Recycled Content – 19/03/2017

I’m going to try something and see if it sticks. I read a lot of interesting articles each week on a range of subjects, so I’m going to start a weekly links roundup. Mainly to help Future Me find articles again, and also to get back in the habit of writing regularly, but if anyone else finds it worthwhile, all the better. I might stick with it or this might be the only one. All comments welcome.

Virtual Reality

Vragments announced a web-based tool for easily uploading and annotating your 360º photos and videos into interactive experiences.

Artificial intelligence

Ray Kurzweil is one of the leading voices in Artificial Intelligence and a futurist who’s predictions have a pretty high success rate. He said this week that he believes the singularity (the point where we have robots with human levels of intelligence) will arrive within the next 12 years.

Google revealed how they are teaching DeepMind to think like a human while OpenAI (The artificial Intelligence lab cofounded by Elon Musk) unveailed how they are teaching their AI to develop their own language for communicating with each other.

If you have a spare half hour, this interview with Sergey Brin on AI and automation is worth a watch.

Automation / Self Driving Cars

This week, the founder of Skype invested in personal vertical takeoff flying cars, leading to this, not unreasonable, opinion piece stating that humans are terrible drivers so, if there are thousands of flying cars above our heads, they’d sure as hell better be automated!

Meanwhile, Uber confirmed that in 20,000 miles of test driving for their self-driving Uber cabs, they couldn’t even go a full mile without a human having to take over. Looks like their long-term plans to do away with drivers entirely might not be as close as they would like.

Design

A really useful ongoing series on interaction design, a roundup of prototyping tools and an article considering how to talk about your design side projects in job interviews. Plus an interview about Design Thinking.

Education/learning

Google have made Google Classrooms available to everyone. This is a great tool for collaboration between classes and teachers. It has a lot of nice features which before now were often only found in the more expensive elearning suites. Previously it was only available to schools, but now it’s available and free to everyone, I’d expect it to become a common tool in all forms of digital learning before too long.

Health

Two seperate major advances in identifying cancer were announced this week, one which can spot breast cancer from a simple breath test and another which can identify any form of cancer from a blood sample and even identify where in the body the tumour is growing.

Environment

Green energy seems to be one of the next big tech growth areas. (Just as well when Brexit and Trump means big government’s efforts are in retrograde)

Google says that DeepMind could cut 10% from UK’s overall energy bill and also announced an expansion of their Project Sunroof, which is a quick reference tool that analyses Google Maps and Google Earth satellite data to identify the buildings which should, most optimally, be installing solar panels on their roofs.

Meanwhile Elon Musk has gone further. In Australia, saying Tesla could fix Australias power network in under 100 days, or else they’ll do it for free.  A promise which prompted Ukrainian pm to get in touch about fixing their own issues.

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