I guess by now we have all heard of the very controversial Google Duplex demonstration at Google I/O 2018, where a human-voice synthesized bot called several local businesses and was able to interact with humans who had no idea they were talking to a machine. Many of us are fascinated by the technological progress that could be witnessed. A part of me was fascinated just like that. But to me the real fascinating discussion is about ethics, specifically AI ethics that come along with approaches like Duplex. Continue reading “What is the key learning from Google Duplex? Digital Responsibility needed more than ever before…”
As an interested and alerted reader on topics where technology meets sociology in the broader sense, many of us are likely noticing an increase in coverage of so called social score projects and experiments. Perhaps you feel like me and you notice a shiver when elaborating on this topic.
Since the most decisive activities in this space take place in China, you find a lot of coverage on their local activities. And it is worth taking a closer look. Right now it all follows the principle “technology / big data / data analytics meets authoritarian state/government”. A scary but in fact a “no brainer” situation. Since there are always tendencies in certain interest groups or parties even in western-style democracies to intrude our private lifes and dilluting privacy laws, we should in fact be carefully watching what is going on and what is possible.
My most alarming quote: “But when he entered his name and national ID number, the app informed him that the transaction wouldn’t go through because he was on the Supreme People’s Court blacklist. This list—literally, the List of Dishonest People—is the same one that is integrated into Zhima Credit.”
You will learn more on Zhima Credit, their activities and the relation with Chinese government activities in the article.
Read the full article here: In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society | WIRED
If you have wondered what the hell is going on in media, or better put, digital media recently, this is a must-read. After years of growth and surging, fueled by advertising-centric business models and loads of VC money, the digital media landscape sees its most drastic challenge since inception.
Advertising is a dead end. Digital subscription models look really promising, given you have high quality content and an established, ideally pre-digital publishing times brand. Pivoting and pivoting to new types of content formats seems like hopeless actionism. With pivoting to video usually being the end of the death spiral.
My key statement from the article:
“In its inexhaustible capacity for experimentation, digital media has pivoted to programmatic advertising, pivoted to native advertising, pivoted to venture capital, pivoted to Facebook, pivoted to distributed, and pivoted to video. Here is a better experiment: Pivot to readers.”
Read the entire article here: Why 2017 Feels Like a Media Apocalypse – The Atlantic
This is a nice read on where we might be heading in the smartphones space, or better put: mobile computing and mobile access to internet services. Most intriguing thought in this for me is if removing a brick/smartphone type of device in this equation might help us liberate our attention from the grip of attention manipulating social networks (btw… great TED talk on this from Tristan Harris).
From the Owen Willams’ post:
Using a Watch to stay connected but not having a phone would do wonders for my concentration, too.
Rather than responding to every single thing as it comes in, having it on my wrist would allow me to know what’s going on but save responding until I’ve got a larger keyboard in front of me to type on.
Such a ridiculous setup could also loosen the grip Instagram, Facebook and others have on our attention span. No more ending up at the bottom of social networks when you planned to just read a message…
Read the whole article here The iPhone X is the Beginning of the End for Phones
This is a must-read speculation article giving an outlook of what some of the rumored cutting-edge new tech ingredients like
- dedicated infrared light sensors
- improved front-facing camera with higher fidelity & frame-rate
- faster and more secure unlocking and payment authorization tech like facial recognition & tracking
- new image processing functionality able to track and deciper eye movements and alterness
could mean for the future of mobile computing and smartphone based everyday use cases.
“These aren’t just the ingredients for a new way to unlock your phone, these are the foundational elements for some truly futuristic technology that no one else is building.”
My personal highlight:
“A revolution in mobile advertising where apps and advertisers will know if you actually looked at a banner or not. This data would be more valuable than any metric advertisers currently receive, but could have pretty evil consequences…”
Read more at iPhone AR Selfie Revolution – Mike Rundle – Medium
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
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…”