Posted by: daniellerad | November 21, 2017

Humans that emulate robots: My thoughts on Poppy

In the NPR segment “What is Poppy?” reporter Scott Simon introduced (to me at least) the world of Poppy, YouTube phenomenon and recent Breakthrough Artist award winner at the 7th annual Streamy Awards.

With over 200 million views, Poppy has attracted a passionate following, also known as Poppy Seeds who seek to find answers to who and more importantly what is Poppy?

For all intents and purposes, Poppy is the brainchild of the director Titanic Sinclair and Moirah Pereira, a platinum blonde, white woman with a very youthful appearance. Videos include “I am Poppy” where she literally says, “I am Poppy” repeatedly and “Poppy Eats Cotton Candy” a 90-second video of, you guessed it, Poppy eating cotton candy! Her demeanor is robotic and obedient, reminiscent of a science fiction where a pubescent boy build his perfect girlfriend.

The work is creative, albeit bland, and provides an interesting commentary on life (and love) in the digital age where we are only beginning to build relationships with objects. Is it any wonder why Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are all female? They are calm, polite, helpful, and do what they’re told, all in a female voice. Poppy is the physical embodiment of these voices. Let’s hope as technology progresses, so does our picture of what an assistant should be.

“I’m from the Internet,” Poppy says in the interview – the only place she could possible exist, for now at least.



Posted by: Alex Peery | November 20, 2017

Facebook and the Expansion into AR Technologies

Back in August, Mashable discussed new patents from Facebook that provided more information about their venture into AR glasses. This step has been inevitable since the purchase of Oculus VR in 2014. These glasses will be fairly unique, as the technology can be used for virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality or in any combination of those areas.

Mashable explains that the technology uses laser, mirrors and other elements to present images and video. Lasers emit light into the lens, which in turn will transforms it into media that will be projected on the eyes of the user. The technology is still about five years away from public use, according to Oculus’ chief scientist.

The glasses are designed to provide an immersive experience. Augmented reality will be blended with audio via connected speakers or headphones.

It’s important to note that these glasses will be an always-on wearable, similar to the way that Google’s Assistant or Amazon Alexa operate. The latter technologies have recently provoked questions questions about privacy and data collection. Facebook is no stranger to these concerns.

It is becoming quite clear that technology is outpacing both regulation and ethical research. This patent provides a glance into a technically impressive emerging technology. However, is Facebook to be trusted with the data that can be gleaned from such a device? These next big pieces of technology are exciting from the perspective of a consumer. As we move into the future, it will be important to also look at the reason why a company like Facebook wants to use this technology.

Posted by: fnanbe | November 20, 2017

AR is Changing the E Commerce Game

In the Article entitled “Amazon’s app will use AR to convince you to buy all the things” by Mashable, they optimistically discussed the current state of Augmented Reality by e-commerce giant, Amazon. If you have an iPhone and the Amazon app, you can use AR to envision real world products in your home before you buy them. Amazon shoppers are in bliss and e commerce non-believers are feeling a sense of hope. This new phenomenon is changing the way we shop and communicated with the ecommerce world. AR is making it easy and fast to buy products without ever having to leave your home. No more pushy salesmen or spending hours on in researching which stores carry that “must have”. While I am a big online shopper of clothing, like most, I’ve always been a bit apprehensive about buying furniture and décor online. This capability eliminates any doubt you may have about products. This is revolutionary, but also a bit scary. What does AR capabilities mean for traditional brick and mortar shopping stores? What does this mean for traditional customer service professionals? Are modern technologies promoting a more individualistic society? I’m all for technological advancements making life more simple and efficient, but I can’t help but consider the ways in which this will affect our current ecosystem.

The recent release of the IPhone X has opened the flood gates for augmented reality, and is changing the way we interact with our surrounding environment. Bringing AR to smart phones provides an added perk on a widely used mobile device as a learning tool or business option.

Augmented Reality

AR is described as taking the real-world surrounding elements and modifying them with computer-generated components. AR enhances reality by providing new life in the form of incorporating fabricated material with incredibly realistic value. The key to AR is its adjustment of minimal elements, thereby keeping it within attainable reach. The farfetched complete overhaul that video games or virtual reality may take on is more fantasy based, whereas, VR merely puts a chair in the corner of your room where there once wasn’t a chair.

