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5 Technology Trends to Watch

5 Technology Trends to Watch | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
The Consumer Electronics Association unveiled its annual look forward to the most promising tech developments of the year.
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Quantum computing will change everything, and sooner than you expect

Quantum computing will change everything, and sooner than you expect | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
Quantum computers can debug millions of lines of code in seconds. They can accurately predict phenomena despite hundreds of variables. And they're coming.

Via John Lasschuit ®™
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John Lasschuit ®™'s curator insight, October 14, 2:38 PM

Time to start digging into it!

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Dubai has its very own official cryptocurrency

Dubai has its very own official cryptocurrency | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

The city of Dubai now has its own cryptocurrency, thanks to a new partnership fostered through the city's Accelerator Initiative. This new cryptocurrency, called emCash, runs on its own blockchain and is designed for various financial transactions.

Future city, future cash

The government of the city of Dubai launched their own blockchain-based cryptocurrency last week. The city’s economy department partnered with one of its subsidiaries called Emcredit Limited and U.K.-based Object Tech Group, Ltd. to create emCash. This new “encrypted digital currency” is a product of partnerships Dubai has cultivated through their Accelerators Initiative and brought under the umbrella of the Dubai Economy Accelerators.

“A digital currency has varied advantages – faster processing, improved delivery time, less complexity and cost, to name a few,” Dubai Economy deputy director general Ali Ibrahim said in a press statement. “It will change the way people live and do business in Dubai, and mark a giant leap for the city in harnessing game-changing innovations to improve ease of business and quality of life.

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Want to write a bestselling novel? Use an algorithm

Want to write a bestselling novel? Use an algorithm | Futurewaves | Scoop.it


Saturday 23 September 2017 07.00 BST
It’s the multimillion pound question that publishers and writers have been pondering for decades: what makes a bestseller? Attempting to write one could certainly pay off – the highest-paid author in the world, JK Rowling, has made $95m (£70m) in the past year, and the 10 highest-paid authors in the world earned more than $310m between them, according to Forbes.

But few authors will see that kind of cash. The average annual income for a UK writer is £12,000, well below the minimum wage for a full-time job, a recent European commission report found. The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society says professional authors have experienced a 29% drop in income in real terms since 2005, with the top 5% earning 42% of the money made by UK writers. And the bottom 50% struggle to generate even 7% of the total income.

The promotional budget for a book is usually related to the advance, with celebrity authors attracting more than their fair share of publishers’ marketing spends, regardless of the quality of their work. And marketing budgets matter: according to the International Publishers Association, UK publishers released 173,000 titles in 2015. That’s more than 19 every hour over a year, and the highest number of new titles per million inhabitants in the world.

Spotting a book that will make money isn’t easy. Even bestselling authors such as James Patterson, Danielle Steel and Stieg Larsson had manuscripts rejected multiple times, while self-publishing sensations like Fifty Shades of Grey took the book industry by surprise.

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The Social Network Doling Out Millions in Ephemeral Money | Backchannel

The Social Network Doling Out Millions in Ephemeral Money | Backchannel | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

Every time you log onto Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to share a photo or post an article, you give up a piece of yourself in exchange for entertainment. This is the way of the modern world: Smart companies build apps and websites that keep our eyeballs engaged, and we reward them with our data and attention, which benefit their bottom line.

Steemit, a nascent social media platform, is trying to change all that by rewarding its users with cold, hard cash in the form of a cryptocurrency. Everything that you do on Steemit—every post, every comment, and every like—translates to a fraction of a digital currency called Steem. Over time, as Steem accumulates, it can be cashed out for normal currency. (Or held, if you think Steem is headed for a bright future.)
The idea for Steemit began with a white paper, which quietly spread among a small community of techies when it was released in March 2016. The exhaustive 44-page overview wasn’t intended for a general audience, but the document contained a powerful message. User-generated content, the authors argued, had created billions of dollars of value for the shareholders of social media companies. Yet while moguls like Mark Zuckerberg got rich, the content creators who fueled networks like Facebook got nothing. Steemit’s creators outlined their intention to challenge that power imbalance by putting a value on contributions: “Steem is the first cryptocurrency that attempts to accurately and transparently reward…[the] individuals who make subjective contributions to its community.”

