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Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Consultant obsolescence – coming soon!

December 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Some cheer just in time for the holidays. Apparently all humans are going to be obsolete in ~125 years according a new study by academics as explained in the “Economist’s World in 2018“. The profession that apparently will survive the longest is (maybe not surprisingly) people doing AI research.

economist death march

Consultants (although they not called out), probably fall somewhere between a retail salesperson and an best selling author; so maybe they have about 20 years to go. That’s still probably 20 years too long per most of the the consultants’ clients.

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Categories: technology, trends Tags: ,

Shattering the ML prediction hysteria

November 26, 2017 Leave a comment

MLThere’s a not a single day that goes by without an article or ten about how ML (machine learning) is going to take over the world. (e.g. a quick search on Google today offers predictions about it transforming customer service, transforming out cities etc.).

So it was refreshing to read an article in MIT’s Tech Review (“The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions”) about what’s real in ML vs. what’s hype and an over extrapolation. In essence, the author (who just happens to be the founder of iRobot among other accomplishments) offers a few reasons:

  • We overestimate tech in the short run and overestimate in the long run (think GPS)
  • All tech has limits. We are not taking that into account yet for ML
  • ML today is pretty narrow in what it can do
  • We’re stretching (too far) the concept of learning
  • The speed of deployment is going to be limited by what tech already exists (e.g. PLCs are being used in Tesla’s ultra modern factory in Freemont)

Definitely worth a read.

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Origins of PowerPoint

November 8, 2017 Leave a comment

For those consultants (and other corporate monkeys) that have the unfortunate need to spend their waking hours in PowerPoint, I thought this article from IEEE on the history of the software may be interesting. Apparently one of the first decks was a fictional pitch from Columbus to the Queen of Spain.

first powerpoint

What surprised me was how little things have actually changed. Sure there are more bells and whistles, but the essentials are pretty much the same as they were 30 years ago. Maybe the evolution to long form word documents that Amazon famously imposed is way overdue.

Future of warehouses?

November 2, 2017 Leave a comment

It seems like there’s not a week (or is it day?) that goes by without much hand wringing about how machines are going to take over humans. The New Yorker led with this this week on its cover. Buried in the article on this topic was a eye opening (for me) piece on the future of warehousing, led by companies such as Symbiotic.

warehouse future

What’s different about companies such as these (rather than companies that simply automate pieces of the way warehouses currently work), is that they sell fully automated warehouse systems. A few tidbits that caught my eye:

  • Since the robots don’t need light to operate, the warehouse requires 35% less energy than conventional warehouses.
  • The warehouses can run ~24 hours a day.
  • It costs ~$50M to install, and pays for itself in about 4.5 years
  • Apparently Target, Walmart and Coca Cola are experimenting with this

If you are interested , there’s a longer (but older) article on this from the WSJ.

 

Are telcos next target for Hyperscalers?

October 23, 2017 Leave a comment

The impact of Hyperscalers on the traditional server, storage and networking space is well understood and cause for much hand wringing and consternation. What perhaps is less clear is how deep hyperscalers and big internet companies are willing to go to ensure control and redundancy.

deep integration

Apparently, according to an article in the Economist, a bunch of them (including Facebook, Microsoft and Google) are now laying undersea cables to provide the networking infrastructure that they would normally lease from say BT.

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Awful book on AR/VR

October 21, 2017 Leave a comment

I had high hopes when I picked up a book on AR/VR from Scoble based on a presentation I had see him do at MWC in San Francisco. The presentation was really good – full of energy, interesting insights, good facts. (Unfortunately, I can’t find a link to it online)

ar vr

It’s a shame that the book has none of this. It’s full of hype, devoid of any interesting facts and sorely lacking any semblance of a framing to understand the landscape of players. To be fair, the only thing it does have is a whole set of AR/VR examples / companies. I have no idea why it’s rated so high on Amazon.

Definitely save your time and skip.

Categories: books, technology Tags: ,

Alexa – an under-appreciated platform

September 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Nice article in MIT’s tech review magazine on the rise of Amazon’s Alexa platform. A couple of tidbits to whet your appetite:

  • It was more than 5 years ago when Amazon filed the fundamental patents for this; the device launched in 2014
  • Amazon has about 70% of the all such voice powered AI devices
  • Amazon has about ~1000 jobs for Alexa posted, with about 20% of those for ML engineers
  • There are about 15k “skills”/apps for Alexa today

The main takeaway for me was the fact that now Amazon has access to a boatload of human speech interaction, giving it a potential leg up on Google with it’s historical dominance in text search. Worth a quick read.

Categories: technology, trends Tags: ,