future

created 2 years ago

For years, retailers have been haunted by the thought of Amazon using its technological prowess to squeeze them into powder. That battle has mostly played out on Amazon’s home turf, the world of online shopping.
If those experiments work — and there is no guarantee of that — they could have a profound influence on how other stores operate. Over time, they could also introduce new forms of automation, putting traditional retail jobs in jeopardy. At the same time, locating those stores close to customers’ homes could also help Amazon further its ambitions of delivering internet orders within hours.
The company is exploring the idea of creating stores to sell furniture and home appliances, like refrigerators — the kinds of products that shoppers are reluctant to buy over the internet sight unseen
These would not be your average Home Depots: Amazon has considered using forms of augmented or virtual reality to allow people to see how couches, stoves and credenzas will look in their homes,
Amazon is also kicking around an electronics-store concept similar to Apple’s retail emporiums, according to two of the people familiar with the discussions. These shops would have a heavy emphasis on Amazon devices and services such as the company’s Echo smart home speaker and Prime Video streaming service.
And in groceries — a giant category in which Amazon has struggled — the company has opened a convenience store that does not need cashiers, and it is close to opening two stores where drivers can quickly pick up groceries without leaving their cars, all in Seattle. It has explored another grocery store concept that could serve walk-in customers and act as a hub for home deliveries.
Overseas, Amazon is quietly targeting India for new brick-and-mortar grocery stores. It is a vast market, and one still largely dominated by traditional street bazaars where shoppers must wander from stall to stall haggling over prices and deliberating over unrefrigerated meat sitting in the dusty open air. Amazon’s internal code name for its India grocery ambitions: Project Everest.
Last week, Amazon opened its fifth physical book store in Chicago, and it has five more announced locations under construction.
It is possible that some of the store ideas will never see the light of day.
“We are always thinking about new ways to serve customers, but thinking is different than planning,”
One big desire many customers have is that they want to see fresh fruits, vegetables and meat in person before buying them. The relatively high cost of home delivery — Amazon charges $15 a month for its Fresh service, on top of a $99 annual Prime membership — is another barrier.
Online grocery delivery accounts for only about 3 percent of the market in the United States, though it is closer to 10 percent in Britain
Joe Thompson, a former general manager in Amazon’s retail business, sees physical retail as key to Mr. Bezos’s outsize ambitions for the company. "I can’t help but feel that, in Bezos’s mind, he wants to be the first trillion-dollar valuation company,” said Mr. Thompson, who is now an executive at BuildDirect, an online home improvement store. To do that, he said, Amazon would have to “crack” a couple of “completely underpenetrated markets online.”
Amazon’s current market value is bobbing around $400 billion.
A growing number of established grocery retailers are experimenting with this “click and collect” approach to shopping, including Walmart, Kroger and others.
the company has been developing technology for automatically detecting when a customer pulls into the parking lot so orders can be brought to them more quickly.
A few miles away from its other Seattle stores, on the ground floor of one of its many office towers in the city, the company is testing Amazon Go, a convenience store concept stocked with beverages, sandwiches and prepared meals, which are put together by chefs in a kitchen that is visible from the street.
“Amazon is wonderful at frictionless commerce,”
“I’ve probably been in 30 boardrooms of retailers in the past year,” Mr. Galloway said. “I would say the No. 1 topic of conversation is Amazon.”
India could represent another big market for Amazon in physical retail. The company, which has vowed to spend billions of dollars on its efforts in the world’s second-most populous country, recently sought approval from the Indian government to open online and physical food stores in the country, The Economic Times reported in February.
“What appears to be clear is they haven’t yet zeroed in on a format they’re willing to massively scale,” he said. “This is a company that the moment it figures out something that works, it puts nuclear energy behind it.”
www.nytimes.com
So the recent apparent rejection of the elites in both America and Britain is surely aimed at me, as much as anyone. Whatever we might think about the decision by the British electorate to reject membership of the European Union and by the American public to embrace Donald Trump as their next president, there is no doubt in the minds of commentators that this was a cry of anger by people who felt they had been abandoned by their leaders.