A minuscule but dedicated audience rallied around Steemit, posting stories and experimenting with the form to discover what posts attracted the most votes and comments. When Steemit released its first payouts that July, three months after launch, things got serious.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are only worth whatever value people ascribe to them, so there was no guarantee that the tokens dropping into Steemit accounts would ever be worth anything. Yet the Steem that rolled out to users translated to more than $1.2 million in American dollars. Overnight, the little-known currency spiked to a $350 million market capitalization—momentarily rocketing it into the rare company of Bitcoin and Ethereum, the world’s highest-valued cryptocurrencies.

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Even the Most Far-Out Visions of the Future Assume Capitalism Will Survive

Even the Most Far-Out Visions of the Future Assume Capitalism Will Survive | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

The philosopher Fredric Jameson once wrote that “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” Indeed, the U.S. political spectrum seems to range from unbridled libertarian dreams and Silicon Valley techno-utopianism at one pole to Nordic-style social democracy at the other. As we fret over the future, we worry about rising sea levels and robotic job-snatchers, but the economic and political supremacy of the capitalist market doesn’t seem to be up for discussion.


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Why Science-Fiction Writers Couldn’t Imagine the Internet

Why Science-Fiction Writers Couldn’t Imagine the Internet | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

Whenever I am speaking at a public event or on the radio, one of the questions I inevitably get is: “What will be the next big discovery?” My answer is always the same: “If I knew, I would be doing it.”

There is a reason for this, and it is the reason I titled my most recent book, which is about the history of modern physics at its most fundamental level, The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far. The “So Far” part is the most important part of the title. Almost every day, we learn more and nature surprises us with something remarkable and unexpected. Indeed, the very word discovery implies the unexpected.

As a child, I expected to be driving in a flying car or vacationing on the moon by now.
What I find most remarkable of all is that the imagination of nature far exceeds that of human imagination. If you had locked a group of theoretical physicists in a room 50 years ago and asked them to predict what we now know about the universe, they would have missed almost all the key discoveries we have made since, from the discovery of dark energy and dark matter to the ability to detect gravitational waves.

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The Seer of AI

The Seer of AI | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

Physicist Max Tegmark has borne witness to the rise of artificial intelligence and insists that we start thinking about what it means for humanity—before machines decide for us.
By Gary Drevitch, published on September 5, 2017 - last reviewed on September 20, 2017

The artificial intelligence revolution is here, and MIT physics professor Max Tegmark believes the implications are vaster than most of us imagine. Tegmark, cofounder and president of the Future of Life Institute, believes that as technology gives us the power to flourish or self-destruct, "We prefer the former." In Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, he lays out both utopian and dystopian visions of a world dominated by AI. His prescription for the day we cease being Earth's most intelligent minds? Humility.

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Scientists remove one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots | KurzweilAI

Scientists remove one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots | KurzweilAI | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

3D-printable, synthetic soft muscle can mimic natural biological systems, lifting 1000 times its own weight
(L) The electrically actuated muscle with thin resistive wire in a rest position; (R) The muscle is expanded using only a low voltage (8V). (credit: Aslan Miriyev/Columbia Engineering)

Researchers at the Columbia Engineering Creative Machines lab have developed a 3D-printable, synthetic soft muscle that can mimic natural biological systems, lifting 1000 times its own weight. The artificial muscle is three times stronger than natural muscle and can push, pull, bend, twist, and lift weight — no external devices required.

Existing soft-actuator technologies are typically based on bulky pneumatic or hydraulic inflation of elastomer skins that expand when air or liquid is supplied to them, which require external compressors and pressure-regulating equipment.

“We’ve been making great strides toward making robot minds, but robot bodies are still primitive,” said Hod Lipson, PhD, a professor of mechanical engineering. “This is a big piece of the puzzle and, like biology, the new actuator can be shaped and reshaped a thousand ways. We’ve overcome one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots.”

