Here we are again: Another week, another Technobabble and another opportunity to talk about killer robots. I mean "killer" as in "way cool." Obviously.
This week, Boston Dynamics unveiled its latest robot. "Handle" is a six-and-a-half foot tall robot, that has a vertical jump of four feet in the air, can travel at 9 mph and lift 100 lbs., all while maintaining its balance with alarming skill. This is for research, right?
Boston Dynamics is known for its nightmare-inducing robots that make it easy for viewers to jump to "I, Robot" conclusions. That's not to say the robotics lab's research isn't worthwhile. If applied in the wild, it could reshape industries across sectors, potentially revolutionizing the "last mile" of the supply chain, an area drones are trying to break into.
The reason I bring up robots is because the tech industry has reached fever pitch with artificial intelligence and automation and its potential to reshape the workforce. Some skeptics/conspiracy theorists think the combination of advanced robotics and computing will lead to Skynet, but we know the ending to that story, so let's hope not.
This week a group of AI scientists gathered in Arizona to discuss doomsday scenarios and possible resolutions, according to Bloomberg. Scientists gathered with cybersecurity and policy experts to discuss worst-case scenarios, which included potential problems such as stock-market manipulation and outright war. I mean, at least someone is thinking about the potential ramifications of sentient technology.
Researchers are very interested in the benefits of the advanced technology, but they are also cautious about what such advancements could mean. "There is huge potential for AI to transform so many aspects of our society in so many ways," said Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft's Research Lab in Washington, speaking to Bloomberg. "At the same time, there are rough edges and potential downsides, like any technology ... to maximally gain from the upside we also have to think through possible outcomes in more detail than we have before and think about how we'd deal with them."
Nostalgia hits MWC
Everyone loves a good throwback. Apparently, even technology enthusiasts. This week, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia debuted its iconic Nokia 3310. That's right, the brick phones of yesteryear are back.
Now this may seem a bit silly, but there is something cathartic about a good, old fashioned technology paper weight that comes complete with a key board. Nokia said it took the "iconic silhouette of the original and reimagined it for 2017." I mean, at least it comes with a retro version of "Snake."
But this is very much a 'good for you, not for me' situation.
Calling all applicants
New Zealand is having the same problem much of the rest of the world is having: It is suffering from a strangled talent pipeline. Looking to attract workers from around the world, the New Zealand tech community is searching for 100 potential recruits to come to the island for an all expenses paid week-long trip.
To apply, you must first prove your skills as a software developer, creative director, product manager, analyst or a digital strategist, Esquire reports. If you are selected to make the trip, at the end of the week companies will make job offers for worthy candidates.
Heads up, resumes are due by March 20 for the May 8 - 11 trip.
One last thing....
When Google was developing Google Cardboard, which turns phones into pseudo VR headsets, employees went to the Silicon Valley Home Deport and spent $32,592 on magnets.
In 2014, when we were making the first run of Google Cardboards, we used an engineer's credit card to buy $32,592 of magnets at Home Depot. pic.twitter.com/jn5KuoFDtU— Clay Bavor (@claybavor) March 1, 2017