Wednesday, August 30, 2017
The Bob Pritchard Column
The most exciting, far reaching and awe-inspiring technology advances in recent times have been in healthcare, the financial area and artificial intelligence which is driving much of this dramatic change. AI is impacting nearly every industry imaginable. Intelligence and consciousness are prerogatives of the living, and the inevitability of their existence in machines is hard for most of us to understand.
We need to understand that AI is dramatically altering both medicine and finance.
While the industries are indispensable to our economies and to our lives, many people that work in them, however, are replaceable with AI guided robots performing everything from routine medical functions to major operations and Blockchain absolutely decimating the finance, insurance, banking, share trading and associated industries.
Let’s begin with the automated diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. IBM’s artificial intelligence machine, Watson, is now as good as a professional radiologist when it comes to diagnosis, and it’s also been compiling 30 billion medical images to aid in specialized treatment for image heavy fields like pathology and dermatology. Cardiology is also being overhauled with the advent of artificial intelligence. It used to take doctors nearly an hour to quantify the amount of blood transported with each heart contraction, and it now takes only 15 seconds. With these computers in major hospitals and clinics, doctors can process almost 260 million images a day in their respective fields, which means finding skin cancers, blood clots, and infections all with unprecedented speed and accuracy, not to mention billions of dollars saved in research and maintenance.
Currently, aside from Blockchain, there are almost 15,000 startups working to actively disrupt finance. They are creating computer-generated trading and investment models that blow those crafted by their human counterparts out of the water. Many major hedge funds are already cutting staff. The 100 expensive senior executives in the even more expensive suits who can’t talk business except in expensive, elite restaurants are just 5 minutes from being replaced by one scruffy, personality deprived techie whose normal lunch is coffee and a bag of crisps.
The result is billions of dollars made with fewer people, greater certainty, and much more comfortable work attire.
So where do we go from here? At least 40% of U.S. jobs can be swallowed by artificial intelligence machines and if we aren’t careful about the degree to which we automate them, we are looking at an incredibly serious domestic threat.
Get excited about what AI can do for us, and think very deeply about how it can integrate with us, otherwise we could have major issues.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
The Bob Pritchard Byte
In Sasebo, Japan, a hotel run almost entirely by robots has been so successful in the last two years that owners are to open 100 more locations. The initial aptly named Weird Hotel is part of an amusement park but business has been so good that they plan to expand internationally within the next five years.
The huge saving in labor cost keeps the hotel affordable. They plan to add 1,000 more similar hotels in the future with robots making up 90% of the total staff.
The huge saving in labor cost keeps the hotel affordable. They plan to add 1,000 more similar hotels in the future with robots making up 90% of the total staff.
Having robots in charge throughout the hotel makes it the most efficient hotel in the world. To check in, arriving guests can either talk with a humanoid robot who speaks Japanese or a dinosaur who speaks English. To make sure no one steals the prehistoric receptionist — or any other robot — humans are also on staff as security, making beds and monitoring the hotel at all times.
Apart from the life-sized dinosaur in the lobby there is a roving recycling bin for guests to keep the hotel tidy.
The hotel staff waits patiently for guests to complete the check-in process. (They have to. They are robots.) Floor robots, also becoming very popular in Japanese airports to assist weaker travelers, carry guests' luggage to their rooms. Guests can leave their luggage in a cloak room, manned by a cloak room robot who can store unused luggage until checkout.
Each room comes stocked with Tuly, a hotel concierge robot that can help guests find nearby restaurants, recommend events, can control room temperature, change channels on the TV and answer any other question you may have.
For just $80, the general public can spend a night with the dinosaurs and the robots.
No one thought a supermarket could be run entirely by robots and AI until Amazon Go, then insurance companies came along, autonomous public transportation and now the hospitality industry is joining the long list.
We're going to become caretakers for the robots. That's what the next generation of work is going to be. Let's not kid ourselves here, robots already run most of our world. We'll be their butlers soon enough
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
No. 1: Price-comparison sites.
