Shift 2020 Brain Food #8 – #IoT #robotics #AI

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Welcome to shift 2020 Brain Food #8 newsletter with insights and links to must read articles on digital transformation changing our world in business and society, carefully curated by yours truly.

As we’re now 4 weeks away from the IoT Shifts Conference in Barcelona, this issue is entirely focused on the Internet of Things (#IoT) and includes links articles on robotics and artificial intelligence as they are indispensably connected.

Let me know if you enjoyed reading this newsletter and which sections you like the most by simply replying to this email or to send me your feedback, tips & links to add or simply start a conversation.


Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies
The Internet of Things is currently at the top Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies list but smart Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino has a brilliant Critical Look at Gartner’s Internet of Things analysis. Judge for yourself who’s the real analyst in the house.

The hard side of the IoT by Alicia Asín 
Excellent summary explaining the key factors why it’s not time for the hardware commoditisation phase in IoT just yet: “We are literally at the beginning of a new railway age and we really do need to build the tracks first. Hardware is those tracks“.

Related: 50 Sensor applications for a Smarter World. Get Inspired!

Wind to power Trains
According to Railway Technology, all Netherlands Railways trains will be powered 100 percent by wind by 2018.

Related: Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?

Machine learning, IoT and big data: Retailers need to embrace latest tech or fall behind
The gamut of data-driven and cloud-powered technology is now available for the retail sector to take advantage of, and some retailers are already doing so, creating a perfect storm of innovation and real-world use cases. Others should follow this lead or risk falling behind in the market.

Will a robot take your job?
If you want to check if a robot will take your job within the next two decades, head over to the BBC for this insightful job search project on the automation risk of your job, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte.

Your Lawyer May Soon Ask This AI-Powered App for Legal Help
MUST READ Wired article on ROSS, an AI digital legal expert that helps you power through your legal research. “Built on top of Watson, IBM’s cognitive computer, ROSS reads through the entire body of law and returns a cited answer and topical readings from legislation, case law and secondary sources to get you up-to-speed quickly. In addition, ROSS monitors the law around the clock to notify you of new court decisions that can affect your case.”

Injected electronics: The next wave of wearable tech?
Forget Google Glass and that Fitbit you used to wear; the ultimate in wearable computing isn’t worn on your body, but embedded within it. With chips physically inserted into your body either attached to nerves or placed into muscles or skin, a new form of synergy between human and computer can occur.

We’re on the Brink of a Revolution in Crazy-Smart Digital Assistants
“A great conversational agent is only fully useful when it’s everywhere, when it can get to know you in multiple contexts—learning your habits, your likes and dislikes, your routine and schedule. The way to get there is to have your AI colonize as many apps and devices as possible.”

Intelligent machines: Call for a ban on robots designed as sex toys
A campaign has been launched calling for a ban on the development of robots that can be used for sex. Sex dolls already on the market are becoming more sophisticated and some are now hoping to build artificial intelligence into their products.

A physical “Her”?

Why Uber Would Like to Buy Your Robotics Department
Great NYT read on whether high-tech academia can survive today’s Silicon Valley talent binge?

Related: What Makes Uber Run – a detailed profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
“Max Chafkin spent five months interviewing dozens of Kalanick’s current and former associates—investors, employees, coworkers, friends—and, of course, the man himself, trying to square the Kalanick they know with the avatar for Silicon Valley disruption. Uber and Kalanick’s next-step plans are shocking to contemplate: conquering the world’s biggest and toughest-to-crack markets in India and China; transforming Uber from “everyone’s private driver” into a carpooling service; and then further reinventing itself—and how the world’s cities operate—by introducing a fleet of autonomous vehicles. If you want to get your head around Uber’s wild growth, and its even wilder potential, you have to get to know its wildly ambitious, ever-restless CEO.”

Augmenting the human experience: AR, wearable tech, and the IoT
Augmented reality (AR), wearable technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are all really about human augmentation. They are coming together to create a new reality that will forever change the way we experience the world. As these technologies emerge, we must place the focus on serving human needs.

