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Smart cities, safe and efficient, but are we being watched?
Information from a library, hospital or public transport exposed? More sustainability , improved mobility, efficiency and safety? Where can you find all of the above in one place? The answer is a smart city. Its purpose is to improve the quality of life by making the town more efficient and by reducing the distance between the citizens and the government. In this article you will read more about the smart city and what it means for our privacy.  Improved technologies Technology is moving forward, devices are becoming smarter, so it is inevitable that in the future we will use electronic devices much more than we do now. To keep the city up and running, the existing technologies need to be upgraded. Otherwise, they cannot meet the specifications and demands of the current system. But what do we want? Investigation shows that we wish for smart transportation, where machines and devices communicate with each other. We want smart buildings, where the windows can open automatically, where there is always a connection with the Internet. That is our future. Are we being watched? Cameras are hanging everywhere to guarantee our safety. But do we feel safe by it? We could get the feeling that we are being watched, every step we take is registered by authorities. Besides cameras, all data is collected. This way, authorities know for example the number of visitors at a certain event or they possess information about citizens for commercial purposes. They may sell this information to third parties. Privacy in a smart city Like mentioned before, cameras are everywhere, and data is collected. What does that mean for our privacy? Who is the gatekeeper to our data? And what if the information is hacked? The more internet data there is, the more fragile we become. Fortunately, with the arrival of the GDPR in May 2018, the rules on the subject are becoming more strict. The citizen must be informed in understandable language, especially when it comes to data traffic in a smart city. Costs savings or costs loss? All these new technologies cost money. To upgrade the existing technologies, we (governments, state or country) need to invest vast amounts of money. However, due to these smart cities, there could be economic benefits coming from the transition towards a smart city, for example when it comes to real estate. Buildings have to deal with endless energy, such as heating and cooling installations, lighting, electrical wiring, communication, lifts, electrical appliances, etcetera. A computer-controlled system regulates, monitors and controls all of this. But this can be done by automated systems. Automated systems can be used for this purpose, and therefore energy consumption can be reduced. For example, the light is turned off at a fixed time, or when nobody is present in the room, ventilation can be regulated on the number of people in the room. This can improve air quality, and will lead to user satisfaction. So yes, at first it will cost money, but in the end, it will save a lot as well. Reducing damages in case of a disaster Smart cities use sensors that are suitable for detecting abnormalities in a town or during an event. In this way, the sensors can inform the authorities if a measurement differs from the limited safety features in a city. This helps the city effectively track everything, and if there is a discrepancy, the authorities are able to act quickly and put an end to the situation so that it does not escalate. Better sustainability in a smart city Smart cities pay extra attention to sustainability, and this is reflected in the fact that they focus on renewable energy sources . If everyone uses a solar-powered system, carbon emissions will be reduced. We can recycle garbage and use the thrown away materials again. Or we may use free rainwater to flush our toilets. We can also apply durability to traffic by using smart transport. For example, to see where there is congestion and possibly change to a better route. We could also use smart traffic lights. All of this will contribute to a better quality of life. That is the ultimate purpose of a smart city: the best possible living circumstances for everybody, to provide a way of life that is the best combination of technology and comfort. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community  
Information from a library, hospital or public transport exposed? More sustainability , improved mobility, efficiency and safety? Where can you find all of the above in one place? The answer is a smart city. Its purpose is to improve the quality of life by making the town more efficient and by reducing the distance between the citizens and the government. In this article you will read more about the smart city and what it means for our privacy.  Improved technologies Technology is moving forward, devices are becoming smarter, so it is inevitable that in the future we will use electronic devices much more than we do now. To keep the city up and running, the existing technologies need to be upgraded. Otherwise, they cannot meet the specifications and demands of the current system. But what do we want? Investigation shows that we wish for smart transportation, where machines and devices communicate with each other. We want smart buildings, where the windows can open automatically, where there is always a connection with the Internet. That is our future. Are we being watched? Cameras are hanging everywhere to guarantee our safety. But do we feel safe by it? We could get the feeling that we are being watched, every step we take is registered by authorities. Besides cameras, all data is collected. This way, authorities know for example the number of visitors at a certain event or they possess information about citizens for commercial purposes. They may sell this information to third parties. Privacy in a smart city Like mentioned before, cameras are everywhere, and data is collected. What does that mean for our privacy? Who is the gatekeeper to our data? And what if the information is hacked? The more internet data there is, the more fragile we become. Fortunately, with the arrival of the GDPR in May 2018, the rules on the subject are becoming more strict. The citizen must be informed in understandable language, especially when it comes to data traffic in a smart city. Costs savings or costs loss? All these new technologies cost money. To upgrade the existing technologies, we (governments, state or country) need to invest vast amounts of money. However, due to these smart cities, there could be economic benefits coming from the transition towards a smart city, for example when it comes to real estate. Buildings have to deal with endless energy, such as heating and cooling installations, lighting, electrical wiring, communication, lifts, electrical appliances, etcetera. A computer-controlled system regulates, monitors and controls all of this. But this can be done by automated systems. Automated systems can be used for this purpose, and therefore energy consumption can be reduced. For example, the light is turned off at a fixed time, or when nobody is present in the room, ventilation can be regulated on the number of people in the room. This can improve air quality, and will lead to user satisfaction. So yes, at first it will cost money, but in the end, it will save a lot as well. Reducing damages in case of a disaster Smart cities use sensors that are suitable for detecting abnormalities in a town or during an event. In this way, the sensors can inform the authorities if a measurement differs from the limited safety features in a city. This helps the city effectively track everything, and if there is a discrepancy, the authorities are able to act quickly and put an end to the situation so that it does not escalate. Better sustainability in a smart city Smart cities pay extra attention to sustainability, and this is reflected in the fact that they focus on renewable energy sources . If everyone uses a solar-powered system, carbon emissions will be reduced. We can recycle garbage and use the thrown away materials again. Or we may use free rainwater to flush our toilets. We can also apply durability to traffic by using smart transport. For example, to see where there is congestion and possibly change to a better route. We could also use smart traffic lights. All of this will contribute to a better quality of life. That is the ultimate purpose of a smart city: the best possible living circumstances for everybody, to provide a way of life that is the best combination of technology and comfort. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community  
Smart cities, safe and efficient, but are we being watched?
Smart cities, safe and efficient, but are we being watched?
