We are all software companies now

Posted by Mike Walsh

6/20/17 10:42 AM

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'What do you mean we need to be a software company?' asked Lukas Braunschweiler, CEO of Sonova, one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-tech hearing devices. I had just finished giving a talk to their senior leadership team at the gorgeous lakeside town of Stäfa, near Zurich. 'We already have lots of software engineers. Are you saying that we need more?' It was a fair question, and one I had spent much of the prior week thinking about, in a few unusual places. How many software engineers do you need to transform a company?

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CATEGORY: Technology

How to build a nanoscale computer

Posted by Mike Walsh

10/20/16 10:04 AM

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Moore’s Law, a prediction from 1965 that the number of transistors crammed into circuit would double every two years, has an expiry date. The problem is scale. The latest chips from Intel have silicon transistors with features as small as 14 nanometers. Theoretically you can have a feature as small as a single atom, but before you reach that point – at about 7 nanometers, things get weird. You leave the conventional world of classical physics and open a portal into the trippy reality of quantum physics. That’s bad news because by 2020, in order to keep up with Moore’s Law, the industry will need to be down to five nanometers.

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CATEGORY: Technology

Can a robot be racist?

Posted by Mike Walsh

9/20/16 12:00 PM

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The tragic shootings in Dallas ended dramatically with the unprecedented use of a robotic device to kill Micah Xavier Johnson, a suspect involved in the incident. Although far from sophisticated, the improvised use of a bomb-disposal unit in this way raises an important question: how far should society go in permitting the use of lethal robotics and drones by the police?

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CATEGORY: Technology

The self-driving car that learned to play go

Posted by Mike Walsh

9/20/16 11:35 AM

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There is a wonderful turning point in the movie ‘Fresh’ (1994) when 12-year-old Michael, surrounded by violence, drug dealers and ghetto enforcers, applies his father’s chess lessons to eliminating the forces that oppose him. Games are more than mere pastimes; they are frameworks for thinking. That is also why they make great teaching tools for humans and machines alike.

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CATEGORY: Technology

Unsafe at any speed

Posted by Mike Walsh

9/20/16 11:25 AM

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Statistics are evil things. I learned a new one today: on average, one person dies for every 94 million vehicle miles traveled in the United States.

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CATEGORY: Technology

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