This week in the background of other debates, a collective of 3000 or so of some of the world's movers and shakers got together at Davos for the World Economic Forum's annual meeting. All of the videos from the talks are available to watch so I would urge you to select one and get a view about what is being talked about in these kinds of circles, everything from from the future of work to gender equality to solving some of the world's biggest problems. You may not agree with them but it paints a landscape for where the world is going. My day job didn't quite get me to Davos, but BETT, the edtech fair which brought much of the global industry together in London. Every year I feel that all that's being sold in places like this is hardware. You'd think the world was being taken over by robots or coders and that was the dominant attention seeking that I saw amongst the stands. The highlight of the event was managing to hear Alex Beard speak. If you haven't read Natural Born Learners, I'd recommend his future-focused book about how we will learn.
Have a great week!
Onward! - Rahim
Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How machines are affecting people and places Link
Facebook plans to let Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp users message each other Link
What is CRISPR? The revolutionary gene-editing tech explained Link
'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism Link
Clayton Christensen: After 25 years studying innovation, here is what I have learned Link
Five questions brands need to answer to be customer first in the digital age Link
The Era of “Move Fast and Break Things” Is Over Link
Billboards in Space: Are you ready for giant Big Mac adverts in the sky? "That’s the idea behind Orbital Display, a Russian startup’s effort to bring billboard advertisements to low-Earth orbit using a grid of tissue box-sized satellites called CubeSats. Orbiting approximately 280 miles above ground, these tiny satellites will unfurl Mylar sails some 30 feet in diameter to catch and reflect sunlight, creating a pixelated matrix. The company, StartRocket, has proposed using this tech to display a knockoff of the Coca-Cola logo and other brand emblems, as well as allow governments to flash urgent notifications during emergencies." Although this type of advertising will be super annoying, the technology to achieve this at this scale is impressive. These ads would only be visible during certain hours of the day but would require regulation and approval across the world. Technically this could be gracing our skies by 2021 but I doubt we're ready for it! Link
Flying Cars take off: We can't yet cope with the drones in the sky but the flying cars are coming. Maybe not tomorrow, but they're very much a real industry over the next twenty years. "A flying car designed to whisk passengers over congested city streets and dodge skyscrapers completed its first test flight on Tuesday, offering a peek into the future of urban transportation the aerospace giant and others are seeking to shape. A prototype of its autonomous passenger air vehicle completed a controlled takeoff, hover and landing during the test conducted in Manassas, Virginia. Propelled by electricity, the model is designed for fully autonomous flight, with a range of as much as 50 miles." This is where flying taxis might come from as Uber have partnered with Boeing, the company making this flying car Link.
The Future of Education: What again? Regular readers of Box of Amazing will know that I occasionally throw down my views on what might happen in education. Apart from the impending reskilling of large chunks of the workforce, I think we will be coming to a whole scale change in what's happening across the whole education industry. And it's the digital age that will force the change in education in schools, universities and beyond. Technology has asked the question - what is the right way to teach? But we haven't yet broached the underlying issue - what should we teach? Shouldn't all kids be schooled up in financial literacy? Shouldn't everyone have some technology skills? We don't need an army of coders coming into the workplace, but we will need everyone to have problem-solving and logic skills applicable to any industry. After all, AI will take over any tasks that are repetitive, so all the jobs that will be made or changed over the coming years will require a higher order of thinking. "“If we do not change the way we teach, 30 years from now, we’re going to be in trouble,” said Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, China’s e-commerce giant. The knowledge-based approach of “200 years ago”, would "fail our kids", who would never be able to compete with machines. Children should be taught “soft skills” like independent thinking, values and team-work, he said." Link
Quotes Worth Pondering
What companies and investors are catching onto is the vast difference in the potential uses of VR versus AR. What I and so many others experienced the first time putting on a VR headset was the outside world disappearing and new one opening up in front of our eyes. It makes VR ultimate in immersive entertainment. But that’s also it’s limiting factor — VR seems likely to only be something used for entertainment.
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