Friday, February 15, 2019

Join us as we visit TTI/V member Kroger’s Store of the Future on April 10th. The features read like our wish list of the ultimate retail experience, including an app that reads your shopping list and guides you through the aisles (including a visit to the items you may have forgotten). Digital shelf edges list not just prices but nutritional information and light up to help you find whatever you’re looking for.  And, of course, the store of the future collects a vast amount of data. Based on it, items are rarely out of stock, stores are laid out more efficiently, and the shopping experience is personalized in every way.
What’s more, attendees who can join us on the evening of April 9th will be treated to the Cincinnati Reds playing the Miami Marlins. We’ll be happy for our hosts if the home team wins and grateful to them for the night out!
More on Kroger: Last year, they beta tested self-driving startup Nuro in Arizona for food delivery (Chris Kantarjiev, Memphis, Sep 2006). Must’ve been some success as Softbank just announced a billion dollar investment in the two-year-old company. How’s that for an A round?
Amazon announced this week that it had changed its mind and will not build a half of a half of a headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. The company blamed local politicians and activists. Apparently, $3 billion dollars in government subsidies and incentives wasn’t enough for the company, which said it needed “positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term."
Airbus is giving up on the A380, after its biggest customer, Emirates, cut its order from 162 to 123. After final deliveries of the massive four-engine plane are made in 2021, a total of 250 will have been manufactured, a mere one-fifth of a projected 1250. Customers, including Emirates, have been ordering smaller, two-engine A330s and A350s. Airbus’s main competitor, Boeing (field trip, Seattle, Dec 2012), dodged this bullet, abandoning its own plans to make a superjumbo and opting instead to make the Dreamliner 787—which has recovered from early production problems and, with its latest models, is expected to be highly profitable.
To the surprise of no one, the terms of Apple’s proposed subscription news service can be summed up in one word: greedy. The company—which will contribute no journalists, editors, designers, or producers to the service—wants to retain 50% of the revenue. (Stephen Shepard, Cambridge, May 1994; Aaron Swartz, Rome, Jul 2008)
After 14 years transmitting from Mars, and a year of silence, NASA is giving up on Opportunity (Daniel Clancy, Phoenix, Dec 2003). As the New York Times points out, though, 5,000 days of service for a rover designed to last 90 is a record that new TTI/V member organization Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the rest of NASA can be immensely proud of.
TTI/V member firm Procter & Gamble is part of a consortium of consumer product companies working toward reusable containers for such products as Pantene shampoo, Crest toothpaste, and OralB mouthwash. The goal is to reduce the volume of plastic in our bathrooms (and eventually landfills). We doubt Heidi Kujawa (San Francisco, Dec 2016) will ever run out of plastic for her ByBlocks, but all such reductions are welcome.
AIs are better than humans (Edward Feigenbaum, San Francisco, Dec 2013) at chess, Go, and poker (Noam Brown, Brooklyn, Jun 2018), but not, as yet, debating. At IBM Think this week Harish Natarajan, an expert debater, beat IBM’s Miss Debater AI. In a blog post, Natarajan listed several ways in which debating may be a tougher challenge than games, notably that “debating involves [explaining] complicated arguments in a clear and structured way.” Maybe Steven Cherry’s former colleagues at IEEE Spectrum are safe in their jobs for a while. (Gary Marcus, Brooklyn, Jun 2018)
Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan, has been quoted over the years as saying that Bitcoin is a fraud, is going nowhere, and will not survive. By a remarkable coincidence, J.P. Morgan is releasing its own blockchain-based currency, the first major bank to do so. Unlike Bitcoin, it’s intended for business-to-business transactions. (Peter Van Valkenburgh, San Francisco, Dec 2017; John Henry Clippinger, Atlanta, Feb 2014)
By the way, while we poke fun Dimon’s crypto proclamations, he has always been a public proponent of blockchain and JPM has been working at it for a long time.
Two years ago, IDEO’s Dan Elitzer (San Francisco, Dec 2016) spoke about “Designing with Blockchains.” Now the company is ready to go beyond thought experiments and prototypes and will be “investing time and money in early-stage distributed web startups and protocols” related to blockchain. (Bo Peng, Los Angeles, Mar 2018; Reid Williams, Boston, Apr 2017)

"My battery is low and it is getting dark"
Last message from Mars Opportunity Rover, June 10, 2018

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.