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Category: Disruptive Technology

20 Sep 2020
Blockchain-secured land entices real estate investors

Blockchain-secured land entices real estate investors

In the “real” world, real estate has historically been seen as a viable investment. Individuals and corporations usually purchase land and property either for development or to sell at a higher price in the future.

With the world becoming increasingly digitized, it appears that the trend of ascribing significant value to land and property has been spreading to the virtual scene. At the intersection of emerging tech like virtual reality and blockchain, developers, investors and hobbyists alike are creating a vibrant virtual real estate market.

While VR provides the tools to visualize these digital spaces, blockchain technology is acting as a base layer for the monetization of virtual real estate. With the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic causing a pivotal move toward more digital forms of human communication, interactive virtual worlds may provide a safe space for the preservation of numerous social constructs.

Second Life and Linden Dollars

Virtual real estate is by no means a recent phenomenon. ity simulators like SimCity have been around for decades. In 2003, a 3D virtual environment called Second Life arguably kickstarted the monetization of virtual real estate as users rushed to acquire digital land using the platform’s native currency, Linden Dollars. Second Life’s run was before the advent of Bitcoin (BTC); nevertheless, the project saw users buy, sell and lease properties, as well as run businesses on virtual land.

The platform soon declined, as other immersive and interactive virtual real estate projects emerged. However, at the height of its popularity, Anshe Chung, a “Second Lifer,” became a millionaire from selling digital real estate.

Virtual land as a commodity

With the coming of blockchain technology, VR platforms like Somnium Space and Decentraland enable users to acquire and monetize plots of virtual land. Recently, Whale — a nonfungible token vault — became the second-largest holder of virtual land in The Sandbox game.

Binance Launchpad hosted The Sandbox initial exchange offering back in August with the token sale event raising about $3 million. Binance is also an investor in the project, having bought over 4,000 Land tokens earlier in September.

Commenting on the growing popularity of virtual real estate, Joseph Madding, a marketing and PR consultant at The Sandbox, remarked that investors are becoming more open to the idea of digital land as a viable investment, telling Cointelegraph:

Virtual Real Estate is definitely becoming more popular. Over the last 10 weeks, we’ve seen over 1,000% more users interacting with our Telegram chat, Discord, Twitter and other social media platforms and have expanded our community management to match the increasing demand. In terms of virtual land as a commodity, we’ve seen our LAND that originally sold at roughly $370 resell for over $2,000 for what we would sell as a small estate. That’s astonishing and shows huge community interest for our NFTs.”

Indeed, the rush for virtual land assets is only the latest in the established trend of digital real estate selling out quickly. In March, VR world Somnium Space sold 110 Ether worth of virtual land in the first week of a planned, 10-week offering at the time.

Upon opening its platform in February, Decentraland saw users purchasing millions of dollars’ worth of digital acreage. In 2019, a portion of the “Genesis Plaza” estate in the Decentraland metaverse called Estate 331 sold for about $80,000, becoming the second-most expensive NFT of 2019.

Expanding digital property landscape

While it is common to see projects pursuing the tokenization of real-world commodities, the emerging virtual real estate space is creating a self-contained digital economy. With blockchain technology as a base-layer, these platforms can monetize digital land, enabling users to trade assets within the metaverse.

Apart from early adopters acquiring virtual land in the hopes of seeing assets appreciate over time, some individuals and organizations have been developing these assets. The process works similarly to real-world real estate development with the establishment of commercial and residential complexes, industrial zones and parks, among others.

Part of the allure driving the desire to own virtual land appears to be based on optimistic projects about the viability of VR technology. According to a study published in August, the combined VR and augmented reality market is estimated to be worth $20.9 billion by 2025, with companies in China and India expected to drive this significant growth in the next five years. Head-mounted displays are becoming increasingly popular among game developers and enthusiasts alike. With advances in 3D technology, manufacturers are becoming better at creating HMDs that deliver a more immersive and interactive VR experience.

Meanwhile, for blockchain projects, in general, scarcity plays a major role in driving value for their native tokens. As is the case with the real world, for real estate holdings to remain valuable, virtual land on these metaverses needs to be finite.

The monetization of virtual real estate also offers another tangible use case for NFTs. Digital land developers are creating malls, boutiques, shops and other retail outlets where they sell electronic merchandise like fashion items, rare cards, concert tickets, etc. For game developers, the marriage of VR and blockchain technology is creating the opportunity to enjoy “all-digital” gaming. Commenting on the benefits of fully digital environments, Madding argued:

“As a game developer, virtual real estate provides a nearly no-risk platform for publishing your games. With NFT technology, you’re not publishing on just an App Store anymore and you’ll have true ownership over the space in which you design and publish your game. As a consumer, owning LAND feels like buying any physical video game, and if you find yourself wanting to do something new, you can either design something completely new with our free tools, or you can resell the digital real estate just like you’d sell any physical copy of a game.”

