Thursday, 21 June 2018

Interesting Reads – 2018-06-21

Interesting Reads – 2018-06-21

Retail Battlezone

With e-commerce poised for exponential growth in India, the country is fast emerging as the new battleground for global retail giants. Can local players withstand the onslaught?

The two American retail giants have fought pitched, bruising battles on their home turf, and in markets around the globe. Walmart, the world's largest retailer, and Amazon, the e-commerce behemoth, have crossed swords once more, this time in the fastest growing major economy, India.

11 delivery robots that will soon carry food and packages to your door

Woowa Brothers: A robot named Deli (short for "Delicious Delivery") has been in development by Woowa Brothers, a team out of Korea University, since July. The project is actually an iterative step toward a more capable robot. Deli is being designed specifically to deliver food in indoor environments, such as food courts. A second stage of development will produce a robot capable of delivery in compound environments. Ultimately, the Woowa Brothers team will build an autonomous robot capable of handling sidewalks and city streets, which is the holy grail of driverless delivery.

India has the lowest percentage of adults using the internet in the world: Report

There have been quite a few reports that applaud the level of Internet penetration in India, but the Pew Research Center’s newest survey shows that only 25% of adults in India use the internet, at least, occasionally or report owning a smartphone in 2017.

In comparison, not only does South Korea have the highest internet use rate in Asia at 96%, it’s also the highest percentage globally. China, on the other hand, did not have data for 2017 but the reported percentage in 2016 was at 71%.

Meanwhile, the global average lies at around 75% which is thrice the level of India at this point.

Prototyping Wireless Networks

Enjoy free access to the following four papers from IEEE Communications Magazine, as well as other IEEE Communications Society magazines, journals and conferences. As a sponsor of this Tech Focus, National Instruments has provided free links on these important topics to full article content. To download these papers please register at the link provided.

  • Exploiting Frame Preamble Waveforms to Support New Physical-Layer Functions in OFDM-Based 802.11 Systems
  • Design and Implementation of Device-to-Device Software-Defined Networks
  • CoSense: Interference Resilient ZigBee Detection in Heterogeneous Wireless Networks
  • WiZizz: Energy-Efficient Bandwidth Management in IEEE 802.11ac Wireless Networks

Google Is Training Machines to Predict When a Patient Will Die

AI advances by the 'Medical Brain' team could help the internet giant finally break into the health-care business.

A woman with late-stage breast cancer came to a city hospital, fluids already flooding her lungs. She saw two doctors and got a radiology scan. The hospital’s computers read her vital signs and estimated a 9.3 percent chance she would die during her stay.

Then came Google’s turn. An new type of algorithm created by the company read up on the woman -- 175,639 data points -- and rendered its assessment of her death risk: 19.9 percent. She passed away in a matter of days.

Agile Development: Past, Present, Future

Observations of an Alibaba engineer with over ten years’ experience in the field.

Almost ten years ago, my product development team began implementing an agile development model. We became, perhaps, the very first agile team in China. As such, my experiences in the industry may prove enlightening, especially in light of the state of agile development today.

A Hippocratic Oath for Technologists

Technologists today wield a powerful tool. We are designing, prioritizing, and putting things out into the world, affecting people we have never met. We are on their wrists, in their laptops, in their pockets, and thus, in their heads. Sometimes the ethics are in clear black and white, but at other times it can be a bit more complicated.

I (the author of the post) was lucky to be in the audience to witness Alan Cooper’s recent talk at Interaction 18, which he kicked off by asking a room full of technologists to imagine some scenarios, including the following:

  • You are the data analyst that helps build a nearly-perfect targeted ad platform that powers a billion-dollar business. But then foreign hackers use it to influence a presidential campaign and attack a representative democracy.
  • You write a machine-learning spell-check algorithm, the best in the world and deployed globally. But one day it auto-corrects some prescription drug names into different drug names, causing harm to innocent people.
The point of examples like these are not to blame the technology or it’s makers. The point is to illustrate the responsibility we bear for what we make. As Cooper says in his talk, we move forward not just by patching holes in current technology, but by preventing these kinds of abuses from being an option in future technology.

Startups in India fail to move the needle; things could change if firms can draw on research

India has arguably the world’s fastest growing startup ecosystem. Yet, none of our companies made it to the MIT Technology Review’s Smartest Companies list (2012-2016). In contrast, China had 14 and US had 105 companies on that list. One of our companies made it to the list in 2017, but I do not see any great globally competitive technological innovation from the firm. In the same vein, 106 of the world’s unicorns are in the US, 98 in China and only 10 in India. Varun writes for Why don’t our companies create global impact and significant economic value?