I see VR as an extraordinarily useful feature for an endless amount of businesses. Real estate, furniture, medicine, education, online shopping, weather, and far more than I can wrap my head around. One app category that has struggled to find recognized and effective results is within online dating. With the use of AR, could it be the answer to advance dating apps to new heights? Skepticism may still linger and yearn for greater advancements to launch online dating to achieve the notoriety it hungers for.

Posted by: samanthastrain19 | November 20, 2017

Could Amazon’s New AR Lead to a Further Invasion of Privacy Online?

Mashable’s article regarding Amazon’s new AR technology for purchasing home goods appears, at first, very intriguing and exciting. I immediately wanted to check my iPhone to see if I had it on my Amazon app. However, this excitement was short-lived.

I quickly withdrew my reach once I realized how invasive I already feel Amazon is at times. A search for products on my work computer will show up later on my iPhone. Clicking on a product I find on Facebook will often lead to an email from Amazon later with similar products.

With the ethical questions arising last week from Facebook’s tracking of 98 data points per user, I’m skeptical that this Amazon technology is something I would want to use, especially with the two platforms seeming so closely connected. As exciting as this new technology may be, I’m cautious of how much insight into our private lives this will give one of the world’s largest companies. Furthermore, I worry that this view into our homes may be shared with Facebook, who already knows more than enough about its users. I can’t help but think of the numerous sci-fi thrillers in which the technology paranoid person warns of these dangers, unsuccessfully, and ends up being right half way though the movie.

With the practice of getting new technology out there as fast as possible, and addressing the ethical concerns after issues arise (discussed in class last week), I think I’ll wait to see how things unfold before trying Amazon’s AR.

Posted by: KarenOStein | November 20, 2017

What Lies Ahead in Tech: Optimism, or Future Shock?

With the current proliferation of new technologies, tech companies are hurdling over each other in an effort to develop the next big thing, from AR to VR to virtual assistants and 4D printing.

Observing these rapid changes might make people skeptical, as CNET’s Daniel Van Boom expresses in “I Gave Up on VR, but I Believe Again. Sort of.” Or it might strike them, understandably, with a Future Shock-style fear: What will protect us from introducing dangerous advancements that will irrevocably destroy the fabric of society?

Some comfort may lie in the market. First, tech marketers know that it’s not enough to simply offer new innovations and rely on the “cool” factor as their selling point. They also need to show how the technologies will make life better. For example, Mashable author Lance Ulanoff tells us that AR apps are both fun and functional – you can now see how that IKEA sofa will look in your living room before you purchase it, and try out recipes virtually before you actually cook anything. So useful!

Second, the Gartner Hype Cycle demonstrates how new innovations must traverse a series of peaks and valleys in the market in order to finally reach the Plateau of Productivity, where they hit mainstream adoption. Ideally, only the most beneficial products make it to that point, if people are voting with their pocketbooks. This fact should offer the fearful a measure of reassurance, and remind them of the regulatory power, and responsibility, they hold as consumers.

Posted by: kaylagee91 | November 20, 2017

In a galaxy far far away….all you really need is a Smartphone


© 2017 Lenovo. © & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd

Well, folks, it looks like the wait is finally over. November 3rd, 2017 marked the release of Disney and Lenovo’s Jedi Challenges augmented reality headset. Priced at $199, this device is far more affordable than the late Oculus Rift ($599) or the Sony PlayStation VR ($399). Jam packed with over 12-hours of gameplay across six planets and three experiences–Lightsaber Battles, Strategic Combat and Holochess–users will find themselves engaged in fantasy replicating Lightsaber battles with the likes of Darth Vader, Kylo Red, the Grand Inquisitor and other surprise villains.

Star Wars will always hold a special place in my heart, and I hope to one day sample this headset. Even so, the continuing development of the virtual world leaves me with questions about its implications on humanity. Some educational settings employ the use of VR for open-heart surgery simulations so that students can operate on subjects risk free. I wonder though, if by using the aforementioned simulations, we run the risk of under-preparing future doctors, scientists and the like for truly associating their subjects with humanity as their practice crosses over from virtual to reality.

