Page 2 – News Debris For The Week of May 28th
Robots: Here to Serve
There’s been a saying in the robotics industry for a long time. Roughly: If a robot can be built to put unskilled laborers out of work and do it more cheaply, it will be built. Here’s the latest example. “This $25,000 robotic arm wants to put your Starbucks barista out of business.”
However, the developers aren’t oblivious to the human factors here.
“The idea of humans making coffee for 10 hours a day is as crazy in 2018 as a tollbooth collector sitting in a metal box on a freeway,” said Jason Calacanis [one investor]. [Calacanis continued…] With robotics, there’s a right and wrong way to do it, and if you’re not careful from an experience and design standpoint, things can get creepy.
And that’s the crux of the issue. Robots that are well-thought-out and integrate well into the culture will succeed. They’ll still put unskilled people out of work. But they’ll do it gracefully.
Better brush up on your Xcode/Eclipse/NetBeans skills.
• Here’s a essay that I stumbled on that has quite a different flavor than most of the popular essays (driven by corporate hype) that you’ll read. The author, Filip Piekniewski (whom I do not know), seems familiar with channels that we don’t normally dwell in. I’ll leave it to you to size up his theses. “AI Winter Is Well On Its Way.”
• Can traditional cable TV providers fend off internet rivals? How can they do that? One approach is to buy up media companies. Will that work? Here’s a nice summary of the situation. “By buying media companies, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson thinks cable providers can fend off internet rivals.”
Notable is this next problem, one that we’re all aware of.
‘Cable companies are not tech companies,’ the analyst [Toni Sacconaghi Jr.] wrote. ‘Their apps never work quite right. The user interfaces lag. The streams don’t buffer properly. Cloud recordings mysteriously fail to record.’
Perhaps Stephenson’s underdog self-opinion wasn’t so far off of the market after all; AT&T has its work cut out for it.
Apple. Got all that?
• The next generation of cell service, 5G, will face new challenges. Testing and tweaking will be essential, and that’s what’s being done. “Verizon Shows 5G Going the Distance.” Of course, until customers get to experience 5G, the verdict remains out. Here’s more background if you’d like catch up.
• I see conflicting reports about Apple Pay. My own experience, here in Denver, is that it has stagnated. I think big corporate agenda, by some department and grocery stores, often gets in the way of customer satisfaction. So I’ll present the equivalent two sides of the editorial coin. Apple’s Ms. Bailey still has much work to do, and until the banks start to seriously deprecate physical, plastic credit cards, further gains are problematic. They’re probably holding back on that until they perfect their own systems.
- Yahoo Finance: Why Americans aren’t using their phones to make payments in stores.
- Fast Company Meet the woman who deserves a thumbs up for Apple Pay’s growth.
• Finally, MacRumors has stitched together an analysis of what Apple might be up to at its technology center in Oregon. “Apple’s Workforce Growth in Oregon Could Point to Desktop-Class CPU Ambitions.” Here’s just one juicy quote to whet your appetite:
Given this information, the focus on memory subsystem could indicate a higher performance target for the memory system, with memory bandwidths more reflective of desktop or workstation class devices where memory bandwidth can reach into the hundreds of gigabytes per second.
This fits in with what we both know (iMac Pro) and suspect (Mac Pro). Apple is done with cute “pro” desktop Macs, marginally more expensive than consumer Macs, that aren’t really pro caliber. (All the more reason for a new Mac mini.)
Save your pennies.
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 weeks.