Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

What is the Metaverse?

From virtual versions of ourselves to augmented reality, big brands like Meta (formerly Facebook) and Microsoft are creating technology to develop the metaverse. But what actually is it?

Source: BBC Tech

Date: January 3rd, 2022

Link to 2 minute 50 second video: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-59674930

Discussion

  1. Versions of the Metaverse have been around for decades, including one called Second Life which was very active 15 years ago. Why the “sudden” push and interest now?
  2. Does a metaverse make sense for business?

Posted by & filed under Bots, Robotics.

If you’re out and about in Toronto and you pass by a Geoffrey, the little pink delivery bots that residents of have come to know and love, you might want to snap one last picture or blow one last kiss, because soon, his kind may be off city streets for good.

In a motion that came as news to many, organizations and local politicans are asking that delivery robots and other types of sidewalk-bound A.I. be banned from the city due to them being potentially problematic for people with disabilities.

For those who are vision or mobility impaired in particular, the bots can provide a tripping hazard or physical obstacle, groups like the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance argue, calling tools like Geoffrey a “a substantial and worrisome new disability barrier impeding people with disabilities in their safe use of public sidewalks and other paths of travel.”

Source: blogTO

Date: December 13th, 2021

Link: https://www.blogto.com/tech/2021/12/delivery-robots-toronto-ban-sidewalks/

Discussion

  1. What sorts of changes could be possibly made to make the bots not be a tripping hazard or physical obstacle for those who are vision or mobility impaired?
  2. Where could these bots be put to use in a way that doesn’t cause problems?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology.

David Nussbaum

When Swiss watch boss, Christoph Grainger-Herr, was unable to fly to a global trade show in China because of Covid-19 restrictions, he decided to beam in Star Trek-style instead.

Mr Grainger-Herr, the chief executive of luxury brand IWC, had been due to travel to the Watches and Wonders event in Shanghai back in April.

When that became impossible, instead, he decided to joined the show as a life-size, 3D hologram. Appearing in 4K resolution, he was able to talk to, and see and hear the people who were physically attending the event.

“We beamed him from his office in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, to the event in Shanghai,” says David Nussbaum, the boss of US holograms firm Portl.

“He did his thing, chatted to other executives, and even unveiled a new watch, all in real time. And then we beamed him out again!”

Source: BBC Technology news

Date: December 13th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-59577341

Discussion

  1. Why would a hologram call be more useful than a video call?
  2. What sort of business could you build around this technology?

Posted by & filed under Deepfake video.

A green wireframe model covers an actor's lower face during the creation of a synthetic facial reanimation video, known alternatively as a deepfake, in London, Britain February 12, 2019. Picture taken February 12, 2019. Reuters TV via REUTERS/File Photo

“Do you want to see yourself acting in a movie or on TV?” said the description for one app on online stores, offering users the chance to create AI-generated synthetic media, also known as deepfakes.

“Do you want to see your best friend, colleague, or boss dancing?” it added. “Have you ever wondered how would you look if your face swapped with your friend’s or a celebrity’s?”

Source: Reuters

Date: December 13th, 2021

Link: https://www.reuters.com/technology/deepfake-anyone-ai-synthetic-media-tech-enters-perilous-phase-2021-12-13/

Discussion

  1. What are some of the ethical issues surrounding the use of “synthetic media”?
  2. ” many online safety campaigners, researchers and software developers say the key is ensuring consent from those being simulated, though this is easier said than done. ” How would you “ensure consent”?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia have created what they’re saying could be the first battery that is both flexible and washable.

John Madden, an electrical and computer engineering professor and director of UBC’s Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Lab, says these batteries are just like alkaline batteries that we’re used to, except they are rechargeable, stretchable and bendable.

“Imagine a battery that’s maybe a little bit larger than a coin cell that you can grab in your hands, stretch to twice its length, twist and throw in the washing machine and it will still work,” Madden told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC’s On The Coast. 

Madden’s team, which included Dr. Ngoc Tan Nguyen, a postdoctoral fellow at UBC’s faculty of applied science and PhD student Bahar Iranpour, had been working with sensor technology and needed a battery that was comfortable, safe and durable. Some of the challenges they encountered when developing this technology was finding a proper case to contain the battery fluids and then making sure the case could stretch and bend.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: December 10th, 2021

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/stretchy-washable-battery-1.6280380

Discussion

  1. In what ways could you put a battery that is “a little bit larger than a coin cell that you can grab in your hands, stretch to twice its length, twist and throw in the washing machine and it will still work” to work?
  2. Why does it matter that we have technology like this?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial intelligence is changing how we interact with everything, from food to healthcare, travel and also religion.

Experts say major global faiths are discussing their relationship with AI, and some are starting to incorporate this technology into their worship. Robot priests can recite prayers, deliver sermons, and even comfort those experiencing a spiritual crisis.

Source: BBC Future

Date: December 10th, 2021

Link to video (6 minutes 14 seconds): https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-58983047

Discussion

  1. What might be some of the issues in using AI to ” comfort those experiencing a spiritual crisis”?
  2. What sort of business opportunity could you build around this technology?

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?