While devices and apps get most of the attention, data storage is every bit as important, particularly as objects like phones, tablets, cars and thermostats become appendages of the Internet. Throw in trends like collaboration and big data analysis, and all those bits of data become more dynamic than something in a file cabinet. They are fluid and being entered and retrieved from many points.
Social commentators prognosticating about Google’s acquisition of robot companies note that, having conquered the digital realm, businesses are increasingly turning their attention to the remaining physical frontier. I see a more radical direction: Today’s corporations aren’t simply colonizing the physical world with robotic products—the move toward the so-called Internet of Things. These corporate actors are going to synchronize the digital and physical worlds into a single, fused matrix. Every physical action you take will have a digital consequence, and every digital act will push back on the physical world.
Shift from Telecom-Centric to Application-Focused Investments
Rutberg’s June Wireless Industry Newsletter uses Uber to frame it well:
Uber’s massive $1.2 billion fundraise represents the largest venture capital investment in mobile and wireless of all time. It displaces Clearwire’s $900 million fundraise in July 2006 at the top of the lead tables. It also evidences the dramatic shift from telecom-centric investments to application-focused investments since the launch of the iPhone in 2007.
But the core of the site is strong and scathing, with a clear point of view: that a large segment of online media has nothing interesting to say, but many creative ways to get you to read it. While it’s too smart to state this explicitly, the point of almost every story is that the purveyors of such online news think you’re incredibly stupid.
One day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today, resulting in enormous benefits for consumers across the nation.
Steve Sinofsky on the inevitable disruption coming to the auto industry. It’s well worth a read. But it is highly urban centric - meaning that most of the benefits that he describes (things like ride sharing, shared ownership, avoiding parking hassles, etc.) accrue primarily to those in urban centers. In fact, he makes the shift away from suburbia a central driver in his case. I do wonder how the economics and use cases of autonomous cars play out in areas without the centrality, concentration and density of urban centers.
But others push themselves into the rotting institutions they want to reinvent. If you are looking for people who are going to be creative in the current climate, I’d look for people who are disillusioned with politics even as they go into it; who are disenchanted with contemporary worship, even as they join the church; who are disgusted by finance even as they work in finance. These people believe in the goals of their systems but detest how they function. They contain the anxious contradictions between disillusionment and hope.
Tim Chang at PreMoney this year. Great forward-looking talk touching on machine empathy, being able to read/write mental states and the future of the quantified self.
Google Invests In Satellites: A Sign Of Decay In Old Line Telecom Players?
- Google satellite venture is a shot across the bow to traditional telecom companies.
- Satellite and telecommunications technology today is much improved compared to prior satellite efforts.
- Old line telecommunication are starting to cede considerable ground with their inability to come up with innovative solutions.
What differentiates Google from telecommunication players like AT&T is the lack of imagination.
100 Years of Commercial Flight
The first commercial flight took place Jan 1, 1914 in Florida and lasted 23 minutes as it carried passengers from St. Petersburg to Tampa.
Fast forward 100 years and the airline industry expects to move 3.3 billion passengers and 50 million tons of cargo over 50,000 routes this year.
That kind of progress must have seemed absolutely ludicrous, perhaps unimaginable, to people at the time. Serves as inspiration that radically different futures are possible and worth working towards.
What Google’s Self Driving Car Says About The Company
I saw this piece on SeekingAlpha on What Google’s Self Driving Car Says About The Company. The author sums up the aims of Google’s forward-thinking projects well.
The important point that I want to make regarding the self-driving car is that this shows how Google is willing to take risks to produce breakthrough innovations. The profit potential for a self-driving car might be many years away, but the perseverance to see a project like this through to completion demonstrates that Google is serious about significant innovations. This means that it is likely that the company will introduce other innovative ground-breaking technology in the future.
With their self-driving cars, ballon-powered internet, aggressive indoor mapping and other projects together with the scope and scale of the investments they make through their VC arm, Google is signaling to both investors and potential new hires that they are committed to shaping and creating the future.
Americans are largely optimistic about the long-term future of scientific progress, but concerned about some changes that might occur in the near future.
Evidence of the kind of “indefinite optimism” that Peter Thiel believes has dominated American thinking since the early 80’s, and describes in his book Zero to One.
Cheap Drones Give Farmers a New Way to Improve Crop Yields
The MIT Technology Review is out with its list of 10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2014. Agricultural drones heads the list. Further evidence that UAVs are transitioning from fun toys to powerful tools.
Relatively cheap drones with advanced sensors and imaging capabilities are giving farmers new ways to increase yields and reduce crop damage.
Finance [is] the only way to make money when you have no idea how to create wealth
Closer to coding the Disagreement Hierarchy
Back in 2008, Paul Graham wrote a great post about the hierarchy of disagreement. It prompted me to write this post about how great it would be to code a natural language processor that could score content against this disagreement hierarchy. Unleashed on the web, this ability to assess the soundness of argumentation would be hugely valuable across the universe of blogs, product reviews, editorials, journalism, etc.
IBM appears to have taken a step in that direction. They released a new Watson featured called “The Debater" that aims to automatically scan source material, reason from it, and develop pro / con arguments for an open question.