What’s the difference between VR, AR and MR?


Are we living in a simulation? This laughed-at notion is becoming increasingly acceptable as technological advances are blurring the boundaries between reality and illusion. There is now not one but three different flavors of synthetic reality: Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

But there’s a lot of confusion about what each version of reality is. This is something that is akin to evolving technologies. For instance, after decades, there’s still debate over what is artificial intelligence (AI). Continue reading


How artificial intelligence optimizes the use of customer data

A couple of decades ago, businesses faced the challenge of managing disparate data sources about customers, the company, products and services, etc. That was a problem solved through the use of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

These tools enabled businesses to access and manage all their data in one place, including accounting, inventory management, sales and purchases, etc. The better visibility into company data enabled executives and employees to be more efficient in responding to customers’ needs, aka drive more sales.

Now companies have another problem: too much data, a faster paced economy, and not enough time and human resources. Information is everywhere and the rate at which we generate data is growing chaotically. By some estimates, data will be 4,300 percent increase in annual data production by 2020. Continue reading

If you hate email trackers, block them now

I think it’s totally up to me whether I decide to open an email or not. But apparently, others are not of the same opinion. That’s why they use mail tracking applications, a breed of software that will let the sender of an email know when you read their message.

I find it invasive, even more offending than link trackers (most mail trackers track links as well). And as it happens, most—but not all—of the tracked emails I receive are of little value. That’s why I block mail trackers and let their users think their emails were never opened.

So if you find email tracking creepy, here’s what you need to know about how it works and how you can stop it. Continue reading

What’s the value of blockchain to consumers?

Credit: Shutterstock

A distributed ledger that relies on no central authority and is tamper-proof. That definition of blockchain, the technology that underlies Bitcoin, will appeal to anyone who has had a taste of the sorry state of centralized models of business and networking.

Wall Street is abuzz about blockchains because blockchains can make financial transactions faster and cheaper. Cybersecurity experts believe blockchain can prevent cyber attacks and maintain the integrity of data and online identities. Blockchains can bring transparency to supply chains and fight voter fraud in elections. I can go on about the applications of blockchain in different industries.

We know very well how to pitch the industrial and business value of blockchain. But when it comes to explaining blockchain to consumers, we’re saying all the wrong things. Continue reading

Here’s why you should be wary of ICOs

In tandem with the surge in value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), the new form of investment that relies on blockchain (the technology underlying Bitcoin), are also gaining traction. Blockchain startups are raising millions in ICOs without going through the tough and cruel Silicon Valley VC process, and every major media outlet is talking about them.

When we first covered Initial Coin Offerings on TechTalks past December, we weren’t very sure about their future. At this stage, they’re still widely viewed with skepticism (as is everything else that relates to cryptocurrencies). But it looks like ICOs are here to stay, unless they bubble as some have predicted. Continue reading

Rose: AI needs greater representation from the humanities

As Artificial Intelligence evolves from myth and buzzword into a reality that permeates every aspect of our lives, much speculation is made over what the future challenges will be. Among them is the effect of Artificial Intelligence on employment, or specifically how it will displace jobs and the workforce.

Many of the jobs that are performed by humans today are under the looming threat of being overtaken by robots. But we’re still a long way from general and super AI, the technology that will rival or surpass human intelligence and reasoning.

This means there are still plenty of jobs for humans to perform, if only they require different skill sets. However, we need to view the displacement of work from a different perspective, some experts believe. Continue reading

What is Narrow, General and Super Artificial Intelligence

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

If you’re living on this planet, you probably hear a lot about Artificial Intelligence these days. It’s conquering every industry and domain, performing tasks more efficiently than humans, will put humans out of work, and may one day force humans into slavery. You might have also heard about narrow, general and super artificial intelligence, or about machine learning, deep learning, reinforced learning, supervised and unsupervised learning, neural networks, Bayesian networks and a whole lot of other confusing terms.

That’s a lot of jargon to cover in one post, and we’ll leave the learning stuff for another day. In this post, we’ll try to define what AI is (and isn’t maybe) and what are the three main known flavors of AI. Continue reading