It seemed like just yesterday that all of the attention was on Millennials. Now, much of the marketing focus has turned to Generation Z. To better understand how marketers can be prepared for Gen Z, I turned to IBM's Harriet Green, General Manager, Watson Internet of Things, Commerce and Education, to share insight from research that her team conducted (see here for IBM's research on Gen Z). Whitler: Who is Generation Z and why do marketers have to take notice? Green: As a marketer, you always need to be prepared for the next big challenge.
You may recall that I was a judge for the 2016 Royal Society Insight Investment popular Science Book Prize. I mention this because you may not know this, and also because this is the reason I've not shared reviews for any of the many books I've read this year to avoid creating an impression of bias. Today, I continue my nearly-annual list of the best popular science books of the year (my first instalment is here). Today's list is biology, a broad topic that includes books about evolution, ecology, animal behavior and the natural history of animals. Those of you who are wondering where all the excellent botany/plant books are, stay tuned because those are included in another forthcoming list!
What trends are we likely to see in ad tech in 2017? With the success of Amazon Echo and Google Home, we are now firmly in the era of Voice Search. But the Pay Per Impression and Pay Per Click models do not translate well here, and Pay Per Call type ads (launched for mobile by Google in 2015) would be controversial, to say the least. After all, you would have to wonder if the top search result delivered to you truly was the best one or merely from the advertiser who paid the most. Which is why Google -- and very likely others in this space -- are considering Pay Per Transaction, in what would be the biggest shift in advertising in years.
As we head into 2017, artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology trend that is generating increasing buzz among business leaders of both start-ups and well-established companies. From virtual assistants to image recognition to self-driving cars, we're only just beginning to scratch the surface of how AI-related technology will impact our daily lives and transform how businesses operate. IBM's Chief Innovation Officer Bernie Meyerson optimistically predicts 2017 will be "the year of the solution as opposed to the year of the experiment." The worlds of artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) are poised to collide. This year's CES conference in Las Vegas was packed with all kinds of smart devices touting new AI capabilities.
Not a day goes by without some fascinating new advance in deep learning, yet most of the conversation around deep learning in the cybersecurity realm has focused on its defensive capabilities, using AI algorithms to hunt through network and server logs to ferret out anomalous activity. This raises the fascinating question of what deep learning might be capable of as an offensive weapon of cyberwarfare. In the leadup to the US presidential election, the US Government proudly proclaimed that it had deployed its cyber warriors to burrow deep inside of Russian infrastructure systems in preparation for possible retaliatory strikes: "U.S. military hackers … penetrated Russia's electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin's command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary." Such widespread infiltration likely took immense resources and preparation from a massive team of cyber experts. What if an organization like the NSA could instead simply fire up a deep learning algorithm, point it at the Kremlin and let the tool take it from there?
For the first time in many years, US companies clearly face a real change in sentiment and political risk in sending or keeping work offshore. It's clear that the new Trump administration combined with other secular forces – Brexit and the U.S. presidential campaign rhetoric, for example – signals a step back and pause in globalization. I think it's reasonable to believe that, to a larger extent than before, all directors in companies will be pressured to not use labor arbitrage and potentially pressured to repatriate work that has already been moved offshore. The problem this poses for companies is that executives have a fiduciary responsibility to their company. So far, president-elect Trump has gone after high-profile consumer goods companies and manufacturing companies.
First it was personal computers, then smartphones. Now the year's largest tech expo showed us what the next growth driver is: connected cars. At CES last week, tech giants like Microsoft, Intel and Nvidia showed off their latest plans for the fast-growing connected car market. Worldwide sales of connected car products is expected to increase almost fourfold between 2015 and 2020, according to a report by PwC's Strategy&, adding more than $149 billion in revenues in the passenger car segment alone. Some of the biggest bets have been by Samsung and Qualcomm.
In his final Twitter post as President Obama's deputy Chief Technology Officer, Ed Felten dryly notes one of his accomplishments: "Robot apocalypses: 0." Robots and automation have received lots of attention over the past year, with much of the interest ranging from alarmist to curious. Elon Musk has said that robots will take your job. And, at the recently concluded 50th annual Consumer Electronics Show, companies rolled out robots to monitor your child and brew your coffee and tea. Robots are everywhere, except, as it turns out, in the data. To be clear, I don't mean there's no data about robots.
Startup Intuition Robotics emerged from stealth today, announcing a social robot aimed at keeping older adults active and engaged. The design and actions of the artificial intelligence-based device, ElliQ, make it look and feel less like a traditional robot and more as a friendly and approachable digital companion. It is unveiled this week as part of the exhibition New Old: Designing for our Future Selves at The Design Museum in London and was developed in collaboration with famed industrial designer Yves Béhar and his studio, fuseproject. The world's advanced economies are facing today the challenge of responding to the needs of a rapidly aging population (about 15% of people in the United States and 26% in Japan are older than 65). Loneliness and social isolation are serious issues that sometimes accelerate specific health conditions and worsen the physical disabilities of older adults.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. Over the holiday, I spent a great afternoon at the Boston Museum of Science, which is currently running an exhibition called "Da Vinci – The Genius." The exhibition brings to life the genius of Leonardo da Vinci as an inventor, scientist, engineer, architect, sculptor, and artist.