When the operating system moves to the viewfinder, the world will literally change
“Every day two billion people carry around an optical data input device — the smartphone Camera — connected to supercomputers and informed by massive amounts of data that can have nearly limitless context, position, recognition and direction to accomplish tasks.”
An emerging techno-consumerism is taking aim at what makes us human: love, happiness, politics, the search for meaning and more. It amounts to the beginnings of a new kind of modernity.
The founders of a new, AI-fuelled chatbot want it to become your best friend and most perceptive counsellor. An intelligent robot pet promises to assuage chronic loneliness among the elderly. The creators of an immersive virtual world — meant to be populated by thousands or even millions of users — say it will generate new insight into the nature of justice and democracy.
Three seemingly unrelated snapshots of these dizzying, accelerated times. But look closer and they all point towards the beginnings of a profound shift in our relationship to technology. How we use it and relate to it. What we think, ultimately, it is for.
Meta’s Meron Gribetz on the present & future of AR
Five years back, Google Glass’s famous launch video trained us to think of augmented reality as a flat translucence. It would be a bunch of wee announcements slapped on our field of view like Post-Its on ski goggles. The world beheld this daring vision and hit the snooze bar. AR’s next major milestone, Pokémon Go, is also all about simple superimposition (for now, anyway). So I was surprised to find the faithful at last month’s AR in Action conference almost wholly focused on holograms and photorealism. It’s a big step forward — and it’s actually starting to work.
I attended the New York City event to meet up with Meta CEO Meron Gribetz. Meta is racing Microsoft for the early lead in commercial AR. Florida-based Magic Leap is also allegedly in the hunt, having raised over a billion dollars. But having yet to ship a product, they came in for some sharp criticism back in December, followed by bemused head-scratching, which continues to this day.
Subsequent to the conference, I sat down with Meron in Meta’s Silicon Valley HQ to record a long interview — which now is part of an eight-episode audio series I’m producing to accompany my new novel, After On. I set the novel nine seconds into the future, as this let me feature all kinds of present-tense science and technology. I figured this would also let me stuff my book full of 20-page digressions on how cooooool AR, synthetic biology, quantum computing, and other fields are (or rather, will be. You know — nine seconds from now).
Managing people is hard enough, but try doing it remotely.
On a weekly basis I spend the bulk of my hours at work meeting 30 individuals via Zoom for 30 minute check-ins. During that time we cover a myriad of different metrics that rate their performance, but I choose to focus on three things:
1. Connecting — Technology has widened the talent pool, but also breeds disconnection. Instead of being concerned about physical location as a barrier, I try to immerse myself in a session as if we were in the same room. Human connection is a powerful thing no matter where you are. Relationships are formed over time through trust regardless of distance. Working remotely can present challenges, but with empathy, active listening and genuine care the virtual gap can be closed. Think of having a conversation with a friend over coffee. The same principles of building a friendship apply here. Connection is the foundation for any working relationship to thrive.
A central player in a deepening scandal has decided to “take the Fifth” — to remove himself from having to testify in a court proceeding because it could incriminate himself.
No, we’re not talking about the Trump administration’s Russia troubles. This is the latest twist in the legal battle between Google and Otto’s Anthony Levandowski, the self-driving truck company founder whose firm was acquired by Uber last year. Google has accused Levandowski of stealing its autonomous vehicle tech when he decamped from its subsidiary Waymo to Uber, and now Levandowski has taken the advice lawyers so often give and chosen to remain silent (TechCrunch).
By Dan Newman, Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and CEO, Broadsuite Media Group
Just as Niantic, Inc. brought Pokémon to life for users in the real world, thanks to augmented and virtual reality platforms, a business can now bring innovative ideas to life that were previously unattainable. The potential for business applications with AR and VR technologies is limitless, especially as engineers continue to improve design and usability. In all my years as a tech analyst/junkie, I’ve never been more excited about the potential of technology than I am now about new tools that can reinvent the workplace.