I am no exception to this rule. I warned before the Brexit vote that it would damage scientific research in Britain, that a vote to leave would be a step backward, and the electorate – or at least a sufficiently significant proportion of it – took no more notice of me than any of the other political leaders, trade unionists, artists, scientists, businessmen and celebrities who all gave the same unheeded advice to the rest of the country.
The concerns underlying these votes about the economic consequences of globalisation and accelerating technological change are absolutely understandable. The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.
This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.
So taken together we are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.
The consequences of this are plain to see: the rural poor flock to cities, to shanty towns, driven by hope. And then often, finding that the Instagram nirvana is not available there, they seek it overseas, joining the ever greater numbers of economic migrants in search of a better life. These migrants in turn place new demands on the infrastructures and economies of the countries in which they arrive, undermining tolerance and further fuelling political populism.
For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.
Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.
To do that, we need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations.
www.businessinsider.com
In fact, the line between design and development may no longer exist, resulting in fundamental changes to the skill set and teams required to bring a product to market.
Today, if you have the time and the design and development skills, it is possible to build and launch a product for a few hundred dollars.
Teams have moved from the archaic process of creating static designs in Photoshop to embracing a much more expansive toolset — ranging from collaborative design tools (like Sketch, Figma), dead-simple prototyping platforms (like InVision, Marvel), user testing services (like UserTesting.com, Validately and Lookback) and designer-developer collaboration tools (like Zeplin).
Team composition will change. It will no longer be necessary to have both designers and front-end developers within a team, allowing teams to run much leaner.
Real-time iteration will become the norm. Teams will be able to operate in a state of continuous design improvement — prototyping, testing, learning and rolling out new features faster than ever before.
Business results will improve. Product teams will be on the front lines of driving business results, able to act quickly to drive meaningful contributions to the bottom line by capitalizing on new opportunities and addressing issues before they become widespread.
techcrunch.com
So, the truth: Right now, today, in 2016 is the best time to start up. There has never been a better day in the whole history of the world to invent something. There has never been a better time with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit/ risk ratios, better returns, greater upside than now. Right now, this minute. This is the moment that folks in the future will look back at and say, “Oh, to have been alive and well back then!”
medium.com
Our transition to becoming cyborgs has officially begun.
MIT researchers have created tattoos that function as interfaces for smartphones and other digital devices. These tattoos can receive and send information, serving as wearable devices that add a personal touch of style.
The tattoos rely on gold leaf to sense a person's touch, heat a display and communicate with other devices. The tattoos can connect wirelessly with smartphones through NFC, a type of technology used for mobile payments at retailers and elsewhere. The tattoo is powered by a lithium polymer battery and the brains of the operation is a small computing chip.
Kao said it cost less than $175 to build the working prototype. Making such a device has become affordable as computer components are becoming smaller, cheaper and more powerful.
Kao expects nail salons, tattoo parlors and barbershops will evolve in the future to provide us with customized wearables.
"One day ,we will be applying skin interfaces just as we apply lotion and make-up,"
money.cnn.com
HANNS TAPPEINER TYPES a few lines of code into his laptop and hits “return.” A tiny robot sits beside the laptop, looking like one of those anthropomorphic automobiles that show up in Pixar’s Cars movies. Almost instantly, it wakes up, rolls down the table, and counts to four. This is Cozmo—an artificially intelligent toy robot unveiled late last month by San Francisco startup Anki—and Tappeiner, one of the company’s founders, is programming the little automaton to do new things.
www.wired.com
So imagine the impression you’ll make wearing Roboglove, a power-assisted gauntlet General Motors wants to give its factory workers. It may look like something in a Power Ranger costume, but it’s inspired by a real-life space robot.
www.wired.com
Despite years of aggressive investment, search technology still fails to solve meaningful, tangible problems in the world today.
