You’re chatting with a person whose name you can’t remember. Agonizing minutes pass as you try and figure out not only what they do, but also where the heck you met them before. Your last hope is that some good Samaritan will introduce themselves, but everyone you try to make eye contact with just ignores you. You secretly wish you had that character in the movies who walks around with foreign dignitaries telling them the names of important people.
According to this video by IBM, these awkward situations may soon be a thing of the past.
The most amazing thing about this software isn’t that it can take photos of business cards and put the data directly into your address book, but that it can aid your memory where memories sometimes bottom out.
Faces are probably the easiest thing to remember about a person, but putting a name or even a history behind it can be downright difficult. The idea that you can enter into your PDA where you may have met this person, when it might have been, and then get a list of names and pictures of anyone who matches it is startling. And yet, it’s not entirely unthinkable or outlandish.
So what does the future hold? By 2010 you’ll probably be stalling for time to bring up information on the guy walking towards you (a popular stall might be ‘Just a sec, I’ll be right back.’) instead of winging your way through ten minutes of conversation with a total stranger. Perhaps by 2015 facial recognition will get so good that you’ll be able to “remember” anyone, even complete strangers who for some reason remember you.
What IBM is promising is an end to slowly typing contact information into your cell phone, an end to familiar faces but forgotten names, and an end to lost business cards from people you actually did want to keep in touch with. It won’t be just a cultural exchange miracle – it’ll be a social saving grace.
With the steadily worsening economic climate taking a toll on most large technology companies, IBM is a rare exception to the rule. Just yesterday the industry stalwart announced an impressive (especially under the circumstances) 12% rise in net Q4 profits, the bulk of which can be attributed to CEO Sam Palmisano's strategic transition to cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS), both of which were initiated years before these sectors grew hot.
The New York Times attributes this to IBM's "global reach and its mix of businesses", reporting that "about 40 percent of its revenue and 60 percent of its profit come from products and services sold on a subscription basis as licenses or contracts that are renewed every year or so." This means that IBM can charge higher prices for its work while former head-to-head competitors like Intel, Sun and Seagate are caught up in hardware price wars that drive down prices - no surprise as chips and components are commoditized.
This belief is further reinforced by IBM's intelligent use of web communications (blogs & easy to follow videos, an expertise that Google shares), its vision of planetary technology and information development (see the video below)...
Arik Hesseldahl at Business Week wrote a very interesting article about how the iPhone and iTouch could possibly compete with the big-wigs of the gaming industry.
“For the last few days I’ve been sampling some of the games available from the iTunes Store on the iPod Touch, and I’ve been stunned at how elaborate and involved they are. On the iPod Touch I’ve played a version of Gameloft’s Real Soccer 2009 that rivals the version of the game on the Nintendo DS, and I didn’t even miss the buttons.”
And it’s true, the gaming experience on these mobile devices has gotten so good that people are able to play networked games such as Quake 3 on them.
But the fact of the matter is, like video, playing games on a screen the size of a pack of cigarettes isn’t going to do much damage to the gaming industry. It’s going to be years before the iPhone can reach the same processor capability to match, for instance, the XBOX 360. The gaming consoles themselves are also much cheaper than an iPhone and are capable of streaming High Definition to colossal TV screens.
Chris Martenson has created a series of videos called The Crash Course 'to provide you with a baseline understanding of the economy so that you can better appreciate the risks that we all face.'
Martenson shows how important it is for us to understand the enormous implications of exponential growth, debt-deficits, wealth creation, asset bubbles and demographic shifts, resource production plateaus, hedonic models, fuzzy numbers of GDP, et al.
Martenson is not necessarily trying to sell a vision of inevitable collapse. Rather he makes a strong case to highlight the observable fundamental flaws in our current economic behavior and models, and the dire consequences of what might happen if we do nothing to change our course.
This is a must watch set of videos for thinking about the future.