Life after COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about sweeping changes to human interaction, and the utilization of virtual forms of communication has taken center stage. As shutdowns continue across the world, organizations have been utilizing electronic video conference solutions for meetings. Tech giants in the United States have even issued work from home orders with reports of the practice expected to continue regardless of whether scientists come up with a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Conferences and meetups are a ubiquitous occurrence in the crypto and blockchain space. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was not possible for people to physically attend many such events in 2020.

To navigate this hurdle, organizers and attendees flocked to the virtual realm, sporting creative avatars to discuss important issues in the industry. These events pushed the boundaries of electronic interaction from utilizing third-party messaging services to people interacting in a fully digital space.

According to Madding, the established social construct is becoming more open to digitization: “As the years go by, large social events like we see in Epic Games’ Fortnite may certainly be more and more common, and we hope to lead the way and see these amazing social spaces sprout up in our Metaverse.” For Artur Sychov, the founder and CEO of Somnium Space, the appeal of virtual real estate has been growing, telling Cointelegraph:

“We do see an increased interest in Somnium Land Parcels (PARCEL) because more and more people realize real use cases they can deploy and use those parcels for. Examples are talk shows, art galleries, cinemas, fitness clubs, crypto exchanges and more are already deployed inside our virtual reality world.”

As developers create more immersive and interactive virtual environments by solving issues such as display latency, it may become possible to have almost every social activity taking place in the digital space. Such solutions might even tie-in with the growing NFT marketplace for items like concert and theater tickets.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/breaking-virtual-ground-blockchain-secured-land-entices-real-estate-investors

16 Sep 2020
Disruptive technology can prevent stagnation, improve efficiency and competitiveness

Disruptive technology can prevent stagnation, improve efficiency and competitiveness

Disruption in business is inevitable, and it is up to operators and owners to embrace the changes that come with innovation — or risk stagnation amidst growing inefficiencies.

Cutting-edge technology exists to advance senior housing providers with consolidating data, analyzing trends, and improving resident satisfaction and security, but only for those willing to adopt and embrace the disruption. Unfortunately, many will avoid innovative trends and stay rooted to the old ways of doing business. While many are lagging in crossing the chasm, those who have taken the leap will have the leading edge over competitors. The rewards of adoption are greater than the risks of avoidance.

Disruptive technology has had a transformative effect on the senior housing industry. Right now, cloud-based data platforms are being used throughout many senior living organizations to provide a centralized database across departments within communities and the entire portfolio. A repository of resident data will assist operators with actionable insights and assist with projecting future trends.

More and more community leaders have implemented high-speed WiFi, resident engagement tools, advanced surveillance and data collection strategies. Early adopters have taken the first steps toward committing to technology and increasing their competitive position, but too many organizations still are avoiding modern business intelligence tools. Without the ability to effectively parse and standardize the data across disparate systems within a community and across the entire portfolio, leaders are missing the opportunity to take their operations to the next level of excellence.

The senior housing and skilled nursing sectors are just as vulnerable to unexpected trends, economic shifts and changes in state and federal regulations they always have been. It’s not enough to have access to key data; the information must be digestible and swiftly delivered for a community to remain profitable and efficient. This truth is not going to change in the future; it will only become more prominent as more communities increase technology investments in search of greater productivity.

Fight or flight

Today, technology is developed at such a fast rate that it’s easy to fall behind the curve or want to run from it altogether, but this development is only accelerating. Operators are left with two main choices: fight and make the necessary changes to succeed, or flee and avoid embracing the disruption while competitors grow more agile and knowledgeable about how to strategize and optimize operations.

Consider the benefits granted by business intelligence and performance data management tools — and the ways a community is hindered without them. It is crucial for communities to be able to project their net operating income on a monthly basis, particularly during periods of economic uncertainty. Having access to historical data is a key element of this ability, but breaking those data down into relevant, bite-sized chunks can be time-consuming.

Gathering and understanding relevant departmental and community data becomes more labor intensive over time as data sets grow in scale and technology becomes more precise. That is why it is important for operators to take on technology that minimizes the time spent on reporting data and maximizing their available resources to address community needs. Cutting-edge business intelligence tools now can display key data through visual dashboards or numerical reports, allowing community leaders to make accurate projections for the future in record time. Once freed from the processes of collecting, organizing and deciphering data, operators can focus on what they do best: providing the best possible care and services for residents.

Conversely, those who avoid the implementation of advanced business intelligence tools will have a difficult time noticing inefficiency during a down market and will struggle to scale their business as the economy improves. Without the breadth, depth and speed provided by tools such as these, operators will have to allocate more time to understand market conditions and trends.

Historic data, here and now

Operating with an efficient business intelligence tool is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity. The biggest issue facing senior housing at the crossroads of technology and innovation is avoiding data-driven technology while others adopt it into their scope of meeting initiatives.

An efficient in-depth analysis of historic data undoubtedly will become the cornerstone of competition in the senior living sector. The real value of data analysis can be difficult to quantify from the outside looking in, so consider a few examples of how a senior living community can improve operations through the adoption of business intelligence technology:

  • Improving occupancy: Analysis of the ebbs and flows of historical occupancy trends is essential to projections and can be used to improve marketing efforts and aid in strategic planning to meet census goals.
  • Managing labor: Business intelligence tools can help manage your community’s labor demands and the care needs of residents amidst economic fluctuation as well as unprecedented events.
  • Monitoring resident care and safety: Managing life safety events such as fall risks, fire drills, care assessments and other factors can help providers respond proactively and improving quality of care with access to real-time data for prompt decision-making.

