Posts on May 2017

Canvy Team, news, universal basic income, Zuckerberg

News to watch, by the Canvy Team: Mark Zuckerberg spoke out for the basic income

Perhaps you already read about this – Mark Zuckerberg voiced his support for the universal basic income, during his recent Harvard commencement address.

But what is the universal basic income? It is a form of social security and a concept rooted in historical sociology movements. According to this concept, each citizen should benefit from a regular and unconditional basic income, regardless of whether they work or not. This sum of money should cover the citizen’s basic needs, thus making sure each person is not a burden for society in the eventuality they cannot earn their living.

This leaves the question of who is supposed to provide the necessary funds, and where these money would come from. As in all social security systems, the answer consists in an algorithm combining various forms of taxation – specially aimed at enterprises.

 

Why universal basic income (UBI) – now?

As mentioned above, the universal basic income concept is in fact a social security scheme aiming at redistributing taxation money towards each citizen, in order to ensure a minimum living standard that would prevent major social disruptions due to the classical social security not being able to keep up with the modern society issues.

The moment of this idea’s revival has to do with progress and technology. There is an anticipated social impact associated to next-gen tech. Automation and robotics will take over an impressive number of jobs and occupations, and it seems like the calculations of possible outcomes are not extremely optimistic. There is no telling what will happen with those who will be out of jobs, or with those whose skills will not be needed anymore.

Since the main beneficiaries of the predicted digital revolution are the enterprises, various sociological and political thinkers wonder about acceptable ways of making companies responsible.  In their opinion, businesses should contribute in maintaining the social equilibrium, even when most of their workers would be digital. The people in this scenario would compete for the limited human-targeted jobs left – a competition not anyone would win. The states are worried what would happen in the eventuality that people supporting themselves would become a mathematical impossibility.

Therefore, the fact that the universal basic income is re-discussed now is at least in part motivated by what we expect out of the digital revolution – in terms of social and occupational consequences.

 

Is this concept right or wrong?

Besides being just an idea, proclaimed by individual voices, associations and organizations, the basic income concept crossed into social policy once it became a pilot project in certain states, and it went through a public referendum not long ago.

Finland launched a two-year basic income experiment in January 2017 – here you may find an account on how the project is going, taken 4 months into it. Their take on the concept is a bit different, making the “universal” attribute inapplicable.

Another ongoing project is located in California, via the Silicon Valley – Bloomberg calls the experiment an “unconditional cash transfer” trial, and the main worries apparently are not focused on the money issue, but more on the way this basic income status would affect the human dignity and behavior.

Talking about what people want, or think they want, in Switzerland the basic income concept got rejected via referendum in 2016.

 

Did Zuckerberg manage to raise approval for the basic income idea?

While strongly promoting the idea of a basic income guarantee, Mark Zuckerberg did attract an array of pro, as well as con comments that spread ripples through the online and offline media.

The opinions are split, ranging from “distorted view of the world” belonging to a CEO, through the virulent Washington Times article qualifying the idea as being a “brainless world tax” and ending up with a rather predominant neutral depiction of the already famous Zuckerberg Harvard address.

Surely we will meet the UBI concept in the future, seeing how it comes as an answer to a future global issue, whilst it also managed to catch the attention of important tech leaders.

Cavy Google Assistant AI

Canvy Team question: Did the Google Assistant announcement just stole the thunder at the Google’s big developers’ conference?

The 10th edition of the Google I/O took place this year as usual in San Francisco, CA. The 2017 edition enthralled the participants present in the Shoreline Amphitheatre with quite a few subjects. Subsequently the online media covered these topics and even launched full-on debates on the most intriguing announcements.

Although the news ranged from the Google Home device to the availability of the beta version of the Android “O”, the Google Assistant changes are the ones that went mainstream viral.

But what’s in this piece of news that managed to make it talk of the town?

Google Assistant – the new best friend for marketing professionals, as well as online retailers

You may take a guess now, using our subtitle as a clue…

Yes, you are right. Google will monetize its Assistant “with ads and e-commerce functionalities” – as the publication Android Headlines puts it. The precise statement belongs to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Advertising at Google.

The current debate regards placing this move in the bigger context, where Amazon’s Alexa is already way ahead of Google’s Assistant future version – or so say the specialist, basing their affirmation on the way Alexa manages to integrate into the Amazon shopping-centered ecosystem.

Why should we care?

It’s been a year since Google announced its AI Assistant at the previous I/O. The unveiling integrated the Google Home suite of launches.

An attempt to break down the important tech concepts involved here would look like this:

  • AI (the technology behind Google Assistant, part of the huge machine learning, AI, smart tech trend)
  • The integration of AI into the audience’s everyday habits (IoT-related, bringing technology on the go in as many aspects of our lives as possible)
  • Digital marketing ( another extremely important phenomenon that went from serving businesses to making it clear that companies should integrate it I order to survive)
  • Online shopping (a mass phenomenon that might see the limits of its expansion on geographical markets at some point – perhaps sooner rather than later – and which is looking for innovative ways of reinventing competition and of re-gaining the attention of potential shoppers).

