More Covid-19 Data, More Microsoft Reinvention

Friday, May 22, 2020

Don't forget that Ubiquitous AI, our first digital-only conference, is coming up. Find out what is happening with TTI/Tuesdays in June: 14 speakers, 2 virtual field trips, plenty of Q&A. We are committed to bringing you digital-only content and networking for as long as necessary - and we are also impatient to see each of you in person as soon as we can.

Reactions to the coronavirus pandemic have mirrored existing political divisions in the U.S. Do they also mirror a class distinction? Though it was quite early in the crisis, George Friedman (Seattle, Mar 2020) argued at our last meeting that it did, as does this Washington Post op-ed, which notes that “Of the top 25 percent of income earners, more than 60 percent can stay home and still do their jobs. Of the bottom 25 percent, fewer than 10 percent can do the same.”

Quick quiz question: What percentage of healthcare workers have gotten coronavirus? If you said 50, you’re wildly off—by more than double, in fact. Of the states that report such data, the one with the highest rate (New Hampshire) is at 25.8 percent. The average was 11 percent.

You know how you can embed an Excel spreadsheet in a Powerpoint? Now imagine every feature of Microsoft Office available in every application. Apparently that’s the plan for the next generation of Office. (Alan Kay, Washington, D.C., Oct 2011; David Smith, San Francisco, Dec 2017)

Speaking of Alan Kay, Happy 80th Birthday!

In other Microsoft news, the company is claiming to now have a top-5 supercomputer (Jack Dongarra, San Francisco, Dec 2019), and that it’s optimized for AI. In fact, not just AI, but general AI. (Gary Marcus, Brooklyn, Jun 2018; Ben Goertzel, Salt Lake City, Dec 2009)

Remember the Google–Apple scheme to use our phones’ Bluetooth for contact tracing? What if Bluetooth isn’t strong enough to do the job? Researchers at Trinity College Dublin think it might not be.

Have researchers at UCLA developed error-free qubits? (Rodney Van Meter, Washington, D.C., Dec 2014)

The wisdom of the crowd is now counting bees. (Paolo de Souza, San Francisco, Dec 2014)

What would you do with a biodegradable implantable sensor that requires no batteries? Monitor sports performance, of course. Interestingly, their material is silk cocoon waste, which won’t surprise anyone who remembers Tiger Tao’s talk about the power of silk (San Diego, Feb 2015).

But tomorrow may rain, so I’ll follow the sun. The Beatles

Author: Steven Cherry

Director of TTI/Vanguard, “a unique forum for senior-level executives that links strategic technology planning to business success. In private conferences that are part classroom, part think-tank, and part laboratory, its members—corporate and government leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, and academics—explore emerging and potentially disruptive technologies.”

Twenty years experience as a technology journalist and editor, at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Founded the award-winning podcast series, Techwise Conversations covering tech news, tech careers and education, and the engineering lifestyle. Teaches an intensive writing class as an adjunct instructor at NYU. Previously taught essay writing and creative writing at The College of New Rochelle.

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