The longer a community waits before embracing the disruption of technology to gain the operational efficiencies and data-driven results, the more challenges it will face in keeping up with the industry. Competition waits for no one, and the best defense is a good offense. While one community avoids the power of innovative technology, the other is adopting the disruption for stability, growth and success.

source: https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/home/columns/marketplace-columns/disruptive-technology-can-prevent-stagnation-improve-efficiency-competitiveness/

12 Sep 2020
Disruptive technology can prevent stagnation, improve efficiency and competitiveness

Disruptive technology can prevent stagnation, improve efficiency and competitiveness

Disruption in business is inevitable, and it is up to operators and owners to embrace the changes that come with innovation — or risk stagnation amidst growing inefficiencies.

Cutting-edge technology exists to advance senior housing providers with consolidating data, analyzing trends, and improving resident satisfaction and security, but only for those willing to adopt and embrace the disruption. Unfortunately, many will avoid innovative trends and stay rooted to the old ways of doing business. While many are lagging in crossing the chasm, those who have taken the leap will have the leading edge over competitors. The rewards of adoption are greater than the risks of avoidance.

Disruptive technology has had a transformative effect on the senior housing industry. Right now, cloud-based data platforms are being used throughout many senior living organizations to provide a centralized database across departments within communities and the entire portfolio. A repository of resident data will assist operators with actionable insights and assist with projecting future trends.

More and more community leaders have implemented high-speed WiFi, resident engagement tools, advanced surveillance and data collection strategies. Early adopters have taken the first steps toward committing to technology and increasing their competitive position, but too many organizations still are avoiding modern business intelligence tools. Without the ability to effectively parse and standardize the data across disparate systems within a community and across the entire portfolio, leaders are missing the opportunity to take their operations to the next level of excellence.

The senior housing and skilled nursing sectors are just as vulnerable to unexpected trends, economic shifts and changes in state and federal regulations they always have been. It’s not enough to have access to key data; the information must be digestible and swiftly delivered for a community to remain profitable and efficient. This truth is not going to change in the future; it will only become more prominent as more communities increase technology investments in search of greater productivity.

Fight or flight

Today, technology is developed at such a fast rate that it’s easy to fall behind the curve or want to run from it altogether, but this development is only accelerating. Operators are left with two main choices: fight and make the necessary changes to succeed, or flee and avoid embracing the disruption while competitors grow more agile and knowledgeable about how to strategize and optimize operations.

Consider the benefits granted by business intelligence and performance data management tools — and the ways a community is hindered without them. It is crucial for communities to be able to project their net operating income on a monthly basis, particularly during periods of economic uncertainty. Having access to historical data is a key element of this ability, but breaking those data down into relevant, bite-sized chunks can be time-consuming.

Gathering and understanding relevant departmental and community data becomes more labor intensive over time as data sets grow in scale and technology becomes more precise. That is why it is important for operators to take on technology that minimizes the time spent on reporting data and maximizing their available resources to address community needs. Cutting-edge business intelligence tools now can display key data through visual dashboards or numerical reports, allowing community leaders to make accurate projections for the future in record time. Once freed from the processes of collecting, organizing and deciphering data, operators can focus on what they do best: providing the best possible care and services for residents.

Conversely, those who avoid the implementation of advanced business intelligence tools will have a difficult time noticing inefficiency during a down market and will struggle to scale their business as the economy improves. Without the breadth, depth and speed provided by tools such as these, operators will have to allocate more time to understand market conditions and trends.

Historic data, here and now

Operating with an efficient business intelligence tool is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity. The biggest issue facing senior housing at the crossroads of technology and innovation is avoiding data-driven technology while others adopt it into their scope of meeting initiatives.

An efficient in-depth analysis of historic data undoubtedly will become the cornerstone of competition in the senior living sector. The real value of data analysis can be difficult to quantify from the outside looking in, so consider a few examples of how a senior living community can improve operations through the adoption of business intelligence technology:

  • Improving occupancy: Analysis of the ebbs and flows of historical occupancy trends is essential to projections and can be used to improve marketing efforts and aid in strategic planning to meet census goals.
  • Managing labor: Business intelligence tools can help manage your community’s labor demands and the care needs of residents amidst economic fluctuation as well as unprecedented events.
  • Monitoring resident care and safety: Managing life safety events such as fall risks, fire drills, care assessments and other factors can help providers respond proactively and improving quality of care with access to real-time data for prompt decision-making.

The longer a community waits before embracing the disruption of technology to gain the operational efficiencies and data-driven results, the more challenges it will face in keeping up with the industry. Competition waits for no one, and the best defense is a good offense. While one community avoids the power of innovative technology, the other is adopting the disruption for stability, growth and success.