Biotech nation: Support for innovators heralds a new India

Innovation is key to solving many problems faced by communities, soci­eties, nations or humanity as a whole. Nurturing innovation requires special attention to maximize benefits for those with the greatest need.

An innovation ecosystem models the economic dynamics of the complex relationships between entities, which in this case are the material resources and humans whose goal is to enable technology development and innovation.

Innovation is believed to be the fun­damental source of significant wealth generation within an economy. An innovation ecosystem is thriving and healthy when the resources invested in the knowledge economy (either through private, government, or direct business investment) are replenished by innovation induced profit increases in the commercial economy. The interdependence of innovation and entrepreneurship is therefore a clear one.

Yoga & Common Yoga Protocol 2017

The concepts and practices of Yoga originated in India about several thousand years ago. Its founders were great Saints and Sages. The great Yogis presented rational interpretation of their experiences of Yoga and brought about a practical and scientifically sound method within every one’s reach. Yoga today, is no longer restricted to hermits, saints, and sages; it has entered into our everyday lives and has aroused a worldwide awakening and acceptance in the last few decades. The science of Yoga and its techniques have now been reoriented to suit modern sociological needs and lifestyles. Experts of various branches of medicine including modern medical sciences are realizing the role of these techniques in the prevention and mitigation of diseases and promotion of health.

Yoga is one of the six systems of Vedic philosophy. Maharishi Patanjali, rightly called "The Father of Yoga" compiled and refined various aspects of Yoga systematically in his "Yoga Sutras" (aphorisms). He advocated the eight folds path of Yoga, popularly known as "Ashtanga Yoga" for all-round development of human beings. They are:- Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. These components advocate certain restraints and observances, physical discipline, breath regulations, restraining the sense organs, contemplation, meditation and samadhi. These steps are believed to have a potential for improvement of physical health by enhancing circulation of oxygenated blood in the body, retraining the sense organs thereby inducing tranquility and serenity of mind. The practice of Yoga prevents psychosomatic disorders and improves an individual’s resistance and ability to endure stressful situations.

Earlier posts of Interesting Reads are at

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Interesting Reads – 2018-06-16

Generation AI: What happens when your child's friend is an AI toy that talks back?

‘My Friend Cayla’ is an internet-connected doll that uses voice recognition technology to chat and interact with children in real time. Cayla’s conversations are recorded and transmitted online to a voice analysis company.

This raised concerns that hackers might spy on children or communicate directly with them as they play with the doll. There are also concerns about how kids’ voice data is used. In 2017 German regulators urged parents to destroy the doll, classifying it as an “illegal espionage apparatus”.

Cayla is just one example of a new wave of artificial intelligence (AI) toys that “befriend” children. Manufacturers often claim they are educational, enhancing play and helping children develop social skills. But consumer groups warn that smart toys, like other “things” we connect to the internet, might put security and privacy at risk.

In the following Q&A, Kay Firth-Butterfield, the World Economic Forum’s Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, explains how to navigate a world where AI toys are increasingly popular. 

Systems Confrontation and System Destruction Warfare: How the Chinese People's Liberation Army Seeks to Wage Modern Warfare

This 142 pages report reflects an attempt to understand current thinking in the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) regarding system of systems and systems warfare, as well as current methods of warfighting. It also serves as a guidebook to the already substantial number of systems and systems-related concepts that abound in PLA sources. By examining numerous Chinese-language materials, this report (1) explores how the PLA understands systems confrontation and comprehends prosecuting system destruction warfare, (2) identifies the components of the PLA's own operational system by looking at the various potential subsystem components and how they are connected, and (3) examines selected PLA operational systems identified in PLA literature and envisioned by the PLA to prosecute its campaigns, such as the firepower warfare operational system. This report should be of interest to military analysts and scholars of the PLA, policymakers, and anyone else who seeks insight into how the PLA conceptualizes and seeks to wage modern warfare.

94% of IT graduates not fit for hiring: Tech Mahindra CEO

Tech Mahindra CEO C P Gurnani is laying the foundation for the next level of growth at his company. Skilling of manpower and logging into new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cyber-security and machine learning remain the biggest challenge for Indian IT players, says Gurnani in an exclusive interview to TOI

17 Statistics Showcasing the Role of Data in Digital Transformation

The new imperative for enterprise organizations has become deliver on new customer experiences and business models before your competitors - be the disruptor rather than the disrupted. But this requires being able to see transformational possibilities before they become obvious, and to act on information proactively and predictively.

