Artificial Intelligence – moving humans forward

Ever since we figured out how to put a computer in every home, someone has been asking the question “will robots or artificial intelligence replace humans in the workforce?” The answer, of course, is yes. They have and will continue to do so as we find areas where a robot can do the work better or where a job is unsafe for a human to do. But the typical robot doing a repetitive job is not necessarily “intelligent”. Artificial Intelligence, on the other hand, is something entirely different.

The theory that computer systems and applications can someday replace humans has been held in both fear and awe. Applications for artificial intelligence, however, continue to drive forward and at a faster pace than ever. As development companies collect user data and build smarter applications, algorithms using that data can make the applications gain abilities making them appear to learn, grow and adapt to surroundings and circumstances. The data can be applied using these algorithms to serve nearly any industry.

Merriam-webster dictionary defines Artificial Intelligence as, “an area of computer science that deals with giving machines the ability to seem like they have human intelligence.”

This means that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not limited to robots or some sort of android type of computer. Pretty much artificial intelligence is a set of code that learns over time. So does this mean AI can really advance to the point where it takes over our daily lives and takes the place of humans in every way? The answer is possibly.

For years we have all worried that we would be replaced by robots and to some extent that has come to pass. So why shouldn’t AI replace us in some fashion in the future?

A few of these jobs might look something like this:

  1. Order Clerks
  2. Data Entry Operators
  3. Library Technicians
  4. Photocopy Operators
  5. Tax Preparations
  6. Telemarketers

PC Magazine published a list of 20 Jobs Likely to Be Replaced by Robots.

But what if instead of removing the need for human knowledge worker, AIs actually enhanced the workplace and made more jobs for humans in the long run. Machines running programs have taken much of the human error out of documenting many types of information and doing precise tasks.

But the need for a human to somehow enter this information into the program still exists. So even though artificial intelligence is capable of “learning” quickly. How do you replace a life time of intuition that a human accumulates in a short amount of time?

Some areas where a life this life experience will still be valuable are:

  1. Recreational Therapists
  2. Occupational Therapists
  3. Healthcare social workers
  4. Physicians and surgeons – even though robots are being used extensively in this field the human touch may still be needed
  5. First-line supervisors of police and detectives
  6. Elementary School Teachers – this may be a grey area also, some technology will move into these jobs but there is still some need for humans.

There is no stopping the progress of this technology and who knows what will happen in the future. We just need to restructure and educate our workforce to compensate so humans and Artificial Intelligence can be put in areas where each are best suited for the job at hand.

Recently, TechRepublic concisely noted some of the most exciting trends in the field even beyond robotic factory workers and driverless cars. Application of AI into customer service, data processing, and even our children’s toys mean that we will see AI in our personal lives and in our work to a greater extent.

Walk through any big-box retailer and observe everyday items connected to the Internet – our cars, our refrigerators, our televisions – the tech companies at the forefront of AI are gathering data on us and how we live, what we like or dislike at heightened speeds and with greater capacity. Using this data, companies can improve our customer experience at a deeper level when computers adapt to understand emotions by listening to the tone of voice and using facial recognition looking for subtle changes in expression.

At the core of our understanding and use of artificial intelligence remains discovery into the ethical issues surrounding the topic. Is it right to replace workers? How much data is too much? Are there risks to continuing this trend? Some of these questions would have highly personal answers. How we respond as a collective may influence the direction this trend takes in the future.

Here is an interesting video from ColdFusion TV – What is Artificial Intelligence Exactly?

The Making of Autochrome v3

Autochrome v2

It all started with an eagerness to create one of the simplest WordPress Photoblog. After a rough work with the first version of Autochrome, the second version saw a huge improvement in speed, crispness and a clear focus to the photos. Autochrome v2 leveraged the powers of WordPress while achieving minimalism and simplicity to give users a no-nonsense WordPress Photography Theme.

What we wanted to achieve with Autochrome v3

We really wanted to push the limit with Autochrome v3. We knew we needed to do something different so users can achieve more with the third version. There were few interim version of Autochrome which were never published but rather thrown away because they were not good enough, not worthy to be the successor of Autochrome v2.

While continuing and even pushing the envelope on minimalism and simplicity, we knew Autochrome v3 have to be faster, way faster, and have a laser focus on the Photographs and nothing else.

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MetaRefresh (2014): The Design Superheroes who uses Modern Design Workflows

At the MetaRefresh 2014, I’m doing a 3+ hours workshop on how designers can leverage modern design workflows, weirdly titled – The Design Superheroes who uses Modern Design Workflows.