Source: https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/home/columns/marketplace-columns/disruptive-technology-can-prevent-stagnation-improve-efficiency-competitiveness/

03 Sep 2020
Supply chains need AI, but AI needs humans

Supply chains need AI, but AI needs humans

The press is full of articles on why businesses need AI because it is expected to make a tremendous impact. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2030, the additional annual global economic impact will be $13 trillion, a figure that equals about 62 percent of the total current U.S. GDP. Gartner estimates that by the end of 2024, 75 percent of organizations will have moved from merely piloting AI to making it operational, and AI made their list of the Gartner Top 8 Supply Chain Technology Trends for 2020.

AI has made explosive progress since 2012 when a grad student from the University of Toronto won the ImageNet Challenge by a huge margin using deep learning, at the time considered a fringe method. Ever since, deep learning has taken Silicon Valley by storm, and AI has spread into all sectors, including supply chain, to address vexing problems previously considered unattainable. With algorithmic advancements, huge amounts of data and better computing infrastructure, AI has shown promise, making impressive gains in predictive accuracy and speed, far exceeding the cognitive capacity of humans.

The role of humans in AI
But as much as AI is growing in importance to businesses, the role of humans is also more critical than ever. With all the focus on automation (and accompanying fears of job losses), I believe that the idea of a “lights out” or fully autonomous supply chain overemphasizes eliminating the role of the human. We humans are essential to AI because we can provide contextualization, conscience and collaboration.

AI has made tremendous progress but still does not pass the famous Turing Test, devised in 1950 to evaluate whether a machine can think like a human. Examples of areas where machines fail to match our thinking are in understanding cause and effect, reason, and judgement under uncertainty, all of which depend on context.

Humans understand the context
Consider the planning problem of lead times for your average car, which may have more than 30,000 parts. No human has the time or capacity to build a plan that accurately estimates when each of those parts will arrive, so inevitably a planner must guess, resorting to shortcuts, such as assuming related parts from a supplier will have the same lead time, which may not be true. Machine learning can use the historical data to predict what the likely lead time will be, replacing a human’s assumptions and guesses. Combine these 30,000 models with automation and you get the Self-Healing Supply Chain, which can detect variances from plan, auto-correct minor ones and alert the planner to the exceptions for her to address. This kind of application significantly increases accuracy and improves productivity.

But what happens when a disruption shutters plants, delaying the flow of a significant source of these parts? History is no longer an accurate predictor of arrival, throwing a wrench in the machine learning’s algorithmic gears, but a human understands the cause and the effect and can apply reason and judgement under this kind of uncertainty. When lead times are up as much as 200 percent or more, a planner uses her contextual information and abundant domain expertise to make the best decisions possible. When patterns are more reliable, machine learning shifts into gear to provide humans additional insight, but until then, we want to keep the human at the wheel.

Humans have a conscience
Another reason we want humans driving the use of AI is to use our conscience to manage the unintended consequences of AI. McKinsey describes AI as a double-edged sword, given its positive and negative impacts, which are sharper than most new innovations and less well understood. Just a few examples of risks that make headlines are fatal crashes from self-driving cars, job losses from automation, manipulation of political campaigns and state surveillance.

When it works as we want it to, AI can seem like magic, but when it fails us, calls increase for regulation to put the genie back in the bottle. I believe this approach is neither feasible nor desirable. After all, the sharpness of the sword blade applies to positive benefits as well. In addition to the business gains that drive Silicon Valley, there are ample examples of AI for good, from health care to hunger to human rights and more.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Fei-Fei Li invented the ImageNet Challenge mentioned above, but the Stanford professor now leads the Human-Centered AI Institute. She has said, “It’s time to bring AI together with social science, with humanities, to really study the profound impact of AI to our society, to our legal system, to our organizations, to our society to democracy, to education, to our ethics.” Her voice is one of many ensuring we bring conscience to the application of AI, a task only suitable for humans.

Humans know how to collaborate
Finally, humans can collaborate and in ways machines cannot. In fact, some define supply chains by their relationships. Academics Doug Lambert and Matias Enz write: “Thus, supply chain management is actually about relationship management. A supply chain is managed, link-by-link, relationship-by-relationship, and the organizations that manage these relationships best will win.” These relationships work best when the links are connected and all can share the same view of what is happening in the supply chain based on visibility derived from the same data. This visibility allows real-time collaboration to occur when people in different parts of the business can share ideas based on a common understanding of the data, leveraging the wisdom of the crowds.

When a disruption occurs, the linked nature of supply chains means that its impact will not be isolated to one area but will have repercussions across the network. So when lead times are delayed, the pain felt by procurement will also affect production, distribution, sales, etc. If alternate suppliers must be found, solutions should be reached collaboratively by all the parties in the chain. Creating what-if scenarios built on concurrent planning can give the supply chain planner the information she needs to instantly see this impact. But these decisions exist in the context of relationships, which enable the most effective collaboration. Technology can provide a platform to reduce the friction in those relationships, but at the end of the day, humans make relationships work.