When the Internet started, the digerati were the ones writing and sharing content. There were lots of answers to lots of questions, and we trusted the answers. Now, everyone writes and games the system, and the Internet is full of spam and trolling. Authority is becoming harder to obtain, and we’re left not only trying to decipher the information we’re reading but also wondering if the source we’re retrieving it from is credible. Ultimately, you have no idea if the answer you’re getting is right or wrong. Google has made progress fighting spam, but the cold war between spammers and search is bound to continue until a paradigm shift occurs.
People are becoming more data literate and expecting data and facts to back up their queries. Now more than ever, everyone is asking an increasing number of complex questions. In the past, people searched for the best ski resorts. Now, they want to know which ski resort has the optimal balance of vertical drop, skiable acres, and total snowfall. They have more precise questions; they want more precise answers.
Perhaps mobile interfaces were once little desktop interfaces, but the paradigm continues to shift away from traditional GUIs. There is no space. We’re seeing an uptick in the popularity of voice interfaces. The traditional search experience with a bunch of blue links that open pages of articles and ads does not shine in a mobile world.
An evolved level of editorial oversight and curation of content, which will provide more authority.
A precise understanding of what the user is asking, and being able to give them exactly what they need in a digestible and consumable format.
An acknowledgement that society has evolved to consume different types of media beyond text — including data, videos, and visualizations — and being able to provide the user with the right format at the right time.
Communities like Stack Overflow and Quora are full of people willing to provide their “expertise,” but that doesn’t always align with the trust factor.
Google Maps is a great example of what the future of search should look like — augmented public data, powered by a knowledge graph. Google has thousands of employees on staff constantly correcting errors, machine-learning clusters interpreting addresses, cars driving through streets to get ground-level data, satellites taking photos, and millions of phones constantly sending updates. With this infrastructure, Google is able to maintain a real-time representation of the world and answer geospatial queries that have never been asked.
As humans continue to ask more complex questions, the future of search is going to need to adopt a similar model for every single knowledge vertical. This will be impossible if there isn’t a level of complexity and infrastructure built into the process.
A knowledge graph allows people to ask questions in a precise manner and instantly get an answer — even if nobody has asked the question before.
Despite being the strong and obvious player to lead search into the next century, Google will have to confront one of the biggest challenges any successful technology firm has to overcome — the Innovator’s Dilemma. It evolved in a desktop world, when it made sense for search engines to show content and ads side-by-side. But today’s world is not a desktop world. And when you make 90% of your revenue from advertising, how do you pivot? How about when mobile advertising is not working as well as we had hoped? How do advertisers display an ad on your Apple Watch? What do you do when there’s no clear answer as to how a voice interface (i.e. Siri) will ever generate revenue from advertising?
As predicted, Apple’s Tim Cook announced at WWDC this week that the company will be opening Siri to developers. But he didn’t stop there. Apple is aggressively investing in conversational interfaces and creating a whole new ecosystem, which includes opening iMessage to developers.
Facebook didn’t impress with its first release of M, its intelligent assistant. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg is quickly developing his AI superpowers. Messenger and WhatsApp are the biggest chat platforms in the world.
Amazon is an interesting player right now. The company gets its revenue from retail, so it theoretically could provide free answers 24 hours a day, as long as there is an occasional purchase. Whereas, 90% of Google’s revenue stream is ads. With Amazon’s release of Alexa, you could argue the company might be the future of search. It’s not disrupting its own business model, it’s enhancing it.
venturebeat.com
THE TOILET HAS long been the unsung hero of household fixtures. No one wants to live without one, but once its daily duties are complete it virtually disappears. Meanwhile, other household appliances have only gotten smarter, incorporating both sensors and software to provide unprecedented comfort and better anticipate users’ needs.
www.wired.com
THIS WEEK’S MAIN topic: WWDC, Apple’s annual developer event which took place Monday. There were enhancements to iMessage, some new ways for app-makers to work with Siri and Maps, and some updates on iOS security. And of course, the new OS upgrades for Watch, Mac, mobile, and TV. In the second half of the show, David and Michael talk about two new smartphones: the OnePlus 3, and the Moto Z. One is cheap and not too interesting, the other is modular and very interesting indeed.
www.wired.com
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