Emerging Technology Update JUNE 2019
With technology moving so fast it’s hard to stay up to date!
To help you our Guest Blogger, Nick Browne, co-organiser of The Sunshine Coast Emerging Technology Meetup is here to help!
The Sunshine Coast Emerging Technology Meetup is a community of engaged community members and business professionals who are looking to both leverage emerging technology to drive innovation in the region and to become educated.
UBS and a bunch of other banks worldwide have announced they will be launching their own crypto currency. The move is bound to spark uproar in the blockchain community as it isn’t exactly in keeping with the decentralised notion. Could this divert investment away from established and other emerging tokens. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see how the community react to this month’s announcement that Facebook are planning their own ICO, GlobalCoin, in 2020.
Type A blood can now be converted to universal donor blood using bacterial enzymes. There’s a constant shortage of donor blood around the world, and as recipients can only take a subset of blood available, capacity can’t always be leveraged. This seems like a small thing but could have an impact on accident survivability particularly in remote area.
In other biotech news, a genetically modified fungus has been developed that uses genes taken from a venomous spider to kill off entire populations of malaria carrying mosquitos in just 2 generations. Malaria kills nearly half a million people a year, and combating it has seen some really interesting biotech breakthroughs in recent years (along with a Bill Gates funded laser zapper), but the idea of gene spliced venomous fungus makes me a little nervous for some reason – too many games of COD Zombies perhaps.
Vertical farming is a growth sector, and Singapore is a leading region in the technology. They are looking at lab grown shrimp for example, and plan to produce 30% of their food needs by 2030 (they currently only produce 10%).
You might remember the sixties movie “Fantastic Voyage” where a submarine is shrunk and injected into a patient? UNSW has built micro submarines that can be injected into real patients to deliver targeted drugs. This will allow stronger doses to target specific areas, possibly aiding in treatment of certain cancers while reducing side effects. Sadly, as the machines are built small rather than shrunk, we won’t be able to take a ride around inside someone any time soon.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Alphabet’s (that’s Google to you and me) DeepMind can now beat top end Quake III players at the game. I know it isn’t Chess or Go, but it’s interesting to see improvements in fast tactical applications as opposed to the more traditional strategic gaming that AI often targets.
Closer to home, Dominos in Australia and NZ are trailing using AI to check the quality of pizzas before delivery. Most complaints to Dominos are about pizzas not looking like the advertised picture – the AI won’t let a pie out of the door that doesn’t look right.
There have been some interesting developments in the analytics space this month. Firstly, Thomas Kurian took over as the CEO of Google Cloud in January and has just purchased Looker. Looker is a cross cloud data and analytics platform rivalling Microsoft’s PowerBI and Tableau.
Speaking of Tableau, Salesforce announced on the 11th June that they have acquired Tableau for $15.7 Billion USD. Salesforce purchased Mulesoft last year, so the product set is expanding way outside the original USP. It will be interesting to speculate what other big M&As will occur in the tech space, but the BI&A market is changing rapidly.
The utterly terrifying ideas people at Boston Dynamics are ready to unleash their particular brand of robots on the public. Up until now the only users of their products were the military, but now you can purchase your own walking nightmare (called Spot). They’re being promoted as mobility platforms and are to be deployed in construction at this point. I’m keen to see if I can get a saddle fitted for one and start commuting on it.
Around 68% of Facebook shareholders have voted to oust Mark Zuckerberg as chairman. They don’t have the power to actually do this, so the proposal was dismissed (Zuck himself has 60% of the voting power).
The Apple WWDC took place the other day. You may have heard of the $999USD monitor stand, but they also announced the death of iTunes, paving the way for more task specific apps and likely integration across the platform. There’s also hints the Apple watch will be able to operate independently of the iPhone with the launch of the watch store. They didn’t talk about the American Justice Department authorising a new Antitrust investigation. Google also have a new antitrust case coming up, so it’s business as usual really.