Keep the lights on and the human at the center
Intelligent automation from AI can take off people’s plates the mundane tasks that take up time but do not maximize our brains. Increasing our productivity can allow us to focus on what we do best. As much as I believe business needs AI for these kinds of capabilities, I also know that AI needs humans. Our abilities to understand context, provide a conscience and collaborate are not replaceable by machines. Instead of trying to turn out the lights for the grand vision of the autonomous supply chain, we can use AI to shine a light on exceptions so we are augmenting human intelligence, not replacing it. In fact, turn on the lights and get the planner a cup of coffee. AI needs her.

Source: https://www.kinaxis.com/en/blog/supply-chains-may-need-ai-ai-also-needs-humans

02 Sep 2020
How to Eliminate Disruptive Technology’s Risk

How to Eliminate Disruptive Technology’s Risk

Emerging technologies can provide a competitive edge. Yes, risk comes along with those technologies, but there are ways to at least minimize the likelihood.

Disruptive technologies are a double-edged sword. On one hand, successfully implementing the right disruptive technology can lead to significant competitive advantages through innovation. On the other, emerging technologies present potentially unforeseen risks that can lead to high implementation failure rates. Let’s look at how businesses can avoid major pitfalls when selecting the right disruptive technology and how to more accurately time the deployment of high risk, high reward tech projects.

What are disruptive technologies?

The list of disruptive technologies is seemingly without limit. Machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and edge computing are three popular examples many companies are considering today. While any technology has the potential to be “disruptive”, some stand out from the others. Truly disruptive technologies are considered innovative and have the potential to dramatically change how a business operates, interacts with customers, or completes the sale of a product or service. These are major evolutions to a business that can create brand-new revenue streams — or help streamline current processes that save time and/or money.

Of course, the catch is that disruptive technologies are known to be both expensive and difficult to implement. If this weren’t the case, everyone would do it. Therefore, it’s important to remember that disruptive technologies are not for the faint of heart. Yet, if properly planned, a successful implementation can be a true game changer.

Find the right technical expertise

One key to a successful disruptive technology implementation is to anticipate potential problems that are likely to emerge during the implementation process. It cannot be stressed enough that you have the right skillset from an IT architecture perspective when planning to integrate disruptive technologies into your infrastructure. This is often where failures happen because the right people aren’t involved at this stage of the game. Two incorrect decisions often occur during the architecture phase. One is to lean on in-house architects to learn the new technology, then come up with an implementation plan to integrate it into an infrastructure they’re very familiar with. The other is to bring in external technical consultants that have a deeper knowledge of the disruptive technology — yet do not have intimate insight into the business’s existing infrastructure architecture.

As you can imagine, a healthy understanding of how technology is used to facilitate current processes combined with a technical background of the emerging technology is beneficial. Thus, implementations are usually more successful when internal and external resources work in tandem to accomplish the same goal. As many of you are probably aware, this is easier said than done. That means it may take some time to find the right external technical resources that mesh well with in-house architecture staff.

Timing the implementation is key

Correctly timing the implementation of a disruptive technology is another critical deployment aspect that often gets overlooked. When dealing with cutting-edge digital tools, there’s a finite timeframe between implementing a technology that’s not quite ready for production and one that’s matured enough to the point where it’s no longer disruptive from a competitive advantage perspective. Unfortunately, there’s no magic ball that can be used to predict the absolute perfect moment to implement these types of technologies. This instead is where a significant amount of research must be put in ahead of time to verify the technology can accomplish exactly what the business requires within the guidelines of a well-established IT roadmap.

IT leadership must also be able to gauge the attitudes of their technical staffers that are tasked with determining when the time is right to strike. Be wary of excessively eager IT architects that try to push for budget approval for a cutting-edge technology. They might simply be looking for a “shiny new toy” to play with.

To fix this issue, it’s imperative that architects be held accountable in some way for the success or failure of a project. Be certain they understand the gravity of the situation and give them plenty of time to deeply consider their opinion prior to seeking full buy-in. This is also another great example of how external technical opinion can be used to help make a final decision. Input from third-party consultants can be a great way to identify potential problems that internal staff may not have fully considered.

Risk can never be fully eliminated

The final point about eliminating risk from disruptive technologies is that it’s impossible to avoid all risk. What can be done, however, is trying to remove as much as humanly possible. By focusing on ensuring you have the right technical skills to evaluate technologies combined with unbiased sources that can accurately judge the readiness capabilities of disruptive tech can go a long way toward a successful implementation.

Source: https://www.informationweek.com/strategic-cio/executive-insights-and-innovation/how-to-eliminate-disruptive-technologys-risk/a/d-id/1338759?

01 Sep 2020
Scientists Create Quantum System That Stays Operational 10,000 Longer

Scientists Create Quantum System That Stays Operational 10,000 Longer

Quantum computers only are useful to us when we know how the states of electrons relate to each other.

But getting to a state where this relationship is known — “quantum coherence” — is extremely difficult and costly. That may soon change thanks to a new discovery.

A team of scientists at the University of Chicago have figured out a way to keep a quantum computer system “coherent” (or: operational) 10,000 times longer than before, according to a new study published in the journal Science on Thursday.

The scientists claim their solution could be applied to any other kind of quantum system and could end up revolutionizing the field.