Digital disruption and how you can use it in your organization
Digital disruption: why your sector can not escape it Kodak did not keep up with the rapid digitization of photography, travel agencies contrasted it with online counterparts and the music industry ended up in another disruptive period. The consequences of digital disruption are great. Newcomers often turn the market upside down by making smart use of new digital possibilities. Be prepared! If you believe the specialists, in the long term no industry can escape it. In this article I explain the term digital disruption, I describe why it is current now, let me see what the signals are that indicate whether a market is ripe for it, and briefly give a few tips on how you can use it as an organization. We will go into this in more detail in a subsequent article. Emergence of digital disruption For some years, the term digital disruption has been emerging as a subject in professional literature and at conferences. This was mainly about disruptive innovation: innovations that throw the game rules of an existing market overboard and create completely new markets and value networks at the expense of the existing market. More than ever, today's digital possibilities are the driving force behind radical innovations. This led in the technical jargon to the logical composition of the terms digital and disruption. Digital Disruption in Google Trends Although the underlying theory is decades old, it would not be right to label digital disruption as old wine in new bags. The impact of digital disruption on a market is many times greater than with traditional disruption and the turnaround is much faster. Due to the power of the internet and the existing mobile and social media infrastructure, disruptive ideas can reach a very large target group very quickly. Potentially a start-up with a relatively simple app can shake up a traditional market in a short time. An example of this is FitNow, that with the mobile app Lose It! better anticipate consumer needs than traditional diet and waste experts. The app keeps track of what you eat, has smart gamification elements and includes a network of connected buddies. For example, the consumer can consult a buddy at any time if the temptation to start sweating becomes just too big. And that proves to be effective. Lose it! poses a serious threat to established organizations such as Weighwatchers, who have helped millions of people lose weight since 1963. At least, if Weightwatchers does not come soon enough with an answer. The newcomers often enter a market with disruptive business models that would have been impossible without the current digital infrastructure: - Use instead of own: Spotify, Netflix - Freemium: Skype - Peer-to-peer commerce: AirBnB, 99dresses.com - Creativity of the crowd: threadless.com - Mass personalization: chocstar.nl, shirtbyhand.nl - Sharing sustainability news: whatsorb.com According to Forrester Research, digital disruption is relatively new. Only a few industries have already gone through it today. The most obvious example is the music industry, which, thanks to digital disruption, changed from a total turnover of 14 billion in 1990 to 6.8 billion (including digital) in 2010. Meanwhile, the Spotify business model is turning the music industry upside down again. Digital disruption has caused a similar effect in other media. Every branch - no matter how analogous - is sensitive to digital disruption. It is not a matter of whether it happens, but when and by whom. The driving forces behind digital disruption These are challenging times for industries and organizations trying to achieve digital transformation. Because never before have so many different developments come together at the same time to pave the way for radical digital innovation. Together they form the driving force behind digital disruption: - Social cultural - Everyone is online - Buying online is not scary anymore - Online communication has become quite normal - Technologically Internet is always and everywhere available: penetration of the smartphone and tablet - The costs of data storage have fallen enormously - High processor speeds and data analysis methods - Software as a service (cloud technology) - Presence of platforms such as Apple iTunes store, Facebook and the strongly developing           Amazon.com network - Reliable digital payment systems Products are increasingly connected to the internet (internet of things) Which branches are ripe for disruption? Every sector is sensitive to digital disruption, but some markets are more sensitive than others. In Australia, Deloitte identified 18 industries based on 13 factors and 26 indicators on the vulnerability to digital disruption from two perspectives: - the size of the impact (the bang) - the threat of change (the length of the fuse). Short fuse, big bang industry is expected to face significant digital disruption in the short term: - financial services, retail (retail), business services, media and telecommunications. Together these industries make up about one third of the Australian economy. - Long fuse, big bang - industries that can expect considerable disruption, but over a longerperiod of time: such as education, healthcare, transport and government services. These industries also make up a third of the    Australian economy. - Long fuse, smaller pop industries that can expect lower levels of digital disruption are for example industry and mining. In order to determine the impact of digital disruption for a sector, the following factors have been examined: - The extent to which products and services are delivered physically - The extent to which customers use digital channels - The importance of computer use and broadband infrastructure in business operations - How is the penetration of mobile among customers and employees and their average age - The importance of social media and innovations such as cloud computing - How digital innovation can be inhibited by the government, regulations or other factors In addition, the size of the market and the competitive structure play a role. In markets where (excessive) profit is made, are more sensitive than markets where the margins are small. Especially when high margins are earned on activities that customers can do themselves. The broker and insurance intermediary have already experienced this, for the civil-law notary, physician or lawyer, that does not take long. In this digital age, customers no longer accept rates of 200 euros or more for relatively simple administrative tasks such as drafting a will or marriage certificate. Had this research been carried out in Europe, it would probably have given a similar picture. However, it is good to zoom in a little bit more per branch. The impact within an industry certainly does not have to be the same for all sub-segments. Research conducted by GfK 2012 shows that within the retail sector some product groups are much more prone to e-commerce than other product groups. Respond to digital disruption Research by Forrester Research shows that those involved see digital disruption in their industry arrive in time, but do relatively little with it. For example, 86% of respondents see significant digital opportunities to change the industry and only 36% of companies have developed specific policies. From our own research (The New Digital Reality, Jungle Minds 2012) the main cause of this lies with the top management of the organizations. 40% of respondents in the survey indicated that management was not aware of the need to invest in a digital future. Timing an important dilemma in digital disruption Timing is an important dilemma in digital disruption. Investing too early in a digital innovation can lead to high costs, without result. This happened a lot during the internet bubble around 2001. But above all, it can cannibalize your own business. As a market leader you therefore think for a moment before you start to compete for your own profitable market share. According to research by D. Charitoe, established companies respond to disruption in their industry in five ways: Response 1: invest more in the traditional way of working Response 2: ignore it, see it as a different market Response 3: counterattack: disrupt the disruption Response 4: adopt the innovation and play both at the same time Response 5: Embrace the new innovation and increase the scale Which response strategy is chosen in practice depends, according to the researchers, on the ability of the organization to adapt and the motivation to do so. But it is clear that the first two strategies are not sensible in the long term. Established organizations are obliged to continuously adapt to changing market situations. Innovation guru Clayton Christensen, expresses it nicely: "If a company is going to cannibalize your business, you will almost always be better off if that company is your own." You better make yourself redundant, before someone else does that for you. Abuse digital disruption The way in which you as an organization can deal with a digital disruption depends strongly on the situation and industry in which you are. There is a movement that says that you have to tackle it big and complete through digital transformations. No business process is left untouched. The large consultancy and ICT companies are currently preparing to implement these major transformations at their customers. A broad approach is not wrong. The only question is whether you can react sufficiently decisively. At Jungle Minds we are convinced that large established organizations can survive digital disruption by learning to think and do as a start-up (see eg The Lean Startup). This means always being busy devising new business models, developing better customer experiences and working agile and multidisciplinary. It is our experience that this works best with a mix of experienced experts, young digital talent, little hierarchy and plenty of room for creativity. And above all, experiment a lot with the shortest possible time to market: think, create, improve. Because ultimately being late in digital is always more expensive than too early. In a subsequent article, my colleague Bart Vijfhuizen will go deeper into the question of how you as an established company can respond to digital disruption. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/blockchain By: Robert Jan van Nouhuys from Digital Boulevard
