Most exciting technology ever encountered

Most exciting technology ever encountered

That was the headline in the Wall Street Journal, and they were talking about augmented reality which is not to be confused with its cousin, virtual reality. It is envisioned that augmented reality will transform how we interact with computers in the 21st century, it is a big claim, yes, but deal of the suggest that in five, 10 or even 20 years from now will be our point to his column and say he told us that. Currently the best-known example of AR is Google glass, which has pretty much been a failure. To understand what AR is you have to imagine a display that sits not on your desk or in your hand, but he's right in front of your eyes.

Today these displays are unwieldy, some of them looked like bulkier versions of safety glasses while others can either look like a bicycle helmet that went wrong, today's versions also have some severe limitations such as poor resolution and lag problems. However many technologists in this field believe that within five years these displays will be able to project a virtual image on any surface. To give you an idea of what they mean, take a look at your wrist, you are not wearing a watch or anything else but it appears as if you have a smart watch on your wrist, you could look at your hand and see a smart phone or even a tablet, that is what this technology wants to be.

The opposite end of the scale of course is that you could have, instead of a flat screen TV, a whole wall projection and stream the TV show you want to watch, the technology wants to be this versatile when it is perfected. Nearly every giant tech company is working on augmented reality, as stated before Google has already made an augmented reality device which anyone can buy, but Apple, Facebook, Samsung and Microsoft are all heavily engaged in research in this field. These giant corporations with vast fortunes are also buying smaller augmented reality companies almost daily and pouring money into their research.

As well as the giants in the industry trying to push the research ahead as fast as they possibly can there are also hundreds of startup companies that are staking claims in this area, one of them, Magic Leap Inc. raised $1.37 billion in capital before it even revealed its core product, most of the capital came from Google and other wealthy philanthropists. Goldman Sachs recently projected that the combined revenue from virtual reality and augmented reality devices would generate in excess of $80 billion in hardware sales by the year 2025, that is the same size as the current PC industry is.

Goldman Sachs also predicted that by 2025 augmented reality would by then to dwarf virtual-reality, the reason they stated for this prediction is they likened virtual-reality to today's PCs and augmented reality to a smart phone. The difficulty for the researchers is going to be the major technical challenges that are going to come out of augmented realities every day usage, this will be much easier with virtual-reality as it will require much less computing power to run a system.

New technology to speed checkout times

New technology to speed checkout times

Visa is the first card company to publicly state that they are spending the money necessary to upgrade their software to process chip embedded cards faster. Currently all the card companies are getting a lot of grumbling from customers and from businesses who have peak times about the sheer length of time it takes to finalize a transaction, even a tap and go one. The company has labeled this new software Quick Chip for EMV, they has said the software will allow a transaction to be completed in under 2 seconds. As of May 31 2017, there are approximately 40,175 U.S. merchant locations reported as supporting Quick Chip. Merchant locations doubled in Quick Chip acceptance in February 2017.

Cards that take 10 to 15 seconds to process have been a particular annoyance for businesses, like coffee shops, who at their peak times can be trying to process up to 350 transactions per hour, some retailers of even said that the queue to pay for what you want to buy is longer than the queue to collect it, which is unacceptable to them and their customers but until now the only other choice was to pay cash which in a lot of cases has been the faster option, that is not something any of the card companies wanted to hear.

Amongst retailers who have been the victims of very slow processing of purchases there has even been talk of a lawsuit against the credit card companies, the allegation of course is that the slow processing of payments has been costing these organizations business revenue. Some businesses have even stopped taking cards because they are just too slow, too expensive and just plain annoying for the business owners, these businesses are easy to see because they usually place something on top of the card machine to prevent customers from accessing it.

A couple of the card retailers have even been dragging the chain according to the big-box retailers hoping that the retailers themselves would invest the time and money into upgrading the software used to process the transactions, so far not a single retailer has even looked at this option and none of them plan to either. The chips in the cards today can handle much faster transactions basically because they do not use the card number in any way to do a transaction, they use a unique code for each transaction which is why they are much more secure than the previous cards, the unique transaction code is a one-time use, and even if a thief got hold of it, it cannot be used again so it is useless to them.

Visa in particular with more than 265 million cards being issued already say that the only area left that receives major fraudulent transactions is the “card not present” style of transaction, this is usually done online to buy some goods which are then delivered by the retailer, these are always eventually flagged as fraudulent but it always takes some time and mostly the theives getaway with the transaction. Another reason for Visa introducing chip cards is that the chip is almost impossible to duplicate, where is the magnetic stripe on the back of the card is old technology and easily copied. Both MasterCard and American Express are also looking at software upgrades.