“This breakthrough lays the groundwork for exciting new avenues of research in quantum science,” lead author David Awschalom, senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, said in a statement. “The broad applicability of this discovery, coupled with a remarkably simple implementation, allows this robust coherence to impact many aspects of quantum engineering.”

Quantum computers are infamously hard to keep under control. On the quantum level, qubits, the quantum equivalent of binary bits, are easily affected by their noisy surroundings. Anything from vibrations to temperature changes can throw the system out of whack.

So far, the solution has been to physically isolate the system from that noise — or up the purity of the materials used in the construction. Both solutions are extremely impractical and can end up being extremely expensive.

The new solution, however, is far simpler than that.

“With this approach, we don’t try to eliminate noise in the surroundings; instead, we “trick” the system into thinking it doesn’t experience the noise,” first author Kevin Miao, postdoctoral researcher at UChicago, said in the statement.

They used both electromagnetic pulses and a continuous alternating magnetic field to keep the quantum system under control. They then tuned this magnetic field in just such a way, that the rest of the noise was simply tuned out.

“To get a sense of the principle, it’s like sitting on a merry-go-round with people yelling all around you,” Miao explained in the statement. “When the ride is still, you can hear them perfectly, but if you’re rapidly spinning, the noise blurs into a background.”

As a result of the new technique, the quantum system stayed “coherent,” or operational, for 22 milliseconds. That may sound like an extremely short amount of time, but that’s roughly 10,000 times longer than previous systems.

The new technique, according to the scientists, will allow for future quantum machines to be scaled up more easily, and make storing information more practical. It could also allow for information to be sent via quantum information networks over longer distances.

Source: https://futurism.com/quantum-computer-system-operational

31 Aug 2020
The Next Boom: In The Fast-Emerging Digital Economy, Company Size Is Irrelevant

The Next Boom: In The Fast-Emerging Digital Economy, Company Size Is Irrelevant

This is the latest installment of my ongoing series of discussions with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate leaders on what to expect as the world recovers in the post-Covid era in terms of technology and innovation.

Over the past few months, small businesses have been taking a beating, while larger cash-rich and technology-laden organizations were able to weather the storm. However, as the storm clouds emerge and the new business day begins, we may see things tilt dramatically in favor of smaller enterprises.

Technology is making this so. Previously, only those with resources or the right connections could get started during tough times. Think about the cheap, or even free, and abundant online resources now available to entrepreneurs and innovators, compared to the financial crisis of 2008-2009. “A big difference between 2008 and now is that it’s much easier to start a company because of major technology advancements compared to 10 or 15 years ago,” says Yancey Spruill, CEO of DigitalOcean. “Between six to eight million businesses are started each year, and a majority of them are building their businesses on the cloud. The widespread availability of tech infrastructure like cloud computing has lowered barriers of entry for entrepreneurs, regardless of their background or expertise. Technologies supporting remote work also make it easier for these founders to acquire talent outside their immediate geographic areas.”

In the post-Covid, re-emerging economy that we’ll see in the coming years, we’ll see a much more level playing field, thanks, to an accelerated pace of digitization. “A new era of inclusion, collaboration and innovation is about to begin, and online platforms will help lead the charge,” says David Carmell, attorney, entrepreneur, and CEO of DealRockit. “Superior digital experience will become the new normal, which then opens access and opportunity to more people and businesses than ever before. Small business will drive this new age of customer experience and financial inclusion, enabling individuals, businesses, and enterprises alike to interact and transact in unprecedented ways.”

In addition, entrepreneur or innovator location no longer matters “because everyone is working remotely,” says Mark Gorenberg, founder and managing director at Zetta Venture Partners. “Companies can be built anywhere and the worker base can be distributed. This is leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs beyond the main tech centers.”

For example, Gorenberg continues, “our most recent investment was for a company headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, Ensodata, a leading company in waveform AI to improve sleep disorders. We are seeing tremendous opportunities in Europe and other locations beyond the normal tech centers of Northern California, Boston and New York City. So, while the trend to distributed teams with online collaboration tools was already happening, this recession has further accelerated that trend. Location almost doesn’t matter.”

Don’t feel as if you have to be a high-tech software company, either — the opportunities to advance in the digital economy extends to all types of business. “We tend to think that the businesses that are going to fare the best are those squarely in the tech, software-enabled, space,” says Ajei Gopal, CEO of Ansys. “But manufacturing companies are just as nimble, and we see a huge opportunity for the post-Covid era to accelerate their adoption of digitization technology. Take product development, for example. Digitization has modernized and accelerated the product development process. Few products are sketched by hand on a drafting table today. Instead, the development cycle – from ideation to design and analysis to manufacturing to operations – occurs virtually. In fact, in the early phases of the modern development lifecycle, the product itself is entirely digital.”

Many entrepreneurs and professionals — laid off, or starting side projects — are likely to start new businesses at this time. Or, larger companies recognizing they need to recast their business models are being spurred to explore and experiment with new opportunities. “The pandemic has exposed areas of opportunity in education, streaming, gaming and work from home applications, and accelerated enterprise digital transformation by years,” says Spruill.

