The Before and After internet world

A few days ago Jio Ito inspired the TED community by talking about the new period we just entered, the After Internet (AI) world. 

In the Before Internet (BI) world, starting a business had a clear timeline: you hired MBAs to write a business plan, you raised money, and then you built the thing you wanted to build. But in the AI world, the cost of innovation has come down so much that you start with the building—and then figure the money and business plan. “It’s pushed innovation to the edges, to the dorms rooms and startups, and away from stodgy organizations that had the money, the power and the influence.”

He sees this as a possibility for the rest of us, too. He introduces us to the Samsung Techwin SMT SM482 Pick & Place Machine, which can put 23,000 components on an electronics board, something that used to take an entire factory. “The cost of prototyping and distributing is becoming so low that students and software can do it too,” says Ito.

Ito doesn’t like the word ‘futurist’ he tells us to be ‘now-ists’ with a focus on being connected, always learning, fully aware and super present.

read more on this subject on The Before and After internet world


Baxter: The Future of Factory Automation

Our previous post discussed what future jobs could look like. Today we take a look at one example that’s ready to take over the jobs that are easily automated.

In this video we’re introduced to Baxter, a robot that can redefine manufacturing environments. It performs a variety of repetitive production tasks while safely and intelligently working alongside people.

Baxter exhibits behavior-based ‘common sense,’ capable of sensing and adapting to its task and its environment. It doesn’t require complex programming or costly integration. And with its relatively low price point, Baxter provides a compelling alternative for manufacturers.

People will lose their jobs. But it’s a process that has happened throughout human history. Just think about blacksmiths, street lamp lighters, telegraph operators, milkmen, telephone operators, typist, elevator operators, … These are all jobs that became obsolete at some point in history. Everyone that lost their job retrained for some other occupation or just switched.
So NO, the majority won’t go hungry!

Inventions like these will become cheaper and smarter in the next few years and will drastically change the whole manufacturing industry!

TED talk: What will future jobs look like?

A few weeks ago I was explaining to my grandfather what we’re working on for our thesis. His first reaction was: “Because of such automations people lose their job, …”. I had a hard time convincing him this is actually a good thing… he is looking at it a little too short-sighted.

No one can predict what the impact of automation is going to be in the future, but with technology just starting to show it’s potential I think we are awaiting a fascinating future…

In this TED talk Andrew brings us his vision of the future labor-market. In this far-seeing talk, he thinks through what future jobs might look like, and how to educate coming generations to hold them.

Do you think the job you are studying for/performing at the moment will still exist in 2050?

Self-healing asphalt

In this TEDxTalk Eric gives a demo of a new type of asphalt made with simple materials, that results in astonishing features.

The problem:
After some years, asphalt binder is degraded by environmental factors, especially due to UV-radiation from the sun, until it loses the ability to bind the surface particles together. This results in cracks which allow damaging moisture into the lower pavement levels, creating surface roughness, pot holes, degradation and eventual structural failure. At present, there are no solutions to close cracks in the pavement. Occasionally, when signs of ageing are visible, a sealant that protects asphalt surfaces from environmental degradation and moisture penetration is applied to the surface. These procedures can increase the lifetime of asphalt for several years before rehabilitation or reconstruction is required, but they have the disadvantage that they only work in the first centimeters from the surface and can reduce sliding resistance.

In many studies it has been demonstrated how it is possible to make asphalt or concrete conductive by adding electrically conductive fillers and fibers. Then, if this magnetically susceptible and electrically conductive material is heated with electromagnetism. Heat is generated through the energy lost and finally the material melts and the crack is closed.

Microwave technology makes this new asphalt economically viable because of the following reasons:
*The steel wool content is around ten times less than that recommended for heating by electro- magnetic induction, which in practice could mean an important reduction in costs.
*The amount of electricity used by microwave devices is much less than that required to produce a similar effect by electromagnetic induction.

You can find extra information in this paper:
Heating asphalt mixtures with microwaves to promote self-healing (