Digital disruption: why your sector can not escape it Kodak did not keep up with the rapid digitization of photography, travel agencies contrasted it with online counterparts and the music industry ended up in another disruptive period. The consequences of digital disruption are great. Newcomers often turn the market upside down by making smart use of new digital possibilities. Be prepared! If you believe the specialists, in the long term no industry can escape it. In this article I explain the term digital disruption, I describe why it is current now, let me see what the signals are that indicate whether a market is ripe for it, and briefly give a few tips on how you can use it as an organization. We will go into this in more detail in a subsequent article. Emergence of digital disruption For some years, the term digital disruption has been emerging as a subject in professional literature and at conferences. This was mainly about disruptive innovation: innovations that throw the game rules of an existing market overboard and create completely new markets and value networks at the expense of the existing market. More than ever, today's digital possibilities are the driving force behind radical innovations. This led in the technical jargon to the logical composition of the terms digital and disruption. Digital Disruption in Google Trends Although the underlying theory is decades old, it would not be right to label digital disruption as old wine in new bags. The impact of digital disruption on a market is many times greater than with traditional disruption and the turnaround is much faster. Due to the power of the internet and the existing mobile and social media infrastructure, disruptive ideas can reach a very large target group very quickly. Potentially a start-up with a relatively simple app can shake up a traditional market in a short time. An example of this is FitNow, that with the mobile app Lose It! better anticipate consumer needs than traditional diet and waste experts. The app keeps track of what you eat, has smart gamification elements and includes a network of connected buddies. For example, the consumer can consult a buddy at any time if the temptation to start sweating becomes just too big. And that proves to be effective. Lose it! poses a serious threat to established organizations such as Weighwatchers, who have helped millions of people lose weight since 1963. At least, if Weightwatchers does not come soon enough with an answer. The newcomers often enter a market with disruptive business models that would have been impossible without the current digital infrastructure: - Use instead of own: Spotify, Netflix - Freemium: Skype - Peer-to-peer commerce: AirBnB, 99dresses.com - Creativity of the crowd: threadless.com - Mass personalization: chocstar.nl, shirtbyhand.nl - Sharing sustainability news: whatsorb.com According to Forrester Research, digital disruption is relatively new. Only a few industries have already gone through it today. The most obvious example is the music industry, which, thanks to digital disruption, changed from a total turnover of 14 billion in 1990 to 6.8 billion (including digital) in 2010. Meanwhile, the Spotify business model is turning the music industry upside down again. Digital disruption has caused a similar effect in other media. Every branch - no matter how analogous - is sensitive to digital disruption. It is not a matter of whether it happens, but when and by whom. The driving forces behind digital disruption These are challenging times for industries and organizations trying to achieve digital transformation. Because never before have so many different developments come together at the same time to pave the way for radical digital innovation. Together they form the driving force behind digital disruption: - Social cultural - Everyone is online - Buying online is not scary anymore - Online communication has become quite normal - Technologically Internet is always and everywhere available: penetration of the smartphone and tablet - The costs of data storage have fallen enormously - High processor speeds and data analysis methods - Software as a service (cloud technology) - Presence of platforms such as Apple iTunes store, Facebook and the strongly developing           Amazon.com network - Reliable digital payment systems Products are increasingly connected to the internet (internet of things) Which branches are ripe for disruption? Every sector is sensitive to digital disruption, but some markets are more sensitive than others. In Australia, Deloitte identified 18 industries based on 13 factors and 26 indicators on the vulnerability to digital disruption from two perspectives: - the size of the impact (the bang) - the threat of change (the length of the fuse). Short fuse, big bang industry is expected to face significant digital disruption in the short term: - financial services, retail (retail), business services, media and telecommunications. Together these industries make up about one third of the Australian economy. - Long fuse, big bang - industries that can expect considerable disruption, but over a longerperiod of time: such as education, healthcare, transport and government services. These industries also make up a third of the    Australian economy. - Long fuse, smaller pop industries that can expect lower levels of digital disruption are for example industry and mining. In order to determine the impact of digital disruption for a sector, the following factors have been examined: - The extent to which products and services are delivered physically - The extent to which customers use digital channels - The importance of computer use and broadband infrastructure in business operations - How is the penetration of mobile among customers and employees and their average age - The importance of social media and innovations such as cloud computing - How digital innovation can be inhibited by the government, regulations or other factors In addition, the size of the market and the competitive structure play a role. In markets where (excessive) profit is made, are more sensitive than markets where the margins are small. Especially when high margins are earned on activities that customers can do themselves. The broker and insurance intermediary have already experienced this, for the civil-law notary, physician or lawyer, that does not take long. In this digital age, customers no longer accept rates of 200 euros or more for relatively simple administrative tasks such as drafting a will or marriage certificate. Had this research been carried out in Europe, it would probably have given a similar picture. However, it is good to zoom in a little bit more per branch. The impact within an industry certainly does not have to be the same for all sub-segments. Research conducted by GfK 2012 shows that within the retail sector some product groups are much more prone to e-commerce than other product groups. Respond to digital disruption Research by Forrester Research shows that those involved see digital disruption in their industry arrive in time, but do relatively little with it. For example, 86% of respondents see significant digital opportunities to change the industry and only 36% of companies have developed specific policies. From our own research (The New Digital Reality, Jungle Minds 2012) the main cause of this lies with the top management of the organizations. 40% of respondents in the survey indicated that management was not aware of the need to invest in a digital future. Timing an important dilemma in digital disruption Timing is an important dilemma in digital disruption. Investing too early in a digital innovation can lead to high costs, without result. This happened a lot during the internet bubble around 2001. But above all, it can cannibalize your own business. As a market leader you therefore think for a moment before you start to compete for your own profitable market share. According to research by D. Charitoe, established companies respond to disruption in their industry in five ways: Response 1: invest more in the traditional way of working Response 2: ignore it, see it as a different market Response 3: counterattack: disrupt the disruption Response 4: adopt the innovation and play both at the same time Response 5: Embrace the new innovation and increase the scale Which response strategy is chosen in practice depends, according to the researchers, on the ability of the organization to adapt and the motivation to do so. But it is clear that the first two strategies are not sensible in the long term. Established organizations are obliged to continuously adapt to changing market situations. Innovation guru Clayton Christensen, expresses it nicely: "If a company is going to cannibalize your business, you will almost always be better off if that company is your own." You better make yourself redundant, before someone else does that for you. Abuse digital disruption The way in which you as an organization can deal with a digital disruption depends strongly on the situation and industry in which you are. There is a movement that says that you have to tackle it big and complete through digital transformations. No business process is left untouched. The large consultancy and ICT companies are currently preparing to implement these major transformations at their customers. A broad approach is not wrong. The only question is whether you can react sufficiently decisively. At Jungle Minds we are convinced that large established organizations can survive digital disruption by learning to think and do as a start-up (see eg The Lean Startup). This means always being busy devising new business models, developing better customer experiences and working agile and multidisciplinary. It is our experience that this works best with a mix of experienced experts, young digital talent, little hierarchy and plenty of room for creativity. And above all, experiment a lot with the shortest possible time to market: think, create, improve. Because ultimately being late in digital is always more expensive than too early. In a subsequent article, my colleague Bart Vijfhuizen will go deeper into the question of how you as an established company can respond to digital disruption. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/blockchain By: Robert Jan van Nouhuys from Digital Boulevard
Digital disruption and how you can use it in your organization
Digital disruption and how you can use it in your organization
Is Google and Amazon
