite likely. Trends change, but this kind of “store-machine” is cheap, safe, and very effective. The customer spends very little time in the store and does not have to worry about anything – everything is in the app. So the only barrier is peoples’ attachment to tradition. Only time will tell if the technology-based, cashier-free shops will be more and more common.

Referencing:

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/automation-in-retail-an-executive-overview-for-getting-ready

https://popupcity.net/observations/an-automated-supermarket-with-no-staff/

https://www.theverge.com/2017/2/6/14527438/amazon-go-grocery-store-six-human-employees-automation

http://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20190826-france-no-staff-superstore-automated-checkout-robot

https://www.grocerydive.com/news/grocery–are-employee-free-stores-the-future-of-grocery-retail/535315/

https://www.practicalecommerce.com/rise-human-free-retail

AI, the new future of corporate training

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Artificial intelligence has pervaded pretty much every part of business life. It has figured out how people get things done and afterward made sense of progressively proficient methods for playing out similar tasks. Up to this point, numerous specialists concurred that AI was unequipped for discussing adequately with people. Forbes even expresses that AI can’t supplant people in the world of corporate communications. However, AI chatbots have changed a ton of the consumer-facing part of corporate connections. The use of AI has even extended to training and development.

The Impact on Training Regimens

Training Magazine specifies that AI stands to offer a huge degree of profitability for learning and advancement in corporate environments. An AI encouraging specialist shouldn’t be paid equivalent to a customary laborer, and it is accessible to trainees at any time of the day or night. This adaptability implies that trainees can utilize their time as they see fit and be flexible about what time of day they commit themselves to learning. An AI educator is likewise more captivating to an student than just looking at a pre-recorded video, since it can decipher and respond to questions that the student presents. increased engagement comes from methodology behind AI training assistants.

How AI Training Works

AI training assistants don’t simply rely on artificial intelligence however consolidate AI with a technological advancement known as natural language processing (NLP). Towards Data Science characterizes NLP as the field of data science that empowers AI to read, comprehend, and decipher the importance of words. NLP permits AI preparing colleagues to work on a level that is near a human trainer. During an training course with an AI assistant, a command goes through four stages:

1. Recognition of the Command: The AI picks up the command in the student’s voice, then filters out background noise and interprets the command based on the words it deciphers.

2. Database Connection: The AI connects to the particular servers or databases where the information resides.

3. Specify the Problem: The AI will then look at the query presented by the student and determine what they want to figure out. Defining the problem allows the AI to prepare an appropriate response.

4. Respond to the Question: The AI then replies, either vocally (through a speech synthesizer) or through text, as is the case with most AI bots.

artificial intelligence in corporate training

Smart Learning Assistants

AI training assistants have arrived at a point where they can do many routine tasks effectively. Through the collection and questioning of data, an AI training assistant can decide the proficiency of training through results, and even assist struggling students with specific areas in which they exhibit weakness. The absence of a face removes judgment from the equation, permitting students to ask apparently “silly” inquiries of the teacher without feeling idiotic. Harvard Business Review noticed that using a robot to prepare specialists resulted in fewer risks to the organization and the human trainer as well.

Previously, training inside organization required planning classes and face to face communications. The new age of workers doesn’t have same requests for gaining from the representatives of yesteryear. A large number of millennial workers experienced childhood with the reason of on-request learning. They know about interaction over the internet and finding the data they require to take care of issues on a piecemeal premise. The execution of AI to enable these workers to learn use their familiarity with digital instruction.

The Role of Learning

Human beings are continually learning. How we disguise data takes several different forms dependent on what we need to do. Regardless of whether it’s training on STCW courses for engineering operations on a boat, or expanding vocabulary for better communication with the board, the ultimate objective is being better at what we do. In spite of this, training frameworks have reliably neglected to deliver on the promise of training employees promptly. With the upgrades in AI and their commitment to the field of learning and development, the area may have discovered the most proficient approach to convey training to the individuals who need it.

 

Ref:

https://channels.theinnovationenterprise.com/articles/why-ai-is-the-future-of-corporate-training

https://academy.whatfix.com/7-ways-ai-will-revolutionize-corporate-learning/

Cybunker – the ultimate “accessory” to your Cybertruck

Reading Time: 2 minutes

After the reveal of Cybertruck – Tesla’s latest vehicle, a wave of skepticism towards the product crushed on comment sections of numerous websites. Weird design, the fact that supposedly “bulletproof” windows didn’t even stand a hit of a metal ball and many other things inspired doubts in the consumers’ heads. But one obvious thing united all of them – the sheer size of the vehicle. It is really hard to imagine driving the truck down the street. But even more so – it’s really hard to see it fit into your garage.

Size comparison between Model 3 and Cyber Truck. Source: Reddit

Conveniently enough, Lars Buro – R&D and design company decided to address this issue and create a perfect accessory for your Cybertruck – Cybunker

Cybertruck next to Cybunker. Source: LARS BURO

Cybertruck inside of a Cybunker. Source: LARS BURO

As per the company’s website:

Cybunker is a modular architecture that can be deployed as a hi-tech depot, an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit), or an off-grid residence.

