Posted by & filed under 3D Printing, Careers, Emerging Technologies, Ethical Issues, IT and the law.

Shimizu demonstrating its construction robot, Robo-Buddy

Shinichi Sakamoto is 57, and works for Shimizu, one of Japan’s biggest construction companies. He is part of a greying, and dwindling, workforce.

“The thing is, statistics show a third of [Japanese construction] labourers are over 54 years old, and they are considering retiring so soon,” says Mr Sakamoto, who is deputy head of Shimizu’s production technology division.

And they’re not being replaced by younger builders. “The number of labourers under 30 is just above 10%,” he says.

In September, Mr Sakamoto’s firm gained a promising new co-worker – a robot.

Robo-Carrier is currently working on a high-rise development in Osaka, transports heavy gypsum board pallets nightly from the ground floor to where they’re needed.

Source: BBC Future

Date: November 2nd, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46034469

Discussion

1) What are some issues around having robots on a building site?

2) Are there any ethical or legal issues we need to consider here?

Posted by & filed under Careers, Fortnite, Gaming.

Group picture of Fortnite characters

Fortnite attracts millions of fans worldwide, including the likes of Drake, Travis Scott and Joe Jonas.

However, some other artists – including rapper 2 Milly – artists have accused Fortnite of stealing their dance moves.

Audiences have noticed some of the dances within the game appear to reference dance moves performed by famous hip-hop artists.

The developers of Fortnite, Epic Games, told the BBC they had no comment to make on the issue.

Dance steps such as Swipe It, originally known as the Milly Rock, and Hype, formerly known as Shoot, have been rebranded by Fortnite.

Drakes Look Alive video – which features the Shoot dance – has accumulated 228 million views.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 2nd, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-45821530

Discussion

1) Is it important, or not, to credit original artists in a game?

2) Are there ways to monetize famous dance moves in an app or online game?

Posted by & filed under disruptive technology, Innovator's Dilemma, wearable technology.

If you ask Aaron Grant how wearable smart glasses have fared on the consumer market over the last decade, he’ll jump to tell you “there have been no hits.”

But that isn’t stopping him from his latest venture: selling wearable smart glasses.

Grant and his fellow co-founders of Waterloo-based North, Matthew Bailey and Stephen Lake, have spent the last four years developing their $1,299, battery-powered Focals glasses so they can receive and send text messages, order Uber rides, display the time and weather and do anything Amazon’s voice-based virtual assistant does — all while looking stylish and accommodating prescriptions between -4 and +2 and 0 to -2.

Source: National Newswatch

Date: October 26th, 2018

Link: https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2018/10/23/waterloo-tech-brand-makes-big-bet-on-smart-glasses-after-predecessors-failures/#.W9NNgGhKgRk

Discussion

1) “It is much better to have a product that at least in the early stages has a small group of people who absolutely love it and use it all the time and get a ton of value from it rather than to throw in every bell and whistle.”  This is classic disruptive innovation.  How well do you understand Clayton Christensen’s Innovators’ Dilemma framework for understanding disruptive innovation?

2) Why does wearable tech struggle to succeed?

Posted by & filed under Drones, IT and the law.

Toufic Chamas, left, leaves court in Yellowknife with his lawyer, Tracy Bock, earlier this month. For illegal drone flying, Chamas was fined $3,000, sentenced to five days in jail, which he has already served, and isn’t allowed to drive for two years.

Source: CBC News

Date: October 26th, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/drone-flyer-convicted-yellowknife-1.4879016

Discussion

1) Are there technological ways to stop drone use in illegal or dangerous areas?

2) What might be better ways to enforce existing restrictions around drone use?

Posted by & filed under Amazon.

“They really didn’t listen to those of us who’ve been in the business for decades,” says Bobbie Moe. Customers would punch in their cleaning needs and the square footage of their house online, but the actual time and manpower required would vary wildly with the cleaning needs of the home.”

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: October 25th, 2018

Link (includes video): https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/24/tech/amazon-home-services/index.html

Discussion

1) The article says it took 2 years before Amazon made what seem like simple, obvious changes such as specifying the number of rooms to be cleaned in a house rather than square footage.  Why might this have taken so long to fix?

