September 2018’s Coolest Things
Here in the Labs, we like to foster a co-operative atmosphere, where we work together to uplift one another, support others ideas and just generally get along. Except when it comes to the monthly round-up of the coolest things that we’ve found. Cold blooded competition is the name of the game, and the prize is eternal glory, or at least bragging rights until the next monthly roundup comes around. So without further ado here are the monthly winners; September 2018’s Coolest Things!
The Future of Shopping
In this TED talk, Angela Wang talks about the ways that China is predicting the future of retail for the whole world, with more and more emphasis being placed on the mobile phone as the engine of commerce, even when customers are purchasing goods and services in brick and mortar stores. The present of retail in China is the future everywhere else, and that future looks to be completely focussed on convenience, flexibility and integrally linked to social media.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, but there is now a subscription service that will get you a different meal from a local restaurant for under £5, which is pretty close. MealPal takes your subscription fee and handles all of the arrangements, so that all you have to do is pick a restaurant and swing by to grab your lunch – no queueing involved! So if you genuinely believe that the days of packed lunch boxes are behind you but you still feel the need to consume food at some point in the middle of the day, MealPal might be a viable alternative to spending half of your lunch-break waiting in line.
The “House” Pharmaceuticals
Increasing pharmaceutical prices in America are forcing hospitals to look seriously into alternative options. The consensus among pharmaceutical companies seems to be that they can continue to hike the prices of vital, life-saving, medication as much as they please, with consumers having no alternative but to continue using their products. In response, several hospitals are looking into manufacturing their own drugs, to cut out those companies entirely, and force the market value back down.
BMW Voice Assistant
We have spoken in the past about the specialization of AI – how the “general AI” of science fiction is still currently unattainable, but “specific AI” that handle one small subset of tasks perfectly are already prevalent. With their latest creation, BMW have created a subdivision of the already specific Digital Assistant in the form of a navigation, driving and maintenance focussed Assistant for use in their new cars.
And so peace and camaraderie return to the labs for another month, but if you want to see the researchers going for blood once more swing back again the same time next month for another exciting round of Coolest Things!