Futurizonte https://futurizonte.org/wp Look at the future emerging just beyond the horizon of the present Sat, 26 Sep 2020 01:49:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://futurizonte.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/cropped-Futurizonte-LOGO-Oct2019-32x32.jpg Futurizonte https://futurizonte.org/wp 32 32 Twinkling, star-shaped brain cells may hold the key to why, how we sleep https://futurizonte.org/wp/twinkling-star-shaped-brain-cells-may-hold-the-key-to-why-how-we-sleep/ https://futurizonte.org/wp/twinkling-star-shaped-brain-cells-may-hold-the-key-to-why-how-we-sleep/#respond Sat, 26 Sep 2020 01:49:57 +0000 https://futurizonte.org/wp/?p=7973 Summary: A new study published in the journal Current Biology suggests that star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes could be as important to the regulation of sleep as neurons, the brain’s nerve cells.

Original author and publication date: Washington State University – September 24, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: If star-shaped brain cells makes us sleep, perhaps we sleep to reconnect with the stars. After all, we are stardust.

Astrocytes in the brain expressing a fluorescent calcium indicator captured with a two-photon microscope. Credit: Ashley Ingiosi, courtesy of Current Biology.
Astrocytes in the brain expressing a fluorescent calcium indicator captured with a two-photon microscope. Credit: Ashley Ingiosi, courtesy of Current Biology.

From the article:

Led by researchers at Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, the study builds new momentum toward ultimately solving the mystery of why we sleep and how sleep works in the brain. The discovery may also set the stage for potential future treatment strategies for sleep disorders and neurological diseases and other conditions associated with troubled sleep, such as PTSD, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism spectrum disorder.

“What we know about sleep has been based largely on neurons,” said lead author and postdoctoral research associate Ashley Ingiosi.

Neurons, she explained, communicate through electrical signals that can be readily captured through electroencephalography (EEG). Astrocytes—a type of glial (or “glue”) cell that interacts with neurons—do not use electrical signals and instead use a process known as calcium signa

It was long thought that astrocytes—which can outnumber neurons by five to one—merely served a supportive role, without any direct involvement in behaviors and processes. Neuroscientists have only recently started to take a closer look at their potential role in various processes. And while a few studies have hinted that astrocytes may play a role in sleep, solid scientific tools to study their calcium activity have not been available until recently, Ingiosi said.

To delve deeper into astrocytes’ role in sleep, she and her coauthors used a rodent model to record astrocytes’ calcium activity throughout sleep and wake, as well as after sleep deprivation. They used a fluorescent calcium indicator that was imaged via tiny head-mounted microscopes that looked directly into the brains of mice as they moved around and behaved as they normally would. This indicator allowed the team to see calcium-driven fluorescent activity twinkling on and off in astrocytes during sleep and waking behaviors. Their one-of-a-kind methodology using these miniature microscopes allowed the team to conduct the first-ever study of astrocytes’ calcium activity in sleep in freely behaving animals.

The research team set out to answer two main questions: do astrocytes change dynamically across sleep and wake states like neurons do? And do astrocytes play a role in regulating sleep need, our natural drive to sleep?

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NASA and US Space Force team up for planetary defense, moon trips and more https://futurizonte.org/wp/nasa-and-us-space-force-team-up-for-planetary-defense-moon-trips-and-more/ https://futurizonte.org/wp/nasa-and-us-space-force-team-up-for-planetary-defense-moon-trips-and-more/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 02:13:31 +0000 https://futurizonte.org/wp/?p=7967 Summary: NASA and the United States Space Force are banding together for the future of human spaceflight.

Original author and publication date: Chelsea Gohd – September 24, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s note: Science fiction is becoming reality (again!). Starfleet should be around the corner. (Their logos are quite similar)

From the article:

As the agency moves forward with its Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the lunar surface by 2024, NASA is also working on its relationship with the newly-minted Space Force, which was formed Dec. 2019. Today (Sept. 22), NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NASA and the U.S. Space Force.

This agreement officially joins the two entities in collaboration with regard to “human spaceflight, U.S. space policy, space transportation, standards and best practices for safe operations in space, scientific research and planetary defense,” NASA said in a statement.

