Category: Technology

April 15, 2015

Is the US Ready for a Smart City?

In our modern technological times, with our smartphones, smart TV’s and even smart meters, it’s not shocking that municipalities are turning to the idea of becoming completely wi-fi interconnected smart cities.  One city in particular, San Jose in California, is stepping up to the challenge of becoming an Internet of Things pilot project.

The Deal

In an agreement that was finalized within just the last few weeks, a company called anyCOMM is going to be setting up almost 150 wi-fi sensors around San Jose.  They are focusing on streetlights for positioning and power sources.    The local Mineta Airport will receive an additional almost 20 sensors.  It has faced significant security breaches in the last 12 months alone.

Of course, its incorporation into the project is still dependent upon the agreement of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Purpose

These sensors are going to be more monitoring/tracking/observing devices in a world seemingly overrun by them already.  They will track traffic, pedestrians, control streetlights, monitor seismic activity, even warn citizens of potential quakes and provide wi-fi hotspots for the citizenry.

Of course, since this is a beta test city, full functionality will depend on numerous factors and whether or not the technology remains functional and operational.  These factors are still up in the air, of course, and determining the overall dependability of the project is part of the test.

Privacy Concerns

While some citizens are leery at the idea of more observation by random and government entities, anyCOMM has gone on the record stating that while video and audio will be recorded, they will not be gathering personal information.  When the project’s pilot phase is concluded, the parent company will report to the city what they’ve gleaned and suggest ideas for improving the city’s functionality as such.

Other Concerns

According to one seo company chicago, one of the single biggest overall concerns pertaining to the project is whether or not the wi-fi sensors can be depended upon to work consistently.  Even in the most well-tested of situations, wi-fi can be undependable.  There are serious worries that the monitoring technology might fail in inclement weather or for a plethora of other yet-to-be-determined reasons.

The biggest concern is the large distance that will be covered by a single wi-fi network.  Most networks operate on a much smaller scale.

smart citySecurity of Data

One other serious concern for citizens and the local city government alike is the security of any data collected.  While the parent company has assured folks that they are not collecting personal data, the bottom line is that the equipment will be recording virtually every activity that takes place in public areas within the city.  It doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to see how even this data, in the wrong hands, could be compromising for a lot of people.

The bottom line is that because this is a pilot project, there are countless unforeseeable outcomes to the situation.  This is the trial city that will be used to work out kinks and bugs and determine feasibility for other cities, if at all.…

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March 11, 2015

Russia’s Killer Robot Army

military robotWhile it might sound like something out of science fiction, the fact of the matter is that Russia is perfecting robot technology to the extent that by later this very year, their military robot prototypes will be advanced enough to clear an advanced obstacle course.  This may not be incredibly concerning to some, considering the fact that the world’s militaries already possess equipment and weapons capable of mass destruction.  However, ethicists and scientist alike are sounding the alarms.

Ethics of Killer Robots

Humanity is at a nexus.  We have reached a level of technology and advancement where we can fairly easily create anything we can imagine.  Unfortunately, we can’t always foresee all of the consequences of our creations.  Known as LAWS, or lethal autonomous weapons systems (i.e., killer robots), this form of artificial intelligence has made some of the leaders in the robotics and artificial intelligence industries very nervous.

Most scientists believe that now is the time to set global restrictions and parameters regarding the creation and usage of such technology.

Out-Dated Laws

In many cases, international laws simply haven’t caught up to technological advances in weapons technology.  While so-called “traditional” weapons of mass destruction are illegal under previous international agreements, our legal systems haven’t moved as fast as our technology and/or our ability to build newer, more advanced killing machines.

When you couple this gap in legislation with the fact that weapons can now be created that function and even arguably think for themselves, the disparity in theory and reality becomes even more glaringly apparent.

It’s not surprising, however, that some of the world’s leading LAWS-developing nations are opposed to creating treaties that limit the development/use of this kind of technology.   It hasn’t really been until some rival nations began perfecting their own technology that murmurs of regulation have begun circulating.

The Leaders

The UK, the US and Israel are among the world’s most technologically advanced, so it’s not surprising that they lead the pack when it comes to these new-age weapons.  They have collectively argued that current international laws are more than adequate to prevent technological abuse.  Many ethicists, however, disagree.

Non-politically motivated developers, scientists, professors and legal experts agree that this technology opens the doors to issues unlike those the world’s ever known.  First and foremost, they worry about accountability.  Who do you hold accountable for the crimes of a machine with autonomy?  The creator?  The programmer?  The government behind it?  The machine itself?

While Russia is developing humanoid robots capable of independent function and even independent killing, drones and other machines that use this technology already exist and are even arguably being used.

The bottom line is that we are entering into a new world of technology, one in which our machines may end up more intelligent and capable than the people operating them.  To most paying attention, it’s a recipe for disaster if not closely controlled.…

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January 22, 2015

Amazon’s New Delivery Concept

In a world where people want what they want when they want it, it’s not surprising that retailers are constantly trying to come up with innovative new ideas to meet their customer’s demands., one of the consistent industry leaders in online sales, has been kicking around an idea for delivery straight out of the Uber playbook.  Having recently blown the world away with their delivery drone concept, they’re stepping up their game one more time.

Freelance Deliverers

freelance is working on an app that would allow customers to choose a local neighborhood freelance delivery-person as an alternative to using a commercial delivery company.  The idea is that products being sourced from traditional retailers could be picked up by a liaison and driven/delivered straight to the person placing the order pretty much as quickly as pushing a button on their smart phone.

Amazon is considering contracting with retailers to rent space for their delivery storage in order to incorporate a larger number of products into the plan.  Depending upon what is ordered, customers would still have to wait until their delivery got to town before arranging immediate delivery through a 3rd party.

Not the First Time

This isn’t the first time in recent years that has batted around the idea of crowdsourcing their delivery.  The truth of the matter is that people are impatient and they love being part of something innovative and new.  Despite being at the top of the online sales pack, has to continually strive to retain their place in the pecking order.  Giving consumers more control over their deliveries is one way to accomplish this.

Indeed, Amazon must figure out the logistics delivering over 3.5 million packages each day.  With more and more customers and more products becoming available all the time, keeping supply up with demand is a constant struggle.  Especially during peak shipping times, this plan would provide consumers with a way to ensure they are never kept waiting.

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The Timeline

google seo servicesUnfortunately, this new delivery plan is in the earliest stages of its infancy.  There is no concrete timeline for when, if ever, the app might reach the end of its development.  Of course, app development is the first step of many.  If the plan does get off the ground, chances are it will be launched in high population-density urban areas first.  This will give the delivery method the volume it needs to be truly tested before going nationwide.

In addition to providing perks for customers of the site, it will give others the opportunity to pick up some extra cash.  It could be a win-win-win for consumers, and their freelance deliverers, too.  Only time will tell whether this gets off the ground, but we’re waiting with bated breath.

Special thanks to Gustin Quon who offer, Winnipeg MB SEO and Digital Marketing.…

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