“Automated price comparison services to find the cheapest product in all categories.”
- You can search on NexTag and PriceGrabber specifically to compare prices.
No. 2: Mobile devices.
“Small devices will you to constantly stay in touch, check the news, check flights, get financial information, do business from wherever you are.
- Smartphones, and now smartwatches, do all of this.
No. 3: Instant payments, financing and better healthcare through the web.
“People will pay bills, manage their finances, and communicate with their doctors over the internet.”
- ZocDoc makes finding a doctor and scheduling easier. One Medical and Forward offer monthly memberships for online and data-driven healthcare. You can borrow money online through Lending Club and make payments through PayPal and Venmo.
No. 4: Personal assistants and IoT.
“Personal companions’ will sync all your devices and allow them to exchange data. The device will check your email or notifications, and instantly present the information that you need.
- Smart devices like Nest collect data on your daily routines and automatically adjust your house’s temperature. Voice-controlled devices, like Amazon’s Echo and the Google Home, can read your email to you or guide you through recipes as you cook.
No. 5: Online home-monitoring.
"Constant video feeds of your house will become common, informing you when somebody visits while you are not home.”
- Dropcam’s home-surveillance camera, Ring’s smart doorbell camera lets you remotely see who is at your door. PetCube lets you play with your pets while away.
No. 6: Social media.
“Private websites will allow you to chat with friends and plan for events.”
- Two billion people use Facebook and Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and others that cover this prediction.
No. 7: Automated promotional offers.
“Software that knows you’ve booked a trip and can suggest activities, discounts, offers, and cheaper prices at your destination.”
- Expedia and Kayak offer deals based on your past purchase data. Google and Facebook offer promotional ads based on your location and interests. Airbnb offers specialized trips at destinations so you can live like a local.
No. 8: Live sports discussion sites.
“TV sports will allow you to discuss the action, and enter a relevant contests.”
- Twitter being the clear leader and streaming some games. You can leave comments in real time on sites like ESPN.
No. 9: Smart advertising.
“Devices will know your purchasing trends, and will display advertisements tailored to your preferences.”
- Online advertising services target users based on your click history, interests, and purchasing patterns.
No. 10: Links to sites during live TV.
Prediction: “Television broadcast will include links to relevant websites and content that complement what you are watching.”
- Almost every commercial has a callout asking the viewer to go to a website, follow the business on Twitter, or a scan a QR code to add it on Snapchat.
No. 11: Online discussion boards.
“Residents of cities and countries will have internet-based discussions concerning issues that affect them.
- News sites have sections for live discussions, and interactive forums. Twitter and Facebook played roles in political revolutions in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia, and the Black Lives Matter movement in the US.
No. 12: Interest-based online sites.
“Online communities will be influenced by your interest, not your location.”
- News sites and online communities focus on single topics, include separate verticals, offering more in-depth coverage on a given topic, focusing on interests rather than who you know or where you are.
No. 13: Project-management software.
“Project managers will be able to go online, describe the project, and receive recommendations for available people who would fit their requirements.”
- Tons of workflow software in the enterprise space revolutionizing how you recruit, form teams, and assign work to others.
No. 14: Online recruiting.
Prediction: “People will find employment opportunities online by declaring their interest, needs, and specialized skills.”
- LinkedIn allows users to upload résumés and find jobs based on interests and needs.
No. 15: Business community software.
“Companies will bid on jobs, be it a construction project, a movie production, or an advertising campaign. This will be efficient for outsourcing work, looking for new clients, and being a go-to provider for the said service.”
- Users can reach out and start conversations that could lead to bigger projects directly within their apps. Sites like Upwork, enables connection with freelance designers, writers, or engineers.
Bill Gates - what are the next 15 predictions In the next 15 years?
Friday, August 18, 2017
The Bob Pritchard Corner
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common cancer among young children, accounting for a quarter of all cancer cases in kids, and it has no cure. For about 85% to 90% of children, the leukemia can, however, be effectively treated through chemotherapy.
