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jerryking : augmented_reality   17

What tech hasn’t learnt from science fiction
APRIL 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Elaine Moore.

Never mind the future: where are the books tackling Silicon Valley’s current challenges?

There is a myth that Silicon Valley is stuffed full of nerds who have never picked up a book in their lives. Like a lot of tales about the Valley, it is not true. The tech industry is acutely aware of the value of storytelling.......Whenever a tech founder is asked about their favourite novel it is usually worth paying attention. Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s admires Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.....Jeff Bezos’s is taken by the quiet despair of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day......and Theranos' Elizabeth Holme is attached to Moby-Dick.

It’s true that reading lists on the West Coast tend to skew towards science fiction.......For Silicon Valley, the genre seems to offer both inspiration and validation. .......But the connection between tech companies and sci-fi novels runs deeper. To make their futuristic projects reality, some seek the help of the authors themselves......Less is made of its focus on the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world (jk: sci fi doesn't pay enough attention to the the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world). .....The affection tech founders feel for sci-fi often seems to lack this dimension.....If founders are not paying too much attention to cautionary sci-fi themes, at least some people are. Amazon Go shops can feel like a vision of the future as you pick up milk and walk away, without scanning anything. But cities such as San Francisco have begun to wonder whether cashless shops will end up marginalising the country’s poorest citizens, who do not have access to online bank accounts......does any sci-fi novel offers a way to think about Silicon Valley’s present, as well as its future? The singularity and inter-planetary travel are well covered in literature..... are there book out there that address privacy scandals, electric scooters and $100bn IPOs?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
* Counting Heads' (2005) by David Marusek is a novel set in 2134.
* Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.
* Idoru" by William Gibson.
* Count Zero" by William Gibson.
* "Black Mirror" TV series Charlie Brooker.
* The Circle by Dave Eggers.
* ‘Minority Report’ Phil K Dick.
* Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
* Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

People who don't read science fiction (SF) are handicapped in today's world really, because usually they form part of the 99% of humans who are unable to look ahead more than a few months or so and see where society is going. ......Or the people that think Elon Musk is a visionary. He is not a visionary! He is just a smart person, which necessarily includes reading SF, and taking things from there. People who do not read SF think that Musk is the only person on the planet thinking about and developing our future society on Mars...  But there are millions - it's just that he is one of a few billionaires working concretely on it. For example, if you read the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, you'd realise that one of the reasons that Elon Musk now has a tunnel boring company is that we will NEED tunnels on Mars... You'd also realise that the TV rights of the trip to Mars will pay for (most of) the cost of the trip... etc. etc. etc.
Amazon_Go  augmented_reality  Ayn_Rand  authors  books  cautionary_tales  Elon_Musk  entrepreneur  fiction  founders  future  futurists  novels  pay_attention  reading_lists  San_Francisco  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  storytelling  virtual_reality  William_Gibson 
april 2019 by jerryking
Can tech save bricks and mortar retail? | Financial Times
Alistair Gray in New York

Stores turn to augmented reality, robots and smart mirrors in battle against Amazon
Amazon  augmented_reality  retailers  shopping_malls  robotics 
january 2019 by jerryking
Walmart tells investors to expect more risk-taking
October 16, 2018 | Financial Times | Alistair Gray and Pan Kwan Yuk in New York.

Doug McMillon said at an investor meeting on Tuesday that the Arkansas-based company was experimenting with technology ranging from floor-cleaning robots to augmented reality and biometrics as he urged Wall Street to “challenge your thinking about Walmart”.

Walmart superstores have transformed shopping habits and became a dominant force in American retail. The bricks-and-mortar model, however, has been upended in by the rise of ecommerce.

“Looking back, we had a proven model, and we naturally focused on execution. As the numbers grew, we . . . unintentionally became risk averse,” Mr McMillon said at a meeting for investors.

“But today we’re getting to reimagine retail and our business. To do that we take risk — try quite a few things and learn from our failures. That type of behaviour’s in our DNA, and we’re waking up that part of our culture.”.....Online sales, in which Walmart has been investing aggressively as part of its response to Amazon, are expected to increase around 35 per cent for the fiscal 2020 year, compared to the expected 40 per cent for 2019.

Walmart also on Tuesday struck a partnership with Advance Auto Parts, allowing it increase its presence in the car parts business. Under the tie-up the companies will offer home delivery, same-day pick up at each other’s stores and installation of some parts.
Amazon  e-commerce  experimentation  failure  innovation  retailers  risk-taking  Wall_Street  Wal-Mart  augmented_reality  auto_parts  biometrics  bricks-and-mortar  home-delivery  same-day  shopping_habits 
october 2018 by jerryking
IKEA Jumps Into ‘Gig Economy’ With Deal for TaskRabbit
Sept. 28, 2017 | WSJ | By Saabira Chaudhuri and Eliot Brown.

