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COVID-19: Implications for business

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The Delta variant of the coronavirus spread to more countries in recent weeks, and the total number of cases officially logged soared past half a million per day. The global number of deaths is now about two-thirds as high as it was at the peak of the previous wave, in April of this year. As the virus spreads, the potential rises for a vaccine-resistant strain to emerge. Meanwhile, in poorer countries, vaccines are scarce, and most populations are little protected (exhibit).


Why Aren't We All Buying Houses on the Internet?

Slate

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. This article is part of Update or Die, a series from Future Tense about how businesses and other organizations keep up with technological change--and the cost of falling behind. Between the housing crash, the subsequent housing crisis, and the unshakeable ascent of real estate reality TV, the past decade has so fundamentally changed the way Americans think about buying and selling homes that it's easy to forget that the way we actually buy and sell homes is the same as it ever was. For sellers: hire an agent, do a little renovation, list, and wait. For buyers: hire an agent, traverse open houses, make an offer, and wait.


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.


AI ethics is all about power

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At the Common Good in the Digital Age tech conference recently held in Vatican City, Pope Francis urged Facebook executives, venture capitalists, and government regulators to be wary of the impact of AI and other technologies. "If mankind's so-called technological progress were to become an enemy of the common good, this would lead to an unfortunate regression to a form of barbarism dictated by the law of the strongest," he said. In a related but contextually different conversation, this summer Joy Buolamwini testified before Congress with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that multiple audits found facial recognition technology generally works best on white men and worst on women of color. What these two events have in common is their relationship to power dynamics in the AI ethics debate. Arguments about AI ethics can wage without mention of the word "power," but it's often there just under the surface. In fact, it's rarely the direct focus, but it needs to be. Power in AI is like gravity, an invisible force that influences every consideration of ethics in artificial intelligence. Power provides the means to influence which use cases are relevant; which problems are priorities; and who the tools, products, and services are made to serve. It underlies debates about how corporations and countries create policy governing use of the technology.


AI ethics is all about power

#artificialintelligence

At the Common Good in the Digital Age tech conference recently held in Vatican City, Pope Francis urged Facebook executives, venture capitalists, and government regulators to be wary of the impact of AI and other technologies. "If mankind's so-called technological progress were to become an enemy of the common good, this would lead to an unfortunate regression to a form of barbarism dictated by the law of the strongest," he said. In a related but contextually different conversation, this summer Joy Buolamwini testified before Congress with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that multiple audits found facial recognition technology generally works best on white men and worst on women of color. What these two events have in common is their relationship to power dynamics in the AI ethics debate. Arguments about AI ethics can wage without mention of the word "power," but it's often there just under the surface. In fact, it's rarely the direct focus, but it needs to be. Power in AI is like gravity, an invisible force that influences every consideration of ethics in artificial intelligence. Power provides the means to influence which use cases are relevant; which problems are priorities; and who the tools, products, and services are made to serve. It underlies debates about how corporations and countries create policy governing use of the technology.