Machine Learning and AI in 2030

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are rapidly moving up a growth S curve similar to previous major information technologies. Twenty years ago,  the Internet/Mobil technology curve was in the same S curve position as ML/AI is today. The internet was growing in use, but nowhere near the penetration we see today. Mobil devices existed, but with small, black and white displays and no internet access ... primitive compared to today's large, touch screen, internet connected computers in your hand. ML/AI today is likely as primitive compared to what it will be in 2030 as the 1998 Internet/Mobil technology was compared to its present state. By one estimate, AI will add 16 trillion dollars to the world's economy by 2030. And the benefits of ML/AI discussed below with have a networked, multiplicative impact as they reinforce one another.

Developments and Benefits

It's impossible to predict exactly what ML/AI will look like over a decade from now, but it is possible to form a rough idea of what shape key developments will take. Here are a few...

Information Access

ML/AI is already used extensively for information search. Steady progress is being made in understanding the contextual nuances of search queries. This trend will continue, and by 2030 we should be able to find just the right information for almost any search with ever increasing precision.

Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicle progress has been steady and has achieved significant milestones. The technology has been demonstrated to work successfully at a fundamental level. There remain a number of barriers to widespread adoption. However, the benefits and incentives to overcome these barriers are significant. By 2030 we should see a significant number of autonomous vehicles on the road.

Healthcare

Many countries, including the United States, have aging populations. This will put an significant stress on healthcare over the coming decade. ML/AI holds the possibility of filling the gap between available resources and healthcare demand in 2030. According to one set of experts, we'll trust AI more than doctors to diagnose disease. This will free doctors to spends more time on the things technology can't yet do. 

Robotics and Automation

McKinsey predicts that by 2030, "60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent work activities that could be automated." New jobs will also be created, but robotics and automation will continue to create significant shifts is how work is performed.

Education

ML/AI is disrupting the traditional model for successful education. A top futurist predicts the largest internet company of 2030 will be an online school and students will learn from robot teachers over the internet. ML/AI in education has the potential to create individually customized experiences that will enhance and speed the learning process.

Retail Shopping

Retail shopping is already being dramatically effected by ML/AI. The e-commerce share of total retail sales in the U.S. is rising rapidly. Customized on-line shopping experiences are growing in sophistication. Retail in 2030 may look very different than it does today and include  interactive dressing room mirrors and a more on-demand at-home shopping experience.

Professional Services

ML/AI can digest information at a speed and scope that already exceeds human capabilities. Professional service providers in 2030 will use ML/AI to provide analyzed and summarized information needed for decision making. This will dramatically speed services delivery and lower services costs.

Financial Services

Financial services rely on collecting, storing and analyzing vast amounts of data. ML/AI is already replacing workers who perform many of the tasks related to these activities. One estimate is that up to 230,000 employees in capital markets will be replaced by ML/AI as we approach 2030. This will lower costs and improve delivery of services, but will also require significant staffing shifts in the industry.

Agriculture

Advances in robotics and sensing technologies are radically modifying agricultural practices. New ML/AI approaches include: automated harvesting, pest control, animal tracking, and soil conservation. By 2030, we should see significant increases in crop yields at lowered costs.

Challenges

ML/AI does pose challenges as it progresses spreads further into our lives and businesses. Here are a couple of examples...

Changing Jobs and Learning New Skills

As mentioned above, McKinsey predicts that by 2030, "60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent work activities that could be automated."  Overall, this would mean that about 20% of all jobs would be automated. New jobs will be created, with many of those requiring higher levels of education, training or skill. 

New Legal Frameworks

As more work is performed by ML/AI, legal questions of responsibility and liability will arise. One example is autonomous car liability. Autonomous vehicles are expected to lower deaths caused by accidents. The Atlantic reports that automated cars could save up to 30,000 lives per year in the United States. But how responsibility for the deaths that do occur remains an open question.

An Example Individual Scenario

It can be difficult to imagine a total picture of what ML/AI will mean for our lives in 2030. One way to grasp this is to imagine use cases that demonstrate their impact. Here's one example...

