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Looking Further Down The Road Ahead

Road Ahead: Artifical Intelligence

For those who want to look a little farther down the road, check out the March issue of The Club of Amsterdam Journal. In it, David Smith, Chief Executive of Global Future and Foresight, describes and provides sources for predicting likely effects to come with evolving technologies – nearly all of which will impact communications and transportation. Among them are:

Automation: “as automation impacts a broader set of knowledge worker jobs. 47% of jobs in the US could be at risk from automation through 2025.”

Quantum Computing: “The enormous processing power of these computers could significantly reconfigure political, business, economic and social norms within the next fifteen to twenty years.”

Cognitive Computing: “Cognitive computing systems learn and interact
naturally with people; ultimately helping human experts make better
informed decisions…”

Interclouds: “a networked global ‘cloud of clouds’ – which allows workloads to migrate to public and hybrid clouds.” And, “It could also form a platform for the Internet of Everything.”

Software Designed Networks: Already a $2 billion market, it, “helps remove the physical limitations of networks, which are being pushed to their limits by social media, mobile devices, and cloud computing.”

Atomic GPS: “. . . the use of atomic physics for more accurate sensing without the need for satellites.”

Prescriptive Analytics: ” . . . a combination of multiple predictive models running in parallel, one for each possible input action, and able to recommend a course based on numerous variables.”

Social: “…use of social networks will be to increasingly replace e-mail as the preferred electronic communication platform within the corporation.”

Avatars: “Ultimately avatars are enabling companies and organizations to leverage human-like images to communicate their messages.”

Haptic Interfaces: The marriage of the physical and online. “As it evolves in complexity, it is probable we will see this technology extend beyond smartphone interfaces and video game controllers and into retail circles.”

Instant Language Translation: “…not only convert each word into the target language, but analyze entire phrases and infer their meaning before offering up a translation.”

Virtual Retinal Displays: “…a combination of optics to reflect an image directly onto your retina, effectively using the back of your eyeball as a screen.”

Imaging The Mind’s Eye: “ultimately, we’re…going to be able to dump our ideas directly to digital media.”

Wireless Electricity: “magnetic resonance – created by coils of conductive materials like copper – could eventually replace wires as the main power source for everything in our lives.”

Smith concludes his listing: “With each new technology, first we do things differently; then we do different things.” . . . And, for those concerned about Artificial Intelligence, which is preceding apace with the aforementioned technologies, Benjamin A. Bratton advises in his Feb. 23 piece in the NY Times, Stone feature, Outing A.I.: Beyond the Turing Test, “Our popular conception of artificial intelligence is distorted by an anthropocentric fallacy.” By attributing human qualities to A.I. we are in danger of giving it more power than it deserves and may fail to utilize what it offers. As to A.I. and robots, Jason Alan Snyder in Engage: Affluent predicts they will bring better jobs for current low wage workers, better living for the well-to-do and once again, squeeze the middle class.