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ANDRÉ CRAMER

… my view of where technology innovation will lead us

How Mozilla’s Common Voice Project bubbled up my very own 2013 AI- & Voice-Assistance Services Ideation again (André Cramer)

Last week I stepped on a piece of news with yet another story about the voice-driven assistance services which have gained so much traction recently: “Mozilla is crowdsourcing voice recognition to make AI work for the people“. I have been an enthusiastic Alexa user myself right from the start. I believe voice-based assistance services, voice-based human-computer interaction, in general, have a bright future. At least bright in terms of a sharp surge in usage and a myriad of use cases that bring benefits to most consumers and businesses. Continue reading “How Mozilla’s Common Voice Project bubbled up my very own 2013 AI- & Voice-Assistance Services Ideation again (André Cramer)”

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Where accelerating technological Development will lead us in the next 15-20 years (André Cramer)

I would like to share some of my thoughts on key developments that I believe will determine our lives in the upcoming two decades. Almost all of this is fueled by ever more accelerating technological progress and there are a lot of opportunities in it. As well as significant challenges.

Looking back at the perceived principle of the industrial age, where growth occurred or seemed to occur in a linear function, today we know about Moore’s Law. We have been able to observe it for the last 50 years where over time it became clearer that we have a doubling of computing power roughly every 1,5 years.

Now how does that apply in our everyday life? Where do we actually see that technologies get more and more “disruptive”? To show that this is not about buzzwords, here are a couple of examples for “wow” type of developments: Continue reading “Where accelerating technological Development will lead us in the next 15-20 years (André Cramer)”

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AI is absolutely essential for the Messaging Platform Business Model to take over the World (of B2C) (André Cramer)

Over the course of the last weeks and months you couldn’t escape news and stories about messaging platforms going after B2C use cases à la “order me some food”, “book me a hotel room” or “I need a ride downtown in 30 minutes”.

Pioneered and taken to huge success in Asia by platforms like Weixin/WeChatLINE and Kakao, especially Facebook with its two behemoth platforms Messenger and WhatsApp is taking decisive actions to bring businesses and consumers together on their platforms. Kik is even faster, having just launched such a botstore for brands. In their launch line-up are 18 well-known brands such as Sephora, H&M or The Weather Channel. And with these moves, communications platforms will tap into significant revenue streams in the form of rev shares and commissions for being the facilitator between businesses and consumers in everyday Transactions.
Continue reading “AI is absolutely essential for the Messaging Platform Business Model to take over the World (of B2C) (André Cramer)”

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My SXSW 2016 key take-aways (André Cramer)

35,000 visitors from all over the world are yet another milestone in the ongoing rise of SXSW as one of the key events of the tech industry. A must-visit conference that this time even the president attended. In his speech at Austin’s The Long Center for the Performing Arts he made an impassioned and partisan plea to technology professionals and tech-minded citizens to apply their ideas and talents toward solving some of the country’s biggest challenges and philosophical divides.

But there was much more to SXSW 2016. Continue reading “My SXSW 2016 key take-aways (André Cramer)”

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Mobile World Congress 2016: Where are we heading with Smartphones – or where do we need to head? (André Cramer)

It’s Mobile World Congress time again. Not only the world of telcos and phone-related manufacturers meet there, but meanwhile it has become a colorful mix of everything technology related it seems. Still, the smartphones or mobile computing devices are in the center of attention.

The decade of the Smartphone as we know it is ending

Almost 10 years ago the iPhone has entered center stage and in fact did change everything in this industry. The revolutionary first iPhone was of course not the first smartphone in the market; in fact it came years after the term ‘smartphone’ had been coined for the first time. What is remarkable about it was therefore not the invention of a new category of device, but the combination of the right mix of technologies Continue reading “Mobile World Congress 2016: Where are we heading with Smartphones – or where do we need to head? (André Cramer)”

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Virtual Reality will have a massive Impact on us already within the next Decade (Andre Cramer)

When reading about future, and specifically in this context, near-term future predictions, you often get a conservative impression. It seems people mostly see the future like a slightly enhanced version of the present. People tend to think that the big and significant societal transformation either has already taken place or will happen in a more distant future.