John is sitting in his study at home when he receives a notification on his smartphone. It tells him that the biosensor imbedded in his arm has detected a slight irregularity in his heartbeat. John hasn't noticed any physical pain or abnormality, but he clicks the notice and sees the display of a heart rhythm pattern with annotations showing him where there might be an issue. It assures him that it's nothing immediately life threatening, but that he should consult a doctor. He's shown the location of the nearest clinic and asked if he'd like an appointment be made along with arrangements for a ride. He clicks yes and immediately sees that his ride is on the way and will arrive in 5 minutes. John grabs his jacket and goes outside to wait for the car. In a few minutes, an autonomous vehicle pulls up, he gets in and a friendly voice asks him if he's John and going to the AbleWay clinic. John says yes, sits back and turns on his phone to read more information he's been sent about his symptoms. He arrives shortly at the clinic, is welcomed by name and escorted immediately into an examination room. A couple of minutes later, Dr. Able enters carrying a tablet which he uses to show John a real-time display of his heart rhythm. Dr. Able explains what could be the cause and that the condition is something they should watch carefully to see if it continues. He prescribes a medication that should help correct the arrhythmia and tells John that the medication will be delivered to his home by the end of the day. John shakes Dr. Able's hand and walks out to the reception desk where he's told that the clinic has his insurance information and the car to take him home is waiting outside. John enters the car and starts his trip home feeling relieved that he knows more about his condition and taking steps to deal with it. 

Android/PHP/JQuery RESTful JSON MySQL Client-Server Overview

The title of this blog entry is quite a mouthful.  The purpose is to give a broad overview of the moving parts necessary to implement an application with client mobile and desktop devices that interact with a server database to alter and retrieve data.

I won't define all the classes, methods and acronyms on the graphic as they're easy to look up using an Internet search.  There are other choices that can be made for the details of the implementation, but this should provide a starting point for thinking through the necessary elements.

The communication vehicle for client-server interaction is typically the Internet Protocol Suite.

 

Using Randomized Variable Values to Enhance HTML5 Canvas Animations

The HTML5 Canvas feature is bringing additional animation power to web pages.  HTML5 Canvas allows web developers to embed sophisticated bit map animated graphics directly into web pages. 

In developing examples for my book on HTML5 Canvas (HTML5 Canvas for Dummies) I experimented with using randomized variable values to improve the realism of an animated fireworks display. I used random values within specified ranges for parameters such as fireworks colors, number of exploding particles, trajectory of particles, lifespan of particles and flight trajectories. I found that adding well constructed values (not too much or too little randomization) significantly increased the realism and appeal of the results.  Here's one example from the Fireworks app of setting a randomized value:

     part[newPart].life = lifeMin +(Math.random()*(lifeMax-lifeMin));

See what you think ... click here to see it in action.

What is HTML5 Canvas?

HTML5 Logo.png

The Canvas feature of HTML5 is one of the most exciting new developments in web based capabilities in many years. Here are some key aspects:

HTML5 - Canvas is a part of the latest revision and improvement of the previous version (HTML4, released in the late 1990's) markup language for displaying web pages on the Internet.

Canvas Tag - The <canvas> tag joins the other HTML tags (there are around 100 now) as a way to include single or multiple Canvas areas on a web  page. 

Bit Map DisplayThe Canvas area you define with a <canvas> tag is a bit map display. You can manipulate individual pixels to draw objects, images, animations and video.

JavaScript ControlThe JavaScript language is used to control what is seen on the Canvas. The JavaScript application code is placed between the <head></head> and <script></script> tags of the web page.

Browser Based - The computing needed to create a Canvas display is done within the browser. In other words, it's client based, not server based. The means that creating a Canvas application is simpler than one requiring server based programming. It also means that the computing power needed to generate the Canvas display is not concentrated in single servers. Each user's browser handles its own work.

