Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Nigel Exchange blue

 Matt Cohen, a managing partner at Ripple Ventures, told The Exchange that “while investment in Canadian startups of all varieties has ramped up lately, AI-enabled startups are certainly leading the pack.”

We’re behind, it turns out. But not so far behind that we cannot catch up on the Canadian AI startup story. Our questions are simple: Why are Canadian startups seeing their fundraising fortunes rise so sharply, what parts of the AI stack are being attacked, what role does public money play in the rising investment totals and what impact do local universities have on artificial intelligence work in Canada?

Source: Tech Crunch

Date: December 3rd, 2021

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2021/11/24/in-a-crowded-global-market-canadian-ai-startups-fundraising-results-stand-out/

Discussion

  1. If AI is so important, what are you doing to make yourself at least a little “tech-savvy” in this area?
  2. In what way is AI going to impact the area of study you think you want to pursue?

Posted by & filed under App Economy.

Ewa-Lena Rasmusson

From stumbling slowly out of bed, to doing active weights classes at the gym, Ewa-Lena Rasmusson’s mobility has transformed during the pandemic.

The 55-year-old, from Stockholm, says it’s all thanks to a Swedish app that creates bespoke exercise plans designed to help alleviate joint pain.

Every day the app sends Ms Rasmusson a “nudge” to remind her to do a series of repetitions for five minutes, such as squats and leg lifts.

Video demonstrations help ensure she understands the correct technique, and her training is adjusted according to her feedback on how challenging or painful she finds it.

There’s also a chat function within the app so she can message a real-life physiotherapist, who arranges regular video call check-ins too.

“I can really feel the difference,” says Ms Rasmusson, who has struggled with knee pain. When she began the treatment back in March 2020 she could only manage a handful of squats, and now she is proudly “up to 21.”

Source: BBC Technology news

Date: December 3rd, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58556777

Discussion

  1. What sort of business or service could you build around an app that “nudges” clients to do something (in this case, exercise)?
  2. Why is an app a good way to “nudge”?

Posted by & filed under Automation, Future of Work, Self-driving vehicles.

Waymo is already offering driverless taxi service in San Francisco, California, and Pheonix, Arizona (Credit: Alamy)

It’s a late night in the Metro area of Phoenix, Arizona. Under the artificial glare of street lamps, a car can be seen slowly approaching. Active sensors on the vehicle radiate a low hum. A green and blue ‘W’ glows from the windscreen, giving off just enough light to see inside – to a completely empty driver seat.

The wheel navigates the curb steadily, parking as an arrival notification pings on the phone of the person waiting for it. When they open the door to climb inside, a voice greets them over the vehicle’s sound system. “Good evening, this car is all yours – with no one upfront,” it says.

This is a Waymo One robotaxi, hailed just 10 minutes ago using an app. The open use of this service to the public, slowly expanding across the US, is one of the many developments signalling that driverless technology is truly becoming a part of our lives.

The promise of driverless technology has long been enticing. It has the potential to transform our experience of commuting and long journeys, take people out of high-risk working environments and streamline our industries. It’s key to helping us build the cities of the future, where our reliance and relationship with cars are redefined – lowering carbon emissions and paving the way for more sustainable ways of living. And it could make our travel safer. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. “We want safer roads and less fatalities. Automation ultimately could provide that,” says Camilla Fowler, head of automated transport for the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

Source: BBC Future

Date: December 3rd, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20211126-how-driverless-cars-will-change-our-world?ocid=fbfut

Discussion

  1. What sort of business(es) could you build around a driverless vehicle?
  2. When it comes to the Future of Work, how does driverless technology impact this?

Posted by & filed under Emerging Technologies.

The Bank of Nova Scotia building is shown in the financial district in Toronto on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. Canadians eyeing internships, co-op placements and graduate positions at Scotiabank no longer have to polish up their resumes.

Canadians eyeing internships, co-op placements and graduate positions at Scotiabank no longer have to polish up their resumés.

The Toronto bank removed the requirement as part of its campus hiring program and has begun using assessments from Waterloo, Ont. technology company Plum to help find untapped talent and ease the barriers to employment among some population groups.

“We are taking away any bias, which would be where did someone go to school, what jobs did they have before and what opportunities did they have or not have based on their upbringing or circumstances?” said James Spearing, Scotiabank’s vice-president of talent acquisition.

“(We’re) removing as much of that possible and giving a level playing field.”

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: November 26th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/2021/11/21/scotiabank-ditches-resums-for-campus-hiring-widening-candidate-pool.html

Discussion

  1. “Requirements range from the ability to come up with innovative solutions to how someone sets goals, monitors progress and executes projects. Applicants then complete a Plum assessment with problem solving, personality and situational questions targeting those requirements. Applicants receive information on their talents, work style and preferences, while recruiters see a “match score” indicating each candidate’s potential fit with the role they are hiring for and other openings.”
    The article claims that this helps remove bias.
    In what ways might this technology approach actually increase bias?
  2. Does this approach make sense, and if so, why, and if not, why not?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology, Emerging Technologies, Future of Work.

Tesco GetGo storefront

Tesco has opened its first checkout-free store in central London where people can shop without having to scan a product.

The UK’s biggest retailer said its branch in High Holborn has been converted to allow customers to shop and pay without using a checkout.

The new format, known as GetGo, follows similar stores opened by Amazon.

Customers with the Tesco.com app will be able to pick up the groceries they need and walk straight out again.

Tesco said “a combination of cameras and weight sensors” would establish what customers had picked up and charge them for products directly through the app when they left the shop.

The technology is provided by Israeli tech start-up Trigo, which has similar partnerships with supermarkets in Germany and the Netherlands.