Let’s go over some features on Cybunker:

  • Has a steel structure and aerodynamic shape
  • Is able to withstand the toughest environmental conditions
  • Has a 600 square-foot garage
  • It has 1,800 square feet of living space, which can be customized according to the customer’s needs.
  • It Offers panoramic views, through the armored glass

The company claims that this is not just a bunch of fancy renders but an actual project that they’re planning to implement. However, it seems to me that this project has more crazy features than the Cybertruck itself. So I’m highly skeptical of this “garage” actually become an actual product

What do you think about Cybunker?

I encourage you to do your own reading, form your own opinion and to let us know what you think down in the comments

Please check out the references down below, as well as contextual hyperlinks in the article itself.

Peace ✌🏻

 

Sources:

https://larsburo.com/cybunker/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Cybertruck

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/tesla-cybertruck-garage-cybunker-order-cost/

 

Hide your smartphone

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Google has announced three projects meant to get you out in the real world and away from your phone. The apps are designed by Google’s Digital Wellbeing Experiments and aim to make your phone barely functional. Currently, it works only with Pixel3a.


One involves sticking your phone into an envelope, sealing it, and using it only as a camera or a basic keypad to dial numbers. If you do have a Pixel 3A, download the required Play Store app for the envelope, called Envelope, then print out the PDF for the envelope, cut out the template, and follow the instructions to construct it. Then, when you’re ready for a break from your phone, open up the Envelope app, slide your Pixel 3A into the envelope, and seal the envelope shut — the PDF recommends using glue. Once your phone is sealed in the envelope, you’ll only be able to dial phone numbers on the phone, use speed dial, or have the phone tell you the time by flashing the numbers on the number pad.

The second, Screen Stopwatch, transforms your home screen into a giant timer every time you unlock your phone—it’s supposed to make you more aware of your phone usage. And the last, Activity Bubbles, represents your activity in bubble shapes. The longer the session, the bigger the bubbles; the more the sessions, the more bubbly your home screen.

But can it actually make us use our phones less? Sure. By sealing your phone and making it harder to use, you’re cutting out any potential side jaunts into Twitter or Instagram to stalk a frenemy. Measuring the time you spend on your phone isn’t a new concept , but it certainly helps to quantify the time you spend on a screen.

Sources:

https://www.technologyreview.com/

https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/22/googles-new-experimental-apps-focus-on-reducing-screen-time-including-one-that-uses-a-paper-envelope/

Robots will help European farmers

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Can new generation robots facilitate the work of agronomists and farmers, making agriculture more economical and environmentally friendly?

In the Italian Ronchillon, farmers grow hazelnuts on an experimental plantation (in the country 100 thousand tons of this product are produced annually). Experts check how the plantations feel, note diseased trees, prune them. Agronomists know that in such large areas the distribution of water and nutrients is uneven: some plantings may lack fertilizer. Moreover, according to tradition, all trees undergo the same treatment, regardless of whether they need it or not.

Engineers use motion capture technology and autonomous control algorithms to maximize the accuracy of the robot. This is important, for example, when marking trees to be pruned. Farmers still have to work manually, but with the robot it will be easier for them to find what and where to cut.

Meanwhile, scientists from Brussels and Germany are joining forces to help farmers: they developed an autonomous drone to inspect large plantations. A drone equipped with cameras will indicate to specialists where it is necessary to intensify watering, and where pests are activated; he is also able to evaluate the prospects of the crop. What is important for companies using products from the fields in production.

Scientists warn: robots will not replace experienced agronomists, but will unload them, taking on part of the heavy physical operations.

Sources:

https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/future-cap-robots-field_en

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/infographics/robotics/public/area/agriculture-and-food-supply.html

https://www.eu-robotics.net/sparc/10-success-stories/agri-food-robotics-briefing-document.html?changelang=2

Game technology to help coral

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Game technology rushes to the aid of scientists who monitor, protect, and save coral reefs around the world. Researchers from the 100 Island Challenge team have been studying the health status and changes of corals for many years, compiling maps on which their location is plotted in the area of ​​100 different islands. This requires precise methodological work deep underwater. Scientists using a specially designed camera system collect images of coral reefs, creating digital 3D-renderings that can be studied in detail and used to observe how these populations change over time.

Stuart Sanden, Researcher, 100 Island Challenge: “Our goal is actually to get an idea of ​​what is going on with coral reefs today and to understand what will happen to them tomorrow.”

The data collected is transmitted to the engineers. Then they are processed on a computer using a special program that allows you to extract information from these 3D models in a way that was previously impossible. According to experts, the basis of their work is the huge successes achieved by the video game industry and the improvement of their technologies.

According to experts, thanks to the development of the video game industry, advanced technologies have become so mundane and cheap that researchers have the opportunity to use them to find solutions to many pressing problems of our planet.

Sources:

http://www.secore.org/site/newsroom/article/first-online-game-supporting-reef-restoration.190.html?fbclid=IwAR0tChpc6lTrzrKYZ_mWbbXGnNbnLOnIv8K4H8jX4Zzx4k4WJmX8TvvpfRk

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-26/scientists-discover-game-changer-for-great-barrier-reef/9190200

https://www.climatecentral.org/news/a-computer-just-changed-the-coral-research-game-20479