How smart can we be? We ourselves! ‘Smart Technology’ for our home Robotic arms have taken a lot of work out of our hands in the industry. Yet we are busier than ever. We hardly have time to live. But now there are also robots for the house to assist us. They can take over many domestic tasks from us. Do they continue the liberation that was introduced with the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine? Google and Amazon's smart technology Photo by: LG Who does not know the dream of the gnomes who – unasked - do all the nasty chores in the house? They exist! Internet giants Google and Amazon, together with a number of electronics companies, have developed programs for various smart in-home help. 'Smart Technology', for example for the 'Assistant' who does not have eyes, and cannot walk or wave, but who can carry out oral assignments to operate the oven, the washing machine, kitchen machines or the shower thermostat. You can also ask questions about the weather report or the situation on the roads. In the future 'Assistants' will also send advertising messages. A listening ear, Google Home Photo by: #Google There are helpers who go further: they are meant as a 'pivot in the household' and are supposed to make themselves indispensable by arranging everything: the lighting in the house, the vacuuming or the laundry. For example, a robot can ensure that the sports clothes are washed on time if there is an appointment with the fitness center in the agenda. They can also give cooking tips, select news, have a conversation, play games with the children and take photos or films of special moments in the family. GPS effect Everything is taken care of by the industrious electronic gnomes: the laundry is done, the floor sucked, the children are entertained with stories, or games ... do they now offer residents the freedom to follow or develop new interest? It could be, but at a price: just as people become dependent on the navigation in the car, and no longer know where they actually are, residents can also become dependent on the helping electronics and the overview, and thus the control about the household. You might say that residents are now visiting themselves. But having said this, let's look at what residents, now that they are freed from the worries that housing brings with them, are going to do with their vacant time. Can they indeed follow or develop new interests thanks to the robots? Embarrisment of choice Thanks to the rat race, they can choose from an abundance of products. There is probably something in between that which arouses a new interest or sets a new development in motion, but a problem here is that the consumer - due to the constant advertising bombardment that the 'rat race' has to keep going - can have some trouble in recognizing  their own interests. This can make it difficult to make a meaningful choice ... from the visit to a theme park, a weekend to a strange city, a nature walk, eating out, a visit to the zoo, a new smartphone, new contemporary furniture, an  electric bicycle or an investment in renewable energy. End of choice stress Why do not they leave the choice to one of the house robots? The self-learning algorithms with which they are equipped recognize patterns in human behavior rather than the people involved, so these robots can also predict future needs! So making a choice with these algorithms is in good hands! For example, house robots could together ensure a smooth and carefree life. Without annoying housework and also without choice stress. Photo by: Click Americana Helpful house robots  But with this, these helpful robots can contribute to residents losing control, not only about the household but also about the choices they make and therefore about the direction in which they want to develop further. This makes these robots essentially different from simple machines such as the vacuum cleaner or the washing machine. ‘Big Brother’, George Orwell In the meantime, these robots, through Google, Amazon and also Facebook, pass on data about our way of living, buying and eating habits and other interests, to companies that can use these to offer products, for prices that are both geared to the residents . Big Brothers are watching us, and take advantage of that. The fact that the 'Assistant' will also send advertising messages in the future was already a warning. Photo: Cover 1984 George Orwell Invisible hand Now these Big Brothers can rightly be seen as a danger, but they only follow the automatism of the 'invisible hand', namely becoming big and strong and making as much advertising as possible. And in the latter they are particularly successful, as their home robots indeed contribute to consumers losing control of their private lives and are happy with all the choices that  the robots bring into their private lives. 1984 This can have an alarming consequence ... If the commercially interesting offers from companies are constantly coming up to the internet searches, products that do not have a commercial interest will no longer have a chance. All the more because the storage capacity of data centers irrevocably lags behind the exponentially growing collection of big data about consumers. Then choices have to be made, and then one day there may be no more critical sounds on the net. Like the 1984 book by George Orwell! Not only for the home Ultimately, it is not so exciting, or cute, or convenient to the offered robots with 'Smart Technology' to take home. They do not serve the residents but the 'invisible hand'. 'Smart Technology' is not only available in-house: robots and computers are also active in public areas. More about that in the next episode. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/artificial-intel- By Philip Krabbendam
How smart can we be? We ourselves! ‘Smart Technology’ for our home Robotic arms have taken a lot of work out of our hands in the industry. Yet we are busier than ever. We hardly have time to live. But now there are also robots for the house to assist us. They can take over many domestic tasks from us. Do they continue the liberation that was introduced with the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine? Google and Amazon's smart technology Photo by: LG Who does not know the dream of the gnomes who – unasked - do all the nasty chores in the house? They exist! Internet giants Google and Amazon, together with a number of electronics companies, have developed programs for various smart in-home help. 'Smart Technology', for example for the 'Assistant' who does not have eyes, and cannot walk or wave, but who can carry out oral assignments to operate the oven, the washing machine, kitchen machines or the shower thermostat. You can also ask questions about the weather report or the situation on the roads. In the future 'Assistants' will also send advertising messages. A listening ear, Google Home Photo by: #Google There are helpers who go further: they are meant as a 'pivot in the household' and are supposed to make themselves indispensable by arranging everything: the lighting in the house, the vacuuming or the laundry. For example, a robot can ensure that the sports clothes are washed on time if there is an appointment with the fitness center in the agenda. They can also give cooking tips, select news, have a conversation, play games with the children and take photos or films of special moments in the family. GPS effect Everything is taken care of by the industrious electronic gnomes: the laundry is done, the floor sucked, the children are entertained with stories, or games ... do they now offer residents the freedom to follow or develop new interest? It could be, but at a price: just as people become dependent on the navigation in the car, and no longer know where they actually are, residents can also become dependent on the helping electronics and the overview, and thus the control about the household. You might say that residents are now visiting themselves. But having said this, let's look at what residents, now that they are freed from the worries that housing brings with them, are going to do with their vacant time. Can they indeed follow or develop new interests thanks to the robots? Embarrisment of choice Thanks to the rat race, they can choose from an abundance of products. There is probably something in between that which arouses a new interest or sets a new development in motion, but a problem here is that the consumer - due to the constant advertising bombardment that the 'rat race' has to keep going - can have some trouble in recognizing  their own interests. This can make it difficult to make a meaningful choice ... from the visit to a theme park, a weekend to a strange city, a nature walk, eating out, a visit to the zoo, a new smartphone, new contemporary furniture, an  electric bicycle or an investment in renewable energy. End of choice stress Why do not they leave the choice to one of the house robots? The self-learning algorithms with which they are equipped recognize patterns in human behavior rather than the people involved, so these robots can also predict future needs! So making a choice with these algorithms is in good hands! For example, house robots could together ensure a smooth and carefree life. Without annoying housework and also without choice stress. Photo by: Click Americana Helpful house robots  But with this, these helpful robots can contribute to residents losing control, not only about the household but also about the choices they make and therefore about the direction in which they want to develop further. This makes these robots essentially different from simple machines such as the vacuum cleaner or the washing machine. ‘Big Brother’, George Orwell In the meantime, these robots, through Google, Amazon and also Facebook, pass on data about our way of living, buying and eating habits and other interests, to companies that can use these to offer products, for prices that are both geared to the residents . Big Brothers are watching us, and take advantage of that. The fact that the 'Assistant' will also send advertising messages in the future was already a warning. Photo: Cover 1984 George Orwell Invisible hand Now these Big Brothers can rightly be seen as a danger, but they only follow the automatism of the 'invisible hand', namely becoming big and strong and making as much advertising as possible. And in the latter they are particularly successful, as their home robots indeed contribute to consumers losing control of their private lives and are happy with all the choices that  the robots bring into their private lives. 1984 This can have an alarming consequence ... If the commercially interesting offers from companies are constantly coming up to the internet searches, products that do not have a commercial interest will no longer have a chance. All the more because the storage capacity of data centers irrevocably lags behind the exponentially growing collection of big data about consumers. Then choices have to be made, and then one day there may be no more critical sounds on the net. Like the 1984 book by George Orwell! Not only for the home Ultimately, it is not so exciting, or cute, or convenient to the offered robots with 'Smart Technology' to take home. They do not serve the residents but the 'invisible hand'. 'Smart Technology' is not only available in-house: robots and computers are also active in public areas. More about that in the next episode. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/artificial-intel- By Philip Krabbendam
Is Google and Amazon
Is Google and Amazon's smart technology at home sustainable?