NASA and the Space Force have penned this MOU to “affirm a strong interest in continuing their longstanding partnership for mutually beneficial collaborative activities in furtherance of space exploration, scientific discovery, and security,” the MOU reads.

While NASA is focused on exploration, science and technology, the Space Force is a military operation. But while the two have very different missions and overall goals, “we share the same domain and we’re operating in the same environment. So there’s a lot of synergies, a lot of overlap,” Bridenstine said today during a Mitchell Institute virtual event.

“NASA and the military share a long history dating back to the late 1950s; there is power in our partnership,” Raymond said in the same statement.

“A secure, stable, and accessible space domain underpins our nation’s security, prosperity and scientific achievement. Space Force looks forward to future collaboration, as NASA pushes farther into the universe for the benefit of all.”

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Expert discusses the role artificial intelligence has in better accounting https://futurizonte.org/wp/expert-discusses-the-role-artificial-intelligence-has-in-better-accounting/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:09:37 +0000 https://futurizonte.org/wp/?p=7960 Summary: Jorge Zuñiga, a successful entrepreneur and eCommerce specialist discusses modern-day business accounting and how it is being influenced by the integration of artificial intelligence.

Original author and publication date: WEBWIRE – September 22, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: AI already makes decisions about college and school grades and healthcare treatments. No surprise AI already makes decision about money and finances.

Image courtesy WEBWIRE
Image courtesy WEBWIRE

From the article:

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a standard phrase of late, and it is hard to separate the exposure from viable prospects that AI has built on a solid principle. Basically, AI is one of the most excellent thoughts in structure creation and dynamic, and the proportion of examination and responsibility with client interactions have progressed into self-evident, usable procedures and advances that are changing how individuals make decisions, while taking out the risk of human error. Jorge Zuñiga, a successful entrepreneur and eCommerce specialist, offers information into how this headway is changing the accounting space.

The development of AI and its blend into different kinds of tech and solutions doesn’t mean it’s an original thought. It has been an objective and target of programming designing pioneers for over 60 years and has seen confusing advancement now, and will into the foreseeable future. AI has, recenlty, become a part of our everyday lives, as observed by the climb in smart home alternatives, chatbots, voice-assisted advancements like Alexa, and even self-driving vehicles. Says Zuñiga, “Proceeding, AI will convey a stunning opportunity to accountants and promises to offer an inside and out new norm of profitability in accounting and budgetary assignments. In relation to the overall accounting space, AI could change in every way that really matters each part of accounting.”

Human understanding is, in itself, a mental wonder, particularly considering the ability of the mind to alter its processes rapidly and remain versatile. But, it also has its limitations. The human psyche is constantly endeavoring to oblige tendencies and abnormalities, and these

In a like manner, the creation of machine learning (ML) and AI are set to help individuals make their decisions, and won’t displace them completely. PC-based knowledge is here to incorporate limits, while sparing time by taking out overwhelming and overabundance tasks. This, as it relates to accounting, grants clerks to focus on progressively advantageous endeavors.

In accounting, the assistance ML gives toward dynamic methods makes a way for offering accountants absolute and exact data-driven encounters that can be gotten together with financial and non-cash-related assessments to develop better budgetary prosperity pictures. States Zuñiga, “Reproduced knowledge also empowers accountants to deal with current issues, even more adequately while empowering an inexorably created plan that allows the individuals to focus on offering notice sorts of help, fundamental progression, driving and basic deduction, instead of contributing that energy going after scheduled, and habitually unexceptional, tasks.”

“Notwithstanding the impressive number of degrees of progress, just one out of each occasional action or undertaking is ready for AI. The potential for the development is vast, but the platform is routinely simply successful when used to play out the identical repetitive tasks. This allows the phase to have the choice to perceive plans and summarize and apply its results in like way.”

“The yields of the calculations are predicated on the arrangement input and are totally interesting, inferring that not everything endeavors can benefit from AI. This is developing, however, as the advancement is improved, and new discoveries are made”

ML and AI have exhibited that gathering and organizing data doesn’t have to simply be performed by individuals. Machines are progressively capable and can improve, which allows more imperative viability and awards the money manager to work better, too.