If it is not eliminated and comes back, it can often be fatal. Rounds of chemotherapy can buy patients time, but as the disease progresses, the periods of remission can become shorter and shorter. The patient could receive a bone-marrow transplant, but only about half of those procedures are successful, and there is a chance that they could reject the donor cells. If that happens, chances of surviving are very small.
There is now a radical new option, using gene therapy to train a patient's immune system to recognize and destroy their cancer in the same way it dispatches bacteria and viruses. The strategy is the latest development in immunotherapy, a revolutionary approach to cancer treatment that uses a series of precision strikes to disintegrate cancer from within the body itself.
What saves the patient is an infusion of their own immune cells that are genetically modified to destroy the patient’s leukemia. With this therapy, 90% of patients go into remission. Such radical immune-based approaches were launched in 2011 with the success of intravenous drugs that loosen the brakes on the immune system so it can see cancer cells and destroy them with the same vigor with which they attack bacteria and viruses. Now, with the genetically engineered immune cells known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, doctors are crippling cancer in more precise and targeted ways than surgery, chemotherapy and radiation ever could. While the first cancer immunotherapies were broadly aimed at any cancer, experts are now repurposing the immune system into a personalized precision treatment that can not only recognize but also eliminate the cancer cells unique to each individual patient.
What makes immune-based therapies like CAR T cell therapy so promising--and so powerful--is that they are a living drug churned out by the patients themselves. The treatment isn't a pill or a liquid that has to be taken regularly, but a one-hit wonder that, when given a single time, trains the body to keep on treating, ideally for a lifetime.
This therapy is utterly transformative for this kind of leukemia and also lymphoma. Eager to bring this groundbreaking option to more patients, including those with other types of cancers, an advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously in July to move the therapy beyond the testing phase, during which several hundred people have been able to take advantage of it, to become a standard therapy for children with certain leukemias if all other treatments have failed.
Across the United States, doctors are racing to enroll people with other cancers--breast, prostate, pancreatic, ovarian, sarcoma and brain, including the kind diagnosed in Senator John McCain--in hundreds of trials to see if they will benefit from this novel approach.
NIH National Cancer Institute
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
|“Is AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation”|
In recent news, two of the biggest names in tech have been facing off in a showdown over the perils of artificial intelligence (AI).
In one corner, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk; in the other, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. For years Musk has warned that “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation”, while Zuckerberg says he is “optimistic” about the possibilities AI offers. So who is right about the perils of AI?
It’s an issue worth pondering. AI is already an integral part of our everyday lives. It’s giving us information and helping us with our daily tasks on our phones and computers, in the form of Apple’s Siri and Android’s Cortana; it’s translating languages on Google Translate; and it’s now officially better at the complex game Go than everyone else on the planet. And it’s only going to become more ubiquitous. AI is, for example, an essential component of autonomous cars, which are set to take over our roads in the near future.
But while these are positive examples of AI enhancing our lives, there are also examples of AI that make one pause, such as when Microsoft’s AI chatbot, Tay, resorted to spouting racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic slurs after only 24 hours of interacting with humans on Twitter.
In response to one of Tay’s tweets, Musk replied, “Will be interesting to see what the mean time to Hitler is for these bots. Only took Microsoft’s Tay a day.”
So the question is: could AI eventually take over the world?
Elon Musk on AI
According to Musk, people just don’t appreciate how quickly AI technology is currently developing.
At the International Space Station (ISS) R&D conference in Washington DC on 19 July, Musk said this during a Q&A session: “I think it is difficult to appreciate just how far artificial intelligence has advanced and how fast it is advancing because we have a double exponential at work: we have exponential increase in hardware capability, and we have an exponential increase in software talent that is going into AI. So when you have a double exponential, it’s very difficult to predict. Real predictions are almost always going to be too conservative.”
His fear is not robots rising up and taking over the world; what is more likely, he thinks, is in fact much more sinister.