Sustainability, IoT and AI all come together in 2019
Can technologies – and the will to leverage them – lead to a more sustainable future and, if so, how? It’s one of the questions addressed in a report by Wipro Digital and Forum for the Future. A broader look at sustainability and technology, spiced with some takeaways from the report, entitled ‘Vision 2030: A connected future – how the Internet of Things, data and connectivity can drive business and a sustainable future’. There are opportunities in IoT, data and connectivity for sustainability, providing environmental benefits (Vision 2030) We previously covered the role and potential of IoT, data analytics and connectivity in the scope of specific areas of sustainability. Examples include the social dimension of sustainability with, among others, the call for true citizen participation in smart cities or the need to address human fears and distrust regarding technologies, globalization and the future of people themselves, their children, the pace of change in technologies and so forth, which have led to a previously unseen level of distrust concerning close to, about, anything one can trust and distrust. Other examples include the environmental protection dimension of sustainability. We tackled how ecology and the saving of natural resources and energy ranks high on the agenda in building management, in Industry 4.0 and in regulations concerning energy performant buildings, how they drive building management evolutions and how they lead to the rise of energy efficient building technologies in many parts of the world. A smart building by definition is – or should be – smart on the levels of energy and ecology. A smart city by definition is – or should be – smart on the levels of climate, pollution, natural resources and the natural environment in which it is embedded (often with natural ecosystems also embedded in the smart city itself, think about vertical gardening or the green public space, for instance). The challenge of data, technology and science versus perceptions, beliefs and human agendas in sustainability Yet, sustainability is of course about much more. It’s about economic development, social development and the environment. In recent years the focus of sustainability increasingly is on the natural ecosystems in which we have the privilege to live, work and breathe but which are under pressure as everyone by now should now. For some sustainability is only about the natural ecosystem. Technologies and sustainability or natural/societal challenges are intertwined on many levels. There is the fear regarding technologies, the impact on nature and society of technologies and how they are leveraged and the hope for technologies to help in solving what some indeed call the pressure on the natural ecosystem and others call the disastrous state of our planetary ecosystem that goes beyond imagination and beyond the impact of initiatives that are currently taken and planned in an ecological scope. As we are part of this ecosystem in which, again, we have the privilege to live, many technologies indeed can help with the proper will and priorities. At the same time one can wonder in which degree this is the case. Should we focus on settling on other planets as some advice to do or can we do more here and now? Technology is not the limiting factor in solving the problems, the organizational operations and political will are (Vision 2030) The simple answer is that there is always much more than can be done and that there are certain groups that do not want more to be done as the quote from ‘Vision 2030: A Connected Future‘ on the challenges regarding, among others, political will nicely illustrates. In fact, it already shows one of the many shortcomings of technology as it is. We like to believe that we live in an age in which there is so much data and technology-enabled intelligence that close to everything can be understood and explained. However, as humans we often observe and refuse the explanations for what we observe. Climate change, for instance, is still seen as a myth by many. It is hard to address challenges if they are not recognized enough because of myriad reasons. Whether you believe in climate change and in the role we, as humans, have in it or not, in the end doesn’t change data and hard facts and observations, however. And these observations tell us more than enough about ample sustainability challenges to address, not just by understanding them but mainly by acting. Technologies, corporate social responsibility and corporate reality in sustainability Fortunately there are ample non-profit organizations, associations, researchers, governments and companies that come with regulations, certifications, technologies and policies to address sustainability challenges. Numbers, data and information alone are not going to solve the world’s biggest sustainability issues (Vision 2030). Green buildings, IoT and smart city technologies and projects to reduce air pollution, renewable energy, the circular economy, inventions and innovations with regards to how we live, consume, travel and work with a positive impact on climate, nature and more. Sustainability has been on the agenda of corporations for many years. Yet, when you talk about sustainability efforts or corporate responsibility and ustainability (CR&S) for many the words PR, lip service and spin come to mind. As per usual there is always a big portion of black and white thinking in areas where organizations that have business goals (what corporations are), and sustainability, which is about natural and societal challenges in global ecosystems, meet each other. Sometimes we have scratched our heads when seeing companies promoting their sustainability and overall CR&S efforts and then looking at the reality of their actions and the impact on one or the other pillar of sustainable development goals such as the protection of the environment. However, at least as often and certainly in more recent years we’ve had the pleasure to work with organizations that effectively make a difference. While it is predicted that data will grow by up to 10 times by 2025, the energy demand and (depending on the energy source) resulting CO2 emissions from data centers is also rising. Already, data centres consume 1.2% of global power (Vision 2030) It can’t be denied that sustainability has gained far more attention in recent years, certainly on the mentioned level of ecology, natural resources, the natural ecosystem, climate, pollution, energy consumption and the overall natural environment in which we have that privilege to work and live. However, at the same time it can’t be denied that in some circles sustainability only seems to be about economic development, overlooking the social and environmental goals. Fortunately the choices and goals of the few, no matter how powerful the few may be, haven’t changed the actions in the field and in the goals that are put forward in a changing environment. One organization is not the other. One person is not the other. Trust, fear, inclusion, openness and the possibilities of connected technology Its kicking in an open door if we say that technological evolutions, and more specifically their current and future impact, are accelerating at a pace that makes it hard to keep up for many. Some people are very positive about the future and potential benefits of myriad technologies, also on the level of what they can do to build a more sustainable future. Others are very uncertain or even scared about the pace of change and what technologies could and might bring. It shows in political and socio-economical changes but it also shows in the warnings with regards to specific technologies that are made by even those who are most involved and closest to these technological evolutions. What we need to see is technology that is more human-shaped and human-proofed  All these voices deserve to be heard and shouldn’t be ignored. Fear of technological evolutions, globalization and the pace at which everything seems to change is real. It would also be a mistake to think that these fears only live among somewhat older generations. While facts may show that some generations are less scared about (the future of)technology we invite you to come over, have a cup of coffee and see and hear how also the teenage children of extremely digital savvy parents who passed the age of 50 are truly afraid when their parents tell them about what is going on in technology. That’s first-hand experience. Engaging customers into sustainability issues is not easy (Vision 2030) Technology and sustainability, it remains a matter of true knowledge and information(which in times of fake news and an unseen culture of fear and technological manipulation is already a challenge as such), informed human will, data-driven actions and many questions which we won’t address all right now. However, it is also a matter of us, as consumers, willing to change our ways and patterns as the report rightfully states. The question whether technology can do enough also remains open for future contributions IoT, open data and technologies for a sustainable future according to business