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Robotics, Drones, AI and Autonomous Vehicles: The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is Here

Robotics, Drones, AI and Autonomous Vehicles: The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is Here

Oliver Mitchell of Autonomy Ventures, who also blogs at The Robot Rabbi, spoke at our January 26 Investor Breakfast, and the conversation was column-worthy. After all, the robots are coming and that’s very much Oliver’s domain, and their growing presence on the global landscape, along with other technologies, is being referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as Oliver pointed out. In fact, the day before the breakfast, The New York Times ran on piece on How to Make America’s Robots Great Again, pointing out how China is investing heavily in the manufacturing of robots, and the US needs to do so as well.

The big fear is that robots will be – and currently are – taking jobs formerly held by lower skilled labor, and the fear is not unfounded. As Oliver noted, they’re also taking jobs in higher skilled areas, even replacing financial analysts and advisors. So are we looking at some relatively far off dystopian future?

“When I was growing up, computers were only used by large corps or government, and with a few highly skilled operators operating them,” said Oliver. “Not until Windows 95 (was introduced) that computers and personal computers became ubiquitous, and really fulfilled the dreams of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. If I told you a decade ago, or a decade and a half ago, about robots, you’d have thought Robbie the Robot and big industrial robots…Compared to personal computing, we’re standing in 1990 – 5 years before robots become ubiquitous.” Read More...

Just When You Thought It Was Game Over, Oh, Snap!

Just When You Thought It Was Game Over, Oh, Snap!

It wasn’t all that long ago that so-called ephemeral messaging app Snap (nee SnapChat and SnapChat is less private than you think, as we know) hit the zeitgeist, and quickly seized a sizeable share of one-time Facebook users – especially the younger ones. Now, as Business Insider notes, Snap is working on an IPO for March that would value the company at $25 billion, and “…as part of Snap’s evolution, it’s become an increasing threat to Facebook and Instagram in terms of both attracting younger users and chasing ad dollars. A Nielsen study from September 2015 showed that the company was reaching 41% of all 18- to 34-year-olds.

“That number is likely higher now. A recent eMarketer study said that Snapchat will have reached 58.6 million people in the US, or 31.6% of social media users, by the end of 2016.”

And to think that founder Evan Speigel was considered non compos mentis for having turned down a $3B offer from Facebook just a few short years ago, although as we ourselves reported back in 2013, “right or wrong, Snapchat skated to where the puck is going.” Read More...

The Just Because You’re Paranoid Edition, aka, They’re Heeere…

The Just Because You’re Paranoid Edition, aka, They’re Heeere…

In case you haven’t yet noticed, Google is now on street corners all over New York City, which is not only home to millions of New Yorkers, but is also one of the most international of cities, hosting tourists and business people from all over the world, what to speak of UN delegates and their families and UN Missions and consulates and visiting politicos. Pay attention.

Not too long ago, a consortium called CityBridge started wiring New York with wi-fi kiosks, many of which are replacing public phones. Everyone loves ubiquitous free wi-fi, but if there’s one thing that we’ve learned about the tech industry, it’s that free is never free: that if you’re not the (paying) customer, you’re the product. “If all goes according to the plan, the kiosks will be as commonplace as pay phones once were,” says The New York Times (New Yorkers Greet the Arrival of Wi-Fi Kiosks With Panic, Skepticism and Relief), “…Once a smartphone is registered, it will automatically connect to the Wi-Fi signals that radiate from the kiosks and extend 100 feet or more.”

Which means that you’ll be tracked all over town. Read More...

The Payback is a Bitch Edition

The Payback is a Bitch Edition

First, a must-read: Tech’s Enduring Great-Man Myth.

As promised, no editorial this week due to the holidays, but rust and tech – and hubris, it seems – never rests, and given the increasing amount of connectedness/surveillance/ control of which tech is capable, and with governments at the table and in the code, fyi:

Google My Activity shows everything that company knows about its users ­ and there’s a lot Read More...

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