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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

Your voice will soon become the primary way to interact with all machines (Bryan Healey)

Apple did not invent the mobile application. Phones have had apps since the first time a phone had a screen. These first apps, however, lived in a closed ecosystem; the calendar, web browser and games came preloaded and locked down. If you wanted something more, you needed to buy a new phone. App developers worked for or were close partners of the phone developer, and reach was extremely limited.

Then came the iPhone, and the iOS SDK. Suddenly, the phone was not just a phone, but a platform, a medium in which you could even launch a business…

Source: Your voice will soon become the primary way to interact with all machines – Recode

Defining our Relationship with early AI (Andrew Heikkila)

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears…in…rain. Time to die.” — Roy Batty, Blade Runner

Artificial intelligence has fascinated mankind for more than half a century, with the first public mention of computer intelligence recorded during a London lecture by Alan Turing in 1947. More recently, the public has been exposed to headlines that have increasingly contained references to the growing power of AI, whether that’s been AlphaGo’s defeat of legendary Go player Lee Se-dol, Microsoft’s racist AI bot named Tay or any other number of new developments in the machine learning field. Once a plot device for science-fiction tales, AI is becoming real — and human beings are going to have to define their relationship with it sooner rather than later.

Source: Defining our relationship with early AI | TechCrunch

New Kind of Processor: Microsoft Bets Its Future on a Reprogrammable Computer Chip (Cade Metz)

It was December of 2012 and Doug Burger was standing in front of Steve Ballmer, trying to predict the future.Ballmer, the big, bald, boisterous CEO of Microsoft, sat in the lecture room on the ground floor of Building 99, home base for the company’s blue-sky R&D lab just outside Seattle. The tables curved around the outside of the room in a U-shape, and Ballmer was surrounded by his top lieutenants, his laptop open. Burger, a computer chip researcher who had joined the company four years earlier, was pitching a new idea to the execs. He called it Project Catapult.

The tech world, Burger explained, was moving into a new orbit. In the future…

Source: Microsoft’s Internet Business Gets a New Kind of Processor | WIRED

Why voice is the catalyst for compatibility (Linden Tibbets)

“Do you think Mom & Dad would like an Amazon Alexa, or maybe a new Google Home?” This is a question a lot of people will ask this holiday season. Whether your folks have the patience of an early adopter or the low tolerance of the late majority, it doesn’t matter. If they don’t have one now, they will soon.

The early promise that Alexa delivers on (and the massive investments that Amazon, Google, Apple, and every other big consumer tech company is making in voice) guarantees that conversational interfaces will become an important and valuable part of how we all control our world…

Source: Why voice is the catalyst for compatibility – Startup Grind – Medium

Very worthwhile Read: The rise of APIs (Matt Murphy)

It’s been almost five years since we heard that “software is eating the world.” The number of SaaS applications has exploded and there is a rising wave of software innovation in the area of APIs that provide critical connective tissue and increasingly important functionality. There has been a proliferation of third-party API companies, which is fundamentally changing the dynamics of how software is created and brought to market.

The application programming interface (API) has been a key part of software development for decades as a way to develop for a specific platform, such as Microsoft Windows. More recently, newer platform providers, from Salesforce to Facebook and Google, have offered APIs that help the developer and have, in effect, created a developer dependency on these platforms…

Source: The rise of APIs | TechCrunch

Must-Read Presentation: Mobile Is Eating the World (Benedict Evans)

In this update of his past presentations on Mobile Eating the World — delivered most recently at The Guardian’s Changing Media Summit — a16z’s Benedict Evans takes us through how technology is universal through mobile. How mobile is not a subset of the internet anymore. And how mobile (and accompanying trends of cloud and AI) is also driving new productivity tools.

In fact, mobile — which encompasses everything from drones to cars — is everything…

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