Of papers and podcasts
Facebook is desperately changing its model and its algorithm to promote privacy and to be less intrusive. “They recently, along with Instagram, banned a bunch of far-right polemicists.” And “and perhaps again less scope for the Russians to go viral into your feed.”
That’s one kind of change. Another has to do with brick-and-mortar businesses that aren’t changing enough to stay in business. Whether of phone books, book stores or newspapers, those who refuse to go online tend to suffer the consequences. Some rise above.
The Guardian is finally profitable, and is so longer running down its trust-fund (mostly based on Autotrader). A long journey, and part of a broader conversation about combining scale, reach and quality (plus asking readers for money). Best stat: only 8% of revenue now comes from print advertising.
The New York Times is getting close to becoming a majority-digital company
I will survive
- Machines can pack boxes with product for Amazon up to five times faster than humans. Up to 700 boxes per hour. Walmart already uses them. Not only will these machines work fast, they will save in time to train, eliminate high turnover and do away with necessary new employee training. Money saved “will be reinvested by Amazon into new services for customers” where new jobs will be created.
- Machines can pick tomatoes – or eggs. Tomatoes without bruising and eggs without crushing. Just a few minor adjustments to the machine. Root AI developed an agricultural robot, Virgo 1, and trained it to be an expert tomato picker. Sensors and cameras – and even a light for nightime harvesting – enable the self-driving robot to navigate those huge commercial greenhouses, where, admittedly, they grow tomatoes with less sensitive skin.Still they are smart enough to detect which tomatoes are sufficiently ripe for harvest. With a success rate higher than that of humans. Take that, you hard-working worker doing back-breaking labor in the heat of the day where the demand for higher levels of productivity might cause a human to select a tomato that’s just a little below the fully ripe level. Oh, did I mention that they can work 24×7 without OT or vacations? Just an occasional software upgrade taking minutes.
- Dust-sized brain implants might not be in the same category as packing boxes or picking tomatoes. In two ways. Honestly speaking, they are not as highly developed and generally speaking they are more about enabling the disabled functionally under-developed to come up to speed with the more enabled human. So in the case of the dust-sized brain implants they are at the finger-wiggling stage, not at the concert pianist stage. But they hope to get there soon. And, after all, all technology has to start at the most rudimentary levels of accomplishment.
On the one hand, there is movement toward transitioning away from old ways of doing things – publishing papers and books – to new ways – digitizing it all for online access. On the other hand, there is concerted effort at breaking new ground, whether in making machines more human-like, or in making humans more machine like. All told, “there be change everywhere!”