Meet Amy, a Virtual Meeting Aide – will AI replace some outsourcing?

When I initially saw this article, I thought it would discuss using an outsourced assistant via a freelancing site or other application.  But it’s not – it’s about artificial intelligence.  This led me to wonder how much of the work we now outsource will be done using AI in the near future….particularly the “busy work” many of us have done on Mechanical Turk and others….

“I recently got my own personal assistant, called Amy. My new helper is amazingly attentive and diligent, but also a bit strange. For one thing, she seems completely obsessed with organizing meetings and pretty much refuses to talk about anything else.”

via Meet Amy, a Virtual Meeting Aide | MIT Technology Review.

How Google Cracked House Number Identification in Street View

Using a neural network, Google can identify street numbers on houses in France.  Fascinating article in MIT Technology Review this year about how their engineers did it.

“Google Street View has become an essential part of the online mapping experience. It allows users to drop down to street level to see the local area in photographic detail.But it’s also a useful resource for Google as well. The company uses the images to read house numbers and match them to their geolocation. This physically locates the position of each building in its database.That’s particularly useful in places where street numbers are otherwise unavailable or places such as Japan and South Korea where streets are rarely numbered in chronological order but in other ways such as the order in which they were constructed, a system that makes many buildings impossibly hard to find, even for locals.

via Best of 2014: How Google Cracked House Number Identification in Street View | MIT Technology Review.

Why Inventors Misjudge How We’ll Abuse Their Creations

Often entrepreneurs do brilliant things, but suffer from myopia.  They see applications for their products or inventions that are applicable to them, but in fact others may see them entirely differently.  Interesting article from Wired about some of the greatest inventors, and the original purpose of their inventions.  “For understandable reasons, when we tell stories of technological innovation, we tend to focus on insight and even seeming clairvoyance—the people who can see the future before the rest of us. But there’s a flip side to such farsightedness that shows up again and again in the history of innovation: the blind spots, the possibilities that somehow escaped our field of vision but that, in retrospect, seem glaringly obvious.”

via Why Inventors Misjudge How We’ll Abuse Their Creations | WIRED.

11 Reasons Email Is the Worst

Most people who use social media of some sort have figured out that the best way to reach someone is via the place they spend the most time.  Send a tweet, FB message, or text and you are much more likely of getting a response than in email.  But email is unavoidable.  This article from Gizmodo is funny and all-too-accurate.  “Email is one of those things that’s just a part of your life, period. Most of us know someone who has closed their Facebook account or refused to join in the first place in a little foot-stomping stand by their ego, and you might even know someone who is thrilled with themselves for not owning a smartphone.”

via 11 Reasons Email Is the Worst.

With New Delivery Service, Uber Declares War on Google and Amazon

This is not a surprise – we have Uber for families and UberX and Ubers with WiFi – now they can take advantage of this network for package delivery.  Uber is disrupting things we could never imagine it would disrupt – who would have thought the share economy would grow as it has.    “Uber is already an expert in getting you from door-to-door. Now, the company wants to figure out how to deliver stuff to your door as well.”  From Wired Magazine.

via With New Delivery Service, Uber Declares War on Google and Amazon | Business | WIRED.

As UberX and Lyft Get Cheaper, Should You Sell Your Car?

After spending time in an Uber-friendly city, I can see how this would be an option.  Article from Big Think.  “Two industry disruptors, Uber and Lyft, are changing the way people commute in urban centers. This summer, the companies are rolling out new pricing schemes meant to outfox established taxi companies. “The price cut amounts to 20 percent in New York and 25 percent in San Francisco and Los Angeles. By the company’s math, that leaves the price of a ride lower than that of a taxi in New York, and in other cities the price is now significantly lower.””

via As UberX and Lyft Get Cheaper, Should You Sell Your Car? | IdeaFeed | Big Think.

The Next Big Thing You Missed: One Day, You’ll Google the Physical World With a Scanner Like This

We’re all used to typing in what we need to know on our phones.  But what about the physical world around us?  There’s no way to Google physical objects, Wired explains in this article about a scanner being developed in Tel Aviv.  Imagine running this scanner over a pill or piece of fruit to find out the molecular breakdown.  We can’t do that now.  “That needs to change, says Dror Sharon. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Consumer Physics, a Tel Aviv startup trying to fill that gap with a handheld device called Scio. Scio is a scanner, about the size of a flash drive, that can determine the molecular makeup of objects like food and medication.”

via The Next Big Thing You Missed: One Day, You’ll Google the Physical World With a Scanner Like This | Business | WIRED.

Solid Networking Advice for Entrepreneurs

Connecting and networking are, without a doubt, critical to success in a startup business.  They are critical in any business.  With some people it is a knack, and with others it is a plan.  For those who need a plan, Mashable presents one.  “As most professionals and job seekers know, networking plays a huge role in helping you achieve your career goals. But strong industry connections can be beneficial to entrepreneurs, too: According to a recent survey by Dell and small business community Manta, one in five small business owners made networking their top priority when they first launched their startups.”

via Solid Networking Advice for Entrepreneurs.