We should care because the changes induced by each of these elements which now belong to our everyday lives have proven to be so far of a much higher impact than officially estimated. Reverberating through businesses, financial markets and all the little yet important things that shape the world around us, all these factors combined are the mixture of our high-end, high-tech future. Therefore, each change announced by the tech giants has the “butterfly effect” and it is indeed an interesting subject to follow.

Why did the Canvy Team find this Google I/O news interesting?

Well, first of all, we are developers. Naturally, our morning news counts tech subjects.

Secondly, we are interested in the way communications and technology shape human society and relationships in general.

Once shopping would be not just a few taps away, but at a couple of voice commands away, with AI Assistants perhaps even suggesting you what you might need or wish to buy – in a functional, almost perfect, competitive manner – it would be intriguing to see all the resulting changes for retailers, app developers, and communication operators, just to name a few.

Well, perhaps we’ve exaggerated – a bit, just for the sake of sharing our enthusiasm in the matter – but you get the picture.

Canvy, Android, OS, smartphones

How about the smartphones? The Canvy Team mashes up a couple of interesting news

Who said technology cannot be fun? Well, it wasn’t us, that’s for sure. While aiming for our Android contact manager app, Canvy, to be complex and reliable, we also took care to wrap it in a fun, colorful UI, with many customizable features.

Sometimes the device producers remember that addictive, fun tech features are critical – but they make debatable choices. It takes courage to add certain unusual features. It also takes some time for the verdict to come in from the audience.

HTC and the Edge Sense feature

The U 11 HTC flagship, coming to USA (via Spring) starting June 2017, introduces (or at least hopes to introduce) a new interactive feature called Edge Sense.

The online media (see The Verge, for example) quickly picked up on the feature, calling it the “squeeze”. What is it about? The users can flex the edges of the smartphone, in order to give certain commands. Pressure sensors in the metal sides transmit the input, while an on-screen cue appears once the feature is activated.

Does it sound like fun? The source we mentioned qualifies it as “a little unsettling at first”, and taking “some time getting used to”. Once the smartphone will reach the users, the actual experience will tell whether this novelty is a fiasco or a success.

Samsung and the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus sales

According to ZDNet, the Korean company stated on Tuesday that 5 million items have been sold.

In only a month, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus proved to be well-received, and became available in 120 countries. The marketing machinery contributed to this success both previous to the launch, as well as during this last month. Carriers enabled hands-on trials for influencers and a lot of virtual ink flew on the exciting new features of these smartphones.

Android – iOS, the (still) ongoing competition

Both the smartphones above come with Android Operating Systems, as you may have – correctly – assumed.

While Android benefits from a growing popularity and from the wider access it has on many devices, the Apple’s proprietary iOS comes locked on the company’s devices. It should be a no-game, yet the cumulative smartphone market share shows a different picture. The Apple iPhone 7 is still the leading smartphone – globally.

As Boy Genius puts it, “the iPhone is still the world’s most popular smartphone”.

However, with the expected boom in the smartphone market in areas where Internet connectivity used to be low/medium, there is also a latent expectancy of more Android smartphones. While Facebook plans to provide free internet in Africa, the Chinese Alibaba contemplates the idea of doing the same in India.

There are a lot of discussions over the effects and hidden implications of such projects – but this is not our main focus here. What do you think is the answer to this question: “The smartphone adoption induced by free internet becoming reality will benefit which type of OS the most?”

We shall leave this question pending. Well, being an Android app, Canvy sure roots for this OS – but that’s between us and you.

quantum computing Canvy Team

Dreaming of quantum smartphones? The Canvy Team checked out the timeline

This article on Inverse caught our attention. Turns out that quantum smartphones are waiting in line for the quantum computer to materialize. That is if they are ever to become a convenience of the future – a thing that some really doubted a few years back.

Spoilers, spoilers… Well, not really, because it would be only logical for any tech aficionado to assume that we are still at a distance from buying quantum smartphones, instead of the regular types we see today.

Here’s a 2012 answer on Quora that explains how miniaturizing quantum technology in order to fit it into a phone is highly unlikely. Although we have seen such arguments in the past of humanity being blown into pieces once certain breakthroughs happened, there is a lot of sense in this argumentation.

 

With the expansion of technology, distribution takes place

We have seen how AR and VR tend to distribute themselves into phone-compatible solutions (AR) and more complicated, device-compatible tech (VR) – see the Canvy Team previous article here.

In a similar manner, quantum technology would supplement existing computers, instead of supplanting them. Due to the fact that the computers of our times already do a very good job in certain areas, quantum computers are to take up other tasks. Inverse sees quantum computers dealing with big data “mass sorting and brute force possibility checking”.

There is no point in employing over-qualified technology for mundane tasks. Although we might be stretching our comparison a bit here, it is just as in human resources. Quantum computing would go into unfathomably complex tasks, as far as traditional computers are concerned.