leaders and experts. As mentioned, it is a joint initiative of Wipro Digital and Forum for the Future and is based on a survey of business leaders. It also is based upon interviews with, quote, “external opinion formers, including designers, data experts, entrepreneurs and think tanks”. So, you can see what they believe too. Businesses and government need to join the conversation about governance of technology, and help develop appropriate measures and standards that ensure technology is channelled for the greater good (Vision 2030). According to the report a whopping 98 percent of business leaders seems very positive about the contribution of IoT and a connected technology reality to a sustainable future. On the other hand, only half of the respondents take action. The report, which you can check out below and read more about in the press release and in the article with the same title as the report, ‘Vision 2030: A Connected Future’, emphasizes some technologies and contains recommendations to close the gap  between the awareness regarding the positive contributions these technologies, which essentially revolve around data and IoT, could make to that sustainable future and actually making it happen, removing the barriers to do so. It doesn’t answer our questions whether we and technologies can do enough but it can help make you think and possibly act in one or the other way. A sustainable future by 2030 cannot be predicted. It can’t be assumed that the responding business leaders are right. It’s in debate and differences that solutions and insights are born, as long as we keep an open attitude. Yet, one can’t debate forever if urgencies are proven and real. 98% of business leaders see IoT contributing to sustainable future; but only half are taking action. The respondents to the survey and authors of the report see many ways in which IoT, data and connectivity can lead to a sustainable future and many are very valid as far as we’re concerned. Ultimately, it’s up to everyone and to leaders, academics, scientists and policy makers and all of us to assess whether these ways are the ways to go and what other ways might be needed. The report mentions, among others, open data infrastructures and data integration, digital citizenship with informed and empowered citizens (compare with what smart city Barcelona wants to focus on: informed citizens with a voice), transparency and globalizing empathy. Our take? Some of the mentioned technologies might not be the best possible to realize a sustainable future. Yet, others certainly do and can contribute. Moreover, several of the mentioned challenges are addressed. The rest is up to you. It’s important to think. Top image: Shutterstock – Copyright: yuttana Contributor Studio – sustainability image in quote: Shutterstock – Copyright: D-Krab  – All other images are the property of their respective mentioned owners. By: I-Scoop The next step Brain-computer interfaces could change the way people think, soldiers fight and Alzheimer’s is treated. But are we in control of the ethical ramifications? At the World Government Summit in Dubai in February, Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said that people would need to become cyborgs to be relevant in an artificial intelligence age. He said that a “merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence” would be necessary to ensure we stay economically valuable.  Soon afterwards, the serial entrepreneur created Neuralink, with the intention of connecting computers directly to human brains. He wants to do this using “neural lace” technology – implanting tiny electrodes into the brain for direct computing capabilities. Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) aren’t a new idea. Various forms of BCI are already available, from ones that sit on top of your head and measure brain signals to devices that are implanted into your brain tissue. They are mainly one-directional, with the most common uses enabling motor control and communication tools for people with brain injuries. In March, a man who was paralysed from below the neck moved his hand using the power of concentration. Cognitive enhancement Photograph: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty Images But Musk’s plans go beyond this: he wants to use BCIs in a bi-directional capacity, so that plugging in could make us smarter, improve our memory, help with decision-making and eventually provide an extension of the human mind. “Musk’s goals of cognitive enhancement relate to healthy or able-bodied subjects, because he is afraid of AI and that computers will ultimately become more intelligent than the humans who made the computers,” explains BCI expert Professor Pedram Mohseni of Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, who sold the rights to the name Neuralink to Musk.  “He wants to directly tap into the brain to read out thoughts, effectively bypassing low-bandwidth mechanisms such as speaking or texting to convey the thoughts. This is pie-in-the-sky stuff, but Musk has the credibility to talk about these things,” he adds. Musk is not alone in believing that “neurotechnology” could be the next big thing. Silicon Valley is abuzz with similar projects. Bryan Johnson, for example, has also been testing “neural lace”. He founded Kernel, a startup to enhance human intelligence by developing brain implants linking people’s thoughts to computers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that people will one day be able to share 'full sensory and emotional experiences' online – not just photos and videos. Facebook has been hiring neuroscientists for an undisclosed project at its secretive hardware division, Building 8. However, it is unlikely this technology will be available anytime soon, and some of the more ambitious projects may be unrealistic, according to Mohseni. Pie-in-the-sky Photograph: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images “In my opinion, we are at least 10 to 15 years away from the cognitive enhancement goals in healthy, able-bodied subjects. It certainly appears to be, from the more immediate goals of Neuralink, that the neurotechnology focus will continue to be on patients with various neurological injuries or diseases,” he says. Mohseni says one of the best current examples of cognitive enhancement is the work of Professor Ted Berger, of the University of Southern California, who has been working on a memory prosthesis to replace the damaged parts of the hippocampus in patients who have lost their memory due to, for example, Alzheimer’s disease. In this case, a computer is to be implanted in the brain that acts similaly to the biological hippocampus from an input and output perspective,” he says. “Berger has results from both rodents and non-human primate models, as well as preliminary results in several human subjects.” Understanding the brain In the UK, research is ongoing. Davide Valeriani, senior research officer at University of Essex’s BCI-NE Lab, is using an electroencephalogram (EEG)-based BCI to tap into the unconscious minds of people as they make decisions. BCIs could be a fundamental tool for going beyond human limits, hence improving everyone’s life. “Everyone who makes decisions wears the EEG cap, which is part of a BCI, a tool to help measure EEG activity ... it measures electrical activity to gather patterns associated with confident or non-confident decisions,” says Valeriani. “We train the BCI – the computer basically – by asking people to make decisions without knowing the answer and then tell the machine, ‘Look, in this case we know the decision made by the user is correct, so associate those patterns to confident decisions’ – as we know that confidence is related to probability of being correct. So during training the machine knows which answers were correct and which one were not. The user doesn’t know all the time.” “I hope more resources will be put into supporting this very promising area of research. BCIs are not only an invaluable tool for people with disabilities, but they could be a fundamental tool for going beyond human limits, hence improving everyone’s life.” He notes, however, that one of the biggest challenges with this technology is that first we need to better understand how the human brain works before deciding where and how to apply BCI. “This is why many agencies have been investing in basic neuroscience research – for example, the Brain initiative in the US and the Human Brain Project in the EU.” Whenever there is talk of enhancing humans, moral questions remain – particularly around where the human ends and the machine begins. “In my opinion, one way to overcome these ethical concerns is to let humans decide whether they want to use a BCI to augment their capabilities,” Valeriani says. “Neuroethicists are working to give advice to policymakers about what should be regulated. I am quite confident that, in the future, we will be more open to the possibility of using BCIs if such systems provide a clear and tangible advantage to our lives.” By: Sarah Mash, THE GUARDIAN https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/iot
