On our recent trip around the world, between us we flew 9 airlines. The no-frills Tiger flight from Singapore to Hong Kong was a reminder of how aviation used to be just a short while ago – no entertainment, no navigation, no web access. The other flights, in contrast, showed the remarkable range of consumer technology in the air these days.
The Delta Navigation UX
The Air France interactive Navigation UX
Singapore Air Navigation UX
Cameras on Emirates which show views from cockpit and the belly of the plane
Wide range of entertainment on Emirates, including the entire Star Wars movie set
We flew on wide bodies on most segments and most had power outlets and USB ports. Here is one on a Singapore 777
Internet availability is still spotty and expensive, but with GoGo, Delta has coverage over much of the world's water.
Seattle is synonymous with serious innovation and incubation. It supports an eclectic mix of established companies and startups, as well as small businesses and those owned by people of color. The University of Washington offers a world-class computer science program. Industry clusters in popular fields such as gaming—Nintendo of America, Microsoft Xbox, Big Fish, PopCap and RealNetworks GameHouse—thrive here. Now Bay Area tech companies—Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Dropbox and Adobe—are pushing the digital envelope from Seattle.
Seattle already leads in cloud computing, thanks to Microsoft, Amazon and more than 2,000 Seattle-based Google employees. Coming soon are scores of good-paying gigs in computing trends such as intelligent applications, artificial intelligence/machine learning and augmented reality/virtual reality.
“For years, Saroo would stay up late at night poring over maps and imagery in Google Earth, trying to find a place that would match his 20-year-old memories of childhood. He remembered a water tank, a bridge, a fountain near a movie theater. He knew that the station where he'd been separated from his brother started with a 'B.' He thought his village was called "Ginestlay," but couldn't find it on any map. In a nation as vast and as densely populated as India, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
And then, after years of wandering Google Earth, he spotted a promising-sounding train station called Burhanpur, and traced the railway tracks north to the city of Khandwa. There it was: not Ginestlay, but a neighborhood called Ganesh Talai. Close enough! He flew to India, but when he arrived at his childhood home, it was dark and locked. Luckily, a neighbor knew where his family had moved to, and he was quickly reunited with his mother and siblings. The power of cartography!”
Enter the new chip, which will contain 2.5 million different markers hand-picked for their African relevance. It’s been produced by the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative, a program to boost genetic research in Africa funded by the UK and the US. The program has collected tens of thousands of samples from Africans to study genetic links for diseases like diabetes, sleeping sickness, rheumatic heart disease and tuberculosis. This information has fed the chip with data from dozens of African population groups, from the Khoi-San in the south to the Yoruba in the West and Masaai in the East.
Because African countries don’t yet have the machinery to sequence entire human genomes quickly, that part of the work was done at Baylor College of Medicine in the US. The resulting data—all 144 terabytes of it—took weeks, if not months, to transfer back to Africa via high-speed networks, where it was analyzed. The samples will be returned to Africa after sequencing to be stored in biological sample banks on the continent.
In 2014, the population of Singapore was estimated to be 5.47 million, inhabiting a land area of 718 square kilometres. As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Singapore faces complex urban challenges, and careful urban planning is crucial to maintain efficiency and sustainability. For the coming decades, Virtual Singapore will provide a collaborative platform and rich data environment to help make long-term decisions on areas such as infrastructure and resource management, environmental and disaster management, public services, urban planning, community services and homeland security.
Skype Translator, for example, is able to translate both spoken word and text, and uses machine learning to become more advanced the more it is used. After recording the speaker, Skype Translator uses a speech recognition system to convert that file into text, and relays it through a robotic voice.
Similarly, Google Translate offers speech-to-speech translation, as well as translation via images. Users simply point the camera in their phone at a piece of text, and get an instant translation in return.
The advantage speech-to-speech tools have over image translators is their capacity to handle instant speech translation, not just written text. For global businesses, the reality is that decisions will be made over the phone or in person, rather than by messenger. Skype and Google’s ability to process conversations in real time has the potential to help businesses make more accurate and effective decisions on a global scale more quickly.
Just as DIY experts have found ways to remodel Ikea staples into expensive-looking furniture, refugees and aid agencies are turning Better Shelter structures into hospitals, reception areas and more. In Greece and on its border with Macedonia, the shelters are being linked together and used as early-childhood-development centers; in Djibouti, their walls have been retrofitted with “air conditioners” (plastic bottles cut in half to facilitate air flow). Now designers are trying to revamp the Better Shelters to allow for even more flexibility. After all, says Johan Karlsson, managing director of Better Shelter, “we cannot design a one-for-all shelter.”