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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Google has a crazy idea for injecting a computer into your eyeball

Posted by hkarner - 14. November 2018

Date: 13-11-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Google electronic contact lens
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Google has filed a patent for what sounds like a bionic eye.
A patent filed in 2014 and published Thursday describes a device that could correct vision without putting contacts in or wearing glasses everyday.

But to insert the device, a person must undergo what sounds like a rather intrusive procedure.

Here’s how it would work: After surgically removing a person’s lens from the lens capsule of his or her eye (ouch!), a fluid would be injected into the capsule. This fluid would act sort of like a glue, allowing whoever is conducting the procedure to attach an „intra-ocular device“ to the lens capsule.

That fluid would solidify to create a „coupling“ between the lens capsule and the device, creating an electronic contact lens. The electronic contact lens would correct the wearer’s vision. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Impact of Technology on Democracy

Posted by hkarner - 13. November 2018

Date: 12-11-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Two former U.S. government officials also discuss the responsibilities private companies have to their users and the greater public

Questions have been raised about the effect technology is having on our political systems.

Capitol Hill has put Silicon Valley under the microscope.

With U.S. intelligence agencies continuing to raise concerns about foreign meddling in U.S. elections through online social platforms, technology executives have been called to account. In September, Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Jack Dorsey testified at a Senate hearing on what their companies were doing in response to foreign trolls and bots ahead of the November midterm elections. Regulators and consumer-advocacy groups have also raised concerns about the responsibility of large tech companies like Google Inc. to protect the vast amounts of user data they hold.

To assess the impact technology is having on our political systems, as well as what responsibilities private companies have to their users and the greater public, The Wall Street Journal turned to Nuala O’Connor, president and chief executive of the Center for Democracy and Technology and the former chief privacy officer in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Beth Simone Noveck, director of the Governance Lab and professor in technology, culture and society at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. Prof. Noveck previously served as the U.S. deputy chief technology officer in the Obama administration.

Edited excerpts follow.

A golden age?
WSJ: What do you think is the biggest threat that technology poses to our democracy today? What do you view as its greatest contribution? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Sundar Pichai of Google: ‘Technology Doesn’t Solve Humanity’s Problems’

Posted by hkarner - 10. November 2018

Date: 09-11-2018
Source: The New York Times By David Gelles

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google

Growing up in India, he slept on the floor of a house without a refrigerator. Today, the chief executive is steering Google through the most turbulent period in its history.

Google is facing more challenges today than at any time in its 20-year history. Employees are outraged over sexual harassment. Executives are under scrutiny for an effort to secretly make a censored version of its search product for China. Google will shut down its social network next year after a data breach was discovered. Political and social debates, including one over building military-grade artificial intelligence, are roiling the work force.

Yet the man responsible for leading Google through this minefield is not one of the company’s founders — Larry Page and Sergey Brin — or even Eric Schmidt, the company’s former chief executive and chairman, who was ushered aside last year. Instead, the man in charge of arguably the most influential company in the world is Sundar Pichai, a soft-spoken engineer who grew up in Chennai, India.

Mr. Pichai was a voracious reader as a boy, and attended the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, then Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he received advanced degrees. After stints at Applied Materials and McKinsey, he joined Google in 2004. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Digital Disruption’s Silver Lining

Posted by hkarner - 8. November 2018

Mark Suzman

Mark Suzman is Chief Strategy Officer and President of Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

For much of modern history, export-driven industrialization and natural-resource wealth were viewed as the only mechanisms for sustained growth in developing countries. But today, new technologies are giving countries more control over their social and economic fortunes.

SEATTLE – Technology is often oversold as either a panacea for the world’s problems or an unshakeable curse inflicting disruption and displacement on the most vulnerable. But historically, neither of these characterizations is accurate. From the steam engine to the personal computer, inventions have transformed societies in complex ways. On balance, however, technology has always created more jobs and economic opportunities than it has destroyed. That trend is likely to continue.

Why am I so upbeat? Because everywhere I look, leaders are repositioning their economies to ensure that technological change and automation are assets rather than liabilities. As the University of Oxford-based Pathways for Prosperity Commission recently observed, with “optimism and collective action,” so-called frontier technologies can empower even the poorest countries.

For much of modern history, export-driven industrialization and natural-resource wealth were viewed as the only mechanisms for sustained growth in the developing world. But today, new technologies, and the ability to combine them with old innovations, have given people more say over their economic fortunes. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Big Tech’s sell-off

Posted by hkarner - 4. November 2018

Date: 02-11-2018
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

The shares of the world’s tech giants have sunk. Wobble or wipeout?

Business booms and busts follow a pattern. They start with an exciting change in the economy. Managers and investors collectively create a story about it, which begins as an explanation, then morphs into an extrapolation, and then into an exaggeration. Eventually the data contradict the narrative, boom turns to bust, and a bout of austerity follows. A rout in internet firms’ share prices since August has led plenty of people to ask if the tech industry is experiencing this sequence of hope, hubris and hurt for the second time in two decades. The answer is: to a degree, yes. The level of hype is particularly high, and some of the numbers are decidedly soft. That matters because tech firms are now so big and so spendthrift that a slowdown could damage the economy.