Can technologies – and the will to leverage them – lead to a more sustainable future and, if so, how? It’s one of the questions addressed in a report by Wipro Digital and Forum for the Future. A broader look at sustainability and technology, spiced with some takeaways from the report, entitled ‘Vision 2030: A connected future – how the Internet of Things, data and connectivity can drive business and a sustainable future’. There are opportunities in IoT, data and connectivity for sustainability, providing environmental benefits (Vision 2030) We previously covered the role and potential of IoT, data analytics and connectivity in the scope of specific areas of sustainability. Examples include the social dimension of sustainability with, among others, the call for true citizen participation in smart cities or the need to address human fears and distrust regarding technologies, globalization and the future of people themselves, their children, the pace of change in technologies and so forth, which have led to a previously unseen level of distrust concerning close to, about, anything one can trust and distrust. Other examples include the environmental protection dimension of sustainability. We tackled how ecology and the saving of natural resources and energy ranks high on the agenda in building management, in Industry 4.0 and in regulations concerning energy performant buildings, how they drive building management evolutions and how they lead to the rise of energy efficient building technologies in many parts of the world. A smart building by definition is – or should be – smart on the levels of energy and ecology. A smart city by definition is – or should be – smart on the levels of climate, pollution, natural resources and the natural environment in which it is embedded (often with natural ecosystems also embedded in the smart city itself, think about vertical gardening or the green public space, for instance). The challenge of data, technology and science versus perceptions, beliefs and human agendas in sustainability Yet, sustainability is of course about much more. It’s about economic development, social development and the environment. In recent years the focus of sustainability increasingly is on the natural ecosystems in which we have the privilege to live, work and breathe but which are under pressure as everyone by now should now. For some sustainability is only about the natural ecosystem. Technologies and sustainability or natural/societal challenges are intertwined on many levels. There is the fear regarding technologies, the impact on nature and society of technologies and how they are leveraged and the hope for technologies to help in solving what some indeed call the pressure on the natural ecosystem and others call the disastrous state of our planetary ecosystem that goes beyond imagination and beyond the impact of initiatives that are currently taken and planned in an ecological scope. As we are part of this ecosystem in which, again, we have the privilege to live, many technologies indeed can help with the proper will and priorities. At the same time one can wonder in which degree this is the case. Should we focus on settling on other planets as some advice to do or can we do more here and now? Technology is not the limiting factor in solving the problems, the organizational operations and political will are (Vision 2030) The simple answer is that there is always much more than can be done and that there are certain groups that do not want more to be done as the quote from ‘Vision 2030: A Connected Future‘ on the challenges regarding, among others, political will nicely illustrates. In fact, it already shows one of the many shortcomings of technology as it is. We like to believe that we live in an age in which there is so much data and technology-enabled intelligence that close to everything can be understood and explained. However, as humans we often observe and refuse the explanations for what we observe. Climate change, for instance, is still seen as a myth by many. It is hard to address challenges if they are not recognized enough because of myriad reasons. Whether you believe in climate change and in the role we, as humans, have in it or not, in the end doesn’t change data and hard facts and observations, however. And these observations tell us more than enough about ample sustainability challenges to address, not just by understanding them but mainly by acting. Technologies, corporate social responsibility and corporate reality in sustainability Fortunately there are ample non-profit organizations, associations, researchers, governments and companies that come with regulations, certifications, technologies and policies to address sustainability challenges. Numbers, data and information alone are not going to solve the world’s biggest sustainability issues (Vision 2030). Green buildings, IoT and smart city technologies and projects to reduce air pollution, renewable energy, the circular economy, inventions and innovations with regards to how we live, consume, travel and work with a positive impact on climate, nature and more. Sustainability has been on the agenda of corporations for many years. Yet, when you talk about sustainability efforts or corporate responsibility and ustainability (CR&S) for many the words PR, lip service and spin come to mind. As per usual there is always a big portion of black and white thinking in areas where organizations that have business goals (what corporations are), and sustainability, which is about natural and societal challenges in global ecosystems, meet each other. Sometimes we have scratched our heads when seeing companies promoting their sustainability and overall CR&S efforts and then looking at the reality of their actions and the impact on one or the other pillar of sustainable development goals such as the protection of the environment. However, at least as often and certainly in more recent years we’ve had the pleasure to work with organizations that effectively make a difference. While it is predicted that data will grow by up to 10 times by 2025, the energy demand and (depending on the energy source) resulting CO2 emissions from data centers is also rising. Already, data centres consume 1.2% of global power (Vision 2030) It can’t be denied that sustainability has gained far more attention in recent years, certainly on the mentioned level of ecology, natural resources, the natural ecosystem, climate, pollution, energy consumption and the overall natural environment in which we have that privilege to work and live. However, at the same time it can’t be denied that in some circles sustainability only seems to be about economic development, overlooking the social and environmental goals. Fortunately the choices and goals of the few, no matter how powerful the few may be, haven’t changed the actions in the field and in the goals that are put forward in a changing environment. One organization is not the other. One person is not the other. Trust, fear, inclusion, openness and the possibilities of connected technology Its kicking in an open door if we say that technological evolutions, and more specifically their current and future impact, are accelerating at a pace that makes it hard to keep up for many. Some people are very positive about the future and potential benefits of myriad technologies, also on the level of what they can do to build a more sustainable future. Others are very uncertain or even scared about the pace of change and what technologies could and might bring. It shows in political and socio-economical changes but it also shows in the warnings with regards to specific technologies that are made by even those who are most involved and closest to these technological evolutions. What we need to see is technology that is more human-shaped and human-proofed  All these voices deserve to be heard and shouldn’t be ignored. Fear of technological evolutions, globalization and the pace at which everything seems to change is real. It would also be a mistake to think that these fears only live among somewhat older generations. While facts may show that some generations are less scared about (the future of)technology we invite you to come over, have a cup of coffee and see and hear how also the teenage children of extremely digital savvy parents who passed the age of 50 are truly afraid when their parents tell them about what is going on in technology. That’s first-hand experience. Engaging customers into sustainability issues is not easy (Vision 2030) Technology and sustainability, it remains a matter of true knowledge and information(which in times of fake news and an unseen culture of fear and technological manipulation is already a challenge as such), informed human will, data-driven actions and many questions which we won’t address all right now. However, it is also a matter of us, as consumers, willing to change our ways and patterns as the report rightfully states. The question whether technology can do enough also remains open for future contributions IoT, open data and technologies for a sustainable future according to business leaders and experts. As mentioned, it is a joint initiative of Wipro Digital and Forum for the Future