“Often, the most high-quality people are available as established companies put new product development on hold and open up more future white space for entrepreneurs to fill,” says Gorenberg

Entrepreneurs — as well as internal corporate innovation movers — “should pay close attention to digital platforms,’ Carmell prescribes. “They are the key to the future. In the race to deliver the best customer experiences, companies will increasingly turn to platforms to accelerate interactions and transactions, giving super-participation powers to users. Platforms create deeper partnerships and collaborations, allowing businesses to offer free products and services with far-reaching capabilities and benefits to clients, prospects, and business/referral partners.”

That leads to a “fast track to growth, a better map for navigating change, improved customer experiences, and broader financial inclusion,’ Carmell says.

“Start with the ecosystem in front of you,” Carmell advises. “This means your teams, prospects, clients, referral partners and others that make up your company’s constituency. It is imperative to create a virtuous cycle where everyone wins, demonstrating how much more your business can and will do.”

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2020/08/30/the-next-boom-in-the-fast-emerging-digital-economy-company-size-is-irrelevant/#7d5d3faa3216

29 Aug 2020
Dubai is using technology to serve people

Dubai is using technology to serve people

We did not want to opt for ready-made solutions. Instead we built and designed every part of the ecosystem over the course of three years

The term ‘smart cities’ evokes thoughts of digitally advanced metropolises, with images of futuristic modes of living, as one would imagine the 21st century to look like. Smart cities are frequently viewed as government bodies and science experts using mysterious technologies titled with phrases such as ‘Internet of Things,’ ‘predictive modelling,’ and ‘artificial intelligence’, all now part of the modern-day vocabulary thanks to the rapid increase of technological developments taking place around the world.

The reality, however, is much different. The application of technology is not the guiding imperative for those of us designing these capitals of the future, but rather their relevance to everyday life. The purpose and value of smart cities can only be fully realised if the technologies they employ are successful in reaching people, connecting with them, and impacting their lives in a meaningful manner.

It may come as a surprise to learn that as officials in charge of building tomorrow’s smart cities, the biggest challenge we face is not one of employing technology, but rather implementing it in a way that both adds value to people’s lives and benefits the government and private sector institutions responsible for providing technology-based services. While technology is readily available and easily accessible, realising its full worth in everyday life requires innovation – this is something we are now focused on mastering.This takes me back to 2016, when I was appointed CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment, and given the honour of building Dubai’s data ecosystem. The moment I was given this task I felt overwhelmed by the enormous challenge of creating something that has never been built before anywhere in the world. I was mandated with the responsibility of establishing an ecosystem that would serve as a global benchmark; no small feat. What made my mandate feel particularly onerous was that advanced countries were – and still are – exploring and finding their way with data.

My portfolio involved my dedicated team and I creating a completely new and unprecedented data experience – one that would be the most comprehensive and ambitious in the world. With a main aim of our work being to stamp Dubai’s authority as a leading pioneer of smart city architecture, we did not want to opt for ready-made solutions. Instead we built and designed every part of the ecosystem over the course of three years.

But what exactly is data? Put simply, it is information collected from activities carried out by people, the government, private sector entities, and the tools and devices they use. This includes, for example, information on government transactions, water and electricity consumption, housing, education, health. and so on.

This is the fundamental of data. From now on in this weekly column, I will be sharing with you insights and learnings in this area through a series of articles titled ‘Data Moments.’ Through these I will introduce you to an array of technology- and data-related terms and explain how they relate to your lives as individuals or businesses.

You may have heard the expression that ‘data is the new oil.’ Global studies and research confirm that those who succeed in achieving and analysing a wealth of data will govern the new economy. I hope sharing my learnings through Data Moments will contribute in some small way to helping achieve this success, and I would be delighted if you would join me on my journey.

Source: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/editorials-columns/dubai-is-using-technology-to-serve-people

26 Aug 2020
Exponential Growth: What Research Into Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Tells Us About LawExponential Growth: What Research Into Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Tells Us About Law Practice Disruption Practice Disruption

Exponential Growth: What Research Into Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Tells Us About Law Practice Disruption

An analysis of nearly 300 academic works on Bitcoin, blockchain, and related technologies demonstrate an exponential interest in the area and help to pinpoint precisely what practice areas are already being impacted by the technology and which are likely to come next.

It’s been 10 years since a pseudonymous coder called Satoshi Nakamoto unveiled Bitcoin, a decentralized digital network that primarily functions to maintain the integrity of a native cryptocurrency also called bitcoin by tracking transactions made to a digital ledger called a blockchain. In the decade since its invention, Bitcoin has been both praised as the next iteration of money and peer-to-peer communication and criticized as being an asset far too volatile to become mainstream. Just this month, the Office of Comptroller of the Currency gave national banks the go-ahead to take custody of cryptocurrencies for its customers, the U.S. Postal Service filed a patent to track mail-in ballots on a blockchain, and the Federal Reserve announced it was exploring creating its own digital dollar utilizing using blockchain technologies. Despite its critics, Satoshi’s invention and the wider industry and technologies it inspired appear to be here to stay.

