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The 84 biggest flops, fails, and dead dreams of the decade in tech

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The world never changes quite the way you expect. But at The Verge, we've had a front-row seat while technology has permeated every aspect of our lives over the past decade. Some of the resulting moments -- and gadgets -- arguably defined the decade and the world we live in now. But others we ate up with popcorn in hand, marveling at just how incredibly hard they flopped. This is the decade we learned that crowdfunded gadgets can be utter disasters, even if they don't outright steal your hard-earned cash. It's the decade of wearables, tablets, drones and burning batteries, and of ridiculous valuations for companies that were really good at hiding how little they actually had to offer. Here are 84 things that died hard, often hilariously, to bring us where we are today. Everyone was confused by Google's Nexus Q when it debuted in 2012, including The Verge -- which is probably why the bowling ball of a media streamer crashed and burned before it even came to market.


2020: Our meatless, cashless, city-less future

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Happy New Year! 2019 has come and gone like Kylo Ren's reign in The Rise of Skywalker, and so it's time for my (13th!) annual prediction piece for VentureBeat. Facial recognition trials will launch in large public venues outside of China. Of course bans of the technology has already occurred, too, in cities like San Francisco and Somerville, MA. Enterprise analytics will become red hot. I predicted this space would reach a third of the value of the workflow platform space by the end of 2019.


Technology Trends of 2020

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At the Last Futurist, we enjoy looking at AI Trends and digital transformation trends. In between those two are more broad technology trends. In fact these topics make up the mission statement of this new news site. However the last decade had a lot of technology and gadgets that didn't fare so well in the real world. The decade was mobile all the way, with mass adoption taking place the way we might expect the brain-computer interface (BCI) to achieve mass adoption in a future decade years from now. In the decade ahead the move to automated stores and electric vehicles are real trends, but it's important to differentiate the hype from the reality. Autonomous vehicles, quantum computing going mainstream, better self-learning AI, hang on a second! Even mass adoption of digital currencies is coming faster. From computers to the internet and smart phones, a few generations shows a lot of progress. But technology never stands still. Advertising has scaled a world of surveillance capitalism normalization and an AI-arms race is now taking place. Most technology trends and AI listicles only touch the surface of how humans are embedding technology increasingly into their lives. However looking at it from the perspectives of many industries and across technology and innovation stacks gives a more complete picture. The real world and customer experience are the real tests for new technological innovations and pivots. It will take decades for 3D printing, quantum computing and an AGI to even become mature, but an age of biotechnology and AI in healthcare, education and finance is inevitable. From Huawei, to ByteDance (TikTok), to Didi, China will wage major battles for global market share in 5G, consumer apps, E-commerce, mobile payments and ride sharing, among others. Chinese led tech companies -- with the support of the Chinese Government and venture funds such as Softbank Vision Fund -- can mean that in the 2020s China's ecosystem fully replaces Silicon Valley as the leader of innovation. In 2019, some believe this has already occurred.


Digital Civil Right to Transparency? - Lone Star Analysis

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California's passage of their "GDPR-lite" caught people off guard. We think this is part of a trend we've studied for a long time. Much of the current analysis misses key points, so it seems worth explaining. About two years ago, we asked several thought leaders in the U.S. about the odds we'd see legislation like the E.U. GDPR provides clear rights to E.U citizens, controlling data captured on-line.


The 2018 Survey: AI and the Future of Humans

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"Please think forward to the year 2030. Analysts expect that people will become even more dependent on networked artificial intelligence (AI) in complex digital systems. Some say we will continue on the historic arc of augmenting our lives with mostly positive results as we widely implement these networked tools. Some say our increasing dependence on these AI and related systems is likely to lead to widespread difficulties. Our question: By 2030, do you think it is most likely that advancing AI and related technology systems will enhance human capacities and empower them? That is, most of the time, will most people be better off than they are today? Or is it most likely that advancing AI and related technology systems will lessen human autonomy and agency to such an extent that most people will not be better off than the way things are today? Please explain why you chose the answer you did and sketch out a vision of how the human-machine/AI collaboration will function in 2030.


