Media & Entertainment

Google Home and Amazon Echo

I’ve Talked to the Future and It Talked Back

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Sometimes I walk into a room and say, “Alexa, what’s the temperature outside?” She answers by speaking the current temperature followed by an abbreviated weather report. She’s so human-like, I have to resist the temptation to say “Thank you” when she finishes. Importantly, Alexa is not a she; it is a component of Amazon's Echo natural language processing system. Amazon has anthropomorphized Echo with a female voice and a feminine name, which makes it easy to call Alexa a “she.” Should we be polite when we speak to it, or is it OK to be abrupt or even abusive? The device won’t care. It doesn't have feelings; but how will we teach our children to differentiate between machines that sound and act like people, and other disembodied voices that actually are people?

react.js screenshot

I’m Taking Your Job!

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We just used a few overeducated millennials and some open-source code to get a bunch of cognitive nonrepetitive workers fired. Which sucks! Incredibly, we didn’t use AI or machine learning to do it, just imagination and some free stuff. The bad news is that unless these people learn to do higher-value cognitive nonrepetitive work, they are not going to be employable. And the really bad news is that even if they do learn to do higher-value cognitive nonrepetitive work, when we start using machine learning and AI tools to do their jobs, they will actually be unemployable.

Will work for data

Rich Data, Poor Data: What the Data Rich Do – That the Data Poor and the Data Middle Class Do Not!

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Generally speaking, there are two kinds of companies in the world: data rich and data poor. The richest of the data rich (Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, etc.) are easy to name. But you don't need to be at the top of this list to use data to create value. You need to have the tools in place to turn information (data) into action -- that's what the data rich do that the data poor and the data middle class do not.

Samsung VR App Store

It’s Not TV, It’s a TV App

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How soon will TV transform from wall-mounted 4K flat-screens to a 99-cent app in a VR/AR App Store? That's a question few will ponder this week as the National Association of Broadcasters gathers in Las Vegas for the NAB Show 2016. TV has both defined and enlarged mass communication for more than a half-century. No one in their right mind would suggest that big-screen TVs might go away – ever! Well, no one ever said I was in my right mind.

"Hello." He Lied

The Lying Filter – How to Use Yours

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I don’t like to discuss religion or politics in polite company. It’s pointless. Both subjects provoke passionate lectures espousing personal worldviews, and minds are seldom, if ever, changed. But … after watching some of the speeches and debates, reading some tweets, and switching between the parade of pundits on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, I've started to wonder what @tjeff (my hypothetical twitter handle for a reincarnated Thomas Jefferson) would have had to do to find the facts upon which to base his independent thinking.