Tag Archives: technology

Artificial Intelligence – The Rise of the Machines

Artificial Intelligence (AI), or the creation of computers and computer software that are capable of intelligent thought is gathering pace.

When I was at university, AI was pretty much at its infancy – to me it just seemed like more computer programming – so I avoided it at all costs!

Over the last 20 years or so we are all aware how computers and machines have replaced the roles of people mainly in the manufacturing industries and fairly recently within the administration and clerical areas.

But technology is growing so fast and so quickly that within the space of 2 weeks I have read 2 completely different articles about the rise of AI to the Board Room and beyond.

It seems, according to an article on Springwise, that in Japan an AI has been appointed a Creative Director at an ad-agency!

Another article in a financial magazine cited Medical Diagnosis as an area where AI could actually be more accurate than the human physician when diagnosing serious illness.

Indeed in a test run, the company claims that the chances of the computer giving a false positive (i.e., an incorrect diagnosis of cancer) was significantly reduced and it would give no false negatives (i.e., giving the all-clear to a patient with cancer). In contrast, the human doctor missed 7% of cases – that’s quite a big percentage when you’re talking about a life-threatening illness.

I think in this case AI could be a fairly useful companion to the human doctor – especially as it is also capable of prescribing the right treatment – when sometimes lives are lost due to incorrect diagnosis and the wrong treatment.

This article also went on to state that soon managers and executives in the Board Room would be susceptible to automation!

The Hong Kong Metro has already transferred power for deciding maintenance schedules and engineering tasks to AI – with the loss of managers the result seems to be reduced bureaucracy and costs and improved response times. Because of the success of this, the company that owns the HK Metro is going to roll this out to other cities, including the London Overground.

Can you see all jobs going this way?

Do you think this heralds the descent of the human workforce and indeed the rise of the machines, or does it just mean that the human workforce needs to change its way of working to work with AI rather than trying to fight again the seemingly inevitable change?

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Welcome to the 21st Century

Today I decided to finally upgrade from my old, clapped-out cell phone to a touchscreen smartphone.

I don’t need apps galore – to be honest I really only use the phone for calls, texts and occasionally taking photos, but the fact that my phone only stored about 15 texts before it said “memory full” was beginning to grate.

There were 2 problems I faced:

  1. My SIM card is literally a 20th century one – it is still the very 1st SIM card I had when I got my 1st mobile (I’m rather attached to it) – so it doesn’t fit very well in these new phones which take much smaller SIM cards
  2. I know my contacts are stored on the SIM, but how on earth do you transfer and stuff on the phone??

The 1st problem was easily solved by the man in the shop who had a nifty little device that actually cuts down your SIM card to the correct size 😉 how handy! So instead of having to phone up my mobile provider for a new SIM (with same number) and then get the guys to transfer contacts to the new SIM, with one quick SNIP it was done.

I have to say, I did have a bit of a heart stopping moment when the SIM went in to the new phone and it refused to recognise the mobile provider.  Thankfully, though it was user error – not me I hasten to add…the guy in the shop had put the SIM card in the wrong way round.  Easy mistake to make – heck, I wouldn’t even have known where to start, I’m still not entirely convinced I know how to take the back off this thing!

Now the 2nd problem allowed me to fully embrace my inner geekette 😉 I enjoy problem solving.

I searched for hours on t’internet to see if you could transfer text messages from phone to phone.  It seems fairly straightforward from smartphone to smartphone, there are many websites that can help, but when it’s just your normal, standard old-fashioned (for want of a better word) mobile, there is nothing.

The texts it seems stay on the phone, but you cannot transfer them.

Or can you?

As I said I didn’t find anything on the internet, but I did manage to find a sort-of, make-it-up-as-you-go-along work around. Crude, simple but effective.

It seems if you try to forward a text message, one of the options is to “save”, this then saves the text to your drafts folder, which is on the SIM!

So when you put your old SIM in a new phone, voila, the text message is there.

