Welcome to the first Exponential Technology Report - 9 October 2019
An exponential organisation is a company that grows at an above-average rate – up to ten times faster than comparable companies in the industry – but can make do with considerably fewer resources thanks to new forms of organization and the use of new, especially digital, technologies.
In the definition above we saw how exponential organisations use new Digital Technologies. These digital technologies are in themselves growing at an exponential rate and so it is important for us to stay current with the latest improvements in these technologies.
I have therefore decided to release a weekly podcast and blog covering this subject. As a guide we will go through the exponential technologies in alphabetical order. I hope you enjoy it!
We start this week with artificial intelligence.
This article talks about AI being used as a personalised tutor for children. An example is given how a child’s match score increased from 50% to 85% in two years.
In China the investment in AI-enabled teaching has exploded. Ten of millions of students now use some form of AI to learn. It is the worlds largest experiment on AI in education.
Three things have fueled China’s AI education boom.
1) Tax breaks for AI ventures that improves anything from student learning to school management.
2) Academic qualification is fierce in China. Ten million students a year take the college entrance exam. The score determines whether and were you study and is seen as the biggest determinant of success for the rest of your life.
3) Chinese AI entrepreneurs have masses of data at their disposal to train and refine their algorithms.
In five years Squirrel, the leading provider of these services, has opened 2,000 learning centres, in 200 cities and registered over 1 million students. It plans to expand to 2,000 more centres within a year.
This article focuses on the growth of Blockchain. The growth is predicted to rise from the current $2,9 Billion to $13.2 Billion in 2024.
The growth of Blockchain can be divided into three main sources for it’s revenue:
1) Blockchain infrastructure
2) Business applications
3) Consulting services
All the major enterprise software providers are proving blockchain applications and integrating it into their existing products. Just like AI, blockchain will have a big impact on the way we approach business. It might seem like Blockchain isn’t growing but it is in fact growing very rapidly.
With the possible introduction of the Facebook digital currency the IMF have now started to call on policymakers to take “prompt regulatory action” to address the “notable risks” posed by privately issued digital currencies.
Taking the lead is the People’s Bank of China who in July said that they were paying close attention to Libra – the Facebook digital currency. Libra is also causing a stir in other countries and France and Germany have vowed to block it.
What are the fears around digital currencies? Apart from the usual crime element the main fear is that private stablecoin could unseat banks as the main interface between central banks and consumers.
Central banks are now starting to think about launching their own public digital currencies that might be backed by multiple central banks from around the world.
Data as a service is based on the cloud deployment model. Cloud computing as a whole is expected to reach $160 Billion by 2020 with a growth rate of 19%.
It can be safely considered that DaaS solutions are used in every major financial and Investment related enterprise. Moreover, the growing adoption of these solutions in auditing and accounting firms is also expected to drive the Data as a Service market.
The growth of the market in the Asia Pacific region is in direct correlation with the growth of end-user industries of this region. The government of India is using data for various purposes, such as to get an estimate of trade in the country, unreserved railway passengers analysis, urbanization analysis, amongst various others.
China is trying to maintain its technological edge and sustain its growth, which can result in its economy shifting to a higher value and more advanced industries, with data as one of the instrument to facilitate this shift, it is expected to drive the market forward.
Digital Biology and Biotechnology
A man has been able to move all four of his paralysed limbs with a mind-controlled exoskeleton suit.
Thibault had surgery to place two implants on the surface of the brain, covering the parts of the brain that control movement. Sixty-four electrodes on each implant read the brain activity and beam the instructions to a nearby computer. Sophisticated computer software reads the brainwaves and turns them into instructions for controlling the exoskeleton. When he thinks "walk" it sets off a chain of movements in the robotic suit that move his legs forward. And he can control each of the arms, manoeuvring them in three-dimensional space.
In 2017 Thibault took part in the exoskeleton trial with Clinatec and the University of Grenoble. Initially he practised using the brain implants to control a virtual character, or avatar, in a computer game, then he moved on to walking in the suit. "It was like [being the] first man on the Moon. I didn't walk for two years. I forgot what it is to stand, I forgot I was taller than a lot of people in the room," he said.
It took a lot longer to learn how to control the arms.
"It was very difficult because it is a combination of multiple muscles and movements. This is the most impressive thing I do with the exoskeleton."
Digital Biology and Biotechnology
Article: “Make like a leaf: Researchers developing method to convert carbon dioxide” – www. phys.org
Professor Jun Huang from the University of Sydney's School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is developing a carbon capture method that aims to go one step beyond storage, instead converting and recycling carbon dioxide (CO2) into raw materials that can be used to create fuels and chemicals.