Posted by: selenasierra | November 19, 2017

Rise of Cryptocurrency

Kasey Panetta discusses three emerging technology mega trends: AI everywhere, transparently immersive experiences and digital platforms. Panetta offers examples of each and reviews the influences on the future of business. Panetta states, because of the great impact of these trends, it is vital for business tech innovation leaders to explore these ideas.

Bitcoin and Ethereum were not new revelations for me when I came across it in this reading. Talk of cryptocurrency (especially Bitcoin and Litecoin) arises at least 2-3 times a week in my household. Cryptocurrency was first explained to me by my boyfriend in September; he has steadily been monitoring the trends and made purchases of Bitcoin and Litecoin since then. Cryptocurrency is a decentralized digital payment system.

Bitcoin was first introduced in 2009. Back in September of this year, the price of one Bitcoin was approximately $3,500. As I’m writing this post, it is over $8,000. In a matter of two months it has more than doubled, reaching new highs every month. Bitcoin was first introduced in 2009. With the rise of Bitcoin, newer cryptocurrencies have also emerged – Ethereum in 2015 and Litecoin in 2011.

Image result for bitcoin price chart


The stability of cryptocurrency is of concern because the price is constantly fluctuating.  It is very difficult for investors and businesses to accept cryptocurrency transactions due to the high volatility. It can have swings of 10% in a matter of minutes. I think Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be part of our future and become more widely accepted once they are stabilized.


Posted by: Tony Hernandez | November 18, 2017

Sci-fi tech within our lifetime?

I fell in love with the sci-fi genre the first time I saw Star Wars in the 1980s. For hours after any futuristic flick, my imagination flies as I picture using technology in movies like Robocop, Terminator, The Matrix, Minority Report and so many more.

As I read Top Trends in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017, I felt a sense of that excitement return after reviewing (and Googling) all the emerging technologies listed in the hype-cycle graphic.

I’ve been giddy for years to see if autonomous vehicles will truly allow me to ride by myself in a car without paying attention to the road, like in Minority Report. Writer Casey Panetta says the technology is about 10 years away. By then, the technology will be in a “plateau of productivity” where mainstream adoption becomes a reality, according to definitions found in a separate reading.

The brain behind autonomous vehicles is artificial intelligence, one of the three top trends in Panetta’s piece. Her infographic also shows that “artificial general intelligence,” when a machine is able to do any task that a human can do, is about 10 years away.

Kate Baggaley of Popular Science offers a longer time table to achieve general artificial intelligence. She writes the technology could be 25 years away, and today computers can’t behave or compute a six-year-old level.

Thankfully, I won’t be seeing any Terminators any time soon.

Posted by: jhager | November 17, 2017

The Hype Cycle, Tesla, and VR: Who is it Good for?

People are desperate for the new, and willing to overlook almost any current issue if the future seems bright enough. Take two recent tech news items, one from China, and one from the US. On Kickstarter, a small Chinese company that has never brought a VR product to market raised 2100% of their kickstarter goal for a VR headset. In the US, Tesla revealed its 2nd Gen Roadster, and an all-electric Class 8 Semi truck to great fanfare, despite being months (if not years) behind on delivering on their first major consumer product, the Model 3. Tesla seems able to redirect the public’s attentions to the “peak of expectations” of each new class of products they promise, then jump to the next peak of hype for the next product without fully (or at all) delivering on the promises of the last hype cycle they generated. 1200px-Gartner_Hype_Cycle.svg.png

As they seesaw from home roofs to village battery banks to spaceships to subways to heavy trucks they grab massive attention, but the bounce back into the “plateau of productivity” eludes Tesla on almost all it’s projects.

Around VR the hype is even worse. To trust an unproven company to deliver a next-gen product relying on immature technology at a rock-bottom price is an investment no single rational entity would make. But not only did the crowd do this, they did it to the tune of 21 times the amount the cash requested. Is this good for business, the consumer, or tech in general?

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