In an interview with CNN, Musk said: “It would be fairly obvious if you saw a robot walking around talking and behaving like a person … What’s not obvious is a huge server bank in a dark vault somewhere with intelligence that’s potential vastly greater than what a human mind can do. I mean, it’s eyes and ears would be everywhere, [in] every camera, every microphone, every device that’s network accessible. That’s really what AI means.”
He went on to say: “If we’re not careful about the advent of AI, it’s possible that there could be what’s called a ‘bad utility function’ … Humanity’s position on this planet is dependent on its intelligence, so if our intelligence is exceeded, it’s unlikely we will remain in charge of the planet.”
Mark Zuckerberg on AI
Zuckerberg’s take on the matter is decidedly sunnier.
In a Facebook Live broadcast on 20 July, he said: “If you’re arguing against AI, then you’re arguing against safer cars that aren’t going to have accidents. And you’re arguing against being able to better diagnose people when they’re sick. I just don’t see how, in good conscience, some people can do that. I’m just much more optimistic on this, in general, than probably a lot of folks are.”
It’s no secret that Facebook are investing heavily in AI, and that Zuckerberg has ambitions for Facebook that are reliant on the technology. In December 2016 last year, Zuckerberg previewed an AI assistant he had built for his home. In the video, the assistant, Jarvis, voiced by none other than Morgan Freeman, shot t-shirts out of a cannon, spoke Mandarin with Zuckerberg’s daughter, and use facial recognition software to see that Zuckerberg’s parents were at the door.
It was also reported just this week that Facebook’s translations, of which it makes about 4.5 billion a day, are now completely powered by AI. By using neural networks that use a machine-learning component known as a long short-term memory (LTSM) network, the new system can now, according to a company blog post, “account for context, slang, typos, abbreviations and intent simultaneously”.
And just last week, Facebook were slammed in the press for an AI experiment involving chatbots that had gone slightly awry. Built by Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research, the bots were designed to learn how to barter and trade by mimicking humans. But when the bots were paired against each other, they began to diverge from English into what seemed to be their own language. The headlines were sensationalist; one article read, “Facebook engineers panic, pull plug on AI after bots develop their own language”.
One of the researchers, Dhruv Batra, spoke out about the reporting, saying, “While the idea of AI agents inventing their own language may sound alarming/unexpected to people outside the field, it is a well-established sub-field of AI … Simply put, agents in environments attempting to solve a task will often find unintuitive ways to maximise reward. Analysing the reward function and changing the parameters of an experiment is NOT the same as ‘unplugging’ or ‘shutting down AI’. If that were the case, every AI researcher has been ‘shutting down AI’ every time they kill a job on a machine.”
In that same Facebook Live broadcast, Zuckerberg said, “I think that people who are naysayers and kind of try to drum up these doomsday scenarios – I just, I don't understand it. I think it's really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”
To which Musk retorted: “I've talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.”
Perhaps robots are coming to take our jobs, perhaps not, writes Fairfax's Caitlin Fitzsimmons (Find her on Facebook )
Either way, it's worth remembering that some technology is about connecting humans with humans.
And the key to doing that is to build trust with each other!
A study of 18,289 members of Blah Blah Car, a ride sharing platform, across 11 countries , co-authored by assistant professor Mareike Möhlmann at Warwick University, professor Arun Sundararajan at New York University,
has found that 88 per cent of humans highly trusted a member with a full digital profile vs a neighbour or a colleague!
This was nearly the same level of trust in family members (94 per cent) or friends (92 per cent).
Yet only 58 per cent of respondents said they would highly trust a colleague and 42 per cent, a neighbour.
It turns out that we are far more likely to trust a stranger than their own colleagues or neighbours.
What has created this trust on sharing platforms and the gig economy - and what can business learn from it?
It seems that there are two main reasons -
- the strangers build a digital profile to let people know who they are, and this can be linked to other digital profiles.