Note: Tesco is like Safeways, Albertsons or Kroeger in the U.S.

Source: BBC Business

Date: November 26th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58951984

Discussion

  1. When it comes to the “Future of Work”, why is this technology so relevant?
  2. Why are we not seeing widespread adoption of this technology?

Posted by & filed under Ethical issues.

A ShotSpotter analyst at a workstation

ShotSpotter’s incident-review room is like any other call centre.

Analysts wearing headsets sit by computer screens, listening intently.

Yet the people working here have an extraordinary responsibility.

They make the final decision on whether a computer algorithm has correctly identified a gunshot – and whether to dispatch the police.

Making the wrong call has serious consequences.

ShotSpotter has garnered much negative press over the last year. Allegations range from its tech not being accurate, to claims that ShotSpotter is fuelling discrimination in the police.

In the wake of those negative news stories, the company gave BBC News access to its national incident-review centre.

ShotSpotter is trying to solve a genuine problem.

“What makes the system so compelling, we believe, is a full 80-95% of gunfire goes unreported,” chief executive Ralph Clark says.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 26th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-59072745

Discussion

  1. There is often a claim that technology provides less bias in a situation, or that it fuels bias. How might technology like this do either (or both) of these?
  2. In what ways could this technology be adapted for other uses?

Posted by & filed under Innovation.

Nicole Aschoff was the featured speaker Monday at ‘Critical Tech Talk 1: The digital frontier and its limits,’ hosted by University of Waterloo and Communitech.

In the creation of a new digital frontier, we are the unpaid labour.

Dedicating hours of our days to scrolling, swiping and liking, the data generated by internet users is powering its continued expansion.

Where it goes, no one knows, but the answers should lie with us, argues Nicole Aschoff, author of “The Smartphone Society.”

Aschoff was the keynote speaker at the University of Waterloo’s Critical Tech Talk on Monday, a six-part speaker series taking on the topic of responsible innovation, with each of the school’s six faculties cohosting throughout the series.

“Deep down, we don’t think we can control the direction of digital technology,” Aschoff said. “We believe that it’s an implacable force with quasi meta-physical properties. Even when we’re critical of Silicon Valley, we’re resigned to letting tech companies shape the digital frontier. We shouldn’t be resigned.”

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: November 16th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/tr/business/technology/2021/11/09/frontiers-are-made-not-opened-we-have-the-creativity-knowledge-and-tools-to-build-the-digital-future-we-want.html

Discussion

  1. “There’s always a delicate balance when you’re governing big companies,” said Dey on the question of government regulation.  ” What is the “balance” being talked about here?
  2. ” people have the creativity, knowledge and tools to build the digital future we want, and should not sit back and let a small number of people direct where technology is taking us ” Do you agree or disagree with this statement, and why?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Robotics.

F&P Robotics' Barney Bar

Soon, however, those bar staff might not even be human. Enter Cecilia, a robotic bartender that mixes and serves cocktails, and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to talk to customers in much the same way that Alexa, on an Amazon Echo speaker, or Siri, on an iPhone can respond to you.

The unit looks a bit like a tall fruit machine, only with an animated female barmaid – Cecilia – appearing on a large, upright video screen. You either tell her what cocktail you want, or order it on the below touch-screen, and pay for the drink by tapping your bank card or phone.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 15th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-59246183

Discussion

  1. What are some issues behind having a robot bartender?
  2. UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon is certainly not interested in buying a fleet of robots to work behind its bars. “In a word – no,” says a spokesman for the firm. “Wetherspoons would never do this.”
    What’s going on here, and why are some saying “yes” to robots and others saying “no”?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Robotics.

“We’re looking at Flippy as a tool that helps us increase speed of service and frees team members up to focus more on other areas we want to concentrate on, whether that’s order accuracy or how we’re handling delivery partner drivers and getting them what they need when they come through the door.”, said White Castle’s Vice President, Jamie Richardson.

Source: Miso Robotics

Date: November 15th, 2021

Link to 2 minute 34 second video: https://invest.misorobotics.com/?utm_source=rgamisolandingpage&utm_medium=part07ent&utm_campaign=part07ent&tnames=part07ent

Discussion

  1. ” the global quick service restaurant industry generates $273 billion in revenues. But there are also slim margins, with labor expenses accounting for roughly a quarter of total revenues. Thus, there is likely to be rising demand for automation technologies like Flippy. The CEO of CaliGroup has said that the robot “will reduce kitchen labor expenses by over 65% while increasing efficiency and the amount of food cooked by 23%.” It’s pretty obvious who loses a job here, but who might gain a job?
  2. What are some of the issues that might be faced here by Miso Robotics?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Salt Lake City, USA - February 26, 2013: Mcdonalds Drive thru service is amount one of the popular service in fast food chain restuarants, many stores open 24 hours. A yellow jeep pick up order at the drive thru window.

McDonald’s might not be the only restaurant experimenting with AI-based order taking in the near future. Restaurant Dive reports McDonald’s is selling its McD Tech Labs to IBM in order to “further accelerate” work on its automated voice ordering systems. The deal will help apply the technology to a wider variety of countries, languages and menus, McDonald’s said, while bolstering IBM’s Watson-powered customer service offerings.

The deal is expected to close in December. McD Tech Labs will join IBM’s Cloud & Cognitive Software team.

Source: Engaget

Date: November 10th, 2021

Link: https://www.engadget.com/mcdonalds-ibm-ai-food-orders-131806578.html

Discussion

  1. Probably the most interesting part about this article is that it is McDonalds (the billions-sold hamburger company) that is selling AI technology to IBM (the technology company). How is it that McDonalds is a technology company?
  2. In what other ways could this technology be used?