Today, the rate at which Front-End Development Tools and Utilities get introduced is mind-boggling. It is indeed quite hard to keep up. Getting familiar with few of these tools and mastering it will help designers get things done quicker, better, produce optimized results and participate with the whole team – contributing to writing production-ready codes and be able to run repeatable task easily. The result will be that designers can concentrate, focus and dedicate more time to designing products, applications, and systems instead of just ‘making things work.’

MetaRefresh 2014 Workshop

MetaRefresh 2014 Workshop – The Design Superheroes who use Modern Design Workflows.

The purpose of this workshop is to initiate and ignite that idea amongst designers who code and breath life into their static designs. Check out the Workshop’s Companion Site for more details.

It will be a long way from this workshop for a designer to become a ‘superhero’ in design but it should be a good start.

Access Clipboard History with Alfred (Mac OS X)

Quite often, one of the suggestions for developers and designers is to have a tool or a utility to access your Clipboard History. There are indeed quite a free few good tools which sits in your menubar that does the job very well. Some of the most recommended free ones are Jumpcut and ClipMenu.

However, if you’re one of those Alfred user who bought the Powerpack (you should buy it, it’s magic), it comes with a nifty Clipboard History Manager. One less menubar app to worry about.

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Hello Ruby – Programming Book for Children

Hello Ruby is a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories and kid-friendly activities.

An interesting initiative by Linda Liukas, who teaches programming and makes the world of technology more approachable through a non-profit called Rails Girls.

She is on a journey to combine software with storytelling. She is writing and illustrating a book for young children about the magical world of technology – Hello Ruby.

She is raising $10,000 on Kickstarter for Hello Ruby (already over-subscribed).

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Apply to Sourcebits’ Product Studios

Sourcebits

I have known Rohit Singal for a while though we never met in person until last month, to talk about Sourcebits’ new initiative – its innovative Product Studios model.

Sourcebits is one of those rare service companies in India, who can churn out beautifully designed products backed by an equally high calibre of engineering. Their primary focus is in mobile strategy, design & development.

Sourcebits has done work for giants like GE, SAP, Intel, MIT, P&G, Hershey’s and Coca-Cola, as well as emerging technology companies such as Skyfire, Knocking, Peel, TwitPic, CloudOn and Sling Media since 2006.

In May, 2011, Sourcebits raised $10M from Sequoia Capital and IDG Ventures. They are currently head-quartered in San Francisco with design and development centers in Bangalore (India), Niigata (Japan) and Mexico.

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Research your provider before hosting your website

Many people, especially those who are just starting off with a new online website and/or business, go straight for the cheapest web hosting provider they can find. It’s actually important to look for established and reputed providers such as Mediatemple, 1and1, Hostgator, Bluehost who offer the right balance between price, features and a high standard of support and service.

Just as transit services are the life blood of a city, so web hosting and telecom networks are the life blood of the Internet. But there’s a difference. If the buses and trains stop working, the city grinds to a halt and then gets back to normal when services resume. If your web hosting server goes down even briefly, you lose visitors in droves and it’ll cripple your online business permanently.

It is even more damaging if the problem is something chronic, like slow page loading speeds. Even a second delay in page loading results in sizable drop in customer satisfaction and reduces the conversion rate too. Then there’s security, use of tools, pricing, scalability and any number of issues that are critical to your online business and its survival an growth. That’s why you need a rock-solid web hosting provider who knows what website owners need and provides it without fail.

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Why Startups should invest in Good Hardwares for the Team

According to Gartner, global IT spending is poised to hit $3.8 trillion by 2014. But how much of it should come from your startup? Big corporate giants have massive IT budgets that help them upgrade and keep up with the latest cutting-edge technology that gives the company a competitive edge and enhances productivity. Startups, sadly enough, often have very little or nothing in terms of an IT budget.

Even so, a new startup still in the conceptual stage has to come up with a business plan that clearly maps out how much the company can afford to spend on hardware to be used as IT infrastructure and to keep employees connected.

In terms of the company’s IT infrastructure, make sure to come up with a system and components that are scalable and will not cause disruptions through down time. Getting a high-end wi-fi router may be a lot more affordable in the end than buying a cheap one that keeps dropping the uplink to your ISP and slows down you work.

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Y Combinator Startups (Summer 2013)

I was doing some research and made a list of the Y Combinator Startups (2013 Summer). Perhaps, you might find it useful.

Here is a detailed spreadsheet with information such as titles, website, Crunchbase profile, tagline, founder(s), location, funding and investors. Feel free to contribute/edit. These are all public information and personal details of the founders (Linkedin, emails) were removed.