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This & That

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

A mind-boggling Read: This machine could print synthetic life forms on demand, and our minds are reeling – ScienceAlert (Science Alert)

This is quite an astonishing read. Craig Venter is a driving force in this technology which would allow us to not only print synthetic life forms, but also digitally send that across – if necessary – very long distances. Perhaps interplanetary distances. But check for yourself:

“Back in 2016, biologist Craig Venter achieved something extraordinary. He built a new species of bacteria from scratch in the lab – the simplest genetic life form known to science, made entirely through chemical synthesis of a custom-made genome.

Now, he’s unveiled a new machine that could print these synthetic life forms on demand – simply feed in a genome design, and let the ‘ink’ form the building blocks of life. The invention could see us colonise Mars with synthetic life without ever setting foot on the Red Planet, and Venter and Elon Musk have teamed up to make this happen…”

Source: This machine could print synthetic life forms on demand, and our minds are reeling – ScienceAlert

Mind-bending read on a future challenge topic: “What Can We Share on a Mind-Melding Social Network?” (Sam Brinson)

I really loved this article which takes a deep-dive into the topic of brain-machine-interfaces and use-cases that could revolve around accessing the human brain from a machine/technology perspective in the future. What are the challenges, what needs to be considered? Do we believe this will be at all possible? Find some mind-bending ideas and considerations from Sam Brinson here.

“We’re still in the early days of brain science. The most complex thing in the universe still constantly surprises and confuses us. But, that won’t stop us from connecting them. I know that because we already have.

While the signals being sent back and forth are rudimentary words such as “hola,” we all know how quickly technology can change. Soon, perhaps, full blown telepathy will be here.

Exciting times these are. But let’s go further. What else might a network of brains be able to share? When the brain — the thing responsible for our memories, consciousness, and perception of the world — is open to interpretation…”

Read more at: What Can We Share on a Mind-Melding Social Network?

A super-useful Ecosystem Map of the Cryptotech & Blockchain Space: Mapping the decentralized World of tomorrow (Alexander Ruppert)

The Media is going crazy about Bitcoin, Ethereum and the rise of crypto markets. Entrepreneurs from the sector have kind of a Rockstar status raising millions of USD in seconds through ICOs. However, the crypto sector is much more than Bitcoin, fintech, trading and crypto currencies — it’s about building a better, decentralized, (digital) world.

By using the term “decentralization” I refer to a process of redistributing functions, people, powers or things away from a central authority. The problem with centralized systems is that they lack transparency, allow for single points of failure, censorship, abuse of power and inefficiencies. The fundament of their existence often is missing trust within communities or networks, so they need a trust building intermediary to be organized…

via Mapping the decentralized world of tomorrow – Earlybird’s view – Medium

Important Read on the challenging future of Retail Jobs: In Towns Already Hit by Steel Mill Closings, a New Casualty is Retail Jobs (Rachel Abrams, Robert Gebeloff)

This is some bold and disruptive plan for the future: Amazon reveals plan for huge, city-center drone-delivery towers (Ethan Baron)

A barrage of patent applications from e-commerce giant Amazon showcases a futuristic, hive-like drone-delivery tower fed by 18-wheelers and full of robots, as the company plans solutions to two major drone problems: noise, and the possibility they could fall out of the sky.

It turns out that for Amazon, its current enormous warehouses — which it calls “fulfillment centers” — located on the outskirts of cities like Tracy are not ideal for serving the urban customers that make up a large portion of its market…

Source: Amazon reveals plan for huge, city-center drone-delivery towers

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