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jerryking : pervasive_computing   6

The Cyber Age Has Hardly Begun - WSJ
By Mark P. Mills
Sept. 17, 2017

Most everything critical to daily life—food, energy, buildings, transportation—is physical, not virtual. The fabric of civilization involves digging up, processing, fabricating, moving and operating gigatons of material composed of atoms, not bits. As amazing as artificial intelligence and the cloud seem today, the world is still in the early days of truly useful, ubiquitous software that can be infused into the physical world’s hardware.

The billions of dollars in economic value from information technology has been associated with improvements mainly in information-related activities: mail, news, entertainment, advertising, finance and travel services. That’s no accident, as those domains are relatively easy to digitize. Very little of the hardware world is digitized so far. The “smart” objects industry is dominated by monitoring and analysis. That’s valuable but doesn’t fundamentally alter how objects are created or operate.

Contrary to breathless prose about robots taking manufacturing jobs, the data show underinvestment in automation and information technology in factories. U.S. companies need more robots and software to boost their competitiveness, profits and employee rolls. While spending on information technology remains high in media, banking, education and insurance, it lags far behind in chemical and food processing, energy and transportation.

Infusing software into hardware so that it becomes invisible and reliable is hard. The physical world involves factors like inertia, friction and gravity, all of which present serious safety implications. Cyberphysical systems have to work with near perfection. The real, rather than virtual, world cannot tolerate the equivalent of frozen screens, reboots, video jitter, or iterative upgrades of sloppy software rushed to market.

One iconic cyberphysical system, the self-driving car, has seen many impressive demonstrations, but engineers know much more work remains to be done. Several researchers recently demonstrated how easily self-driving cars are confused by simple graffiti on street signs. Automotive AI systems have yet to achieve the situational awareness of an inebriated college freshman......When more tech companies use their gargantuan cash hoards to acquire traditional enterprises—like Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods—we’ll know the fusion between atoms and bits has really begun.
Silicon_Valley  digital_economy  Amazon  cyberphysical  physical_economy  IT  atoms_&_bits  physical_world  pervasive_computing  ambient_computing  idle_cash  autonomous_vehicles 
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
Ghosts in the machines
September 17, 2001 | Canadian Business | Paul Kaihla

If mainframes led the first computer revefufion and PCs the second, embedded systems represent third Great Leap Forward. Despite the hoopla about all the wondrous things a person will be able to do with a PDA or smart phone, that kind of flashy product constitutes only about one-tenth of the overall embedded-systems market. The future of pervasive computing actually ties in the many seemingly humble embedded devices that have already infiltrated peoples daily iives. Embedded systems constitute an almost invisible layer of computing that permeates the very fabric of daily life. Embedded systems will ultimately displace the desktop for virtuaiiy everything except for very specific applications. While the proliferation of embedded silicon may indeed spell relief for slumping chip-makers, the real beam wiii be in software — for two reasons. First, it is often the major cost in any embedded system. The second reason is the Web.
Industrial_Internet  pervasive_computing  ambient_computing  infiltration 
july 2012 by jerryking
The “Post-PC” Era: It’s Real, But It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does | Forrester Blogs
May 17, 2011 | Forrester Blogs | by Sarah Rotman Epps who
explains that computing is shifting from: Stationary to ubiquitous.
Contrast the experience of computing on a desktop PC, in one place with a
clear start and finish time, to that of the anytime/anywhere computing
done on a smartphone or tablet. Ubiquitous computing = context-aware
computing, aided by sensors like accelerometers, gyroscopes, and
geolocators in smartphones & tablets.
Formal to casual. Instant-on/always-on computing on smartphones and
tablets fills in-between moments like standing in line or watching TV.

Abstracted to physical. Touchscreens on smartphones and tablets
enable direct physical manipulation of content in two-dimensional space.
Cameras with facial recognition, voice sensors, and motion sensors
(e.g. Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360) permit a wider range of physical
interaction with devices, where a user’s body and voice become the
post-PC  Apple  Forrester  smartphones  sensors  on-demand  tablet_computing  pervasive_computing  digital_economy  contextual  facial-recognition 
may 2011 by jerryking

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