Intentional Future Making

I attented Tech Titans sponsored “Intentional Future Making” event at UTD. Speakers were Anne Balsamo, Dean of UTD School ATEC, Gwen Ishmael, Escalent SVP, and Ted Farrington, Kalypso Fellow. Dr Balsamo discussed the importance of researching culture and human behavior for innovation. Ms Ishmael shared use cases on digital ethnographic research, and how it applies in today’s technology consumption. Dr Farrington discussed deductive and inductive scenario methods, and how it was successful at major corporate R&D. Panel followed with questions from audience. I asked about the challenges facing ethnographic & R&D researches that are grounded in solid academic principles, while many startups jump quickly on the next idea and may be impatient for timely R&D. The challenge exists and innovators must realize the importance of timely research before jumping onto their idea. Panelists shared their insight on the criticality of research to prevent failed implementations, but at the same time, researchers are able to adapt to the new business requirements and are providing findings at lesser time while cautioning innovators against the risk of fast findings through incomplete research.

Dallas Innovation Task Force Q2

Just attended the second quarter task force meeting this year on innovation at Dallas run by the Dallas Regional Chamber. Special guests were Japanese delegates of CULCON (United States – Japan Conference on Cultural & Educational Interchange). The topics and forum discussions centered around AI and ML in addition to a lively discussion on the differences in AI adoption, opportunities, partnerships, and privacy among Japan, India, China, and the US.

Exciting Periods Ahead for Tech

I think that the remainder of the year and the following year will continue to be an exciting period for IT. Hype of AI has toned down a little, and now we have more focus on applications. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and recently Apple are showing more developer centric products. Just check all their recent announcements. Open source still rules and GitHub is still the go to place even after Microsoft’s acquisition. Startups keep popping up in all different places such as in Texas and not just the traditional states. IoT, ARM chips, and Maker tools keep getting cheaper for affordable proof of concepts. The lucky interns are landing summer jobs while the unlucky ones will have to be patient for other opportunities but can pick up new skills in the interim or enjoy family unions. On the other hand, there is not shortage of learning and wisdom leadership by the incumbent corporate employees. Overall, it is great to be in IT.

The C64 is back!

Subsequent geeky announcements can’t get any better these few days. I posted about Raspberry Pi 4.0 release earlier and now a much more exciting news for me at least is the upcoming release of a new Commodore 64 with full size keyboard later this year. hashtag#C64 was the hottest home computer in the 80s. As a kid, it took me years to get my own (my childhood story here https://lnkd.in/eKG82ND ). The new full size to be released in Dec 2019 will expand on the c64mini that was recently released and is still fun to play or code with even with its fake miniature keys. (I will blog about that one soon). However, this will full fledged version with the exactly full size keys that shaped our coding and gaming childhood. Check it out at https://lnkd.in/ejkaV4p

Raspberry Pi 4

The launch of Raspberry Pi 4 today is a big thing in the Maker space, IoT technologies, and low-cost but powerful computing at PC-level. A powerful device for everyone at just $35. It was supposed to be launched in 2020 but they made it happen now. This is a big deal for technology enthusiasts and is likely to generate lots more innovation and practical solutions in the nerd community. Check the article and release at the link below https://lnkd.in/dyY4QUX

Gen Z in Corporate Strategy

In several forums on digital transformations that I attended in the last two years, I would ask the panelists on whether they are incorporating Generation Z millennials into their product development strategy. In such forums you never get a yes or no answer and that is understandably ok, but the silence prior to saying anything makes it clear. It takes an effort to think about it when it should not be. Digital first or mobile first strategy should begin by clustering customers (and employees because they can influence your customers) by generation (silent gen, boomers, X, Y, and Z). Spend more research in determining differences in behavior toward your current or future products. The Z generation could ultimately drop your product altogether, so it important to maintain such outlook and strategize accordingly.

AI should not perfect the human voice

Been thinking that machines must not perfect the human voice. That’s because racial and gender discrimination has hurt our generations for a very long time, so why make digital assistants such as Siri or Alexa speak in either a feminist, a masculine, a particular dialect, or in a certain voice? While we constantly interact with machines, would it make sense to discriminate by voice. I think it would be best that machines maintain a pure gender/accent-neutral voice that does not sound male or female. Make it neutral. That way we don’t add to the pain of discrimination that human races keep suffering all the time. One universal voice for AI that speaks all (or most) human languages without preferring one tone or dialect over the other. What do you all think?

Halt and Catch Fire – Netflix

Been watching “Halt and Catch Fire” on NetFlix for the second time. It spans the history of computers in the 80s and later the Internet in the 90s through a series of fictitious events that closely resemble reality at the time. If you are a geek and bored from watching reruns of War Games or Silicon Valley then this is show is a must. My favorite quote from the show is “computers aren’t the thing. They’re the thing that gets us to the thing”. Watch it on Netflix at https://lnkd.in/e-dAekZ

Sad story about print books

Sad story on the decline of print books used by students and faculty in their studies or checked out at libraries (over 60% decline). Nowadays digital articles, ebooks, and online reference management software are the main tools for scholarly research. The wealth of knowledge is not lost when switching from print to electronic formats but what I feel we lost is how much we perceive the work done by authors. When we find a book on a bookstore shelf, we not only see the nice looking cover but also notice the volume size. The physical appearance of the book is important for our perceptual mindset – big book means more information regardless of quality. But we we opt for an online version that is both searchable and easily accessible with our computers. With digital books, size doesn’t matter because we are capable of acquiring all sorts of ebooks regardless of quantity (number of pages) or quality (author X vs Y). We then search rather than read cover to cover. By loosing the physical essence of print books, its practical value as a whole book diminishes to us. Discouraged authors will then print less books or write smaller volumes. There is no way around this problem other than appreciating what authors write through #reading and #learning from what they give us.

Read the original article Dan Cohen (2019) “The Books of College Libraries Are Turning Into Wallpaper” in The Atlantic May 26, 2019

Watching car races on TV

When cars were all mechanical and less tech and TVs were black and white with antennas, watching car racing was so memorable. You can’t replay or pause like today. Weather breaking broadcast reception were fans’ greatest fears. Now technology takes over mostly everything at the pit and on tv. Watching races seems to me more like watching a perfectly choreographed movie than watching human intellects and fitnesses compete . Still races are entertaining but are more perfect, enormously digital, and in hidef than the past. Sports technology is leaving lesser room for our imagination. Maybe we are witnessing the last episodes of natural racing before esports fully take over and self driving cars powered with algorithms become the predominant racing entertainment (not sport). Luckily so far we don’t have self driving horses so maybe that type of sports tradition may last longer than car racing, but only if we as human preserve our animal species before advancing AI. Enjoy watching #Indy500 today before robots watch it on our behalf. #technology #sports