Artificial stupidity: 'Move slow and fix things' could be the mantra AI needs

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"Let's not use society as a test-bed for technologies that we're not sure yet how they're going to change society," warned Carly Kind, director at the Ada Lovelace Institute, an artificial intelligence (AI) research body based in the U.K. "Let's try to think through some of these issues -- move slower and fix things, rather than move fast and break things." Kind was speaking as part of a recent panel discussion at Digital Frontrunners, a conference in Copenhagen that focused on the impact of AI and other next-gen technologies on society. The "move fast and break things" ethos embodied by Facebook's rise to internet dominance is one that has been borrowed by many a Silicon Valley startup: develop and swiftly ship an MVP (minimal viable product), iterate, learn from mistakes, and repeat. These principles are relatively harmless when it comes to developing a photo-sharing app, social network, or mobile messaging service, but in the 15 years since Facebook came to the fore, the technology industry has evolved into a very different beast. Large-scale data breaches are a near-daily occurrence, data-harvesting on an industrial level is threatening democracies, and artificial intelligence (AI) is now permeating just about every facet of society -- often to humans' chagrin.


Artificial stupidity: 'Move slow and fix things' could be the mantra AI needs

#artificialintelligence

"Let's not use society as a test-bed for technologies that we're not sure yet how they're going to change society," warned Carly Kind, director at the Ada Lovelace Institute, an artificial intelligence (AI) research body based in the U.K. "Let's try to think through some of these issues -- move slower and fix things, rather than move fast and break things." Kind was speaking as part of a recent panel discussion at Digital Frontrunners, a conference in Copenhagen that focused on the impact of AI and other next-gen technologies on society. The "move fast and break things" ethos embodied by Facebook's rise to internet dominance is one that has been borrowed by many a Silicon Valley startup: develop and swiftly ship an MVP (minimal viable product), iterate, learn from mistakes, and repeat. These principles are relatively harmless when it comes to developing a photo-sharing app, social network, or mobile messaging service, but in the 15 years since Facebook came to the fore, the technology industry has evolved into a very different beast. Large-scale data breaches are a near-daily occurrence, data-harvesting on an industrial level is threatening democracies, and artificial intelligence (AI) is now permeating just about every facet of society -- often to humans' chagrin.


Artificial stupidity: 'Move slow and fix things' could be the mantra AI needs

#artificialintelligence

"Let's not use society as a test-bed for technologies that we're not sure yet how they're going to change society," warned Carly Kind, director at the Ada Lovelace Institute, an artificial intelligence (AI) research body based in the U.K. "Let's try to think through some of these issues -- move slower and fix things, rather than move fast and break things." Kind was speaking as part of a recent panel discussion at Digital Frontrunners, a conference in Copenhagen that focused on the impact of AI and other next-gen technologies on society. The "move fast and break things" ethos embodied by Facebook's rise to internet dominance is one that has been borrowed by many a Silicon Valley startup: develop and swiftly ship an MVP (minimal viable product), iterate, learn from mistakes, and repeat. These principles are relatively harmless when it comes to developing a photo-sharing app, social network, or mobile messaging service, but in the 15 years since Facebook came to the fore, the technology industry has evolved into a very different beast. Large-scale data breaches are a near-daily occurrence, data-harvesting on an industrial level is threatening democracies, and artificial intelligence (AI) is now permeating just about every facet of society -- often to humans' chagrin.


Exclusive Interview: Why Facebook Is Training Robots To Think

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Facebook's hexapod, Daisy, learning to walk On the rooftop of the building that houses the Facebook AI Research (FAIR) lab in Mountain View, California, there is a bootcamp for robots where the sun beams down on Daisy, a hexapod who is learning how to walk on a dirt jogging path. Her foot has become stuck in mulch as she struggles to wrestle free. A team of Facebook AI researchers eagerly look on, watching to see what she will do next as she moves forward with the curiosity and experimentation of a toddler. One flight down, Daisy's counterpart Pluto, a red arm robot, is learning how to reach for an object in its playpen. Facebook is leading an effort to teach robots how to think for themselves and develop human-like intuition that will enable them to navigate unknown circumstances.