April 18th, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Innovation, Science & Tech | Comments Off

The Future of Mobility – Podcast

Check out my latest chat with Dave Evans, Chief Futurist at Cisco, on the future of mobility wearable technology, and the internet of everything. Listen to the podcast here.

Nuubo shirt with cardiac monitor

Nuubo shirt with cardiac monitor

I think we are in the process of building the greatest engineering project in history. Cisco calls it the “Internet of everything,” Verizon calls it “M2M for machine-to-machine communication,” and IBM, of course, has called it a “smarter planet” for some time now. At one time the build out of the Internet and wireless networks could be seen as our greatest engineering feat, aimed at connecting over 7 billion people with each other on demand. We are almost there. But the new project is bigger because it involves building a global platform for devices to communicate with each other and thus to integrate the human, natural and built worlds. One estimate is that some 25 billion devices will be connected and communicating by 2015, 50 billion by 2020, leading to as much as $14 trillion in economic activity in the next decade. By any measure these are huge numbers.

The future of mobility is intimately tied to this engineering project – as our devices come to know where they are, and more importantly become able to communicate information to other devices and to us, the world will change quite fundamentally. We’ve become familiar with various quantified self health devices like wrist bands that count your steps and activity, or monitor your sleep patterns, and then provide feedback. Apps now enable those devices to link with others in a group you might create, so everyone can monitor the progress of others and of course make comparisons and turn fitness into more of a game.

But were we are headed, and credit Dave for this language, is from wearable devices to aware-able devices. Right now with the fitness band I use I have to set up a group, with their agreement of course, and then we can compare. In future, the band, the Nuubo running shirt with built in monitors or other devices I might wear will link to big data via the cloud and I will know, for example, how my week compares to all other men in my age range nationally or globally. The device will become more aware, in other words.

One of my favorite smart devices I came across recently is a smart helmet insert from Shockbox. Concussions are a problem in contact sports. With an insert that measures the force of blows to the head, and communicates wirelessly to a handheld device, a coach or team doctor on the sideline can track the blows being received. So when a young player staggers off the field but says “I’m fine” the data will be right there saying, no you received too hard a blow.

Shockbox sensor with iPhone

Shockbox sensor with iPhone

Here is the podcast again. Dave thinks we are going to move in stages from smart wearables to smart implantables to possibly even the choice of enhanced replacement parts for bodies. Provocative stuff. Among other things I describe an interesting traffic incident and wonder why we still rely on human brains and hand-eye coordination in split second situations. With smart infrastructure, devices, and mobility, we won’t.

Continue Reading & Comment »

April 1st, 2014 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Science & Tech | Comments Off

The Future Needs Translation

Man-vs-machine

Image source: http://isragarcia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Man-vs-machine.jpg

In order to reach 98% of the world’s online users, businesses today must translate their content into 48 different languages. Supplying content in English limits them to about a third of the world’s consumer base, cutting them off from a $50 trillion market located mostly outside the United States.

The resulting, ever increasing demand for translation is driving a variety of changes in the translation market. Machine translation technology has reached the point where it is widely usable by the average user, but the difference between it and a professional translation is still acutely visible. Where will translation go in the next few years? Will machines take over? Here are a few predictions.

1. Machine translation will grow, but it will not supplant human translators

Machine translation is not capable of reaching the same accuracy or fluency as a human. Every person who speaks a language can add new words to the vocabulary, give new meaning to existing words, change the grammar, or tweak the spelling. One need only look at online chat, Twitter, political revolutions, or popular songs for example.

Computers will never be able to keep up with all these evolving changes. However, improvements in machine translation have already brought it to the point where forgiving users find it convenient and often a necessity. The approximately 250,000 translators worldwide simply cannot keep up with the ever-growing demand for translations between the world’s 6,000+ languages.

Therefore, improved machine translation engines will combine with increased demand — and increased tolerance for mediocre but instantaneous translations — to cement machine translation output in modern society.

2. Human translation will become increasingly valuable

The imperfection of everyday machine translation will increase recognition of the benefits that quality human translation offers. More people will recognize that text can be translated in multiple ways, and translation buyers will start understanding the importance of high-quality human translation in order to effectively sell their products or appeal to specific foreign buyers.

3. Translation will become increasingly integrated into a company’s workflow 

Each additional language which a company offers multiplies the amount of content in their workflow. Companies will be all but forced to integrate translation into the process of producing content for their business, so that they are able to translate, edit, review, and synchronize all localized versions of their content in an efficient manner.

This may take the form of expanded feature sets in content management systems (CMS) or additional specialized packages, but it will be increasingly apparent that treating translation and localization as an afterthought is impractical.