Like I said, it’s a crude method and it can take a while, but I thought it would work.

Did it?

Well, um, sort of. When I turned my new phone on there were 4 of them there, but not all.

Then, I hit on another brainwave. Bizarrely I have several other phones for different purposes, so I wondered if the text messages were on the phone then if I inserted a different SIM I could then just re-send my messages (which were now handily saved in the Drafts folder) to my number.

BINGO!

So, there is a way. It is crude. It’s not very technical, just time consuming. And, of course it does help if you have another phone with a different SIM.

But, I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to get my brainwaves turning to solve the problem.

After all, as the very lovely Audrey Hepburn is quoted as saying “nothing is impossible, the very word says I’m possible!” 😉

 

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Perpetual Sacrifice

I have just started reading an amazing book, called “The Ascent of Humanity”, by Charles Eisenstein.

Now, normally I would skim read and finish a book within a matter of hours, however this book is very thick, in-depth and makes you think. So I am taking my time to read, inwardly digest and re-read to ensure I have the right understanding of the matter.

I’m only on Chapter 2, but there was a phrase used which got me thinking.

“Perpetual sacrifice”

The idea being that we constantly live in this state of being, in a state of perpetual sacrifice. Where we effectively put off chasing our dreams, in order to survive today, or as the author puts it sacrificing the present for the future…which never comes!

You see it and hear it constantly – “work before play”, “no pain, no gain”, “control yourself”, etc.

How many of us have unfulfilled dreams that seem as far off achieving today and when we first started dreaming about them, whether it be travelling the world, writing a novel or even something as mundane like starting a new hobby?

How many of us always seem to say “too busy, too much to do, I’ll do it tomorrow!”

But in reality, does tomorrow ever come?

It generally transpires that all those hopes and dreams we cling to, that we will get round to doing tomorrow never get done and at the end of our days we will say “I wish I’d done that!”

I’m not saying we should all throw in our jobs and just go off follow our dreams, but we should make time to at least start fulfilling some of them, shouldn’t we?

All personal coaches and the such talk about a work-life balance and being able to create a good one.

However, in reality, doesn’t work always seem to win out over the ‘life’ part.

Despite all the technology at our disposal, life doesn’t seem to get easier, we work harder, longer and how many of you take androids, tablets, blackberry’s and other hand-held devices on holiday, on family outings in order to ‘stay in touch’ with the office?

And why? Is it because it is the norm, and it is expected of you? Is it a case of if you don’t then you will be seen to be not working as hard as someone who does? Who decided this?

I’ll admit, I don’t have a job working for someone else, so I don’t understand office politics and games. But, going off topic slightly, I did get addicted, for want of a better word, to checking my emails, phone message, posting on social media sites, etc. I then took SC on holiday and for that week apart from my mobile, which only calls and texts, I did not ‘check in’ once – and let me tell you it was liberating 😉

But getting back on track, sacrifice.

How do we ‘make time’ in a constantly demanding world where the work part takes an ever-increasing amount of time away from us – time we could spend with our family, our health, our leisure activities?

Should we just, maybe, say “enough is enough” and when we get home in the evening forget about work, and at the weekend turn off all ‘work-related’ devices?

Or should we just continue the path we are walking and let the future stay as far ahead as ever?

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What’s the Best New Phone Feature?

I was perusing a business website, when I noticed this poll sitting on the right of the screen:

Q. What is the most important feature when considering a new smartphone?

A.

  1. Amazing camera
  2. Authentic sound
  3. Unrivalled quad-core performance
  4. Beautifully crafted and ultra-thin
  5. Seamless integration of online storage

Personally I would have thought the most important feature when considering a new smartphone would be whether or not you can actually make calls where the phone does not hang up for you halfway through a conversation and the line quality is that where you can actually hear the other person without getting all interference?

But. heck, all my phone does is make calls, text and takes a blurry picture – what do I know?

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