Source: https://www.law.com/legaltechnews/2020/08/25/exponential-growth-what-research-into-blockchain-and-cryptocurrencies-tells-us-about-law-practice-disruption/?slreturn=20200726043712

25 Aug 2020
DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN MEDICADISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN MEDICAL EDUCATIONL EDUCATION

DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN MEDICAL EDUCATION

It’s no surprise that nearly every aspect of our lives – including our jobs – revolves around or is significantly impacted by technological advancements of the last half-century. The healthcare industry, including medical education, has been immensely impacted by modern disruptive technologies. According to McKinsey, more than $80 billion has been invested into health tech since 2015.

Not only has the field of medicine itself changed and advanced, but how future physicians are trained is also evolving as the demand for innovation continues to increase. We see this especially now, as the global Covid-19 pandemic is highlighting the limits of healthcare systems worldwide and the need for well-trained physicians in all corners of the globe.

Digital Technologies Were Disrupting Medical Education Well Before the Outbreak of Covid-19
Dr. Peter Horneffer, MD is a long-time proponent of using disruptive technologies to scale the educational capacity of medical institutions in an effort to address the growing global shortage of physicians. Dr. Horneffer is also the Director of Medical Education Programs for Lecturio, a digital medical education resource which uses learning science-based tools to educate medical students worldwide and whose core mission includes addressing this growing physician shortage.

We caught up with Dr. Horneffer to discuss some of the recent developments in online medical education and how he envisions the future of this industry in post-covid times.

This interview is edited for clarity and length. 

Kate Hiller: You have a lot of experience both as a medical professional and as a medical educator. How do you see some of these new education technologies changing the field of medical education? 

Dr. Peter Horneffer: We know that traditional ways of learning, i.e. reading manuscripts or textbooks, or sitting in lectures, yields a relatively low retention rate.

I think we are at the dawn of an era in which the educational process will leverage technology to become much more efficient, and also much more available.

You don’t need to travel necessarily to a center of learning to benefit from professors who not only have a good understanding of the material but are gifted in how to convey it. You can transfer that knowledge you know via the internet and distribute it widely. Not only will students be able to learn more effectively, but we can distribute that information much more broadly, you can make it available to a much wider audience and recruit students who might not have had the opportunity to learn effectively.

KH: Theory and foundational sciences are a major part of any medical curriculum. But what about clinicals? 

PH: In all my experiences in online medical education, I have always felt that medical school can never be a solely online proposition because interpersonal skills are fundamental to what you need to learn to be a successful physician.

Integrating a computer simulation software such as Body Interact allows for interaction within the simulated tests. So this will have benefits even in the post-COVID-19 era when you do interview patients and work through clinical scenarios, because it’s an exercise that can be practiced in an online modality. I think the answer is that there are a lot of computer-based modalities that will help hone the process. Medical education will adapt and I think students will return to the bedside sooner than they think.

A doctor works in front of computers.
National Cancer Institute, Unsplash.

KH: What role do online educational platforms play for students then, especially in the midst of the current pandemic?

PH: Educational platforms have a huge role to play for students, and not just during the pandemic. Specifically during this time of social distancing, the abilities of educational platforms to provide oversight can be invaluable – monitoring assignments, performance, and even offering guidance for students and faculty. Furthermore, with travel restricted, platforms with pre-recorded content can be used to fill the void during the pandemic.

KH: Do you see any of the COVID-19-required technological shifts being implemented in medical schools right now as part of the future of medical education? 

PH: I’m hopeful that it will not only catch on, but that it will predominate. If you look at the results of the learning studies or learning science, there is a clear advantage of having students prepare in advance. My hope and expectation is that as teachers or educators are pushed out of their comfort zones, they realize that not only are they making do to accommodate the requirements of social distancing, but in fact they can work toward a more effective and reliable methodology, which I am optimistic will be the future educational process. I’m hopeful that one of the silver linings of COVID-19 is that it will be a catalyst for new health educators to understand not only is this a convenient way to provide continuity, but ultimately a superior way to provide education.

While Digital Technology Holds Huge Potential, It Will Never Fully Replace Traditional Instruction

But what disruptive technologies specifically exist and currently impact the transmission of medical education? There is no way to directly transition from a classroom-focused model to a digital-first model of teaching – it just doesn’t work the same. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) have been around for decades now, but rather than following this strategy of pumping information online in video form, more recent technologies allow for active participation rather than just passive interaction. Augmented reality can “put” medical students and residents in an operating room and provide them with a more comprehensive “view” of the patient or the patient’s data. Data collected through the Visual Human Project or a 3D anatomy model helps students to get up close and personal with the human body, no cadaver necessary. Going back to foundational science, online platforms provide Qbank questions, video lectures, retention questions, and more to help students learn from wherever they are.

There are many other techniques and technologies available that medical students and educators use to perfect their craft. As medical care also advances and evolves, so will medical education. What we’re seeing now is a general shift toward the digital that will ultimately lead to more comprehensive, extensive, and superior medical education around the world.

Source: https://news.elearninginside.com/disruptive-technology-in-medical-education/