4. Human translators will take on broader roles

Already, translators who choose to use computer-aided techniques in their work are personalizing machine translation engines to their specific specialties and developing custom translation memory tools to suit their needs.

With the increasing demand for machine translation — particularly in situations where human translation is not practical or necessary — translators will find themselves working to improve different machine translation engines to specific tasks.

In the situations where machines cannot do the job, translators may drift away from the original concept of simply translating text and become localizers or ‘trans-creators’, in charge of translating the more abstract concepts behind a brand into a local market and creating content to suit. Similarly, translators are already doing business-critical work like checking product names to ensure they have the correct meaning across many cultures, and ensure there are no language traps which will appear on launch.

Conclusion

Online translation has already come very far since its inception. As well as the ubiquitous machine translation services, businesses can now obtain quality human translations on a near-automatic basis. Translation services with APIs allow the translation process to be integrated into existing software packages for efficient localization, and that is simply a start. Translation is becoming an ever more important aspect of business online for all kinds of businesses, and the industry is adapting quickly to this new role.

Continue Reading & Comment »

March 29th, 2014 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Education, Environment & Energy | Comments Off

How to Negotiate a Better Future – Part Two

Diplomacy between Nations

The negotiations that take place between world leaders and their staff have shaped the world we live in today more so than any other types of negotiations. Sometimes negotiations can avoid wars, sometimes they can go wrong and cause wars – history would look a lot different if just a handful of negotiations had turned out differently. An example of ongoing negotiations that have been very unsuccessful between nations is in the Middle East, where countries have been at war for centuries. Generations of would-be negotiators have tried their hand at finding a resolution, but it’s all been futile so far. When the stakes are so high, and negations go wrong, it’s often the innocent who pay the price. A recent example is the current situation going on in Ukraine, and a great quote comes to mind “Deals Don’t Stick if they Don’t Resolve the Problem“. So far, all we’ve seen is examples of negotiations failing, but for the betterment of the entire region let’s hope that both sides are able to reach an agreement.

Takeaways

In life, sometimes it’s easy to hold a grudge but you’ve got to ask yourself, is it really worth it? Even if you’ve been slighted in the past, sometimes you’ve got to start with a clean slate in order to move forward. Set your preconceived notions aside before you get to the negotiation table.

Working Together For Mother Nature

It’s never easy to get countries to come together to protect the environment because that often comes at a price, and many countries will put their own short-term prosperity ahead of the long-term health of our planet which is very frightening. It takes incredible people with amazing negotiation skills to get countries to work together for the greater good of all mankind when the results won’t be seen until future generations are living on our planet. “It’s a great person who plants the seeds of trees whose shade they’ll never enjoy”, says the old saying. A major issue with climate negotiations is that the current global economic crisis is taking attention away from long-term issues like achieving sustainable energy, clean and safe drinking water, having safe and healthy food available, and more.

Take fisheries, for example, over-fishing is hurting ocean life, but those fish are being used to feed humans. As the world’s population grows, we need to make sure that we reach an agreement that will protect wild life and at the same time supply the quantity of fish needed for food. That`s very hard to do when you take into consideration profit-driven fishermen and illegal fishing.

Takeaways

In negotiations, it can help to point out when both parties are working towards a greater good that reaches beyond either group’s self-interest. Then, if both sides are willing to give a bit of wiggle room, everyone can be better off.

BDO_oceanconsumption_infographic_1660x960_V3

The Global Workforce

As multinational corporations, and even smaller businesses, start to outsource from all around the world to expand their operations, they are going to be hiring all sorts of different people. Not everything works the same from one country to the next, including the ways that people negotiate. You could greatly offend someone from one culture with something that seems perfectly acceptable in another culture, especially when you’re negotiating!

Takeaways

If you’re negotiating in unfamiliar territory, and this applies to all aspects of our lives, make sure you do your due-diligence to really understand what you’re getting into.

This is similar to the first situations we discussed, which were globalized trading opportunities. How does this apply to our own lives? No matter where you work, chances are there will be someone from another country who might not speak English, but a friendly smile and a wave of recognition can go a long way towards helping someone feel welcome. There are major negotiations, and then the small ones we face on a daily basis, like smiling at a stranger, deciding not to be rude even if a waitress is ignoring you, and so on and so forth. The way you handle these micro-negotiations has a larger impact on your mood, your success, and your life than you might realize.

Final Thoughts on the Importance of Negotiations for a Better Future

More than ever before, we’re living as a global community. Hopefully this helps people to understand that their actions, or lack of actions, have a widespread and profound impact not just on those of us who live on this planet, but for our children and their children and all who come after.

|| Written by Mary Ann Keeling ||
Mary Ann is a writer and a blogger from Brisbane who likes to share her passion for the future through her writing.