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Pandemic: a time for humanity to change its very basic philosophy https://futurizonte.org/wp/pandemic-a-time-for-humanity-to-change-its-very-basic-philosophy/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 01:52:59 +0000 https://futurizonte.org/wp/?p=7949 Summary: The present is what the ancient Greeks regarded as “kairos”, the opportune moment to respond to the constraints of the “zeitgeist” (the spirit of the times).

Original writer and publication date: India New England News – September 22, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Kairos is, unfortunately, a concept and experience lost to modern and post-modern humans, because techno-chronological time replaced kairos. Yet, the moment is there.

From the article:

The coronavirus pandemic has endangered our basic human rights and liberties and taught us that it is time to change our values, priorities and perspective if humanity is to survive, says Ramin Jahanbegloo, a prominent political philosopher of Iranian origin, in his new book, “The Courage to Exist – A Philosophy of Life and Death in the Age of Coronavirus” (Orient BlackSwan).

Indeed, the present is what the ancient Greeks regarded as “kairos”, the opportune moment to respond to the constraints of the “zeitgeist” (the spirit of the times), Jahanbegloo, currently the Executive Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and the Vice-Dean of the School of Law at Jindal Global University in Sonepat, writes.

“In the Middle Ages, people considered the Black Death as a punishment from God. But in a post-theological world like ours, even those who believe in the story of the Apocalypse wear masks and go to the hospital to be tested for corona.

Therefore, to believe or not to believe in the final judgement does not change the fact that this virus has endangered our basic rights and civil liberties and emptied the houses of God,” Jahanbegloo writes in this slim 96-page book that will definitely make you sit up and think.

“The threat of the coronavirus should make us conscious of the existence of bigger threats that endanger human lives (like climate change). It is time for humanity to understand that the consequences of its actions will be disastrous and catastrophic. What the coronavirus pandemic teaches us is that if humanity is to survive, this is the time for it to change its values, its priorities, and its perspectives,” Jahanbegloo asserts.

As members of the human race, for each of us today, “life and death are critical points when we must respond to the zeitgeist. The coronavirus pandemic is certainly one of those historical moments when our past, present and future seem to be colliding in the same zeitgeist. The time and space of the coronavirus is certainly an instant of ‘proclamation’ but also one of ‘decision’”.

“The non-human world of the coronavirus has proclaimed its supremacy over the human world and taken control of human destiny. But the human world has not yet pronounced its last word. Humanity is living its kairos, its propitious moment and its opportunity to take a decision…But more importantly, the kairic moment of human destiny is to invite humanity to introspect and to make a fundamental change in its approach to living and dying,” the author maintains.

Stressing on the need to re-evaluate some of the basic values on which the socio-economic and political contracts of our world stand, Jahanbegloo says this can only happen by “redefining the art of living together as an act of global exchange”.

“The art of living together cannot be measured in terms of self-interests and personal ambitions (as it is in the corporate world), but in terms of virtue and excellence applied to a global citizenship.

“Democracy is based, both in theory and practice on the idea of civic virtue and on the simple truth that citizens are capable to governing themselves. Civic virtue is the central matrix for self-reflectiveness and self-government. It is crucial to understand that the coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by the decline of civic values and the lack of citizen virtue in different segments of global society,” the author laments but is nonetheless optimistic of the future.

“This is where civic education as a democracy-building tool must play an important role and is a vital requirement for establishing a common humanity and solidarity. In post-coronavirus societies, where human plurality and civil liberties are threatened, civic education or paideia is the only door open to an art of living together,” Jahanbegloo maintains.

“This is our only kairos, our unique window of opportunity to save humanity from itself…we all know that we are living through the death of a culture which offered us the path to power, prosperity and abundance. Because our choice is no longer between good and evil, but between the art of living and a life of meaninglessness and fear. Never before has humankind had so many reasons not to live a life of mindless, ignominious suffering and mediocrity.

“The courage to live the art of living is our passport to the future,” Jahanbegloo concludes.