- Second, a lot of it is driven by trust in the platform itself. (Creating a rating system and form if insurance)
"sharing your passion with the world".
Another step replacing the old economy with the gig economy - and creating the "future of work" - making workers "entrepreneurs" - which may be giving us an idea of what the future of work will look like. ( see Thomas Friedman from The New York about Airbnb's next step)
Airbnb started by enabling people to rent their home or a room in their home to strangers. Now the site is branching out to let members host "experiences".
For $75 you can make brown soda bread and Irish stew at Eimhear's house in Dublin, or for $150 go kayaking on Sydney Harbour with Matt from Glebe. Both "hosts" have five stars.
Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky told Friedman he believed the experiences business had grown tenfold this year and could become even bigger than home sharing.
He's 35, and his goal is to create 100 million new entrepreneurs by the time he retires.
"The biggest asset in people's lives is not their home, but their time and potential — and we can unlock that," Chesky says.
Friday, August 4, 2017
The Bob Pritchard Snippet
According to Business Insider, both Microsoft and Google envision a not-so-distant future in which donning smart headgear to repair an elevator or assemble a tractor motor is the norm. Over the past several days, both tech giants have revealed they're each taking concrete and compelling steps to make that happen.
Microsoft just revealed that it's working on a new artificial intelligence chip to power its second-generation HoloLens headset. The coprocessor's chief job will be implementing deep neural networks — a machine learning technique with a structure that loosely resembles the human brain — into the HoloLens' core processing unit. A dedicated A.I. chip is necessary to enable it to be able to comprehend large amounts of complex data gathered by its depth and camera sensors without latency. Microsoft’s HoloLens headset is likely to arrive in 2019.
The announcement comes days after Google divulged new information about its plans for the next iteration of Google Glass . It is the first time they have spoken about the new version of Glass in development for the workplace, which it calls Google Glass Enterprise Edition. The refreshed model will offer faster, more reliable Wi-Fi connectivity, improved security, a faster processor, a sharper camera and longer battery compared to its predecessor.
Taken together, the announcements confirm that Google and Microsoft view technologies like smart headgear and augmented reality as strategically vital, particularly in the workplace. Google's first stab at consumer-side smart goggles came in 2012 with its initial version of Google Glass, ultimately a flop.
Both Google and Microsoft have apparently learned from Glass's mistakes, focusing on applications in commercial scenarios. Google has tested Glass Enterprise Edition in some 50 businesses over the past two years, including companies like DHL, Sutter Health and Volkswagen.
While the basic concepts behind HoloLens and Google Glass overlap, in execution they couldn't be less alike. Google Glass is meant to be physically insubstantial like a pair of literal glasses, only noticeable when someone needs it for a specific task. It displays a small virtual screen above the wearer's eye, which can be glanced at without disrupting other visual tasks. The new version is able to clip onto existing eyeglasses rendering the technology more accessible for those who need prescription glasses or protective eyewear in their jobs. It must remain in wireless range of a smartphone to work properly.
HoloLens, is much more immersive, since it can display larger graphics that fall within the wearer's field of view. And unlike Glass, it's also a functionally holistic device, unconstrained by reliance on smartphone or virtual-reality-style computer tethers to operate. All of HoloLens's necessary computing components are baked into the headset. Note that none of these workplace-angled changes mean consumer-oriented versions of these headsets won't follow at some point.
When you put Glass or HoloLens on an engineer or mechanic, being able to see critical information at a glance, like how much torque should be applied to a wrench, or whether a new piece of equipment will fit in a medical facility's operating room, both upends and streamlines workflow. The question then becomes whether HoloLens or Glass will eventually dominate the workplace.
China has a population of a billion people. One billion. That means even if you’re a one in a million, there are still a thousand others exactly like you
Don't forget to listen into my radio show on VoiceAmerica Business at 5pm PSTevery Tuesday. Listen to any of my previous shows on VoiceAmerica archives at any time you choose. I interview some of the top people in business every week
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
The Bob Pritchard Snippet
Urban planners and policy makers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions.
