Displaying articles for: 05-27-2012 - 06-02-2012
Seriously! In an IEEE Spectrum article titled: Japanese MH-2 Shoulder Robot Wants To Be Your Friend, Literally.
This innovation is based on the premise that you might want to have a little robotic entity that your friends could inhabit on your shoulder.
It would definitely make working on home more interesting when your boss can really look over your shoulder while you work. It may also make some of the meetings more interesting.
These remote presence tools continue to evolve and increase their capabilities.
Earlier this week I put out a post talking about things computers can do that were just not viewed as possible just a short time ago. This story from MIT about facial recognition by computers is another good example of advances that seem unlikely but may be nearer than we think.
I always find it interesting that we can underestimate advances in the short term (like these stories demonstrate) but can totally overestimate over the long hall (flying cars and lunar basis anyone?).
If this technique is combined with voice recognition or some other tactile feedback, I am sure computers could provide a much better “mood ring” that could be applied for many purposes. Just as long as it doesn’t become the emotional “Clippy”. I wonder how many would use it if there were an alternative communications path showing emotion as part of a UCC initiative -- that may be a bit too much like attaching a lie detector though.
For what applications would you add this capability??
The Horses for Sources blog just had a post titled: Time to ring-fence “Lights On Outsourcing” and focus on “Business Transformation Services” The post provided perspectives on the types of relationships support organizations can have with their clients.
- Lights on
I think they may have missed one camp. The organizations that outsource work and then proceed to surround it with bureaucracy and "watchers" to the point where any labor arbitrage tactical objectives are negated. I’d call this the Paranoid camp. Fingers can be pointed at the suppliers and the customers in what causes this particular behavior, but one thing is clear – it is a model that doesn’t work for anyone.
The triage approach to clients that was described in “ring-fence” is interesting, since it means there are clients that are not interested in innovation from their suppliers. Those relationships are in a death spiral. It made me wonder if the service organization should tell them that their relationship is viewed in that light and what the consuming organization's reaction would be.
Communications and clear goals are definitly critical to any service relationship, even if the supplier is viewed as a commodity by one of the parties. These same issues could apply to the IT organization even if they are not part of an outsourcing arrangement.
Last week, I had some time to talk with both Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee that wrote the book Race Against the Machine. Its focus is: “How the digital revolution is accelerating innovation, driving productivity and irreversibly transforming employment and the economy”.
In my conversation with Andy, we talked about automation in its various forms (including robotics) and how some of the things we thought were far out just a few years ago are not very close (automated cars, context recognition of text within documents and voice). These techniques will enable computers to take on tasks that only people could perform before, shifting the employment profile for the future.
A good example of the shift in what’s possible is this BBC story on Robotic fish that monitor pollution. Since my daughter’s undergrad is in marine biology, it resonated with me.
"The idea is that we want to have real-time monitoring of pollution, so that if someone is dumping chemicals or something is leaking, we can get to it straight away, find out what is causing the problem and put a stop to it,"
These "fish" can swim around and detect pollution alone, tracking it back to its source, or they can travel in groups (using acoustic sensors for communications). Their ability to respond should be more effective, since they don’t get distracted and can carry their sensing with them all the time. While the current independent operation time of the robot is short, there are many other techniques that have addressed this kind of issue in the past.
As businesses plan for their future employees and processes, techniques like these can quite radically shift requirements.
We have probably all heard discussions about the possibilities of quantum computing. Now I’ve been hearing a great deal more about quantum networks:
- University of Innsbruck released a paper titled: Tunable ion–photon entanglement in an optical cavity
- Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics claims to have made World’s First Quantum Network Built with Two Atoms, One Photon
Quantum computing can be used to solve types of problems that today’s computing can’t address, but it has one big problem. Quantum information can’t be copied without being corrupted (per the no-cloning theorem). Instead, physicists are searching for ways to transfer quantum information between matter and light using entanglement, the quantum property in which the state of one particle depends on the state of another particle that can be some distance away.
These techniques could have significant impact on what we even think of as networking someday. I’ve not seen any estimate about when these techniques may be ready for production, but assume it is decades away.