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Team in Singapore develops smart suit wirelessly powered by a smartphone https://futurizonte.org/wp/team-in-singapore-develops-smart-suit-wirelessly-powered-by-a-smartphone/ Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:54:21 +0000 https://futurizonte.org/wp/?p=7941 Summary:  A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a smartphone-powered suit capable of providing athletes with physiological data such as their posture, running gait and body temperature while they are out on the field. 

Original author and publication date: National University of Singapore – September 21, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: NUS calls the new suit a “Spiderman-like suit”. I wonder if there is more to this new technology than just more information to athletes.

The smartphone-powered suit – pictured here with a design which resembles the motif on Spider-Man’s suit – is designed by a team led by Asst Prof John Ho (left). With him are two members of the research team: Dr Lin Rongzhou (centre) and Dr Kim Han-Joon (right)
The smartphone-powered suit – pictured here with a design which resembles the motif on Spider-Man’s suit – is designed by a team led by Asst Prof John Ho (left). With him are two members of the research team: Dr Lin Rongzhou (centre) and Dr Kim Han-Joon (right)

From the article:

The current technology used to monitor athlete performance range from small wearable fitness trackers to elaborate clinical monitoring equipment. Fitness trackers are compact and lightweight but are only able to collect data from a single point which is insufficient to generate meaningful insights. Clinical monitoring equipment can incorporate multiple sensors to capture data from various points on the athlete’s body, but are mired in tangles of wires and is too bulky to be used outdoors. The ideal system would allow researchers to collect data from multiple sensors at different points on the athlete’s body in an outdoor environment while keeping bulk, weight and wires to an absolute minimum.

Led by Assistant Professor John Ho, a team from the NUS Institute for Health Innovation and Technology, designed the pattern of the web-like threads to relay electromagnetic signals from a nearby smartphone to sensors on the body as far as a metre away, providing power and data connectivity across the suit.

The team took about two years to develop the technology and its research findings were published in Nature Communications earlier this year, where they proved that it was possible to relay a smartphone’s near-field communication (NFC) signal to different locations on the body with specially designed inductive patterns.

“Our smart suit works with most modern smartphones, which act as both the source of power as well as the display to view the sensor data. The creation of a smart suit that can be powered using built-in smartphone wireless technology is a major breakthrough,” said Asst Prof John Ho, who is also from the NUS Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Smart suit for real-time monitoring

The smart suit is made up of web-like circuitry with the inductive patterns acting as hubs at strategic locations. Custom-made sensors placed at those hubs can transmit data back to the smartphone and are powered by the smartphone’s NFC chip, removing the need for batteries. This

The current prototype can support up to six sensors per smartphone while collecting information such as spinal posture, running gait and body temperature simultaneously. Among these functions, the ability to measure spinal position across multiple nodes is most significant as spinal posture is an integral part of developing a solid athletic stance which is often overlooked due to the difficulty in collecting real time data previously.

Good athletic stance can help reduce the risk of injury and optimise performance as poor posture is biomechanically inefficient. The smart suit can constantly monitor an athlete’s spinal posture to provide real-time data with minimal impact on their performance as it is wireless and lightweight.

Other potential applications would include clinical diagnosis of spinal disorder and round-the-clock health monitoring. Researchers and doctors can access the data transmitted to the smartphone via a custom-built application which can also alert the user if any potential issues such as overheating occurs during physical activity.

Moving forward, Asst Prof John Ho and his team plan to develop new sensors to increase the range of data collected and hope to work with professional athletes to help them monitor their physiological signals during training.

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Ethical Guidelines in the Works for Developers of Brain Technologies https://futurizonte.org/wp/ethical-guidelines-in-the-works-for-developers-of-brain-technologies/ Sun, 20 Sep 2020 23:48:04 +0000 https://futurizonte.org/wp/?p=7936 Summary: Neuroscientific research is fraught with moral and ethical dilemmas concerning the potential uses and misuses of technology.

Original author and publication date: Kathy Pretz – September 14, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Nice! Scientists are developing brain technologies with no ethical guidelines. What could go wrong?