 

No quantum smartphones doesn’t mean lack of interest in what the quantum technology is concerned

The truly passionate know that having no quantum smartphones at the horizon (not even via cloud solutions) does not mean the quantum technology will remain parallel with the mobile technology of the future.

We are already witnessing the starting effects of bringing AI into marketing and sales, and ultimately into business. AI’s potential depends on quantum computing – handling big data is necessary in order to mimic human thinking processes. Moreover, going beyond human capabilities surely needs the quantum-based power of computation.

What this means is that, although at a hardware level our phones might remain pretty much the same, we will see the effects of quantum computing in an intermediate manner. Processing big data, with quantum-powered AI algorithms, should revolutionize the tech world as we know it. Even more, all that counts on technology, but leads into the business environment should see a boost that might lead to surprising breakthroughs in some cases.

Although there are risks involved – perhaps you’ve also noticed the concerns raised in the Inverse article – this version of our technological future is the most plausible. Quantum computing could support more activities and processes than we imagine, being ubiquitous in a less visible manner.

 

The Canvy Team encourages you to keep in touch with the latest trends in technology

As IT specialists, the tech world is our larger focus, while our main focus remains on what we specifically design and develop.

Staying updated with the emerging technologies is important – on a connected future, success depends on seamless integration and on being one step ahead in the right direction.

Quantum computing might feel unfamiliar for many technical people, because it involves learning some concepts from the start or relearning others. Nevertheless, since there are solid reasons to believe it will form the underneath layer in many tech fields, it comes with the right motivation for getting to know a few details about it.

Here’s a recent update on this subject. We especially enjoyed exploring the IBM Quantum Experience experiments featured on their IBM Q website.

AR augmented reality Canvy wikimedia

Augmented or Virtual Reality? The Canvy Team picks up on this trendy question

Recently, TechCrunch launched a question on what the future holds for smartphones and apps, in regards with enhanced reality. More precisely, they invited their readers to contemplate the possibility of smartphone AR stunting VR’s growth. As we are keeping an eye on smartphone-related technology here at Canvy, we also contemplate this idea, while keeping in touch with the latest related news.

 

How does smartphone AR look like and why is it appealing?

Smartphone AR presumes specially designed apps that allow users to add virtual layers to the reality around them, as reflected on the screens of their phones. Of course, explaining the Augmented Reality concept in this simplified way might seem laughable to all those already familiarized with it.

If nothing else, think of the latest craze that swept the world of its feet – Pokemon Go. Employing AR combined the mobile game with real-life places and landscapes, while sending the players into outside world quests. Even if sometimes the two realities clashed and some people faced various types of dangers, the success of this game managed to put AR back into the spotlight, at times when VR is facing slow growth. Other developers saw the opportunity to launch their Pokemon Go –inspired apps, so the AR trend gained traction.

Virtual Reality desperately needs specially tailored apps, dedicated hardware, seamless integration between them and seems more complicated to orchestrate than AR. (Mind you, “seems” is the key word here, because surely there must be AR software that takes a lot of time and hard work to deliver, just as VR programs do.) However, it is realistic to say that VR is facing (slightly) difficult times.

 

What advantages do push AR in front of VR?

Another important element is that VR, as TechCrunch mentions, is superior to what the smartphones can offer. In fact, the authors say that it will always be superior, but one never knows what the future holds in terms of phone design and capabilities, so we thought of applying here the old saying of “never say never”. So VR requires much more advanced hardware than our current smartphones hold. Therefore, advantage AR…

All things considered (besides those mentioned above, there are also others), AR is fit for smartphones.

  • It is appealing, due to the fact that it restores the user’s relationship with their surroundings;
  • It also enables local experiences, thus attracting marketers;
  • It is visually pleasing, while allowing the user to include it in his/her usual activities;

(Because it is not disruptive in the way VR is, by conditioning the entire experience through the need of complete immersion into the virtual.)

  • Both Google and Apple test (or already built AR solutions) into their products;
  • It has been around for a while and people expect it to bloom in the next-gen series of smartphones.

 

Is it a race we are witnessing or are the two technologies completing each other?

The answer to this question depends on where we stand when addressing it. As we’ve mentioned above, some consider smartphones are destined for AR. Others might design VR applications that go with enhanced mobiles, thus making the two technologies compete on the same devices’ segment.

On the other hand, those investing in VR lead us to believe that, once perfected, the VR technology will be like no other. Therefore, there will be no question of any competition between AR and VR, just because we will witness VR going out of AR’s league, so to say. This remains to be seen. Until then, it seems that throwing VR into investment-related conversations still has a magic effect. Yet there are many who wonder how much until the magic wears off, if the promises that raised so much enthusiasm don’t deliver sometime soon.

The race seems shifty – depending upon elements that the large audience has little access to, if any. Elements laying within the R&D divisions of various companies, ranging from tech giants to small startups. And, of course, the Canvy Team knows all about R&D activities and putting bright ideas into practice.

Perhaps one day, the photos you assign to your Canvy contacts would become AR-enabled images. For now, we provide a visually fun canvas of contacts, bright-colored and organized by your interaction degree with each contact.