Animation - Canvas applications can generate animations. This is accomplished using callbacks from the browser. The Canvas application designates one of its functions to be called from the browser at specified time intervals. During each of these callbacks, the application draws a new Canvas display, moving objects slightly. When viewed as a continuous flow of Canvas displays, an animation is generated.

Audio/Video - Audio and video can be incorporated into your Canvas applications. Moving objects can create sounds and video images can be melded into other application objects. This is done without the use of any audio or video plugins.

Gaming - Game developers have all to tools necessary to create compelling HTML5 Canvas games.

Fun - Putting aside the technical aspects of Canvas ... it can be described as just plain fun. An HTML5 Canvas is a place where as a developer you can express your creative energies and as a user you can have expanded and enjoyable experiences.

For a more details look at HTML5 Canvas, watch for my upcoming book: HTML5 Canvas for Dummies.

Smartphone Installations Will Soon Outnumber PCs

According to a new study by IDC, smartphone installations will soon outnumber those of PCs.  Not surprising, really, but we've lived in a PC dominant world for long enough that the shift seems monumental.

Chart: Worldwide Smart Connected Device Shipments, 2010-2016 (Unit Millions)Description: This data comes from IDC's WW Quarterly PC Tracker, WW Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, and WW Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker.Tags: Tracker, mobile phones, tablets, forecast, PCs, devices, consumer, IDC ...Author: IDCcharts powered by iCharts

 

New Android Design Guidelines

Google has just released new, and very helpful, Android design guidelines. They're detailed on the Android developer website. The main webpage is shown below.

It's great to have these guidelines grouped in one place for easy access and they appear to be a step forward in developing an improved user experience ... both for the operating system and applications.

Google Improving Mobile Ad Relevance

Non Relevant Ads 200px.png

Google has just announced improvements in mobile search advertising. (See the Google Blog post for more information.) Apps that incorporate search capabilities will see more relevant ads appearing on their screens.

To date, mobile ads appearing on smartphones have not been particularly relevant to the nature of the apps displaying them. In contrast, desktop search ads are highly relevant to the search terms used. So, for example, if I'm searching for information on bicycles, I'll see ads related to this topic.

Making mobile ads more targeted should improve ad click through rates and improve user satisfaction.

If I'm searching on my smartphone for bicycles, I'll see ads related to bicycles, including information on bicycle shops near my current location.

Newly Released Smartphone and Tablet Apps Cut Through Screen Clutter

Imagine being in a hurry between meetings and needing to find a nearby restaurant for a fast lunch. The QuickClick Restaurants app can locate and map places to go with one button tap. Or realizing that you're out of cash. A single click of the ATM app shows the nearest locations.

In developing software for the QuickClick Locale series, Marketimpacts.com took an approach different from other developers. "Many apps try to be too many things to too many people" said Don Cowan, the lead QuickClick apps developer and Director of Software Engineering at Marketimpacts.com. "As a result, it can take valuable time to scan through a sequence of app screens to find what you're looking for. We made speed and ease of use the top priority in our design."

See our press release.

The Software Revolution

As software transforms industry after industry, it's becoming apparent that the world is transitioning to a software driven paradigm that won't be denied.

Manufacturing, entertainment, journalism, music ... they are just a few of the business domains that have been dramatically altered by the power of software.

Software often gives an order of magnitude or two advantage to the new businesses that fully leverage its capabilities.

Some of the effects on society are profound:

  • Radical lowering of costs.
  • Shifting of the demands of labor from the physical to the intellectual.
  • Increasing the rate of change.

What are some takeaways for businesses large and small?

  • Embrace the change ... don't fight it.
  • Try to get ahead of the curve instead of playing catch-up.
  • Develop an understanding of the latest new technologies, which are, today, things like smartphones, cloud computing and tablet computing.
  • Don't rely on yesterday's technology to carry the day. Witness the speed with which tablet computing is replacing PCs.
  • Give some of the latest technologies a try. Test them. See what they can do for you.

 

 

Giving Up PCs for Smartphones and Tablets

The convenience of smartphones and tablets is causing an increasing number of computer users to ditch their PCs for these smaller, portable devices.