IKEA agreed to acquire Silicon Valley startup TaskRabbit—the online marketplace that connects people with freelancers willing to run errands and do odd jobs—combining the pioneer of the flat pack with a trailblazer of the so-called gig economy.
....Documents related to a financing round from 2015 suggest TaskRabbit then had a valuation of about $50 million....the deal represents a bigger strategic tack at the furniture company. It also underscores a broader shift at many large companies grappling with big changes brought on by digitization. Many established corporations are increasingly turning to Silicon Valley to help their business grow, or slow their declines—sometimes spending heavily on small venture capital-backed startups that have strong traction with young consumers.

Especially where older industries are shifting rapidly, deals have piled up. Auto makers have become prolific investors and buyers of self-driving startups. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has become one of the more active buyers of startups as it grapples with a shift to e-commerce, including a June deal to buy men’s online clothier Bonobos.

Several large firms have launched small Silicon Valley outposts and venture capital arms of their own. Often, though, they say it makes more sense to buy these startups than build a new brand or operation themselves.

The TaskRabbit deal is IKEA’s first foray anywhere near Silicon Valley. The privately held company—when it has bought anything at all—has tended to focus on forestry and manufacturing firm purchases..... IKEA intends to also learn from TaskRabbit’s digital expertise. Retailers and brands globally have been racing to capture shopper data in a bid to personalize their offerings and build customer loyalty.......The bulk of IKEA’s sales are still made in its sprawling out-of-town superstores that house everything from plants to beds. It has 357 stores across 29 countries. But it has worked to adapt to a rise in online shopping, rolling out home delivery and click-and-collect options. IKEA has also been opening small, centrally located stores situated near public transport that stock a limited range of offerings and are also used as collection points.

The company’s website had 2.1 billion visits in fiscal 2016, up 9% from the prior year. Earlier in September, it launched an augmented reality app that lets people place IKEA furniture in their homes. It has also souped up its product range, offering tables and lamps that double up as wireless phone chargers and bulbs that can be controlled wirelessly.

“As urbanization and digital transformation continue to challenge retail concepts we need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way,” Mr. Brodin said. “An acquisition of TaskRabbit would be an exciting leap in this transformation.”
IKEA  TaskRabbit  gig_economy  home-assembly  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  Silicon_Valley  large_companies  brands  Fortune_500  start_ups  e-commerce  home-delivery  BOPIS  augmented_reality  urbanization  digital_strategies  retailers  product_launches 
september 2017 by jerryking
The Design Revolution in Consumer Tech - WSJ
By Steve Vassallo
Aug. 6, 2017

Walt Mossberg...began his first column for the Journal, in 1991, with the now-famous line, “Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it isn’t your fault.” In his final column, Mr. Mossberg bookends the quarter-century of products, personalities and progress he’s chronicled with this assessment of where we are now: “Personal technology is usually pretty easy to use, and, if it’s not, it’s not your fault.” In a generation, consumer tech went from unreliable and confusing to so intuitive that children are creating immersive three-dimensional worlds on devices with barely any instruction. Mr. Mossberg doesn’t put a name to this remarkable shift, but as someone who witnessed it firsthand, I will: design. By design, I don’t mean a spiffy logo or a pretty website. Design now also refers to a methodology and a mind-set that place the experience of the end user above all. This form of design isn’t concerned chiefly with how good something looks, but, rather, how well it works for ordinary consumers. In the [early] ’90s....“engineers weren’t designing products for normal people.” ......Engineers tend to focus on sheer technical limits: what can be done. But designers are preoccupied with what should be done. In other words, whether they’re building things that solve actual problems or fulfill real wants....Over the past two decades, advances in computing power have met typical users’ speed and reliability needs, and the means to launch products have grown better and more affordable. As a result, design is now the differentiator—and the driving force behind billion-dollar companies....Apple's products (e.g. iPod, iPhone), weren’t technical breakthroughs.....They were design breakthroughs—instances of creative need-finding and human-attuned problem solving. And they raised consumer expectations for technology, ushering in a new era of innovation....Google has invested heavily to reinvent itself as a design-centric business. Incumbents like Samsung , General Electric and IBM have spent hundreds of millions to build in-house design studios with thousands of designers. ...Slack and Airbnb—like Pinterest, Instagram and Kickstarter—are recent successes founded by designers, people who are devoted to the practice of building impeccably considerate technology. Design is the key to building the next great wave of companies. To compete seriously on design, startups must make it central to their strategy from the beginning......we’re entering the age of “ambient computing,” when personal technology will become invisible and omnipresent. Augmented reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, the Internet of Things, and other nascent tech will fade into the background of our lives. Technology will no longer come in the form of gadgets. Instead, as Mr. Mossberg predicts, “it’ll be about actual experiences, with much less emphasis on the way those experiences get made.”....The 21st century will be the century of the designer founder, when core value for businesses is created by entrepreneurs who have a deeper, more intuitive sense for the human condition.
Walter_Mossberg  retirement  design  design_thinking  technology  IDEO  '90s  UX  Apple  ambient_computing  customer_expectations  uncharted_problems  pervasive_computing  the_human_condition  augmented_reality  core_values  unarticulated_desires  farewells 
august 2017 by jerryking
Amazon Is Leading Tech’s Takeover of America - WSJ
By Christopher Mims
June 16, 2017