Rarely in stockmarket history have so many investors made so much money from so few shares going up for so long. Some 37% of the rise in the value of all firms in the s&p 500 index since 2013 is explained by six of its members: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix. About 28% of the rise in Chinese equities over the same period is owing to two firms: Alibaba and Tencent. Managers and investors have bought into a tale of effortless disruption by an elite of firms led by the world’s brainiest people. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Big Tech Selloff

Posted by hkarner - 1. November 2018

Date: 01-11-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

Why the fall from super-high values shouldn’t hurt the larger economy.

Herbert Stein famously observed some 40 years ago that what can’t continue won’t, which bears remembering as tech stocks fall following a fantastic nine-year run fueled in part by the Federal Reserve. Americans no doubt wish that stocks could climb forever, but the tech selloff looks like a healthy correction.

Stocks bounced back Wednesday, but before that the tech-heavy Nasdaq had slumped 12% since its August peak. Falling FAANG stocks— Facebook , Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet—have swung the S&P 500 into a correction zone. Netflix tumbled 21% and Amazon fell 20% in October. Texas Instruments , IBM and Nvidia have also seen substantial stock price declines.

A tech revaluation was perhaps inevitable as prices leapt over earnings like LeBron James over Kevin Durant. Amazon’s stock in September was trading at nearly 160 times earnings, which wasn’t going to last. But what makes this month’s tech sale so jarring is that it comes amid strong quarterly earnings growth. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s history explains why it will never produce a Google

Posted by hkarner - 13. Oktober 2018

Date: 11-10-2018
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne
Subject: Waiting for Goodot

The digital desert

ON SUNNY evenings in Brussels, young Eurocrats mingle on the bar terraces of the Place du Luxembourg outside the European Parliament. The continent’s future leaders pay little heed to the bronze-green statue of John Cockerill at its centre. The Englishman commemorated at the heart of today’s EU moved to Belgium from near Manchester in 1802, importing the latest steam technologies. He founded a machine factory in a chateau near Liège which grew into an industrial empire and helped make Belgium second only to Britain in industrial sophistication.

Is Europe living up to Cockerill’s legacy? The continent has world-class companies in fields like biotechnology, luxury cars and nuclear energy, manufacturing sectors incorporating sophisticated software (a BMW these days is as much a computer on wheels as a car). London, a global tech hub, is home to DeepMind, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) outfit; Stockholm is home to Spotify, a dominant music-sharing service; Cambridge-based Arm makes processor chips for almost all the world’s smartphones.

Yet still Europe lacks large firms in areas like social media, e-commerce and cloud computing comparable in scale to America’s Google and Microsoft, or China’s Alibaba and Baidu. Of the world’s 15 largest digital firms, all are American or Chinese. Of the top 200, eight are European. Such firms matter. They operate dominant online platforms and are writing the rules of the new economy in the way Cockerill’s innovations did in his day. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The US military wants to teach AI some basic common sense

Posted by hkarner - 13. Oktober 2018

Date: 12-10-2018
Source: Technology Review

Even the best AI programs still make stupid mistakes. So DARPA is launching a competition to remedy the field’s most glaring flaw.

Wherever artificial intelligence is deployed, you will find it has failed in some amusing way. Take the strange errors made by translation algorithms that confuse having someone for dinner with, well, having someone for dinner.

But as AI is used in ever more critical situations, such as driving autonomous cars, making medical diagnoses, or drawing life-or-death conclusions from intelligence information, these failures will no longer be a laughing matter. That’s why DARPA, the research arm of the US military, is addressing AI’s most basic flaw: it has zero common sense.

“Common sense is the dark matter of artificial intelligence,” says Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for AI, a research nonprofit based in Seattle that is exploring the limits of the technology. “It’s a little bit ineffable, but you see its effects on everything.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Price of Financial Advice Is, Finally, Falling

Posted by hkarner - 9. Oktober 2018

Date: 08-10-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

As the rest of Wall Street cuts all kinds of fees in a race to zero, financial advisers have been the exception. That is changing.

Financial advisers these days are having to work to justify asset-management fees of 1% or more.

Mutual-fund and index-fund fees keep falling. Trading is free, depending on where you do it. Even hedge funds have started to drop their notoriously high charges.

The only holdouts in the race to rock-bottom fees have been traditional investment advisers. Now that is starting to change.

Technology is reshaping the wealth-management industry, bringing down the cost of delivering advice and putting pressure on traditional fee models. At the same time, the massive, continuing transfer of wealth from baby boomers to their children means heirs are re-evaluating their financial relationships and putting advisers on the defensive. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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5G Devices Are about to Change Your Life

Posted by hkarner - 6. Oktober 2018

Date: 06-10-2018
Source: Scientific American By David Pogue

It will make 4G phones seem positively quaint

You’re probably used to the periodic upgrades in our cell-phone networks. There was 2G, which came along in 1991, replaced with 3G in 2001, followed by 4G in 2009. Now we’re hearing about the coming of 5G.

But 5G is a much bigger leap than what’s come before. Qualcomm’s Web site, in fact, calls it “as transformative as the automobile and electricity. (One of the world’s leading makers of phone-networking chips, Qualcomm was a key player in the development of the 5G standard—and stands to profit handsomely from its success.)

Of course, 5G is much faster than 4G—in the real world, a 5G phone in a 5G city will enjoy Internet speeds between nine and 20 times as fast. The latency of 5G (the delay before those fast data begin pouring in) is one tenth as long.

The arrival of 5G also means enormous leaps forward in capacity—so much that every cell-phone plan will offer cheap, truly unlimited Internet access. “The consequences of that are immense,” says Sherif Hanna, Qualcomm’s director of 5G marketing. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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