and is based on a survey of business leaders. It also is based upon interviews with, quote, “external opinion formers, including designers, data experts, entrepreneurs and think tanks”. So, you can see what they believe too. Businesses and government need to join the conversation about governance of technology, and help develop appropriate measures and standards that ensure technology is channelled for the greater good (Vision 2030). According to the report a whopping 98 percent of business leaders seems very positive about the contribution of IoT and a connected technology reality to a sustainable future. On the other hand, only half of the respondents take action. The report, which you can check out below and read more about in the press release and in the article with the same title as the report, ‘Vision 2030: A Connected Future’, emphasizes some technologies and contains recommendations to close the gap  between the awareness regarding the positive contributions these technologies, which essentially revolve around data and IoT, could make to that sustainable future and actually making it happen, removing the barriers to do so. It doesn’t answer our questions whether we and technologies can do enough but it can help make you think and possibly act in one or the other way. A sustainable future by 2030 cannot be predicted. It can’t be assumed that the responding business leaders are right. It’s in debate and differences that solutions and insights are born, as long as we keep an open attitude. Yet, one can’t debate forever if urgencies are proven and real. 98% of business leaders see IoT contributing to sustainable future; but only half are taking action. The respondents to the survey and authors of the report see many ways in which IoT, data and connectivity can lead to a sustainable future and many are very valid as far as we’re concerned. Ultimately, it’s up to everyone and to leaders, academics, scientists and policy makers and all of us to assess whether these ways are the ways to go and what other ways might be needed. The report mentions, among others, open data infrastructures and data integration, digital citizenship with informed and empowered citizens (compare with what smart city Barcelona wants to focus on: informed citizens with a voice), transparency and globalizing empathy. Our take? Some of the mentioned technologies might not be the best possible to realize a sustainable future. Yet, others certainly do and can contribute. Moreover, several of the mentioned challenges are addressed. The rest is up to you. It’s important to think. Top image: Shutterstock – Copyright: yuttana Contributor Studio – sustainability image in quote: Shutterstock – Copyright: D-Krab  – All other images are the property of their respective mentioned owners. By: I-Scoop The next step Brain-computer interfaces could change the way people think, soldiers fight and Alzheimer’s is treated. But are we in control of the ethical ramifications? At the World Government Summit in Dubai in February, Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said that people would need to become cyborgs to be relevant in an artificial intelligence age. He said that a “merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence” would be necessary to ensure we stay economically valuable.  Soon afterwards, the serial entrepreneur created Neuralink, with the intention of connecting computers directly to human brains. He wants to do this using “neural lace” technology – implanting tiny electrodes into the brain for direct computing capabilities. Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) aren’t a new idea. Various forms of BCI are already available, from ones that sit on top of your head and measure brain signals to devices that are implanted into your brain tissue. They are mainly one-directional, with the most common uses enabling motor control and communication tools for people with brain injuries. In March, a man who was paralysed from below the neck moved his hand using the power of concentration. Cognitive enhancement Photograph: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty Images But Musk’s plans go beyond this: he wants to use BCIs in a bi-directional capacity, so that plugging in could make us smarter, improve our memory, help with decision-making and eventually provide an extension of the human mind. “Musk’s goals of cognitive enhancement relate to healthy or able-bodied subjects, because he is afraid of AI and that computers will ultimately become more intelligent than the humans who made the computers,” explains BCI expert Professor Pedram Mohseni of Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, who sold the rights to the name Neuralink to Musk.  “He wants to directly tap into the brain to read out thoughts, effectively bypassing low-bandwidth mechanisms such as speaking or texting to convey the thoughts. This is pie-in-the-sky stuff, but Musk has the credibility to talk about these things,” he adds. Musk is not alone in believing that “neurotechnology” could be the next big thing. Silicon Valley is abuzz with similar projects. Bryan Johnson, for example, has also been testing “neural lace”. He founded Kernel, a startup to enhance human intelligence by developing brain implants linking people’s thoughts to computers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that people will one day be able to share 'full sensory and emotional experiences' online – not just photos and videos. Facebook has been hiring neuroscientists for an undisclosed project at its secretive hardware division, Building 8. However, it is unlikely this technology will be available anytime soon, and some of the more ambitious projects may be unrealistic, according to Mohseni. Pie-in-the-sky Photograph: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images “In my opinion, we are at least 10 to 15 years away from the cognitive enhancement goals in healthy, able-bodied subjects. It certainly appears to be, from the more immediate goals of Neuralink, that the neurotechnology focus will continue to be on patients with various neurological injuries or diseases,” he says. Mohseni says one of the best current examples of cognitive enhancement is the work of Professor Ted Berger, of the University of Southern California, who has been working on a memory prosthesis to replace the damaged parts of the hippocampus in patients who have lost their memory due to, for example, Alzheimer’s disease. In this case, a computer is to be implanted in the brain that acts similaly to the biological hippocampus from an input and output perspective,” he says. “Berger has results from both rodents and non-human primate models, as well as preliminary results in several human subjects.” Understanding the brain In the UK, research is ongoing. Davide Valeriani, senior research officer at University of Essex’s BCI-NE Lab, is using an electroencephalogram (EEG)-based BCI to tap into the unconscious minds of people as they make decisions. BCIs could be a fundamental tool for going beyond human limits, hence improving everyone’s life. “Everyone who makes decisions wears the EEG cap, which is part of a BCI, a tool to help measure EEG activity ... it measures electrical activity to gather patterns associated with confident or non-confident decisions,” says Valeriani. “We train the BCI – the computer basically – by asking people to make decisions without knowing the answer and then tell the machine, ‘Look, in this case we know the decision made by the user is correct, so associate those patterns to confident decisions’ – as we know that confidence is related to probability of being correct. So during training the machine knows which answers were correct and which one were not. The user doesn’t know all the time.” “I hope more resources will be put into supporting this very promising area of research. BCIs are not only an invaluable tool for people with disabilities, but they could be a fundamental tool for going beyond human limits, hence improving everyone’s life.” He notes, however, that one of the biggest challenges with this technology is that first we need to better understand how the human brain works before deciding where and how to apply BCI. “This is why many agencies have been investing in basic neuroscience research – for example, the Brain initiative in the US and the Human Brain Project in the EU.” Whenever there is talk of enhancing humans, moral questions remain – particularly around where the human ends and the machine begins. “In my opinion, one way to overcome these ethical concerns is to let humans decide whether they want to use a BCI to augment their capabilities,” Valeriani says. “Neuroethicists are working to give advice to policymakers about what should be regulated. I am quite confident that, in the future, we will be more open to the possibility of using BCIs if such systems provide a clear and tangible advantage to our lives.” By: Sarah Mash, THE GUARDIAN https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/iot
Sustainability, IoT and AI all come together in 2019
Sustainability, IoT and AI all come together in 2019
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