In the 1770s, America was a relatively low tech, agrarian society. But all that was about to change. So here, for your Independence Day reading pleasure, are the eight hottest tech trends circa 1776.
Mobile & Wireless
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?
Tay is a combination chatbot and AI system designed by Microsoft to "engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation." It was specifically "targeted at 18 to 24 year olds in the U.S., the dominant users of mobile social chat services in the U.S." If the words "designed" and "targeted" are off-putting, then you're really not going to care for one of the system's recent, now infamous, tweets ... but, there is much, much more to learn from Microsoft's mistake.
With 20,000 new product announcements and 2.1 million square feet of floor space, it was hard to find the signal in the noise at CES 2016. Here are my top 10 favorite products (with one honorable mention).
Tablets were supposed to be laptop killers. To hear Apple tell it, with the introduction of its new iPad Pro, we are one step closer to a tablet-centric world. But the facts don’t support the optimism. Using Apple as a proxy for the entire tablet market, since it basically invented the category back in 2011 and still accounts for the highest percentage of sales, the market is shrinking fast.