For enterprise organizations seeking accelerated growth and longevity, the role of data and analytics in business transformation has never been clearer. Where are most when it comes to using data and analytics to inform and inspire? Where should organizations be focusing investments? Here are 17 statistics showcasing the current and future role of data in digital transformation:

10 brilliant PowerPoint hacks that you need to know!

Presentations are a necessary evil in the corporate world. Estimates show that there are 20 million presentations that are made every single day. Yet sadly, most of them doesn't invoke any reaction on the audience, lest creating a deep impact. While there are no secret sauces to a great presentation, there are some essential tips & hacks which are consistently used by great presenters across the world. Knowing some of these hacks can not only improve the quality of your next presentation, but also change your outlook towards presenting content across channels.

Over my 10-year career, I had the opportunity to work on hundreds of presentations ranging from sales pitches to project proposals to motivational decks. While I presented some of them myself, most of them were put together for very senior leaders in my company. Over the years, I was thoroughly trained and mentored on churning out powerful presentations pretty quickly and effortlessly. A partial reason for my inclination to create good looking presentations, might be the genes that I received from my late father who was an artist and a design engineer.

This is a humble effort to share with you the top tricks that i have picked up along the way or learned from various presentation gurus, and use on a regular basis while making presentations. Here they go:

22 eerie photos show how China uses facial recognition to track its citizens as they travel, shop - and even use toilet paper

There are 170 million surveillance cameras in China. By 2020, the country hopes to have 570 million - that's nearly one camera for every two citizens.

At the same time, China is a building a national database that will recognize any citizen withinthree seconds. Though that system probably won't be unveiled for a number of years, facial recognition is widespread in China.

Thanks to a large sample population and lax privacy laws, police and private companies have led the way in developing surveillance technology that is now being used to track travel, shopping, crime, and even toilet paper usage.

Take a look at all the ways people's faces are being used for surveillance - with and without their permission.

Why 50,000 ships are so vulnerable to cyberattacks

The 50,000 ships sailing the sea at any one time have joined an ever-expanding list of objects that can be hacked. Cybersecurity experts recently displayed how easy it was to break into a ship’s navigational equipment. This comes only a few years after researchers showed that they could fool the GPS of a superyacht into altering course. Once upon a time objects such as cars, toasters and tugboats only did what they were originally designed to do. Today the problem is that they all also talk to the internet.

6 Tips to Deal with Digital Burnout

Recently some readers told me that they have been feeling overwhelmed by the flood of information online these days.

I feel the same. This was why I deleted my Facebook page (though I just got back on to give it another try). It’s also why I have unsubscribed from almost every newsletter, deleted various social media accounts, and simplified my entire site design last year.

If you use the internet a lot like I do, you probably feel burnt out sometimes. Digital burnout is fatigue and stress caused by prolonged use of technology. As technology makes it easier to transmit information than ever (which leads to a flood of information); as businesses adopt addictive web design to keep users past the point of optimal use; and as the internet is driven by click-bait content rather than quality (a natural occurrence when something reaches mass adoption), we need to be more conscious about how we use technology and the internet.

Here are 6 tips to deal with digital burnout and navigate our increasingly digitized world.

Open data, open government

The time is now ripe for the government to create a data-driven governance architecture

The “audacity of hope” for a country of a billion aspirations is yet to bear result. The new wave of a technological revolution will not be from pure data or access to consumer behaviour. The application of data and their assimilation with solving social problems, enabling better governance and powering elected governments to serve their citizens better is ushering in a new revolution. When Artificial Intelligence is coupled with open data, a real paradigm shift begins. With choice and information-sharing now redefining consumer behaviour, every company is looking to embrace or at least look like it is embracing the new paradigm of data-driven innovation.

From flying warehouses to robot toilets – five technologies that could shape the future

Flying warehouses, robot receptionists, smart toilets… do such innovations sound like science fiction or part of a possible reality? Technology has been evolving at such a rapid pace that, in the near future, our world may well resemble that portrayed in futuristic movies, such as Blade Runner, with intelligent robots and technologies all around us.

But what technologies will actually make a difference? Based on recent advancements and current trends, here are five innovations that really could shape the future.