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Dubai has successfully tested the first flying taxi

Dubai has successfully tested the first flying taxi | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
The government of Dubai has released a statement regarding the successful testing of a Volocopter autonomous flying taxi drone.
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Deus ex machina: former Google engineer is developing an AI god

Deus ex machina: former Google engineer is developing an AI god | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

Way of the Future, a religious group founded by Anthony Levandowski, wants to create a deity based on artificial intelligence for the betterment of society
Are you there God? It’s me, robot. Photograph: Ociacia/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Intranet service? Check. Autonomous motorcycle? Check. Driverless car technology? Check. Obviously the next logical project for a successful Silicon Valley engineer is to set up an AI-worshipping religious organization.

Anthony Levandowski, who is at the center of a legal battle between Uber and Google’s Waymo, has established a nonprofit religious corporation called Way of the Future, according to state filings first uncovered by Wired’s Backchannel. Way of the Future’s startling mission: “To develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”

Levandowski was co-founder of autonomous trucking company Otto, which Uber bought in 2016. He was fired from Uber in May amid allegations that he had stolen trade secrets from Google to develop Otto’s self-driving technology. He must be grateful for this religious fall-back project, first registered in 2015.

The Way of the Future team did not respond to requests for more information about their proposed benevolent AI overlord, but history tells us that new technologies and scientific discoveries have continually shaped religion, killing old gods and giving birth to new ones.

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How to Survive Wall Street's Robot Revolution

How to Survive Wall Street's Robot Revolution | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
Wall Street’s robot revolution has begun. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is rolling out a program called LOXM that executes equities trades so well, it’s replacing the humans who used to do that. Goldman Sachs is in the midst of automating the initial public offering process. Innovations in financial technology -- fintech -- are creating competition in fields long dominated by the institutions. Vikram Pandit, who ran Citigroup Inc. during the financial crisis, says technological advances could make 30 percent of banking jobs disappear in five years. David Siegel, co-founder of quant hedge fund Two Sigma, is worried that machines will soon make swaths of the workforce obsolete. But all hope is not lost.
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Automatica – Robots that play drums, guitar and turntables and destroy a warehouse

Humans are constantly fascinated by music-playing robots. There is something profoundly compelling about watching a mechanical being imitate the art and skill of playing a musical instrument. The latest crazy robot musical symphony comes in Automatica – a project that enlists several industrial robots to form a giant mechanical orchestra, with amazing and destructive results.
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How Quantum Computers Will Revolutionize Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning And Big Data

How Quantum Computers Will Revolutionize Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning And Big Data | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
Quantum computers promise to give us computing power that is millions or even billion times faster than the computers in use today. This will transform the fields of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, which today often operate at the very limits of computing capabilities.
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This AI robot will strengthen your ping-pong skills and your relationship with your daughter

This AI robot will strengthen your ping-pong skills and your relationship with your daughter | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
With all the recent talk of AI posing existential risks to humanity and our privacy, Japanese company Omron is taking a softer, more innocuous approach. Specifically, with its table tennis robot Forpheus, which strives to pursue “harmony of humans and machines” by patiently teaching us how to play ping-pong.

Although ping-pong ball-pitching machines like TrainerBot exist, Forpheus can actually live up to the feeling of playing against a real opponent. First introduced in 2014, the fourth generation of Forpheus (easier to remember than “Future Omron Robotics technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized aUtomation with Sinic theoretics”) was recently displayed at the CEATEC trade show last week. The updated machine adds a companion arm that can serve up balls in the air, and better predict smashes through improved AI.

A COMBINATION OF “FOR” AND “ORPHEUS,” A BARD IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY SYMBOLIZING CREATIVITY
Forpheus uses a robotic arm that is controlled by the AI through a 5-axis motor system to swing the paddle. The motion controller, or the “brain,” tells the machine how to hit the ball, advising it on timing and direction within a 1,000th of a second.
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The Quantum Internet is just a decade away. Here's what you need to know

The Quantum Internet is just a decade away. Here's what you need to know | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

As China moves closer to building a working quantum communications network, the possibility of a quantum internet becomes more and more real. But what does having a quantum internet mean?

