Aido – the friendly robot

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Personal assistant gadget space has always been a niche market for big and small firms all around the globe. It seemed like a nature transition from smartphones and tablets,when the world started to rely heavily on the connected web of information. According to a survey conducted by PewResearch Center in 2015 there has been an incredible increase in the use of smartphones across the globe, and more specifically in the developing nations with an average increase of around 16 points over the last two years. What that means is, people look at their smartphones as they open their eyes in the morning and they refuse to let them go until they fall asleep at night. And hence as the world starts to get busier, it only seems natural that they seek for a more personalized “controller” of their life.

Broadly, there are two methodologies adopted by companies who are regarded as players in this market. Some take the route of apps built into the the smartphones that can alert, remind, control and automate your life. Apple’s “Siri”, Microsoft’s “Cortana”, Facebook’s M and Assistant.ai are just a few examples of the so called “embedded” assistants.

Then there are others such as Amazon Echo and the sweet Alexa backend which is a standalone gadget. Cubic is another example of a standalone gadget that is trying to enter this playground. Now in my view these are gadgets which serve as a “speaker” with a personal touch to it. In fact Amazon Echo sales figures were compared alongside the traditional speakers such as Bose and Sony.

So what does it mean to have a personal assistant? He/She should be alongside you at all times – perhaps one of the reasons why “embedded” assistants are more heavily used than their “gadgetized” counterparts. Aido, the robot promises to do just that to a certain degree. While it might be an overkill to think about robots walking alongside you on the road, as the science fiction books and movies so eloquently portray. Aido can start as your partner in crime at one location – be it home or office.

Launched two days ago at Indiegogo , Aido definitely has promise, raking up an incredible 180% of their initial target funding in just 3 hours.

Watch out for more as I wait to get my hands on one of them…

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The art of crowdsourcing

Crowd Source

With the emergence of social networking as a formidable force in this Internet era, taking advantage of its powers in fields other than just entertainment was only an obvious consequence. The word crowdsourcing first emerged back in 2005, coined by the editors of Wired Magazine. Jeff Howe from wired magazine defines it as the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call. This can take the form of peer-production (when the job is performed collaboratively), but is also often undertaken by sole individuals. The crucial prerequisite is the use of the open call format and the large network of potential laborers.

It is the ability to harness the data exchanged by the population aka “the crowd”, and use them to produce information useful for the same crowd. Jeff Howe went on to become a proponent in this field, citing examples from all around the Internet Globe (the iGlobe, as I would call it) on how the power of the masses can be strategically taken advantage of. Sometime back, I happened to mention about one of those terms which has been gaining popularity, viz Collaborative Consumption . Crowd sourcing can be viewed as a subset of this idea.

Perhaps one of the biggest in the industry to take advantage of this was Waze . With its data being fed in by the millions of drivers on the road, it started to become a powerful navigation system, often even claimed to have been surpassing the giants such as google maps and apple maps . But as has been the common norm amongst the technology industry, it too got acquired for a huge price by one of those giants.

But that was only the beginning. Along came Sky Motion in a different field – the weather! Forecasting weather has always had its degree of unpredictability. The intensity of the weather conditions have been known to be inaccurate often times. What if you have a real time update from a person who is actually in the middle of it? That is exactly what Sky Motion has tried to do. Although not as widely accepted yet, just as in the case of Waze it does have the potential to turn into something big. Now they are not the only ones that have imbibed this idea in weather. Weddar is another one such company. So now we have a healthy competition!

As weather and traffic seemed to have started to see the useful side of crowdsourcing, Im sure many more would follow. What was ones the supreme power of the ancient civilizations, the society, could soon turn into the superpower in the Internet Civilization!

Idle tech thoughts…

It could be the number of technical readings that I need to do for my classes that prompted me to start this, but the thought of a blog to write about my adventures with technology, however minuscule they happen to be, has been lingering on for quite sometime now. This is just for starters, while I work on building a site of my own to “integrate” both my blogs.