Ray Kurzweil predicts the next 25 years

Übergeek Ray Kurzweil lays it all out for the next 25 years. And he’s been right before.

By the 2020s, most diseases will go away as nanobots become smarter than current medical technology. Normal human eating can be replaced by nanosystems. The Turing test begins to be passable. Self-driving cars begin to take over the roads, and people won’t be allowed to drive on highways.
By the 2030s, virtual reality will begin to feel 100% real. We will be able to upload our mind/consciousness by the end of the decade.
By the 2040s, non-biological intelligence will be a billion times more capable than biological intelligence (a.k.a. us). Nanotech foglets will be able to make food out of thin air and create any object in physical world at a whim.



Keeping the CIO relevant

How can the CIO stay relevant in the era of IT ‘consumerization’?

Excellence in user experience in the consumer arena is driving expectations of department heads for similar experiences with business solutions. Department heads want to find business solutions for themselves without waiting for IT.
The lack of a consistent, unified approach to software deployment undermines the CIOs control and makes a security breach more likely.
So, how do CIOs survive in this brave new world of de-centralised IT?
It is becoming increasingly clear that CIOs must adapt to a position of governance and consultancy and promote new tools that will allow those from a non-IT background to thrive.
CIOs must understand that they will not survive if they try to maintain a monopoly on technology spends within their organisation.


Will our children welcome the robot overlords?

Will our children welcome the new robot overlords?

There will of course be new industries and jobs created in the future, just as there always have been. The question is, will they look like GM and Wal-Mart? Or more like Facebook, which provides a global service to more than a billion people with just 8000 employees? Or WhatsApp, which served 500 million customers with a staff of fewer than 20? And wouldn’t the new industries, funded by the profits generated by smart machines themselves, use those technologies to minimize their costs—including labor?
When smart machines can do most routine work in the economy, the demand for human labor splits into two camps. A small group with the most valued skills and talents—creative, intellectual, entrepreneurial—will earn great rewards. For the remaining jobs that machines can’t do, the qualification will be “being a human,” and the basic rules of supply and demand will drive those wages to the legal minimum.


The cockpit of the next gen jets will be entirely different

The cockpit of the jet fighter is long overdue for a re-design, and it will be radically different.

“Eye tracking; gesture control; neuro control; augmented reality – these sorts of things are being looked at,” says Bowman. “If we go to an extreme, there might be something like an avatar with you in the cockpit, potentially helping you with decision-making.”
The Typhoon and F-35 may offer the best clues as to what the fighter cockpits of the future will look like, but there is another aircraft which points an intriguing direction forward. The Reaper unmanned aircraft ‘cockpit’ isn’t inside the aircraft: the crew ‒ a pilot and a sensor operator ‒ sit in front of an array of screens in a ground control station, which may well be thousands of miles away. In the future, that remote cockpit might not need to be on the ground: it could be inside a fighter jet, with one pilot controlling their own aircraft and a number of other unmanned ones at the same time. This wouldn’t necessarily just be about gaining numerical advantage.


The evolution of digital collaboration

The ecosystem of digital collaboration tools and its evolution in the coming year.

These days, it’s lightweight tools and techniques for working together that are in vogue again. The reasons are complex but can mostly be summarized partially as a push back against the perceived scale and complexity of newer and more strategic forms of collaboration and partly just because better formats and user experiences for collaboration continue to be discovered and developed.
As a result, simpler forms of communication and sharing knowledge, well demonstrated by the growth and popularity of services like Dropbox, Box, and now Slack shows that innovation in collaboration isn’t slowing down. In fact, I find that offerings are continuing to proliferate, instead of consolidating, like we’d typically expect in an otherwise mature market.
This is largely driven by two key forces: Collaboration has a) become central to the high functioning of today’s knowledge worker (the worker that usually creates most of the bottom-line value in companies today), and b) continues to evolve as the arrival of new collaborative models is found to create high levels of differentiation and leverage to business operations.