In my opinion things are quite a bit different. The world will be changing much faster than the majority of people imagine today. There is a high probability that technology will change the world and our immediate life conditions faster than ever before within the next ten years. There are some technologies on the agenda with the potential to render the world pretty much unrecognizable compared to today.  Continue reading “Virtual Reality will have a massive Impact on us already within the next Decade (Andre Cramer)”

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Very good read on what the Digital Disruption of our Social Life is doing to us: Is Social Media The New Tobacco? (John Battelle)

The digital disruption of our everyday life, in particular, our social relationships and interaction among each other is not really a spotlight topic. We talk about the future of jobs, autonomous driving, the Internet of Things and since the 2016 elections we at least talk about the impact of digitalizing and democratizing our media. This article takes a closer look at social media and what it can do and does to our life, especially to that of our kids and teenagers. We need to be more conscious of this, and make sure the social media industry gets regulated where there is a need for regulation. Read for yourself:

“I’ll admit I was a slow-follower when the iPhone launched ten years ago. I was suspicious of Apple’s intent — I was not fan of its closed, vertically integrated model — and the market’s infatuation with apps felt like a fad that would ultimately fade. When I finally did get an iPhone, I felt complicit in the what amounted to internet climate change: slowly but surely, our new addictions were bound to swamp all that we had worked so hard to build on the open web. As Tristan Harris and many others have pointed out, the economic incentives driving our mobile landscape (in short: advertising) are based fundamentally on the science of addiction, and addicted we certainly are…”

Source: Is Social Media The New Tobacco? – NewCo Shift

Tesla Shows How Traditional Business Metrics Are Outdated (Eddie Yoon)

A great article using Tesla as an example of how in the digitalization age traditional business metrics get outdated. How do we compare new concepts, businesses, ecosystems to related traditional counterparts? Here’s some very useful food for thought:

“Elon Musk is having a moment. Tesla just delivered its first Model 3, the affordable model that he envisioned in his “secret” strategy some 11 years ago. He wanted to build a sports car, then build a more affordable car with zero emissions. He’s basically already there. The Model 3 has mostly rave reviews and a multiyear waiting list, which is quite a feat, even for an industry leader like Musk.

And yet confusion still abounds regarding Tesla. There are roughly the same number of buy, hold, and sell ratings on the company, which means Wall Street has no idea what’s going on. Tesla’s recent announcement to raise $1.5 billion in debt was largely met with a yawn by stockholders, as shares moved down a slight 0.5%. Tesla’s ability to surprise has analysts wondering if it is wise to ever bet against Elon Musk…”

Read the article on HBR: Tesla Shows How Traditional Business Metrics Are Outdated

A totally Must-Read on what AI can do right now and what not: The Business of Artificial Intelligence (Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee)

And again… if you read one Artificial Intelligence article this month, make it this one. I highly value Erik Brynjolfsson since I saw his TED talk (here is also a great recap and interview with him in the NPR TED Radio Hour “The Digital Industrial Revolution”). Together with with fellow MIT principal research scientist Andrew McAfee he draws a sharp and easy to grasp picture of what machine learning is really capable of today and what the outlook for the future is. This is really worth your time, providing first class insights into “no bullshit” artificial intelligence state of the nation. Here’s an intro… follow the link at the end of this post for the full article on Harvard Business Review:

“For more than 250 years the fundamental drivers of economic growth have been technological innovations. The most important of these are what economists call general-purpose technologies — a category that includes the steam engine, electricity, and the internal combustion engine. Each one catalyzed waves of complementary innovations and opportunities. The internal combustion engine, for example, gave rise to cars, trucks, airplanes, chain saws, and lawnmowers, along with big-box retailers, shopping centers, cross-docking warehouses, new supply chains, and, when you think about it, suburbs. Companies as diverse as Walmart, UPS, and Uber found ways to leverage the technology to create profitable new business models.

The most important general-purpose technology of our era is artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning (ML) — that is, the machine’s ability to keep improving its performance without humans having to explain exactly how to accomplish all the tasks it’s given. Within just the past few years machine learning has become far more effective and widely available…”

via The Business of Artificial Intelligence (@Harvard Business Review)

Extremely good Read on your Role in the Business Models of Social Networks: You Are the Product (John Lanchester)

“At the end of June, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had hit a new level: two billion monthly active users. That number, the company’s preferred ‘metric’ when measuring its own size, means two billion different people used Facebook in the preceding month. It is hard to grasp just how extraordinary that is. Bear in mind that thefacebook – its original name – was launched exclusively for Harvard students in 2004. No human enterprise, no new technology or utility or service, has ever been adopted so widely so quickly. The speed of uptake far exceeds that of the internet itself, let alone ancient technologies such as television or cinema or radio.

