I was honored to be named LinkedIn’s #1 Voice in Technology for 2017. I’m sincerely humbled by this list of writers; you should check out their work. It’s extraordinary. Congratulations to my colleagues and a very big thank you to my readers!
As the year winds down, I thought it would be fun to recap your picks (by pageviews) for the top 10 articles of 2017.
10. Alexa, The Killer App – The superstar of CES® 2017 was not a car, or a robot, or even a TV; it was Alexa Voice Service (AVS), the software that allows you to control compatible devices with your voice. Various reports estimated there were 700–1,100 Alexa-controllable products at the show. I can’t verify the number, but “and it works with Alexa” was the running gag at CES. The familiar Amazon/Alexa logo seemed to be everywhere.
9. Can Self-Driving Cars Ever Really Be Safe? – Analysts estimate that by 2030, self-driving cars and trucks (autonomous vehicles) could account for as much as 60 percent of US auto sales. That’s great! But autonomous vehicles are basically computers on wheels, and computers crash all the time. Besides that, computers get hacked every day. So you gotta ask, “Can self-driving cars ever really be safe?”
8. Losing Weight Just Got Easy Again – Jawbone just went belly up. Fitbit is on life support. The Quantified Self movement is busy measuring the last days of the fitness tracker fad; its 10,000 steps of fame are up.
7. Chipping People: Are You Ready? – According to the New York Times, Three Square Market, a Wisconsin vending machine software firm, offers its employees the opportunity to inject microchips into their hands so they can open office doors, log in to computers, share business cards, and even buy snacks with just a wave.
6. I’d Pay You $500,000 a Year, but You Can’t Do the Work – Clients want us to deliver online experiences that are competitive with Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, and other top-tier tech companies because that’s what consumers demand. This has created a war for talent unlike anything I’ve seen in my career. While it must be fought, it can never be won because the rules are not what they seem.
5. TV May Actually Die Soon – Stay Tuned – FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google/YouTube) is about to take a huge bite out of traditional network TV (ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox), and the media business will never be the same. To understand how profound the implications of the recently announced NFL on Amazon Prime or YouTube TV are, it may help to understand the economic engine that drives traditional commercial television.
4. 5 Awesome Illegal Uses for Alexa – If you let your imagination run wild in the world of automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU), and you throw in a little fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD), you can come up with several illegal uses for systems such as Alexa Voice Service, Google Home, Siri, and Cortana that will give you pause. As I have previously written, Alexa is the “killer app” for the Internet of Things (IoT). It is not dangerous, at least not in its present form. But just for fun, let’s play pretend in our world of infinite possibilities.
3. The 5 Jobs Robots Will Take Last – Today, let’s have a go at the 5 jobs robots will take last. For this article only, let’s define “robots” as technologies, such as machine learning algorithms running on purpose-built computer platforms, that have been trained to perform tasks that currently require humans to perform.
2. The 5 Jobs Robots Will Take First – Oxford University researchers have estimated that 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be automated within the next two decades. But which white-collar jobs will robots take first?
1. Just How Dangerous Is Alexa? – The “willing suspension of disbelief” is the idea that we (the audience, readers, viewers, content consumers) are willing to suspend judgment about the implausibility of the narrative for the quality of our own enjoyment. We do it all the time. Two-dimensional video on our screens is smaller than life and flat and not in real time, but we ignore those facts and immerse ourselves in the stories as if they were real.
Thanks again to the nice people at LinkedIn and, most importantly, thank you. You keep reading, I’ll keep writing. See you at CES® 2018!