There are a number of advantages smartphones and tablets have over PCs:

  • They're always with you.
  • They're always on or very rapidly started.
  • They have mobility related functionality such as position sensing and phone calling.
  • Their touch screen user interface is well suited for internet and information access.
  • Users like their app-centric design.

Of course, the PC won't be replaced for power developers of software and content. But the majority of PC users don't fall into this category, and for them, the movement to smartphone and tablet devices is likely not going to diminish any time soon.

Generation Smartphone

Could this really follow Generation Y to become the name of the newest generation? Some think so.
 
According to a number of reports, the young are foregoing other media for the smartphone. They tend to always have their smartphones with them. They use them more than many would like. And they are changing the nature of social interaction.
 
Many are ditching their televisions, computers, iPods, cameras, maps and address books in favor of the combined convenience of smartphones.
 
Some see this, in part, as a serious addiction problem. The trend, however, seems irreversible.
 
The young have always been obsessed with communicating. It's understandable why a device with so many ways of communicating would be a big hit.

A New Paradigm in Public Relations

Just as it has in a growing number of industries, the Internet is transforming the field of public relations.

Here is some of what's happening:

  • The dividing line between marketing and PR is disappearing.
  • PR is providing more useful information for consumers.
  • New Internet focused PR companies are greatly lowering the cost of PR campaigns.
  • Internet based tools are making PR campaigns easier to develop and manage.
  • PR content is interacting with and feeding off of other content such as blogs, video, images, web sites and e-books.
  • It is becoming cost effective to focus PR campaigns on smaller, niche markets as well as big, broad markets.
  • Internet based PR is becoming a critical element in gaining search engine placement.

In short, an Internet based PR campaign is becoming an essential and growing part of selling products and services.  

How Many Smartphone App Clicks is Too Many?

At what point will the user of a smartphone app just give up and move on to the next app? It's an important question for app developers. 
 
Although it's difficult to come up with an exact answer, we can understand at least something about the factors involved and how we might improve that chances that an app user will have a satisfying, non-frustrating experience.
 

First, there are factors that are out of the control of the developer:
  
Situational Pressure.
Smartphones are generally used in a higher pressure environment than is the case with a PC. People are one the move, busy and anxious to get results as fast as possible.
 
Information Needs.
How badly the user needs the information provided by an app will be highly variable. If they're late for a meeting and need a phone number or address quickly, user tolerence for clicking through multiple screens and waiting through delays in displays will be quite low.
 
App Knowledge.
All app developers would like users to take the time to completely understand every aspect of how to use their app. This usually is not the case. Users learn only the minimum they need and want apps to respond quickly.
 
Given this challenging environment, app developers need to focus on what they can control to make an app as usable as possible:
 
Design.
Apps need to be understood quickly and easily. Navigation, layout, colors, text, images, buttons ... all the elements of design play a role in creating a good user experience.
 
Information Load.
Is the user presented with just the right amount of information necessary to get the job done? Too much or too little can lead to an unsatisfactory experience and poor app ratings.
 
Click Sequences.
Can the user get to what they need directly? Having to click through long sequences of screens can frustrate users. People are impatient. 
 
In summary, app developers need to focus on what they can control and not assume favorable conditions for those factors that are out of their control.

Re-tooling for the Information Age

The internet, web sites, smartphones, tablets, social networking, cloud computing ... the Information Age is getting into full swing. Just as the U.S. transitioned completely to the Industrial Age in the 1930's, we are now completing our move into the Information Age.
 
 
Whether as an individual or business, it will become increasingly difficult to compete without using Information Age tools and processes. Emerging markets, with their lower cost base, will take most of the remaining Industrial Age jobs and opportunities. Manufacturing in the U.S. won't disappear, but it too will have to adopt Information Age ways.
 
Some, often those of older generations, regret the popularity of new, fast paced tools such as social networking. It would be more productive to give them a try and leverage their value.
 
The rapid spread of smartphones is accelerating  the use of tools such as social networking. They offer a great way to take the plunge into a new world.