The Apple TV 4K is Coming. Here’s an Introduction to its New Technologies


| Particle Debris

Page 2 – News Debris For The Week Of September 11th

Robots and People as Partners

We often hear about robots replacing human workers and putting people out of work. But there is another meme. The alternative is based on the idea that a robot only needs to be smart enough to perform many manual labor tasks. We don’t need robots/androids of the caliber of Star Trek’s Lt. Commander Data to move heavy boxes around in an Amazon warehouse. And so the rise of robots in the workplace will develop into more of a partnership. Robots do what they do best, and humans supervise.

This article at The New York Times by Nick Wingfield discusses that very scenario. “As Amazon Pushes Forward With Robots, Workers Find New Roles.” The nature of this partnership is very sensible and cost effective. That means, of course, that job training for humans will change. Human partners will have to be robot tech savvy (to spot problems), supervise and understand the big picture in any production plant. The outcome is that humans will have more responsibility and training than before. But computers and robots avoid the common human struggles and mistakes. From the article:

Amazon’s global work force is three times larger than Microsoft’s and 18 times larger than Facebook’s, and last week, Amazon said it would open a second headquarters in North America with up to 50,000 new jobs.

Very cool I think.

• Speaking of Nick Wingfield, here’s an interesting article about keeping up as a writer. “How to Keep on Top of Technology When You Write About It.

More Debris

MacBook - sleek

MacBook. Image credit: Apple

• The lowly MacBook doesn’t get a lot of love and attention. Yet many people swear by it. It’s not overly expensive. It’s small and light. It’s fast enough for many tasks on the go. And so I was pleased to see Rene Ritchie write up the state of the MacBook and its possible evolution.

Especially helpful is the accounting of all the updates to the original 2015 model so we can track the changes to date.

• If you have an iPhone 7 and are wondering what the changes are in the iPhone 8, here’s a nice comparison chart from Trusted Reviews. iPhone 8 vs iPhone 7: Should you upgrade?

• The overly expensive cable and satellite subscription services (Pay TV) are still very widespread and popular.. But more and more young people are cutting the cord (or have been cord nevers). If you’re in that twilight zone between Pay TV and live streaming, Phillip Swann has some very good advice. “Pay TV vs. Live Streaming: There Has to Be a Better Way.

• Al Franken (D-Minn) wants to know more about Apple’s Face ID technology, and has some questions, namely how users’ “faceprints” will be protected and safeguarded, if at any point that data will be shared or sold to marketers, and whether or not law enforcement will be able to access the Face ID database. Here’s the letter. These are interesting questions. We know Apple will handle the security issues correctly, but seeing Apple’s response to Sen. Franken will be helpful for all.

• On September 12, we got a glimpse of the Steve Jobs Theater. Here’s a great story, with excellent photos by Lance Ulanoff at Mashable. “The incredible architectural secrets of Steve Jobs Theater.

• Finally, Dan Moren at Macworld has looked at some Apple tea leaves to see where Apple might be going in the future. “3 small announcements that hint at Apple’s big future.” Wireless, it own graphics chips, and supplanting the classic SIM form an aggregate notion of where Apple might be headed. It’s a good read.

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Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weekends.

7 Comments Add a comment

  1. CudaBoy

    So cute Apple finally 4 years later wants to join the 4k party, now that the ITU has standardized 8k. Will Apple ever lead on cutting edge features? Never, always a follower.

    • MOSiX Man

      Obviously, Apple should have released an AppleTV 8K, to play all of the amazing 8K content that won’t be available for a few years. So what if the amount of 4K content is only barely starting to make 4K TV really relevant. Getting it done first is obviously better than getting it done really well. Right?

  2. wab95

    John:

    Your deep dive into HDR TV and its competing technologies is much appreciated, even by those of us who are not an active TV content consumers, but appreciates understanding the underlying technology nonetheless. As I read this piece and its supporting links, I noted that my son is in his ‘dacha’ behind the house reading, my daughter is out with friends, and my wife is decorating the house, and I’m working at my computer listening to classical music. No one is watching TV. Even when they do, most will opt for either an iPad or other computer device to do so. For my family, of all the competing interests, the latest in TV tech will probably always assume a lower tier. Still, I will continue to watch this HDR10 vs Dolby space as I contemplate when to upgrade our entertainment system.

    As for the effect of robots on the workplace, and the broader question of human displacement by a robot labour force, I agree with Nick Wingfield, and have argued similarly. Most robots, compared to any life form larger than a single cell, are exceedingly stupid, and require human supervision. This is not likely to change for the foreseeable future, and should not be confused with either of two distinct issues: 1) the rise of AI and its impact on society; 2) the creation of artificial humans ie androids, powered by AI. Without going down either of those two rabbit holes today, suffice it to say that, far from displacing the human labour force entirely, robotics provide an opportunity to expand human employment and make it less dangerous, tedious, repetitive (all three of which have been linked to injury and decreased duration of functional work life) and more rewarding, much as Amazon’s Dave Clark has argued.

    Robots are not the threat; rather their use cases and our willingness to invest in and exploit new opportunities with education and financing are the real threats. The human will to not merely survive but thrive and prosper will inspire creativity and expand employment opportunities in fields that do not yet exist; even more so when ever more capable AI is added to the mix.

    Take transportation; the field of smart roads serviced by robotic maintenance crews that can maintain them without interrupting rush hour traffic, is one example. Haven’t heard of it? That’s because it doesn’t yet exist, but it will, soon enough. And it’s going to require humans trained in disciplines that are not yet taught in schools, because the underlying technologies are only in the earliest stages of development, and have not yet accreted into defined new disciplines and industries, but they will. And they will require new dedicated human labour forces. At multiple levels. In short, yes, some specific human roles will be replaced by robotics and AI, but whole new opportunities, with more intellectual reward and less physical peril, will be added in their stead. Our inability to imagine a future with a new variable with an unknown effect should not be taken to mean that opportunity does not exist. Yes, smartphones killed off both the old mobile handset and single use gadget (e.g. cameras, music players) paradigms, but opened whole new opportunities that did not exist, but today are mainstream and profitable. Human ingenuity is up to any challenge and is only ever defeated by fear and failure of imagination.

    In the meantime, my current problem is to figure out how best to stagger our purchases of a whole raft of new Apple tech over the coming weeks, and having done so, then rewarding myself with a new Apple Watch and an iPhone X for my…how to put this, human labour.

  3. wab95

    One more thing.

    My opening sentence should have read, “Your deep dive into HDR TV and its competing technologies is much appreciated, even by those of us who are not active TV content consumers, but appreciate understanding the underlying technology nonetheless “. I got distracted and did not realise that I had two competing versions of that sentence. Humans, and another opportunity for AI to assist. Another time perhaps.

    At some point, it would be terrific if TMO could restore our ability to modify/correct spelling and grammatical errors in our posts. I miss those days.

  4. MOSiX Man

    John, you might want to point out to your readers that they aren’t going to see HDR color unless they have a 4k TV with HDR.

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