Why professional work is the killer app for augmented reality

Google Glass enterprise edition

Google Glass Enterprise Edition (Source: X Development LLC)

Augmented reality is becoming the new competition ground for major tech companies. All of the five big players, Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, are making big investments in AR projects. Some of these projects includes smartphones with AR-enabling hardware, AR headsets and AR application development platforms.

But is all this investment aimed at enabling users to play the next version of Pokemon Go, put cat mustaches on their selfies or preview how furniture will look in their living room? Continue reading

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We need to rethink how we store our personal data

The data breach at credit reporting agency Equifax, the gory details of which became clear last week, is the latest installment in a series of cybersecurity disasters in which consumers have been at the receiving end of the miseries. The breached data affected the information of 143 million people. That’s not a big number when compared to some of the bigger data breaches of the past year, such as Yahoo’s 1 billion user account record breaker.

However, what made the Equifax breach especially damaging was the sensitivity of the data that attackers laid their hands on. This included Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card information, birthdates and addresses, and more. The only data breaches that compared in terms of severity were Anthem (approx. 80 million people affected) and the Office of Personnel Management (approx. 21 million people affected).

What makes matters worse is that Equifax professes to be a company that protects its customers from identity theft, the same kind of cyberattack that the stolen data will enable. The company is now scrambling to make amends with customers, and is getting ready to face several lawsuits. But that won’t bring back the data that has slipped through its fingers. Continue reading

TechTalks turns two!

TechTalks second anniversary

It’s time to celebrate TechTalks’ second anniversary. It was a huge year for the blog, with a growing audience and lots of exciting posts. We saw the introduction of two new verticals, the “What is…” and “Interviews” columns, bringing you in-depth explainers about important topics and expert opinion about tech trends.

I would like to thank our growing community of crafty writers and thought leaders who helped develop some very interesting posts for the site. If you’re interested in sharing your ideas with the audience of TechTalks, feel free to pitch us here. Not all pitches make it to the blog, but we are open to ideas.

TechTalks also got its own dedicated Twitter account and Facebook page (which could use your help for the moment).

I’m also happy to announce that for coming year, we will have some new features added to the site. We’ll be adding new columns (I’m not stating them here because they’re not final yet) and we’ll also give regular contributor access to proven writers. You’ll have your own bio and access to your own WordPress portal to publish your heart’s content. Stay tuned. We’ll make the announcement soon.

As technology solves and creates problems, TechTalks will be covering the space.

Happy birthday TechTalks! Looking forward to an exciting year three!

What happens to a smart appliance when its manufacturer dies?

Juicero smart-juicer device. Source: Juicero

Early this month, the widely ridiculed juice-squeezing company Juicer, which managed to raise the absurd amount of $120 million in funding from Silicon Valley investors, declared its shutdown. The startup’s demise, which is another manifestation of solutions to non-problems, also points out another endemic problem with our increasingly connected world: the fate of connected devices after the end of their companies.

20 years ago, when you bought a fridge or dishwasher or washing machine for your home, it wouldn’t make much of a difference to you if the company that created the appliance would go bankrupt or remained in business. You would install it in a corner in your home and let it work for years, until it was time to replace it.

Soon enough, that may no longer be the case, thanks to the increasing number of “smart” appliances that are entering consumers’ homes. Continue reading

5 reasons to own a 3D printer

The development of 3D printing technology has had considerable impact on many industries, and will continue to do so in the near future. The technology allows you to create any design you wish to precise dimensions, save it as a computer file, and reproduce it whenever you like on your machine.

This is beginning to change the way people live, and perhaps even the way they think. The ability to make a real-world object from a digital file creates endless opportunities for learning, research, medical needs, and manufacturing, to name just a few areas.

With the growth in demand, 3D printers are also becoming more user-friendly and affordable. Now you can own a 3D printer for your personal use. Here are just some of the benefits to having one. Continue reading

What is machine learning?

This article is part of Demystifying AI, a series of posts that (try) to disambiguate the jargon and myths surrounding AI.

I was nine years old when I had my first taste of programming, and fell in love with the art (yes, I believe programming is as much art as it is science). I quickly became fascinated with how I could control the flow of my programs by setting logical rules and conditions, if…else statements, switches, loops and more.

In later years, I learned to remove clutter from my code by creating modules and abstracting pieces of code into functions and classes. I enhanced my software development skills with object oriented analysis and design (OOA/D). I learned code reuse and design patterns. I learned to express my program in UML charts and diagrams. And I learned to apply those principles in nearly a dozen programming languages.

But the rule of thumb of programming remained the same: Defining the rules and logic. The rest were just tricks that helped facilitate the implementation and maintenance of those rules. Continue reading

Rob High: The future of AI-powered chatbots

 

Rob High IBM Watson CTO

Rob High, Chief Technology Officer at IBM Watson

Since their first appearance decades ago, chatbots have come a long way thanks to leaps in natural language processing and generation (NLP/NLG), the branches of artificial intelligence that enable us to interact with computers in a conversational manner. Today AI-powered chatbots have established a prominent role in various fields, including customer service, healthcare, banking and more.

Meanwhile, the technologies that power chatbot assistants are growing smarter and more efficient. I had a chance to talk with Rob High, Chief Technology Officer at IBM Watson, on the evolution of chatbots and where the trend is leading to. He shared some very interesting insights on the prospects and challenges that lie ahead. Continue reading