Also amazing: as Facebook has grown, its users’ reliance on it has also grown. The increase in numbers is not, as one might expect, accompanied by a lower level of engagement. More does not mean worse – or worse, at least, from Facebook’s point of view…”

Source: John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017

Really, really must-read Tom Friedman Interview on Jobs, learning, and the future of work (Deloitte University Press)

If you read one future of work article this month, make it this one. Really good interview touching key topics of how we will work in the future and what the change in technology and business models will mean for employment models and of course how we should adapt our approach towards education. Really good read, smart thoughts! Here you go:

“Smart machines, businesses as platforms, and a waitress at Perkins Pancake House—all of these and more figure into Friedman’s buoyant riff on where the future of work could be taking us. […] I couldn’t resist reaching out to Tom to see if he would speak with Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte, and me on this particular topic. We ended up covering a very broad terrain with Tom and, in his usual fashion, he brought these diverse trends to life with compelling stories…”

 

Source: Tom Friedman interview: Jobs, learning, and the future of work | Deloitte University Press

Super Useful Read on Tech Body Implants: How Apple is putting Voices in Users’ Heads – Literally (Steven Levy)

This is a super insightful read on a very tangible example of where and how the enhancement of the human body already works today. In fact, hearing-impaired humans are the first beneficiaries or powerful use cases for audio transmission from electronic devices right into peoples’ brains. Think listening to music, audiobooks and no one even notices you have a technical devices plugged into you. Think amplifying voices from a conversation while muting surrounding sound. Many powerful use cases imaginable! As in many “bionic” or “human enhancement tech” scenarios, such tech is developed to help handicapped people and then finds its way into helping everyone. I wonder when we will see first non-handicapped humans tinker with tech like this in order to benefit from such advancements.

Here’s a glimpse; read more on WIRED:

“My conversation with Mathias Bahnmueller started as pretty much all my phone interviews do. “Can you hear me?” he asked, and I replied affirmatively. Then I asked him the same question. His answer was yes—he could hear me very clearly. And this was a tiny miracle.

That’s because Bahnmueller suffers from hearing loss so severe that a year ago he underwent surgery to install a cochlear implant—an electronic device in the inner ear that replaces the usual hearing mechanism…”

via How Apple Is Putting Voices in Users’ Heads—Literally | WIRED

Great Read on the bleak outlook for Energy Utilities: Utilities fighting against rooftop solar are only hastening their own doom… Batteries are going to make rooftop solar invulnerable (David Roberts)

This is quite useful to better understand the likely development that solar tech in combination with rapid efficiency improvements paired with scale-driven cost reductions in batter tech will do to the energy utilities. I personally like the outlook of a total democratization of the energy production. I guess it will take quite a bit more time when it comes to “total”, but the consumer segment with residential customers being able to “cord cut” in terms of energy supply will speed up the energy market disruption.

“Several of the big trends in clean electricity depend, in one way or another, on batteries. How fast batteries get better and cheaper will help determine how fast renewable energy grows, how fast fossil fuel power plants get shut down, and how fast the vehicle fleet electrifies. The consulting firm McKinsey & Company recently released an analysis noting that batteries, like solar panels before them, are getting cheaper much faster than anyone expected — and the consequences for the power sector are going to be immense…”

Read more here: Utilities fighting against rooftop solar are only hastening their own doom – Vox

The Streaming Problem: How Spammers, Superstars, and Tech Giants Gamed the Music Industry (Adam K. Raymond)

This is a great read with insights into how a fully digitally transformed ecosystem like the music industry is becoming the target for creative spamming and exploitation that just wasn’t thinkable in the analog times or in the early digital times when haptic media like CDs were still used. Apparently it is not so easy these days not to be tricked and fooled by spammers who play the system in order to generate significant passive income streams. Exciting read!

“A few weeks after the release of Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” the hard-charging lead single on his fourth album Damn., the song landed at No. 1 on Billboard’s streaming chart. It’s been on the chart ever since, never falling below No. 3 as users have played it more than 291 million times on Spotify alone.

And that’s just the streaming total for Lamar’s version. His hit song has also been a boon for Spotify’s parasitic underbelly — the coverbots and ripoff artists who vomit out inferior versions of popular songs every week, flooding the website with dreck that only succeeds when users are misled. No one would willingly listen to King Stitch’s “Sit Down, Be Humble,” a third-rate cover of Lamar’s original, but the track has been streamed more than 300,000 times thanks to Spotify’s broad search results and a clever title designed to confuse those who don’t know the song’s real name…”

Read more here: How Spammers, Superstars, and Tech Giants Gamed Music

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