From the article:

The IEEE Brain Initiative seeks volunteers to help frame ethical, legal, and social issues for neurotechnologists to consider

For neuroengineers and others who are developing technologies to fix diseases of the human brain, the work can be fascinating. After all, the brain guides the decisions we make. But neuroscientific research is fraught with moral and ethical dilemmas concerning the potential uses

To help navigate that tricky area, the IEEE Brain neuroethics subcommittee recently released the first public version of its IEEE Neuroethics Framework.

A work in progress, the document is organized into a matrix that covers five types of neurotechnologies including those used to stimulate the nervous system or control it. It then breaks down the technologies into current and potential applications. Examples include optimizing a student’s learning abilities to excel in school or modifying an employee’s brain to make the worker more efficient. Within each application the framework explains the ethical, legal, and social issues that might arise from the use of technology.

“Brain science generates a number of ethical issues, and any attempts to assess and/or affect the brain—ergo the mind and the self—have profound philosophical, social, cultural, and perhaps even religious implications,” says James J. Giordano, chair of the subcommittee. The Professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C., and Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program at the university’s Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics is an IEEE senior member.

“We want to ensure the research being done is conducted in a way that’s responsible,” Giordano says. “In addition to building neural technologies well, we’re seeking and striving to guide and direct how such research will be used in ways that are morally, ethically, and legally sound.”

The framework was created by a multidisciplinary group of experts from the fields of engineering, technology, science, philosophy, anthropology, ethics, and law.

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How we’ll find life in the universe https://futurizonte.org/wp/how-well-find-life-in-the-universe/ Sat, 19 Sep 2020 22:28:26 +0000 https://futurizonte.org/wp/?p=7929 Summary: Is there life out there? Researchers are pursuing three paths to find out.

Original author and publication date: Robert Naeye – September 17, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: We know now that there are exoplanets able to have life. How soon will find intelligent alien life?

NASA’s Viking 1 – NASA/Roel van der Hoorn (Wikimedia Commons)

From the article:

Many of science’s greatest mysteries surround questions of how much life is in the universe and what forms it might take. And, given the popularity of sci-fi movies depicting alien creatures, interest is clearly not limited to researchers alone.
For millennia, great minds have contemplated the origin, nature, and prevalence of extraterrestrial life. But despite the impressive brainpower brought to bear, the frustrating reality is that we really don’t know who or what is out there. Scientists have good reason to think billions of inhabited worlds are sprinkled throughout our galaxy in a universe teeming with life — perhaps even technologically advanced life. But maybe the genesis and long-term survival of life on Earth has been a once-in-a-galaxy fluke. Maybe we’re living on one of the precious few miracle worlds where life evolved to staggering levels of diversity and complexity.

Scientists can debate these questions until they’re blue in the face. And they have. But the only way to find out the definitive answer is to observe and explore. And here’s the good news: Never before have scientists had so many tools at their disposal. Excitement is palpable that in 10 to 20 years, astrobiology could make the critical leap from theory to direct observation, no longer suffering the ignominy of being a science whose subject matter is not proven to exist.

Although there’s no official competition or roadmap, scientists across multiple disciplines are pursuing three general pathways for detecting extraterrestrial life. First, they’re hunting for life in the solar system using robotic or sample return missions. Second, they’re searching for compelling evidence of life-bearing worlds by probing exoplanet atmospheres. Third, they’re chasing the ultimate jackpot: evidence of intelligent life through purposefully seeking out alien signals or receiving them by serendipity.

Life on Mars
A major challenge in any search for life is defining exactly what we’re looking for. Terrestrial life assumes such a dizzying variety of forms — from acid-loving bacteria to kangaroos — that attempts to define it inevitably leave out entire classes of critters. Plus, what’s out there in the greater universe might be even more extreme than anything we can imagine from our limited geocentric perspective.

In their recent book, Imagined Life, planetary scientist Michael Summers and physicist James Trefil identify three kinds of life: life like us, life not like us, and life really not like us. The first centers around all terrestrial biota: life based on organic (carbon-based) chemistry using liquid water as a solvent. The second involves chemistry based on elements other than carbon, such as silicon. The third is the wild card: life-forms so far outside our conceptual horizon that we might not even recognize them as being alive.

Scientists are familiar with the first type of life, so they have some idea of what they’re looking for. Better yet, solar system exploration over the past five decades has greatly increased the inventory of relatively nearby candidate worlds that might harbor some form of familiar biology.