The impact of all this is clear: Existing businesses that can’t respond by becoming tech companies themselves are going to get bought or bulldozed, and power and wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few companies in a way not seen since the Gilded Age. The rest of us will have to decide how comfortable we are buying all our goods and services from the members of an oligopoly.

Think about it: Apple, a computer company that became a phone company, is now working on self-driving cars, original TV programming and augmented reality, while pushing into payments territory previously controlled by banks, moves that could make it the first trillion-dollar company in the world.

Facebook , still seen by some as a baby-pictures-and-birthday-reminders company, is creating drones, virtual-reality hardware, original TV shows, even telepathic brain-computer interfaces.

Google parent Alphabet Inc., still largely an ad company with a search engine, built Android, which now runs more personal computing devices than any other software on Earth. It ate the maps industry; it’s working on internet-beaming balloons, energy-harvesting kites, and ways to extend the human lifespan. It’s also arguably the leader in self-driving tech.

Meanwhile, serial disrupter Elon Musk brings his tech notions to any market he pleases—finance, autos, energy, aerospace.
Amazon  disruption  oligopolies  Facebook  Google  Apple  Gilded_Age  Elon_Musk  augmented_reality  Christopher_Mims 
june 2017 by jerryking
Men like dogs: Technology is allowing us to act more like our canine friends
May 6, 2011 | The Economist |by Schumpeter.

David Crow presentation from a few years ago on smart glasses--augmented reality.

Dogs, they say,
think in maps informed with their smell. They sniff &re-sniff a
location to find out what has been there & they sniff the air to
tell the future: to discover what will be here or where they'll go next.
Thus, dogs have a different sense of 'now'. Unlike our eyes, which take
in what is visible & apparent at this moment, their noses can sense
the past — who & what was here & what’s decaying underneath —
& the future of a place — what’s coming, just upwind. Dogs are
microprocessors & their noses feed their data bases. It strikes me
that the web— particularly the mobile web— is building a dog’s map of
the world. Via Foursquare, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Maps, Layar,
Goggles, etc.,we can look at a place & see who & what was here
before, what happened here, what people think of this place.Every place
will tell a story it could not before, without a nose to find the data
about it and a data base to store it and a mind to process it.
dogs  technology  Foursquare  Twitter  location  overlay_networks  location_based_services  smell  mapping  augmented_reality  metaphysical  sense-making  storytelling  wayfinding 
may 2011 by jerryking
Augmented business;
Nov 6, 2010. | The Economist.Vol. 397, Iss. 8707; pg. 12 |
Anonymous.

The more data that firms collect in their core business, the more they
are able to offer new types of services. 3 trends stand out. First,
since smart systems provide better information, they should lead to
improved pricing and allocation of resources. Second, the integration of
the virtual and the real will speed up the shift from physical goods to
services that has been going on for some time. This also means that
more and more things will be hired instead of bought. Third, economic
value, having migrated from goods to services, will now increasingly
move to data and the algorithms used to analyse them. In fact, data, and
the knowledge extracted from them, may even be on their way to becoming
a factor of production in their own right, just like land, labour and
capital. That will make companies and governments increasingly
protective of their data assets.
sensors  ProQuest  Outsourcing  data_driven  services  augmented_reality  DaaS  factors_of_production  Industrial_Internet  data  algorithms  intangibles  core_businesses  resource_allocation  physical_assets  value_migration 
november 2010 by jerryking

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