The next level

The word “quantum” sounds so advanced and complex that people tend to get hyped up about anything attached to it. While not every quantum breakthrough elicits a positive response, in the case of a so-called quantum internet, people have a reason to be excited.

In the simplest of terms, a quantum internet would be one that uses quantum signals instead of radio waves to send information. But let’s explain that a bit further.

The internet as we know it uses radio frequencies to connect various computers through a global web in which electronic signals are sent back and forth. In a quantum internet, signals would be sent through a quantum network using entangled quantum particles.

Following what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance,” entangled particles exist in a special state that allows information carried in one to be instantaneously reflected in another — a sort of quantum teleportation.

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Archaeology and blockchain: a social science data revolution?

Archaeology and blockchain: a social science data revolution? | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
This month the world’s first “archaeology coin” launched to fanfare from a small community; however, it might be part of a coming social science data revolution. Named Kapu, the digital currency is similar to Bitcoin, but specifically designed for archaeology. The technology underlying Kapu and Bitcoin is called blockchain and it may change data storage and cultural heritage protection. While the public is unaccustomed with blockchain, there is good reason to believe we may be witnessing the first step in what will become a standard technology over the next decade.

Everyone from financial markets and politicians to libertarians and doomsday savers are taking an interested in blockchain. Many of these individuals are not focused on the currencies, but the use of blockchain as a means to store and share data. It can create a record of assets that cannot be tampered with and it is being tested for assets such as homes and cars, organic food and sustainable fisheries, and, of course, artifacts.
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The Coming Creativity Explosion Belongs to the Machines

The Coming Creativity Explosion Belongs to the Machines | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
Does creativity make human intelligence special?

It may appear so at first glance. Though machines can calculate, analyze, and even perceive, creativity may seem far out of reach. Perhaps this is because we find it mysterious, even in ourselves. How can the output of a machine be anything more than that which is determined by its programmers?

Increasingly, however, artificial intelligence is moving into creativity’s hallowed domain, from art to industry. And though much is already possible, the future is sure to bring ever more creative machines.

What Is Machine Creativity?

Robotic art is just one example of machine creativity, a rapidly growing sub-field that sits somewhere between the study of artificial intelligence and human psychology.

The winning paintings from the 2017 Robot Art Competition are strikingly reminiscent of those showcased each spring at university exhibitions for graduating art students. Like the works produced by skilled artists, the compositions dreamed up by the competition’s robotic painters are aesthetically ambitious. One robot-made painting features a man’s bearded face gazing intently out from the canvas, his eyes locking with the viewer’s. Another abstract painting, “inspired” by data from EEG signals, visually depicts the human emotion of misery with jagged, gloomy stripes of black and purple.

More broadly, a creative machine is software (sometimes encased in a robotic body) that synthesizes inputs to generate new and valuable ideas, solutions to complex scientific problems, or original works of art. In a process similar to that followed by a human artist or scientist, a creative machine begins its work by framing a problem. Next, its software specifies the requirements the solution should have before generating “answers” in the form of original designs, patterns, or some other form of outpu
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To Forecast the Future, We Need to Imagine the Most Pressing Threats

To Forecast the Future, We Need to Imagine the Most Pressing Threats | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

Harriet Downs had it all: a great job, a loving husband, and two beautiful children. She was an up-and-coming programmer at Goldman Sachs for the company’s A.I. trading bots, on the fast track to management. She; her husband, Steve; and the kids had just moved into a beautiful new house in Sevenoaks. Life was good.