The race is on to control artificial intelligence

The race is on to control artificial intelligence

The latest move in the race to control the future of the artificial intelligence technology was made by Google when it's artificial intelligence program had a resounding win over a champion Go player recently, most people were led to believe this win was a statement aimed at professional game players, it wasn't at all, it was a statement aimed squarely at Google's competitors in the artificial intelligence industry. These competitors are the industry's biggest companies like Microsoft, IBM and Amazon, they are all jockeying for position to become the go to company amongst all the companies that currently engaged in the platform war around artificial intelligence.

What the large tech companies want to achieve is similar to what Microsoft achieved with Windows software when it dominated consumer software for many years, and what Google is currently doing with its domination of the search engines, that is what these companies believe is at stake with artificial intelligence software, they all believe this software will be the new software that consumers cannot do without. Whoever becomes the dominant platform in the artificial intelligence market is sure to reap huge profits, and that is what they are playing for.

The true believers in artificial intelligence are currently saying that this long promised technology is ready for the mainstream today and the company that controls a will steer the tech industry for many years to come. Many people in this industry believe that AI combined with the data technology is going to remake the world as we know it. Currently all the big companies are really doing is engaging in tit-for-tat publicity stunts, most of them are just looking to buy any startup company that looks promising. By doing this they are not actually after what the company say's it will produce in a lot of cases but they want the brains behind those ideas.

The big companies need for fresh brains is even extending to them looking at PhD candidates in universities across America who are studying courses they believe are necessary for the future of artificial intelligence, like computer vision, and to give you some idea of how desperate they are to acquire these people some PhD students have been offered starting salaries in excess of $1 million per annum when they graduate.

For many years tech companies have used the man versus machine competitions to show how far artificial intelligence has advanced, the first one of these was in 1997 when an IBM program computer beat chess champion Garry Kasparov. Five years ago IBM again showed its new system when it won a three-day match on the television show Jeopardy, the software IBM use the that was called Watson and is today the centerpiece of all IBM efforts in artificial intelligence.

It seems that right now a few companies, Facebook and Google included are concentrating on getting artificial intelligence programs to play what is considered one of the most complicated games there is, Go, Google at first played against European champions and beat them all, but the game is most popular in Asia so its latest game was against the South Korean Grand Master, Google software won the series 4 games to 1. The conclusion is that artificial intelligence has come along way since 1997 but still has probably as far to go again before it will be the new must-have software.

The upside to our technology

The upside to our technology

The upside to technology is very personal, we have also been how having a smart phone with a camera seems to turn everyone into a narcissist, there are many privacy minefields ready to trip us up on Facebook and other social media, and to be ruthless Twitter service who mostly full of people into spiteful and hateful bullying. Technology is also enabling terrorists to recruit and spread their message of hate and fear across the globe. That is the dark side of technology and some people might wonder if all this technology was worth all the grief is has given us.

But there are some good sides to technology, a wise man once said that technology just does what it is always done, doesn't matter whether it's a smart phone, the social network, and app which we cannot seem to do without or a search engine, all of these technologies and any other technology just connect us to people who are not with us, they connect us with loved ones who are far away and real friends who we just like to say hello to. So what they really do is to make us feel a little less alone in a big confused world.

An increasing number of people are saving photographs and videos that have been sent to them by now deceased people, especially parents and siblings, as there smart phones photo on the front and they will spend some of their time nearly every day scrolling through these photos and watching old videos they have also saved to these devices, nearly everyone who has done this probably thinks they are unique and that this is a very 21st-century thing to do, after all smart phones and the like are 21st-century toys. Actually, back when photography was invented in the 1800s people would line up for a family portrait with her recently deceased relative sitting in amongst the group for a family portrait, this was one last way of not only spending a moment with the loved one but also the way of keeping them within the family group forever.

Technology the 21st century is basically allowing us to connect with anyone we want to and of course, some we wish we'd never met, but that is just like real life isn't it, the 21st-century technology has just allowed us to expand our reach to the whole planet whereas back in the 1800s you'll probably lucky to know someone who lived more than a couple of blocks away. The one thing that more and more technology always insists on bringing to the table with it is it's new and bigger ethical questions and quandaries.

Most pundits seem to agree that the biggest positive advance the human race is going to experience in the technological near future is probably going to be driverless cars and they also believe they are going to have a massive impact on society as a whole. Of course the ethical question with driverless vehicles will occur when the first one is most likely turned into a weapon by some terrorists or maybe even a hacker, how will society respond when that happens stop