Why YouTube will be forced to change

This is an interesting trend and the first time I have seen a noticeable list of top YouTube channels migrate to a new platform revenue stream. Due to a complete lack of transparency, there has been a lot of frustration with YouTube regarding revenue potential.

I think this is a good trend and it will be interesting to see how the new media landscape develops.

Think a Robot Could Never Replace You?

You better think again. By some estimates, it’s a reality we might have to begin facing as early as 2025.

Consider the Sedasys machine, a Computer Assisted Personalized Sedation System, which was approved by the FDA last year. The Sedasys P080009 is a machine designed to administer Propofol to patients undergoing surgery and monitor their vital signs to ensure they get the correct dose.

sedasys-charles-bartlettThe Sedasys does not get tired. It does not require vacation time, health benefits, or run the risk of malpractice suit due to human error. There are a significant number of Anesthesiologists that will no longer of economic value in their chosen profession. And that is not the only job in the medical field that is being replaced.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, the authors indicate the following:

By 2025 these machines will have an IQ greater than 90% of the U.S. population. That 15 point increase in IQ over ten years would put another 50 million jobs within reach of smart machines.

The automation of our labor force will be the single biggest disruptive change to our society since the Internet. There will be no easy solutions because it will require that we change the very definition of what it means to work and live in a modern day economy.

My guess is that the days of working to survive are coming to an end. The current capitalist economy in the United States simply does not work when you have 40 or 50% unemployment.

Project Ara is Real?!

I am actually stunned that Project Ara is turning out to be a real product scheduled for release next year. For those unfamiliar, Project Ara is the concept that a smartphone can be a collection modules that you connect to frame-like backbone. The purpose being to allow consumers to upgrade specific components of their smartphone without throwing away the entire phone.

The modules themselves form the “case” of the phone in a very pod-like design. So if you break the camera lens on your phone, you can just remove the old camera module and replace it with a new one. Need more memory? Remove the old one memory module and upgrade it to the latest and greatest.

The reason I am stunned is because this is exactly the type of “pie in the sky” consumer electronics dreaming you see at trade-shows but never see the light of day. For a variety of reasons many electronic device prototypes never reach the marketplace. And Project Ara had many obstacles ahead of it. However, with support announced for the latest and greatest processors.

Google’s Goal for D-Wave Quantum Computer

It’s widely known that Google has purchased one of the fastest computers in the world from D-Wave Systems based in Canada. What has not been known until now is what do they hope to accomplish with it.

New Scientist magazine reports in Google and NASA ride D-Wave to a quantum future that the computer stored in NASA’s Ames Research facility will be used to solve some very practical problems.

The goal is to develop quantum AI [artificial intelligence] algorithms, test them on real world problems and quantify the gains over classical computing machinery.

Some will immediately exclaim this is the rise of the machines and the prophecy of a Sci-Fi dystopia. A more likely situation is that we will need computers to solve problems that our brains are simply not capable of comprehending.

A more immediate concern for Google’s AI effort is enhancing their Autonomous Car Program.

Drivers Need Not Apply

mercedes-benz-autonomous-semi

In a follow-up to the previous post about automation eliminating jobs for humans, Wired magazine reported on the autonomous Mercedes Benz semi truck . Although Mercedes Benz claims the driver will become a ‘Transport Manager’ in a relaxing spacious cabin, if you start to think through the usage scenario of this truck, it’s quite obvious there will be no one behind the wheel.

Mercedes Benz states,

The challenge now,” Bernhard [Daimler board member for trucks and buses] says, “is to leverage this momentum and to continue our open dialogue with all parties involved, so that in ten years’ time the autonomously driving truck will indeed have become an accepted feature on our roads.

10 years time. That is not when the automation will begin. That is their target for it to “become an accepted feature”.

Let’s assume there WILL be a “Transport Manager” in the cabin…

The risk associated with the job is drastically reduced with an autonomous truck. The level of skill needed for that job will be significantly reduced. As a result, the wages for that job will be significantly reduced. Additionally, the labor pool is significantly increased if the semi truck is autonomous.

Drivers that retire, because they can no longer focus for long stretches, are now able to get back on the road. That facilitates an increasing labor pool competing for a decreasing number of jobs. And that always drives down wages.

Why will there not be a Transport Manager in the cabin?

The truck will be fully automated and can run as long as it has fuel. Eliminating the cost of a driver means the transportation company can afford to spend more money on longer (less congested) routes. The truck will not have to navigate through construction zones because the truck will automatically route around construction zones and reported accidents.

What becomes of the semi truck driver?

It’s a great question. There are 3.5 Million semi truck drivers in the United States today. I don’t believe all truck driving jobs will be eliminated, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% are eliminated. Eliminating this job will not spawn new jobs, although it will require other transportation related jobs to evolve.

