Job Terminators?

By |2019-10-02T07:37:56-05:00September 18th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Are robots coming for our jobs? Photo: dronepicr. Source: Wikimedia. CC-BY-2.0 The fears are as old as modern civilization: intelligent machines go crazy and turn on their creators. Two centuries ago, Mary Shelly wrote “Frankenstein” about an artificial man; William Shakespeare puts Caliban in “The Tempest,” a half-human creature who turns on his master; in 1675 a group of weavers in England destroyed the looms that were threatening their jobs. The problem became so widespread that in 1727 Parliament made such sabotage a capital [...]

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Barbed Wire Apps

By |2019-08-13T06:53:37-05:00August 13th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Ironic, isn’t it? Photo: US Army. Source: National Archives. Public Domain. The same technology that ended the range wars of the Old West – conflicts over property rights stemming from free-ranging animals – was soon put to use by military minds to create defensive positions. During World War I, barbed wire was a crucial part of trench warfare, protecting key emplacements from charging soldiers. And it was used to keep people enclosed, too. Herding and controlling them when they are prisoners. The same thing [...]

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IP – Oh, No!

By |2019-05-15T05:57:57-05:00May 15th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Is Uber the next Facebook? Photo: Quotecatalog. Source: Flikr. CC BY 2.0 Uber went public on Friday, to celebration and consternation. The $70 billion initial public offering is one of the biggest ever. And the shares promptly dropped 6% on their first day of trading, and even more over the next few days. The company has been growing their revenues by around 50% per year, but unlike many hot growth companies, their expenses have been growing just as fast. As a result, they don’t [...]

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“To Boldly Go …”

By |2019-04-03T06:31:52-05:00April 3rd, 2019|Global Market Update|

Are you a techno-optimist, or a techno-pessimist? “Star Fleet” symbol. Illustration: Jesper Hansen. Source: Wikimedia People have always been both captivated and challenged by technology. Like many, I grew up watching Star Trek on television, thrilling as Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise explored “strange new worlds.” Science fiction allows us to imagine the potential gifts of new knowledge: faster-than-light travel, teleporting, food-synthesis. The possibilities are endless. But there are always problems. Fire burns. Klingons declare war on humans. There’s trouble with [...]

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Getting it Sorted

By |2019-02-14T05:59:41-05:00February 14th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Remember card catalogs? Photo: Mark Buckawiki. Source: Wikimedia I remember going to the library in elementary school. We used to spend hours learning how to use the card catalog system. Every book had three cards: a title card, an author card, and a subject card. The card would reference the book’s location on the shelves, organized either by the Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress systems. Those card files took up a lot of space, but it was a lot easier thumbing through library [...]

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Fashioning Technology

By |2018-07-30T06:59:49-05:00July 30th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is Tommy Hilfiger watching you? Portrait of Tommy Hilfiger. Photo: Tommy Hilfiger. Source: Wikimedia Fashion designers have a problem. They can create a new look, but they have no way to tell if their designs are being worn. The most valuable type of advertising – word or mouth, or reputation, or “buzz” – is still an amorphous aggregation of sentiment, stories, hype, and hope. There’s no way to quantify how successful a new look is. Except maybe now via technology. Tommy Hilfiger has a [...]

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Bicycles for our Brains

By |2018-05-14T06:41:29-05:00May 14th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What good is technology? Photo F. Muhammad. Source: Pixabay A couple of decades ago, Scientific American published a study, where the researcher measured how much energy it took various types of animals to travel. In the results, the California Condor was the most efficient, soaring on wind currents and thermals. People were more efficient that dogs or rabbits or bees, but not as efficient as a horse or condor. But the most efficient animal in the study was a person riding a bicycle. Over [...]

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A New Hub?

By |2018-04-24T07:42:26-05:00April 24th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Silicon Valley has a new competitor. Photo: Victor Hanacek. Source: Picjumbo For years California has been the leader in generating, funding, and bringing new information technologies to the market. From Intel to Apple to Google to Facebook, Silicon Valley has been a nexus of technological innovation and economic growth. The last serious competitor to the Valley was Route 128 outside of Boston. Both areas had strong sources of human and financial capital, but Silicon Valley benefited from a more free-wheeling, less hierarchical, and more [...]

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Juggling AIoT

By |2018-01-11T07:04:16-05:00January 11th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is Artificial Intelligence of Things? Photo: Xavier Caré. Source: Wikimedia Commons. CC-BY-SA 4.0 We know what artificial intelligence is. That’s when computer algorithms can beat us at checkers or chess, or help manage freight train traffic through Chicago. And people understand the internet of things, where a smart-thermostat talks to a motion sensor at home and turns down a room’s heat if there’s nobody in there. But what is the AI of things? There are lots of practical uses for AI. It’s not [...]

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Drugs, Drones, and Hats

By |2017-07-17T12:21:19-05:00May 17th, 2017|Global Market Update|

Can drones be used to smuggle drugs? Photo DB. Source: Wikipedia It sure looks like it. In 2015 guards rushed to break up a mob in an Ohio prison yard. When they reviewed a security tape, they saw that a drone had flown in and dropped a package containing tobacco, pot, and heroin, which the inmates were fighting over. Increasingly, drones are smuggling drugs, mobile phones, and even weapons into prisons at an alarming rate. Authorities are trying to respond, but this takes time. [...]

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