Mars remains the most compelling target due to its proximity and overwhelming evidence that liquid water once covered much of its surface. Claims of martian life date back more than a century, to Percival Lowell’s popularization of its fabled canals. In 1976, the Viking Labeled Release experiments returned positive test results for metabolizing microbes, a result that most (but not all) scientists attribute to active soil chemistry. Two decades later, a NASA and Stanford University team led by David McKay reported evidence for ancient microorganisms in Mars meteorite ALH 84001, a claim that remains in dispute.

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The future is cyborg: Kaspersky study finds support for human augmentation https://futurizonte.org/wp/the-future-is-cyborg-kaspersky-study-finds-support-for-human-augmentation/ Fri, 18 Sep 2020 20:44:21 +0000 https://futurizonte.org/wp/?p=7919 Summary: Nearly two thirds of people in leading Western European countries would consider augmenting the human body with technology to improve their lives, mostly to improve health, according to research commissioned by Kaspersky.

Original author and publication date: Reuters – September 16, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: The era of the purely biological human is ending. A new kind of human is emerging.

Image for illustration purposes only - Photo by mahdis mousavi on Unsplash
Image for illustration purposes only
Photo by mahdis mousavi on Unsplash

From the article:

As humanity journeys further into a technological revolution that its leaders say will change every aspect of our lives, opportunities abound to transform the ways our bodies operate from guarding against cancer to turbo-charging the brain.

The Opinium Research survey of 14,500 people in 16 countries including Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain showed that 63% of people would consider augmenting their bodies to improve them, though the results varied across Europe.

In Britain, France and Switzerland, support for augmentation was low – at just 25%, 32% and 36% respectively – while in Portugal and Spain it was much higher – at 60% in both.

“Human augmentation is one of the most significant technology trends today,” said Marco Preuss, European director of global research and analysis at Kaspersky, a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm.

“Augmentation enthusiasts are already testing the limits of what’s possible, but we need commonly agreed standards to ensure augmentation reaches its full potential while minimising the risks,” Preuss said.

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s neuroscience startup Neuralink last month unveiled a pig named Gertrude that has had a coin-sized computer chip in its brain for two months, showing off an early step toward the goal of curing human diseases with the same type of implant.

The survey found that most people wanted any human augmentation to work for the good of humanity, though there were concerns that it would be dangerous for society and open to exploitation by hackers.

The survey showed the majority of people felt that only the rich would be able to get access to human augmentation technology.

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Working With Robots in a Post-Pandemic World https://futurizonte.org/wp/working-with-robots-in-a-post-pandemic-world/ Fri, 18 Sep 2020 00:11:16 +0000 https://futurizonte.org/wp/?p=7913 Summary: Plug-and-play automation systems can be rapidly set up to meet sudden surges in demand — and quickly reconfigured when needs change.

Original authors and publication date: Matt Beane and Erik Brynjolfsson – September 16, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: How much of the past we are about to leave forever in the past because of the pandemic? And how open are we to a new future?

Image courtesy MIT Sloan Management Review
Image courtesy MIT Sloan Management Review

From the article:

Whether you turn to news outlets, tech magazines, or academic sources for insight, you’re likely to hear that the COVID-19 pandemic is going to drive massive growth in automation, especially via robots.1 The arguments in favor of this view seem reasonable: Main Street might look dead, but companies that provide shippable goods have been facing double, triple, or even 10 times their previous demand. Robots, the thinking goes, should be able to reliably do that repetitive physical work when many workers aren’t safely able or willing to set foot in the building. What’s more, access to the technology is getting less expensive, with “robots as a service” models allowing companies to pay per touch rather than dipping into precious capital reserves. And robots are becoming more capable.

In just the past few years, for example, we’ve seen a small number of companies building and selling AI-enabled robots to pick things out of bins, handle parts, tend machines, and test the latest electronics. This is impressive because it’s high-mix work — that is, the products, the work conditions, the processes, and the final output shift regularly but also in surprising ways. Until recently, this made automation via robotics a nonstarter, because previous approaches to things like object detection, grasp detection, and placement verification relied on stable products, conditions, processes, and outcomes. Now? Toss some new objects into a bin, change the lighting, change their position and orientation, and these leading-edge systems can often handle it. Robotics companies are making similar advances in automating other physical jobs, such as materials transport, sorting, and palletizing. So why wouldn’t robots start flying off the shelves?