2) Why is Amazon getting in to this sort of business?

Posted by & filed under Big Data, Civil Liberties, data analytics, data mining.

WhatsApp messages on a phone

Political campaigners in Brazil have used software that scrapes Facebook for citizens’ phone numbers, and then automatically sends them WhatsApp messages and adds them to WhatsApp groups.

Almost three weeks ago, 147 million voters in the country went to the polls for legislative elections and the first round of the presidential elections.

This Sunday, they will decide between far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro and the left-wing Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad, in the second round of the presidential election.

A BBC investigation has discovered that efforts to support various parties and candidates – covering state, federal and senate votes – have used the bulk message technique.

Source: BBC News

Date: October 25th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45956557

Discussion

1) “The scraping software allows its clients to choose a target audience by searching for keywords, pages or public groups on Facebook”.  How could you build a legitimate company around this?

2) Is this illegal in the U.S. or Canada?

Posted by & filed under Apple, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), Privacy.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has demanded a tough new US data protection law, in an unusual speech in Europe.

Referring to the misuse of “deeply personal” data, he said it was being “weaponised against us with military efficiency”.

“We shouldn’t sugar-coat the consequences,” he added. “This is surveillance.”

The strongly-worded speech presented a striking defence of user privacy rights from a tech firm’s chief executive.

Mr Cook also praised the EU’s new data protection regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 25th, 2018

Link (includes video): https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45963935

Discussion

1) “The Apple boss described in some detail what he called the “data industrial complex”, noting that billions of dollars were traded on the basis of people’s “likes and dislikes”, “wishes and fears” or “hopes and dreams” – the kind of data points tracked by tech firms and advertisers.” Why is it that most, if not almost all people using the internet don’t seem to care that such pervasive data collection of personal data is going on?

2) What steps could you take to avoid personal data collection?

Posted by & filed under Cybersecurity.

More than one in five Canadian companies say they were hit by a cyberattack last year, with businesses spending $14 billion on cybersecurity as they confront greater risks in the digital world, according to a new Statistics Canada survey.

The most common suspected motive was an attempt to steal money or demand a ransom payment, according to the survey. Theft of personal or financial information was less typical — less than one-quarter of the cyberattacks — though it was the most cited reason for investing in cybersecurity, StatCan said.

Source: CBC News

Date: October 18th, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/statistics-canada-business-cybersecurity-1.4863500

Discussion

1) Why does it matter that 1 in 5 Canadian companies were hit by a cyberattack?

2) What are you doing to better understand cybersecurity risks and how to control those risks?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Innovator's Dilemma, Netflix.

To keep his family of four entertained, Ben Emery pays about $180 a month for Spectrum TV and internet service, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. He gets Amazon mostly for free shipping and Hulu in part because his 5-year-old daughter likes “Teen Titans Go.”

“Netflix and Hulu got in early, so that’s where I’m willing to invest my money.

Source: Bloomberg

Date: October 18th, 2018

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-18/netflix-amazon-leave-little-room-for-streaming-video-latecomers?srnd=technology-vp

Discussion

1) How might a new upstart be able to succeed in a world where Netflix and Amazon dominate?

2) Do you understand Clayton Christensen’s Innovators Dilemma paradigm?  It is useful to use this disruptive innovation approach to consider how you might compete here.

Posted by & filed under app, App Economy.

A new delivery service has just raised $3 million from Casa Verde Capital, the $45 million venture firm founded by hip hop impresario Snoop Dogg, and Kevin Durant’s Durant Company — among others — to take advantage of the growing demand for marijuana delivery.

Source: Tech Crunch

Date: October 18th, 2018

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2018/09/24/pass-the-dutchie-to-the-left-hand-side/

Discussion

1) “We’re creating a tool that helps the user and consumer navigate the delivery space,” he said. “We’re educating the consumer to that buying experiences…”  How might you do this in an app?

2) Is this something new, or something old that is now new?  Why does this matter?