"Drawing inspiration from leaves and plants, we have developed an artificial photosynthesis method," said Professor Huang.
"To simulate photosynthesis, we have built microplates of carbon layered with carbon quantum dots with tiny pores that absorb CO2 and water.
"Once carbon dioxide and water are absorbed, a chemical process occurs that combines both compounds and turns them into hydrocarbon, an organic compound that can be used for fuels, pharmaceuticals, agrichemicals, clothing, and construction.
"Following our most recent findings, the next phase of our research will focus on large-scale catalyst synthesis and the design of a reactor for large scale conversion," he said.
"Carbon conversion could be a financially viable alternative as it would allow for the generation of industrial quantities of materials, such as methanol, which is a useful material for production of fuels and other chemicals," he concluded.
Digital Biology and Biotechnology
Lab-grown meat has been successfully cultured in space for the first time.
The Israeli food technology startup Aleph Farms grew the meat on the International Space Station, 248 miles (399 km) away from any natural resources.
Bovine cells were harvested on Earth and taken to space, where they were grown into small-scale muscle tissue using a 3D bioprinter. The method relies on mimicking a natural process of muscle-tissue regeneration occurring inside a cow’s body.
The experiment took place on 26 September on the Russian segment of the space station, and involved the assembly of small-scale muscle tissue in a 3D bioprinter under controlled microgravity conditions. In future the technique could be used to provide meat for people living on the space station.
The development marks a further step forward for a nascent industry that aims to provide people with real meat without the environmental impact and welfare problems of intensive livestock production.
Internet of Things
By 2025, experts estimate the number of Internet of Things devices—including sensors that gather real-time data about infrastructure and the environment—could rise to 75 billion worldwide. As it stands, however, those sensors require batteries that must be replaced frequently, which can be problematic for long-term monitoring.
MIT researchers have designed photovoltaic-powered sensors that could potentially transmit data for years before they need to be replaced. To do so, they mounted thin-film perovskite cells—known for their potential low cost, flexibility, and relative ease of fabrication—as energy-harvesters on inexpensive radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.
The idea was combining a low-cost power source with low-cost RFID tags, which are battery-free stickers used to monitor billions of products worldwide. The stickers are equipped with tiny, ultra-high-frequency antennas that each cost around three to five cents to make.
Despite Setbacks in Some Sectors, Non-Industrial Robots Are Still Projected to Be 10x to 12x Larger in Revenue Opportunity Than Industrial Robots
The global robotics market continues to shift increasingly toward non-industrial robots. The industry is experiencing some growing pains, as expected when moving from a mature domain of robotics to new application areas. Many of the non-industrial robot categories are starting to feel the strain, including consumer robots, consumer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), consumer autonomous vehicles (AVs), and customer service robots, according to a new report from Tractica.
Despite the challenges, however, Tractica still expects continued growth in the non-industrial robotics sector. The market intelligence firm forecasts that global robotics revenue, including both the industrial and non-industrial segments, will reach $248.5 billion annually by 2025, up from $48.9 billion in 2018.
Researchers at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) in Russia have recently introduced a new strategy to enhance interactions between humans and robotic swarms, called SwarmTouch. This strategy, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, allows a human operator to communicate with a swarm of nano-quadrotor drones and guide their formation, while receiving tactile feedback in the form of vibrations.
While conducting research investigating strategies for human-swarm interaction, Tsetserukou and his colleagues realised that there are currently no available interfaces that allow human operators to easily deploy a swarm of robots and control its movements in real time. At the moment, most swarms simply follow predefined trajectories, which have been set out by researchers before the robots start operating.
The human-swarm interaction strategy proposed by the researchers, on the other hand, allows a human user to guide the movements of a swarm of nano-quadrotor robots directly. It does this by considering the velocity of the user's hand and changing the swarm's formation shape or dynamics accordingly, using simulated impedance interlinks between the robots to produce behaviors that resemble those of swarms occurring in nature.
The key advantage of the human-swarm interaction strategy devised by Tsetserukou and his colleagues is that it allows users to experience the motion of a robot swarm directly through their fingertips. It also allows operators to change swarm dynamics in real-time, allowing the robots to navigate cluttered and complex environments, such as urban centres filled with skyscrapers or other obstacles.
In the future, SwarmTouch, the strategy developed by Tsetserukou and his colleagues, could be used to train swarms to navigate in warehouses, deliver goods within urban environments and even inspect bridges or other infrastructures.
This concludes the first Exponential Technology report. We hope that you have found this report both interesting and useful. If you would like to subscribe to our weekly update then visit www.ideastorm.co.za.