Oslo announced a ban on all cars from its city by 2019, six years before Norway's country-wide ban would go into effect. Now, the country wants to take the initiative a step further. Norway is proposing a bill banning the sale of gas-powered cars by 2025, investing heavily in public transport and replacing 35 miles of roads with bike lanes.
Madrid is banning cars from its city center by 2020, with urban planners redesigning 24 of the city's busiest streets for walking rather than driving. The plan is to reduce daily car usage from 30% to around 20%. It will be expensive to park the most polluting cars.
In Chengdu, China, the new city layout makes it easier to walk than drive, with streets designed so that people can walk anywhere in 15 minutes. While Chengdu won't completely ban cars, only half the roads will allow vehicles.
Hamburg plans to make walking and biking its dominant mode of transport. Hamburg is reducing the number of cars by only allowing pedestrians and bikers to enter certain areas. The project calls for "green network," of connected spaces that people can access without cars. The network is planned to cover 40% of Hamburg and will include parks, playgrounds and sports fields.
Over half of Copenhagen's population bikes to work every day, thanks to the city's effort to introduce pedestrian-only zones starting in the 1960s. The Danish capital now boasts more than 200 miles of bike lanes and has one of the lowest percentages of car ownership in Europe.
The latest goal is to build a superhighway for bikes that will stretch to surrounding suburbs. The 28 planned routes will be completed by the end of 2018. The city has also pledged to become completely carbon-neutral by 2025.
When Paris banned cars with even-numbered plates for a day in 2014, pollution dropped by 30%. Now, the city wants to discourage cars from driving in the city center at all.
Since last year, all drivers with cars made before 1997 are not permitted to drive in the city center on weekdays. Paris plans to double its bike lanes and limit select streets to electric cars. The city also curbs emissions through car-free Sundays rule last year.
London will ban diesel cars by 2020. Currently, the city discourages the use of diesel engines in some areas of the city by charging a fee of $12.50 per day for diesel cars.
Brussels, features the largest car-free area in Europe. Most streets that surround Brussels' city square, stock exchange, and Rue Neuve (a major shopping street) have always been pedestrian-only. The roads make up the second largest car-free zone in Europe, behind Copenhagen. For one day in September, all cars are banned from the entire city center.
It is proposed to turn a popular four-lane boulevard into a pedestrian-only area. Brussels has announced that diesel cars will be banned starting in 2018.
Mexico City plans to ban about two million cars from the city center by prohibiting a portion of cars from the city center two days every work week and two Saturdays per month. The policy helps to mitigate the city's high smog levels.
While New York City isn't planning a car ban anytime soon, it is increasing the number of pedestrian areas, along with bike share, subway, and bus options.
Beginning this week, strips of popular areas like Times Square, Herald Square, and Madison Square Park are permanently pedestrian-only. On three Saturdays, hundreds of thousands of people will take advantage of Summer Streets, an annual event that prohibits cars and opens major roads for pedestrians.
Cities are coming to the realization that they need to swing the pendulum
Four in five SMEs believe new technologies will impact their business within the next ten years
One in four SMEs (76%) have invested in technology over the last 12 months to boost their innovative capacity
Other insights included
SMEs can derive huge value just by making small changes.that are not major costs
- Upskilling you and your team through continuos education - this can be done with government and industry support (see www.bbg.business and www.paulgreenberg.com for 2 examples on what you can do)
- Social Media Presence - Only 22% of businesses surveyed have a social media presence. Those using it saw an increase in enquiries and, in 54% of cases, greater interaction with customers. The survey iindicated that half of the businesses on social media said it made doing business easier.
- Improved connectivity and collaboration with clients should be technology that SME's will give most impact to their business into the future,
- Move to cloud software is a simple innovation -. “businesses are embracing online accounting solutions over old, desktop software which can often be onerous to use.
How will Amazon , Artificial Intelligence and technology effect your business ?
What are you going to do about it?
Are you ready to change and learn?