Continue Reading & Comment »

March 28th, 2014 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Education | Comments Off

How to Negotiate a Better Future – Part One

Eyes on the Future by Good and Coloumn FiveNegotiations between people, between companies and between countries are going to be the driving force in solving the world’s biggest problems of our generation. From the environment, to trade, to diplomacy, and ensuring that we don’t destroy ourselves with nuclear weapons – negotiations will play a key role in absolutely everything. Here’s a more in-depth look at just how important negotiations are in many of the aspects that keep our world turning.

Along with taking a big-picture look at each of these situations, we’ll also break it down and look at what we can take away from each situation to help us in our own lives. Most of us will never have to negotiate nuclear treaties or sit across the table from an angry world leader, but these takeaway tips can help to improve our own lives.

Globalized Trading Opportunities

With a global economy and opportunities all around the world, people from all backgrounds are doing business together every second of every day. Negotiation skills play a huge role in the success of global trade. It’s not hard to overcome a language barrier in this day and age, but it is very difficult to overcome a negotiations barrier. When it comes to trade negotiations, each national representative has a very clear- cut objective and that’s to reduce trade barriers and to slant things in favor of their own nation. An example of negotiations not going incredible smoothly are the Doha round negotiations at the WTO.

Sometimes, negotiations will be outpaced by technology and the economy, so large businesses will put their own interests ahead of the interests of their country, and everyone else on this planet. If WTO negotiation results were implemented immediately, there wouldn’t be time for lobbyists to muddy up the waters as much.

Takeaways

Keep an open mind.

Don’t forget that other cultures may see the world differently than you. Whether you’re on vacation and trying to book a room or just trying to get help from a call center, patience goes a long way into ultimately getting your way – and that’s the best kind of negotiation.

Remember in your day to day life that just like the representatives of large nations, people will typically look out for themselves and their loved ones, and you will be doing the same – but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to reach common ground.

Nuclear Agreements & Treaties

Some countries have been allowed to have nuclear weapons and others have not. Negotiations, when it comes to nuclear agreements, are very difficult and incredibly important. When nuclear power is involved, we’re talking about something that can absolutely devastate an entire region in an instant if there’s an accident, or something that can completely destroy a nation if it’s used in an attack.

Takeaways

“Mutually assured destruction” is a phrase used to describe why rational countries are very careful with their nuclear programs. Any rational nation realizes that it’s better to find another solution to a problem than to have both nations destroy one another.

Have you ever had an immature co-worker or friend who seems to live by the rule “If I can’t get what I want, nobody can!” Often times in negotiations, it’s much more beneficial to reach a compromise rather than to reach a stalemate that harms both parties. In other words, don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

|| Written by Mary Ann Keeling ||
Mary Ann is a writer and a blogger from Brisbane who likes to share her passion for the future through her writing.

Continue Reading & Comment »

March 16th, 2014 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Education, Innovation, Media | Comments Off

What does your world look like in 2030?

2030 world

The Expert Editor has announced the launch of a new writing competition based on people’s vision for the future. The editing company is offering $1000 in prize money to the best “idea” created on Ideapod related to the theme “#2030″.

Entrants must detail their vision for the world in the year 2030, in 200 words or less. They can explore a range of topics, including technological and scientific developments, the state of humanity, the environment, and politics.

Questions entrants may want to answer include what will the world be like? What are you most excited about? What dangers does the world face? What are the opportunities? People from all over the world are encouraged to enter.

A team of high profile judges who will evaluate the ideas, including futurist.com’s own Glen Hiemstra, a world renowned Futurist; Gerd Leonhard, another leading Futurist and best-selling author; Katherine Keating, Contributing Editor to The World Post; and Amir Dossal, founder of the Global Partnerships Forum.

The aim of the competition is to stimulate debate about the future and to generate debate about what the world may look like in 2030. Entrants are only limited by their imagination and ability to creatively peer into the future.

Ideapod has been chosen to host the competition because it’s a social media platform that encourages idea-making and it will allow an unprecedented level of interaction. On Ideapod we’ll be able to view each entry as it’s posted, comment on them and establish a conversation based around the ideas. This is not only a writing competition, but the chance to create a community based on each person’s vision for the future.

Please view the competition homepage for more information – http://www.experteditor.com.au/competition

About Ideapod

Ideapod is a new social media platform based in which users can create and share ideas that matter to them. It recently launched in beta version and new ideas are being posted every day from people worldwide. Visit http:///www.ideapod.com for more information.

Continue Reading & Comment »

Page 6 of 108« First...45678...203040...Last »