My Life as a Robot
I HAVE BEEN part robot since May. Instead of legs, I move on gyroscopically stabilized wheels. Instead of a face, I have an iPad screen. Instead of eyes, a camera with no peripheral vision. Instead of a mouth, a speaker whose volume I can’t even gauge with my own ears. And instead of ears, a tinny microphone that crackles and hisses with every high note.”

Deep Learning Machine Teaches Itself Chess in 72 Hours
“In the last few years, neural networks have become hugely powerful thanks to two advances. The first is a better understanding of how to fine-tune these networks as they learn, thanks in part to much faster computers. The second is the availability of massive annotated datasets to train the networks. That has allowed computer scientists to train much bigger networks organized into many layers. These so-called deep neural networks have become hugely powerful and now routinely outperform humans in pattern recognition tasks such as face recognition and handwriting recognition.”

Is a Cambrian Explosion Coming for Robotics?
MUST READ article by Gill A. Pratt in which he argues that when the growth of robot capabilities begins in earnest, it will likely be explosive—a Cambrian Explosion of robotics.

Disruptive Power Lies at the Intersections by Frank Diana
These combinatorial examples make it clear that isolated analysis of any given disruptive scenario is not sufficient. The true disruptive power lies at the intersections. Understanding these combinations helps us exploit disruptive opportunity; versus succumbing to disruptive stress. This same ability to combine and disrupt provides a platform for next generation efficiency and effectiveness. However, isolated efforts won’t get us there; the power lies at the intersections.”

Humanising Technology: A History of Human-Computer Interaction
“Design to encourage trust, empathy and responsibility, while protecting privacy is the next big thing”, according Professor Ben Shneiderman.

Many of the topics covered in this newsletter will be subject of discussion at

IoT Shifts Conference, Barcelona, October 19-20
The program is coming in its final stage now, we will soon announce the slots and final details of the talks and panels on day 1, meanwhile you can get a glimpse of some of the workshops on day 2 here.

If you want to learn about Slow Data, the Quantified Enterprise, Humanising Technology, Privacy by Design, Connected Aircraft, the rise of the Internet of Touch, or the Design Fiction approach from The Near Future Laboratory, you should definitely plan to attend.

Readers can use the VIP_shift2020 code for a 25% discount or use this direct link to benefit from this promotion

Check also the IoT Shifts Transformation Retreat I’m organising with Claro Partners and Humberto Schwab using Socratic Design:

“Socratic Design is a method to investigate assumptions and their impact on our thinking and acting. It is a radical approach that can eliminate the thinking that was fitted for the past culture and technology. It instantaneously create individuals into a new collaborative intelligent group that by the art of listening create new frames, concepts and lines of reasoning that is capable of a perspective of meaning fitted to understand actual technology and culture challenges.”

In other words, learn to think differently and go deep!

There’s only a couple of seats left to join this unique and rare opportunity to gain coaching, industry insights and IoT knowledge that can assist your business growth and personal development, at a beautiful luxury 5-star resort in the Peralada (near Girona) in the north east of Spain.

Reshaping Work in the Digital Age
This week I did a keynote presentation at the HRMExpo in Cologne, the largest trade fair for HR Managers in Europe. You can view the slides of this presentation on Slideshare (currently featured on the homepage).

In this session, I’m exploring the transformational trends that will impact the future of the HR professional sector including topics such as the power of digital ecosystems, new platform tools creating different ways of working together and how we organise our work more efficiently. I included some interesting know-how on the impact robotics and artificial intelligence will have on jobs and work, as well as the important role of “human” in the future of HR.

Some of the key takeaways of my presentation are summarised by Alan O’ Rourke.

Or you can view my Twitter feed for more instant reactions and comments during this talk.

More links to recent projects

Contribution to “Comment vivra-t-on en Belgique en 2050” article in @LeVif 

Video of my talk “Sustainability: The Soul of Technology

That’s it for this week. Feel free to pass this newsletter around to your friends and colleagues interested. You can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here.

You can read the previous editions of this newsletter here.

Be kind to yourself and your loved ones.

Have a great weekend and week ahead!


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