FedEx expands into Dallas office complex

FedEx business unit to consolidate 1200 employees to new campus in Plano, Tx. Occupancy slated for late 2015.

About the same time, KDC signed a deal to build a 265,000-square-foot headquarters for FedEx Office as part of the Legacy West project. About 1,200 FedEx workers will move to the buildings late this year.
Toyota last April announced that it would move its North American headquarters from Southern California to 100 acres in the Legacy West project. KDC is also building the Toyota campus.
The relocation will be one of the largest corporate moves ever to North Texas.


Digital retailing

The retail experience is going digital ever faster, and many retailers are struggling to keep up with the changes.

Last year, online shopping via mobile devices overtook desktop usage for the first time, indicating a big shift in consumer behavior that businesses need to understand and get on board with.
The move to mobile-first means that retailers need to cater to customers that are ‘always on’ and connected but companies have in fact been slow to adapt to this change and grasp the opportunities. Shopping via mobile means that customers can be engaged and online anywhere at any time – whether it’s sat at home on the sofa, on the bus or walking down the high street.
Increasingly, research has shown that customers are regularly using their smartphones while in store to help them make purchasing decisions and check prices and items. However, despite this fact, very few retailers are catering towards this targeted audience and are not providing any type of digital experience above and beyond the standard website format, albeit optimized for mobile.      
The mistake that many businesses make is they’re still very much thinking in terms of online vs. offline, digital vs. brick-and-mortar – but now that customers are often active online while also shopping in a physical store, this is no longer the case.


Netflix secret analytics tool is a human

The magic behind Netflix use of Big Data may just be a human.

Of course, there is a big difference between using data in combination with intuition and relying entirely on an algorithm—the decision-making equivalent of Siri finding gas stations near you. I don’t think anyone—Netflix, Mitt Romney—makes big decisions that way. As Chris Kelly, the C.E.O. of Fandor, an indie-film Internet channel told me, “It just isn’t true that you can rely on data completely.” Even Google, the champion of algorithms, employs substantial human adjustments to make its search engines perform just right. (It cares so much about this that Google claims First Amendment protection for its tweaks.) I do not doubt that companies rely more on data every day, but the best human curators still maintain their supremacy.
Perhaps what we are seeing here is better explained by the rise of a different kind of talent. It is a form of curation (at which Sarandos excels) whose aim is guessing not simply what will attract viewers but what will attract fans—people who will get excited enough to spread the word. Data may help, but what may matter more is a sense of what appeals to the hearts of obsessive people, and who can deliver that. And what that suggests is that competition will remain possible for companies that aren’t Amazon or Netflix, without massive piles of data on hand. It might be enough to know just which cults to bet on.


Technology to read your emotions

The technology that can read your emotions. (Login required)

The evolving technology has the potential to help people or even save lives. Cameras that could sense when a trucker is exhausted might prevent him from falling asleep at the wheel. Putting cameras embedded with emotion sensing software in the classroom, could help teachers determine whether they were holding their students’ attention.
But other applications are likely to breed privacy concerns. One retailer, for instance, is starting to test software embedded in security cameras that can scan people’s faces and divine their emotions as they walk in and out of its stores. Eyeris, based in Mountain View, Calif., says it has sold its software to federal law-enforcement agencies for use in interrogations.
The danger, Dr. Ekman and privacy advocates say, is that the technology could reveal people’s emotions without their consent, and their feelings could be misinterpreted. People might try to use the software to determine whether their spouse was lying, police might read the emotions of crowds or employers might use it to secretly monitor workers or job applicants.
“I can’t control usage,” Dr. Ekman says of his catalog, called the Facial Action Coding System. “I can only be certain that what I’m providing is at least an accurate depiction of when someone is concealing emotion.”
In Dr. Ekman’s analysis, there is no such thing as a simple smile or a frown. Facial movements are broken down into more-nuanced expressions; there are seven ways a forehead can furrow.