Then one day, on the train into London, a man with the lion tattoo on his neck stopped her and showed her a video. The video. She recognized the people on the screen. One of them was her. She remembered the terrible mistake she had made that night. Too much to drink. Too much stress at work. It was never going to happen again. But somehow the man had gotten the video, knew everything about her life, her habits, her family, her work. And he wanted something. It was just a simple piece of code that needed to be inserted into the bots at work. No one would know or understand why the A.I. was selling millions of shares all at once. Yes, the markets would collapse. But just for a split second—long enough for the man’s “friends” to make billions by shorting the stocks. Standing on the train, Harriet had a decision to make. If she said no, she would have no family, no job—nothing.

There is, of course, no Harriet Downs. But these sorts of near-future scenarios—rich with detail and fully drawn characters—can be a powerful tool that might help us prepare for uncertain tomorrows.

The device is called a science-fiction prototype, one of a range of tools used in threatcasting—a conceptual process used to envision and plan for risks 10 years in the future. By imagining future narratives in which organized criminals, terrorist networks, or state-sponsored adversaries could deploy technology, people and organizations can better plan for how to counter the risks they pose.

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When Computer Predictions End Up Shaping the Future—in Ways Big and Small

When Computer Predictions End Up Shaping the Future—in Ways Big and Small | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

Can computers predict the future? We desperately want them to, if you count the sheer tonnage of science-fiction tales we’ve consumed over the decades featuring all-knowing techno-oracles using their massive calculating power to work out every detail in the same way IBM’s Deep Blue games out a chess match. The magnificent Minds modeling the behavior of entire civilizations while calculating hyperspace jumps in Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels. C-3PO rattling off the odds of survival to Han Solo in Star Wars.

For now, however, silicon seers aren’t prophesizing the distant future like A.I. gods. Instead, they’re creeping into the near future, gradually extending the reach of what computer engineers variously call foresight, anticipation, and prediction. Autonomous cars slam on the brakes seconds before an accident occurs. Stock-trading algorithms foresee market fluctuations crucial milliseconds in advance

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How algorithms are transforming artistic creativity – Ed Finn | Aeon Essays

How algorithms are transforming artistic creativity – Ed Finn | Aeon Essays | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
When IBM’s Deep Blue chess computer defeated the world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, humanity let out a collective sigh, recognising the loss of an essential human territory to the onslaught of thinking machines. Chess, that inscrutably challenging game, with more possible game states than there are atoms in the Universe, was no longer a canvas for individual human achievement. Newsweek called it ‘The Brain’s Last Stand’.

Why was the loss so upsetting to so many? Not because chess is complicated, per se – calculating differential equations is complicated, and we are happy to cede the work to computers – but because chess is creative. We talk about the personality, the aesthetics of chess greats such as Kasparov and Bobby Fischer, seeing a ‘style of play’ in the manipulation of pieces on a grid. Chess was a foil, a plane of endeavour, for storytellers as diverse as Vladimir Nabokov and Satyajit Ray, and we celebrate its grandmasters as remarkable synthesisers of logic and creativity. It was particularly galling, then, for Kasparov to lose to a machine based not on its creativity but its efficiency at analysing billions of possible moves. Deep Blue wasn’t really intelligent at all, but it was very good at avoiding mistakes in chess. One might argue that its victory not only knocked humanity down a peg but demonstrated that chess itself is not, or does not have to be, the aesthetic space we imagined it.
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Researchers Have Developed Microchips That Behave Like Brain Cells

Researchers Have Developed Microchips That Behave Like Brain Cells | Futurewaves | Scoop.it

The human brain is used as a comparison for how computer's function. But, honestly, computers are nothing like human brains. Not yet, at least.

That could change as researchers have developed computing technology that uses light to mimic the functionality of a nerve's synapse, opening the way for hardware that combines the speed of modern processors with the efficiency of brainpower.

Brains and computers are both systems that can model, manipulate, and store information. From there, they don't tend to have all that much in common.

While processors in computers combine electrical impulses with tiny on-off switches to perform functions, neurons use chemical tides to distribute impulses across multiple channels called synapses.

The difference is significant as far as memory and power consumption go – no hardware can come close to the efficiency and storage capabilities of a human brain.

Not that our grey matter is an all-star performer; those waves of electrolytes and neurotransmitters can't beat the speed of electrons zipping through logic gates.