Because successfully putting robotics into production is a complex undertaking, and most companies aren’t equipped to implement and benefit from these advanced systems. As we’ve studied how organizations and front-line workers are adapting to next-generation, AI-enabled robotics in manual work throughout the U.S., we’ve found that successful adaptation is rare. That stands to reason.

History and decades of research tell us that when a qualitatively new form of automation comes along — anything from punch-card-driven looms to automated call patching — organizations spend much more time and money than anyone expected to find productive uses for that technology. Erik and colleagues call this phenomenon the Productivity J-Curve: Radical new technologies require costly investments in business process redesign, worker reskilling, and organizational transformation.3 These investments usually pay off eventually, but initially, productivity and performance, at least as conventionally measured, can take a discouraging dip.

But we also know from Matt’s research that during such times — when well-understood means of adapting fail — a small minority of users will find rule- and expectation-bending ways to get results more quickly.4 So, in our next phases of research, we’ll continue to look for and learn from these rare deviants: How do they pull it off? We’ll be collecting data from tens of thousands of U.S. enterprises with hundreds of thousands of employees. And to test for broader applicability, we’ll be enrolling a selection of organizations to try out the practices, conditions, and technologies that allowed for early success in a few isolated cases.

Meanwhile, we’re gathering and analyzing data from a diverse range of venture-funded robotics vendors and their business customers, watching implementations from the beginning, and interviewing hundreds of managers, front-line workers, and other professionals involved in implementing the technologies. We’re covering a range of industries, too — warehousing, order fulfillment, parcel handling, kitting, and food preparation, for example. These industries center on facilities and workforces that receive daily truckloads of palletized products (perfume, apparel, ostrich jerky, automotive glue, wooden toys), break them down, catalog them, store them, and then sort and package them to ship off to an end customer.

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Symbiosis between Artificial Intelligence and human creativity will define the Future of Jobs https://futurizonte.org/wp/symbiosis-between-artificial-intelligence-and-human-creativity-will-define-the-future-of-jobs/ Wed, 16 Sep 2020 18:36:18 +0000 https://futurizonte.org/wp/?p=7906 Summary: Technology can become a powerful catalyst for human creativity to drive outcomes.

Original author and publication date: Ratna Metha – September 16, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Is the only option for humans in the future to merge with AI? Is that the end of the biological human?

Image for illustration purposes only. Photo by Eric Krull on Unsplash
Image for illustration purposes only. Photo by Eric Krull on Unsplash

From the article:

Technological advancement is a double-edged sword; while it oils the wheels of advancement and innovation leading to breakthroughs that improve efficiency, rationalise cost and improve the quality of life, it has its fallouts, i.e. job losses, health issues and environmental pollution.

With the rise of AI, there is increasing anxiety around massive job displacement. This is substantiated by widespread research:

  • Accountants have a 95% chance of losing jobs
  • 29% of legal sector jobs could be automated in 10 years
  • Intelligent agents and robots could replace 30% of the world’s current human labour

Being a trader was an esteemed profession, but with AI systems that can analyse information from markets, social media, corporate filings and economic conditions to quickly decipher trades, these systems can trade better than any human.

As per analysis firm Oxford Economics, up to 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world could be replaced with robots by 2030. Each robot impacts 1.6 jobs, with lower-skilled regions seeing a higher impact.

Man and Machine Joining Forces

How we use technology depends on our perspective; we can use it to ‘replace’ humans or we can leverage it to ‘augment’ humans. Enhanced productivity leads to economic growth, which in turn can fund new job creation opportunities.

A Harvard study involving 1,500 companies shows that significant performance improvement is experienced by firms which combine the forces of man and machine. Man and AI can collaborate to enhance each other’s complementary strengths: leadership, team spirit, creativity and social skills of the former, and speed, scalability and data crunching capabilities of the latter.

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