Until now the jobs most vulnerable to machines were those that involved routine, repetitive tasks. But thanks to the exponential rise in processing power and the ubiquity of digitised information (“big data”), computers are increasingly able to perform complicated tasks more cheaply and effectively than people. Clever industrial robots can quickly “learn” a set of human actions. Services may be even more vulnerable. Computers can already detect intruders in a closed-circuit camera picture more reliably than a human can. By comparing reams of financial or biometric data, they can often diagnose fraud or illness more accurately than any number of accountants or doctors. One recent study by academics at Oxford University suggests that 47% of today’s jobs could be automated in the next two decades.
I suspect most skiers would spend much of the time looking more or less straight ahead as they career down the side of a mountain. A camera however that is able to record 360 degree footage of a such descent will now permit skiers to see what was going on, all around them, as in above, behind, to the side, etc, after a run down the slopes.
In 1898 Serbian born US inventor Nikola Tesla stunned visitors to an exhibition at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, with a radio controlled boat. Those witnessing the demonstration of a model boat moving about a pool seemingly believed they were seeing a spectacle of magic:
Using a small, radio-transmitting control box, he was able to maneuver a tiny ship about a pool of water and even flash its running lights on and off, all without any visible connection between the boat and controller. Indeed few people at the time were aware that radio waves even existed and Tesla, an inventor often known to electrify the crowd with his creations, was pushing the boundaries yet again, with his remote-controlled vessel.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic?
If someone were to ask me what the most photographed place on Earth is, I’d say it would be the restaurant table you’re sitting at. Funny, right?
For a more reasoned answer to the question however, check out Sightsmap, a website that collates data from geolocation-oriented photo sharing site Panoramio to produce a heat map of global photo hot spots.
While it seems almost inconceivable today, all the more so maybe if you’re reading this on a smartphone, technologies such as the telephone, computers, and the internet, were initially received with great scepticism and doubt. It almost seems that if the detractors had prevailed early on, these innovations may never have seen the light of day.
The electricians of our company have developed all the significant improvements in the telegraph art to date, and we see no reason why a group of outsiders, with extravagant and impractical ideas, should be entertained, when they have not the slightest idea of the true problems involved. Mr. G.G. Hubbard’s fanciful predictions, while they sound rosy, are based on wild-eyed imagination and lack of understanding of the technical and economic facts of the situation, and a posture of ignoring the obvious limitations of his device, which is hardly more than a toy…
Government researchers have that monitor where the animals are. When a tagged shark is about half a mile away from a beach, it triggers a computer alert, which tweets out a message on the . The tweet notes the shark’s size, breed and approximate location.
The reason the Web Standards Movement mattered was that the browsers sucked. The stated goal of the Movement was to get browser makers on board with web standards such that all of our jobs as developers would be easier. What we may not have realized is that once the browsers don’t suck, being an HTML and CSS “guru” isn’t really a very marketable skillset. 80% of what made us useful was the way we knew all the quirks and intracries of the browsers. Guess what? Those are all gone. And if they’re not, they will be in the very near future. Then what?
Any excuse to link to more of the music of Daft Punk… Vancouver based music maker and DJ Sadowick walks us through the process that brought forth the distinctive sample that features in their 2001 hit, One More Time.
I suspect most self respecting time travellers aren’t going to try announcing their presence by saying something like, “I am from, what on your calendar, would be the twenty-third century” or the like. So how to find them then, and let’s be realistic here, there’s bound to one or two lurking about the place, at any given time.
Using search engines, and even trawling through Twitter, looking for utterings that demonstrates someone has, or had, knowledge of future events, may be the way to go.
Robert Nemiroff, and Teresa Wilson, researchers at Michigan Technological University, decided to try such an approach, and unless a time traveller somehow intervenes to change the outcome of their investigation in the interim, you can read a summary of their work here.