A team of researchers from Oxford, Münster and Exeter Universities has nailed what it sees as a "holy grail" of computing, creating a photonic integrated circuit that acts like a synapse.

"The development of computers that work more like the human brain has been a holy grail of scientists for decades," says senior researcher Harish Bhaskaran from the University of Oxford.

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Look out, Wall Street — the robot revolution has begun

Look out, Wall Street — the robot revolution has begun | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
The job loss from AI automation could be up to 30%, but we could also see up to up to 27,000 new data and technology jobs because of the new tech.
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Rise of the racist robots – how AI is learning all our worst impulses

Rise of the racist robots – how AI is learning all our worst impulses | Futurewaves | Scoop.it


Stephen Buranyi
Tuesday 8 August 2017 07.00 BST Last modified on Friday 15 September 2017 12.19 BST

In May last year, a stunning report claimed that a computer program used by a US court for risk assessment was biased against black prisoners. The program, Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (Compas), was much more prone to mistakenly label black defendants as likely to reoffend – wrongly flagging them at almost twice the rate as white people (45% to 24%), according to the investigative journalism organisation ProPublica.

Compas and programs similar to it were in use in hundreds of courts across the US, potentially informing the decisions of judges and other officials. The message seemed clear: the US justice system, reviled for its racial bias, had turned to technology for help, only to find that the algorithms had a racial bias too.

How could this have happened? The private company that supplies the software, Northpointe, disputed the conclusions of the report, but declined to reveal the inner workings of the program, which it considers commercially sensitive. The accusation gave frightening substance to a worry that has been brewing among activists and computer scientists for years and which the tech giants Google and Microsoft have recently taken steps to investigate: that as our computational tools have become more advanced, they have become more opaque. The data they rely on – arrest records, postcodes, social affiliations, income – can reflect, and further ingrain, human prejudice.

The promise of machine learning and other programs that work with big data (often under the umbrella term “artificial intelligence” or AI) was that the more information we feed these sophisticated computer algorithms, the better they perform.

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Everything will be a Tech Product Soon

Everything will be a Tech Product Soon | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
“Internet of Things” is no longer just a buzzword companies add in their briefings to accentuate their launch. It has finally begun to impact the present rather than betting on the future. It has attained a momentum which has been growing exponentially and is being constantly stretched to products which weren’t even on the technological radar a few quarters ago. Despite what you might believe, the connected age is truly upon us, and we are closer than ever to a world where everything will be a tech product.

Okay, hear me out before dismissing the theory altogether. This probably won’t be true for another five years for everyone, but as I look around my room, I realize that most of the products are already being fundamentally reformed to embed a chip. IDC estimates a total of 14.8 billion connected devices at the time of writing of this article, and it is expected to reach a whopping 36.1 billion (growing at a rate of 19.4%) over the next four years.

Parv Sharma from Counterpoint adds, “In the modern tech world almost every product be it from household to an enterprise level is now connected. Internet of things (IoT) is the enabler for a modern connected world and thus is bringing “Everything is a tech product” statement closer to reality. IoT is and will be the biggest technological revolution, IoT promises an ecosystem where devices used in day to day activities will not only be connected but sharing, analyzing and implementing actions on their own.”
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China’s blueprint to crush the US robotics industry

China’s blueprint to crush the US robotics industry | Futurewaves | Scoop.it
About four years ago Jeff Burnstein attended his first China International Robotics Show, the annual Shanghai-based expo now in its seventh year. At the time, Burnstein, president of the Robotic Industries Association, a Michigan-based trade group, wasn't impressed. He said he walked around the show and thought many of the robots on display looked like copies of what American companies were already doing.

In today's China a different picture is taking shape, courtesy of a blueprint known as the Made in China 2025 plan. Announced in 2015, the initiative is China's massive government-backed push to be a world leader in a number of high-tech industries, such as medical devices, aerospace equipment and robotics — the key piece of the country's desire to automate sectors of its economy: automotive manufacturing, food production, electronics and more.
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