For example, the semi truck mechanic will now have to troubleshoot and repair the advanced autonomous systems in the truck. There may be a slight number of jobs created due to specialization of the technology, however 90% will be left without a job. That is 3.1 Million people.

It’s a difficult problem that society is going to have to address very soon.

3D Printed Lego AT-AT Walks!

It’s no secret that I do love Legos. In this digital age, there is something very satisfying about snapping or unsnapping blocks together to build something. It’s “meditational”… almost.

This Lego-built AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport), introduced in the best movie of the Star Wars trilogy, just might actually provide me a practical reason for buying a 3D printer. This project is an actual trilogy of my favorite things; Star Wars, Lego, and 3D printing brought together in one build.

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This Imperial Walker is an actual walking AT-AT made possible by some custom 3D printed parts. And…   AND…   it has a working turret gun firing rubber bands at the Rebel Forces.

Stay young people. Have fun building things.

Taran Van Hemert

Indie Web Trend Future

I’ve recently learned about the Indie Web movement and I am very excited about it. It signals a move back to the origins of the Internet, which is based on decentralization and personal ownership of content.

Decentralization is important to the Internet because it helps keep any single entity from becoming too powerful. For example, Facebook wields a lot of power and control as it is the sole keeper of data for nearly a billion people. That’s a lot.

The Clever Developer site provides a great illustration that shows the difference between a centralized, distributed, and distributed network.

Network Structure Diagram

The same could be said for Google, Twitter, Instagram, and several other very large content aggregateors. That isn’t to say that these social networks don’t have value. They do and they provide a meaningful service. But as individuals we have to consider where our information is stored and managed, and whether we are in control of it.

Indie Web helps address that question. And is a step towards federated content.

What is Indie Web?

Indie Web is a recent technology trend that works to provide you applications and services to store, manage, and publish your own content. More in depth information can be found at Indie Web Camp and they have defined three high-level principles to fight back against “corporate web”.

  1. Your content is yours
  2. You are better connected
  3. You are in control

Those three principles are important because when you login to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest, those principles do not apply.

Indie Web Camp Logo

Why is it important?

Moving away from corporate web allows you to operate in an Internet of Federated Content. This means that you create content (articles, photos, videos), publish the content online, and share it with other people without a middle-man service controlling that exchange.

Obviously there are advantages to corporate web social network services, otherwise they would not be as popular as they are. However, there are some downsides to using online social networks and many people believe they have not lived up to their promise of connecting people.

Why would it be better?

Federating your content through Indie Web platforms would provide you several features that the corporate web social networks simply are not going to provide you. Dan Gillmor provides an excellent example in his article, ‘Why the Indie Web movement is so important’, where he writes,

Suppose you could write in your personal blog and have a summary of your post show up on popular social-media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook – and then have responses on those sites show up as comments in your blog?

The idea as you can see is that you produce and curate your content on a site that you personally manage. A site that you have total control over and are not helpless against the whims of a corporate web service that decides to change it’s Privacy Policy to make more money.

In the near future we there will be applications and services that allow you to federate your content. For those early-adopters, you can likely start now as Gilmor writes,

…if some talented programmers have their way you’ll soon be able to do so easily. In fact, it’s what I’m doing right now with this post, which is also running at Slate Magazine.

How you can participate

If you find the Indie Web trend appealing, there is no better time than now to start. I highly recommend reading through the Indie Web Camp site. It is an Open-Source community and they would welcome all participants during their regular Indie Web related events.

Known

A new blogging platform to emerge into Beta is simply known as Known. It’s purpose is to help facilitate the Indie Web trend of federating your content.

With Known Home Page

 

POSSE

Another good source of information (also on the Indie Web Camp site) is POSSE, which is an acronym for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere

Step in the Right Direction

I like this trend as it is a step in the right direction to putting ownership of content back into the hands of the people that created it in the first place. Why do I have to sign-in to Facebook to see someone’s photos or an article they wrote? Why can’t I go to THEIR site and see ALL of their content without a corporate constantly monetizing my behavior (and emotions).

There will be many great features and conveniences to come from the Indie Web trend, however I don’t know if the amount of critical mass that has built up in existing social networks can be swayed. At some point the Indie Web community will have to find a way to make services like Known cooler and more attractive than Facebook and YouTube.

Walking Through the Matrix with Oculus Rift

With great anticipation I am waiting to try the Oculus Rift. It is a virtual reality headset that so far has shown to be truly remarkable.

Initially I think everyone thought they would provide a super immersive gaming experience like no other. Tom’s Hardware reports that Oculus Rift wearers may find themselves in the middle of a movie.

Using the Oculus Rift to watch movies is simple enough, and wouldn’t require any kind of specialdevelopment.

Not just 3D movies, but 360 degree movies.  For this…  I think I would be ok with a remake of the Matrix.