Government 2.0

Government 2.0

Fake news, profiling & converting voters using social media, rigged elections, media cartels owned by those in power (or that would lie to get the power), demagogy… the list can go on and on. Democracy today means that those that lie best or have plenty of money, get to steer our society. Actually, it has been so since a long, long time ago. But we now have the opportunity to set democracy free, if we make the right use of the technology at our disposal.

The Internet has seen better times. It was and still is a gateway to knowledge. The problem is that the information found on the Internet is often far from accurate; sometimes it’s horrendously false. From a highway to enlightenment, it has become a stormy ocean where one’s mind can be forever lost.

Fortunately, the Internet as a platform is still extremely powerful. We know it has some problems, but people all around the world are working to improve things. Along with newly emerging technologies, the Internet can still be our ladder towards the next stage of social evolution.

Anything as a Service

Anything as a Service – A Cure for Consumerism

We live in the age of hyper-consumerism. Companies are desperate to convert as much raw material as possible into anything that can be purchased. The machine has been perfected to the point where even leftover byproducts from any production cycle can be fed back into another production line to manufacture something somebody would buy. Sometimes this includes using unhealthy materials, both for us and for the environment. But it doesn’t matter as long as it turns a profit. The machine has to keep producing something, anything, just please, buy it. This is wrecking our ecosystem and is woefully unsustainable.

Awareness regarding the bleak future we might be creating for ourselves after drowning our planet in toxic trash is increasing. However, most people still buy products built to last a very short time because there are no alternatives. And even when certain products could last longer, companies have gotten very good at fooling their followers that fashion doesn’t apply only to clothes, but to everything else as well. Now-a-days, many people willingly throw away perfectly operational devices just to jump on the latest model.

But a new economic model is becoming increasingly popular – the monthly payment for a certain service, sometimes metered based on how much a person has used the service. At the moment, this is particularly successful in the digital space (media streaming, software, data and bandwidth, games). Let’s see what a generalized version of this system could mean to our economy and ecosystem in the coming decades. I call it “anything as a service”. The term is already used for software, but in this case, it is truly anything.

Machine Learning and Our Future

Machine Learning and Our Future

Machine Learning is all the rage these days. Be it computer vision, speech recognition, pattern matching or high-speed decisional capabilities, this century is the century of software. Like all technological revolutions, there’s potential for miracles and catastrophes.

Large corporations have started to realize that Machine Learning is a way to prevent smaller competitors from threatening them. This is because small companies can’t (yet) afford the huge infrastructure and Big Data investments that ML requires. It’s not surprising then that Microsoft, Google, FaceBook and others have open-sourced ML platforms, trying to attract developers and smaller companies to their ecosystems.

This post will touch on but a few of the changes we can expect in the coming decades thanks to the upcoming advances in Machine Learning. Looking at our history, we can see how the industrial revolution has supercharged our progress as a species. I believe that the Machine Learning revolution will make the industrial revolution seem like a snail in slow motion. This is both hopeful and scary.

Robots On Our Streets

Robots on Our Streets (and Everywhere Else)

The development of self-driving vehicles is progressing at a steady pace. It’s only a matter of time before seeing a human drive a vehicle on public roads will be akin to seeing a horse and carriage on a motorway. Even if introduced globally right now while still in development, self-driving technology would drastically reduce fatalities.

Unfortunately, today’s society would only accept this technology if it is perfect. That’s because it is “understandable” that crazed primates may kill other beings because of recklessness and inattention, but it certainly won’t be tolerable for a computer to make a mistake, even if it would happen a thousand times less often – and most likely due to freak coincidences rather than the machine actually making a mistake. But society will evolve. Self-driving is here to stay and like it or not, primates will soon be relegated to driving on the race track or some other place where the potential of threatening life is lower.

And while self-driving is currently one of the most debated topics, we should really be talking about self-piloting, which is a more generic term. It covers more of what will actually happen: all machinery will soon be able to pilot itself. So how would worldwide fleet of interconnected self-piloting machinery change life on Earth?

Kitchen 3.0

Kitchen 3.0

The age of interconnected devices and gadgets is slowly dawning. This category of communications-capable electronics has been labeled “the Internet of Things” – somewhat of a misnomer now-a-days when it is obvious that the security threat of any machine reachable from the Internet is enormous. Perhaps quantum cryptography will one day address this issue. Until then, home owners will probably be safer by using offline “smart home controllers” with manually-upgradeable firmware in what will be an Intranet of Things.

Irrespective of the name, this new wave of electronics is still barely in its infancy. Any company worth its salt has to prepare for how business will change in the coming decades. And there’s nothing more disruptive than what is basically the rise of the first mainstream generation of highly task-optimized robots. Indeed, a smart refrigerator is basically a robot focused on a certain task.

While the first robots accessible to everybody will still function very much like our current appliances, their smarts will open up a myriad opportunities for ground-breaking innovation.

Productivity in the Age of Mixed Reality

Productivity in the Age of Mixed Reality

In the past few years we’ve witnessed the launch of more than a dozen HMDs (Head Mounted Displays). Several of them are already available in large numbers. HMDs focused on entertainment (Oculus, Vive) rely on taking over visual perception completely via Virtual Reality. HMDs focused on productivity (HoloLens) mix real life with computer generated imagery drawn upon a transparent display. There are other combinations and means of mixing visual information, so all of this technology has recently been put under the umbrella term Mixed Reality.

Here are some of the things that may be accomplished in the future (productivity-wise) using Mixed Reality