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ANDRÉ CRAMER

… my view of where technology innovation will lead us

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foresight

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

An extremely good long read on our major challenges in an all-digital future: Forget far-right populism – crypto-anarchists are the new masters (Jamie Bartlett)

Those who mistakenly thought 2016 was an anomaly, a series of unprecedented events, should have few remaining doubts. Marine Le Pen may have stuttered but still picked up almost 11 million votes. Her opponent, the “normal” candidate, was leader of a party only one year old. The ongoing terror attacks, fake news panic, Trump’s tweets and James Comey: last year never really ended, it just carried straight on into this one.

After decades of exaggerated prediction, the internet is finally transforming politics, but not in the way the digital prophets expected. The 90s, you may recall, were awash with optimism about our online future: limitless information and total connection would make us more informed, less bigoted and kinder citizens. But the internet is an overwhelming mess of competing facts, claims, blogs, data, propaganda, misinformation, investigative journalism, charts, different charts, commentary and…

Source: Forget far-right populism – crypto-anarchists are the new masters | Technology | The Guardian

Great piece – but sad it’s Walt Mossberg’s last ever column: The Disappearing Computer (Walt Mossberg)

As I write this, the personal tech world is bursting with possibility, but few new blockbuster, game-changing products are hitting the mainstream. So a strange kind of lull has set in.

The multi-touch smartphone, launched 10 years ago with Apple’s first iPhone, has conquered the world, and it’s not done getting better. It has, in fact, become the new personal computer. But it’s a maturing product that I doubt has huge improvements ahead of it. Tablets rose like a rocket, but have struggled to find an essential place in many people’s’ lives. Desktops and laptops have become table stakes, part of the furniture.

The big software revolutions, like cloud computing, search engines, and social networks, are also still growing and improving, but have become largely established…

Source: Mossberg: The Disappearing Computer – The Verge

Great Read on the Future of Manufacturing: How Microfactories Can Bring Iterative Manufacturing to the Masses (Andrew O’Keefe, Jason Dorrier)

Humans manufacture a mind-numbing amount of stuff each year—ever wonder how we do it? In the past 100 or more years, it’s been all about economies of scale. This means you should make a lot of a thing because the more you make, the more your fixed expenses get spread out. This reduces the cost of each unit, from light bulbs to iPhones. Here’s the problem. It’s expensive to do a big manufacturing run. So, how do you know what to make in the first place? Often, it’s an educated guess based on prototypes and limited feedback, but you don’t really know until you try to sell a product—and by then, you’re fully committed, succeed or fail. Jay Rogers of Local Motors wants to upend common wisdom. Manufacturers should run through tons of potentially good ideas and then…

via How Microfactories Can Bring Iterative Manufacturing to the Masses

Watch out for these People and their Ideas: NEXT LIST 2017 – 20 Tech Visionaries who are creating the Future (various WIRED Staff)

Microsoft will build computers even more sleek and beautiful than Apple’s. Robots will 3-D-print cool shoes that are personalized just for you. (And you’ll get them in just a few short days.) Neural networks will take over medical diagnostics, and Snapchat will try to take over the entire world. The women and men in these pages are the technical, creative, idealistic visionaries who are bringing the future to your doorstep. You might not recognize their names—they’re too busy working to court the spotlight—but you’ll soon hear about them a lot. They represent the best of what’s next…

via WIRED Next List 2017: 20 Tech Visionaries Who Are Creating the Future of Business | WIRED

Awesome Collection of Long-Reads on the 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017 (MIT Technology Review)

These technologies all have staying power. They will affect the economy and our politics, improve medicine, or influence our culture. Some are unfolding now; others will take a decade or more to develop. But you should know about all of them right now…

Source: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017

Awesome Virtual Reality Read: Reveries on The Future of VR (Jason Rosenthal)

As we enter Year 2 of the emergence of Virtual Reality as a consumer platform, we will see many analysts, articles and pundits weigh in on the state of the nascent industry. They will ask things like: Who are the early winners and losers? Is VR already whiffing on the huge expectations set in early 2016? Are we about to enter the trough of disillusionment and can the industry recover from this setback?

I believe that these questions, while fun to ask, read about and debate on Twitter, fundamentally miss the point…

Source: Reveries on The Future of VR

Good collection of Foresight Fails: The absolute worst Technology Predictions of the past 150 years (lya Pestov)

There’s a long-standing tradition among scientists, engineers, and industrialists. Every new year, they make predictions about a future.

Is blockchain a major technology, or it’s just a buzzword? Bots vs Apps: who will win in 2017? Will this finally be the year that virtual reality stops giving people motion sickness?

Well, technology has proven to be extraordinarily slippery over the past century. Despite the vast information that industry insiders have had at they’re fingertips, they’ve made some pretty terrible forecasts over the years…

Source: The absolute worst technology predictions of the past 150 years

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