Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Augmented Humanity and Becoming Bionic

HearOne Wireless Smart Earbuds
I recently became a bionic man.  I have one good ear and one bad ear as a result of flying around while suffering colds and flus over the years, and with only one good it makes it difficult to hear a conversation in a noisy room, so I went looking for a high tech digital solution.

For the last couple of years I have been watching the start-up, Doppler Labs, as they developed their earbuds that were purported to have great sound, but also to enhance hearing.  This month after reading about their latest software release, I ordered a pair to try.  There were three reasons I wanted to try Doppler Labs' HearOne Wireless Smart Earbuds. First because their goal was to enhance hearing for a few hundred dollars, rather than for many thousands of dollars that the hearing aid industry charges, secondly, they were building artificial intelligence (AI) into their earbuds, and thirdly, I could listen to premium audio and talk on my phone with them.

When I first received the earbuds, the instructions led me through a series of hearing tests using the earbuds and my iPhone.  The results were then used to adjust all sounds coming into my left and right ears so my hearing would be an enhanced, balanced and accurately augmented.  I could immediately hear many sounds around my home and office that had previously escaped me - a mixed blessing.

Here is how the earbuds work.  The earbuds intercept all sound, analyzes and filters it, then passes the augmented sounds to my ears in near real-time.  The results are impressive.  Filters reduce or eliminated what I didn't want to hear and enhances what I did.  They also have digital noise filters for places like subways, cities, buses, restaurants, crowds, etc.,  and promise to deliver more pre-configured filters.  Here is where it really gets cool.  I can also geofence digital noise filters.  I can apply a filter to a specific physical location and save it.  The next time I arrive at that particular destination the noise filter and sound enhancement will automatically be applied using AI.  I can walk around my neighborhood or go shopping and the sounds coming into my ears are personalized for me.  Very nice!  There is no need for me to accept all random sounds and noise pollution.  I can now control, eliminate or enhance sounds.  I can control, configure and augment my sound experiences.

In addition to sound filters, I can manually adjust all incoming sounds using the Doppler Labs smartphone app.  It allows me to enhance live music and other sounds to the volume and filter level that suite my preferences.  If you have kids, you never again need to hear them.

There is even more artificial intelligence.  I can tap my earbuds and access the knowledge of the world through Siri and other supported AI systems.  I can now be a trivia star anywhere where I have a wireless network connection!

Nothing is perfect, however.  I found two problems with the HearOne earbuds.  The battery life today is only a couple of hours, although Doppler Labs said upcoming software updates will extend that.  I guess I don't need to be at a Cocktail Hour, longer than two anyway.  The second, is the crackle of wind in the six directional sound receivers in each earbud.  These sound receivers help you enhance sounds in front, to the side and behind you.  If you are driving a car and having a conversation with kids in the back seat, it is great to enhance the voices behind you or not, but in the wind, they crackle.  Applying the city sound filter eliminated 90% of the crackling, but more work can be done to reduce the crackling when you are jogging or walking in the breeze.

Overall, a thumbs up experience, and I am excited to add more bionics and other augmentations to my seasoned humanity.

Read more from the Center for Digital Intelligence here:
  1. Competition, Artificial Intelligence and Balloons
  2. Artificial Intelligence, Combined Actions and Digital Strategies
  3. 7 Imperatives for Thriving During Digital Transformation
  4. What Artificial Intelligence Can Teach Us
  5. Speed as a Competitive Advantage in Digital Transformation
  6. Culture as a Competitive Advantage in Digital Transformation
  7. Digital Technologies and the Compression of both Time and Distance
  8. Patterns, Platforms and Automation
  9. Making the Hard Decisions in Digital Transformation
  10. Center for Digital Intelligence Interviews: Hitachi's Rob Tiffany on Industrial IoT 
  11. Digital Transformation and the New Rules for Start-Ups
  12. Digital Transformation and Leadership Development
  13. Digital Transformation and Competitive Decision-Making
  14. Combinatorial Nature of Digital Technologies and Legos
  15. Digital Transformation from 40,000 feet
  16. Winning in Chaos - Digital Leaders
  17. 13 Recommended Actions for Digital Transformation in Retail
  18. Mistakes in Retail Digital Transformation
  19. Winning Strategies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  20. Digital Transformation - Mindset Differences
  21. Analyzing Retail Through Digital Lenses
  22. Digital Thinking and Beyond!
  23. Measuring the Pace of Change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  24. How Digital Thinking Separates Retail Leaders from Laggards
  25. To Bot, or Not to Bot
  26. Oils, Bots, AI and Clogged Arteries
  27. Artificial Intelligence Out of Doors in the Kingdom of Robots
  28. How Digital Leaders are Different
  29. The Three Tsunamis of Digital Transformation - Be Prepared!
  30. Bots, AI and the Next 40 Months
  31. You Only Have 40 Months to Digitally Transform
  32. Digital Technologies and the Greater Good
  33. Video Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  34. Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  35. Virtual Moves to Real in with Sensors and Digital Transformation
  36. Technology Must Disappear in 2017
  37. Merging Humans with AI and Machine Learning Systems
  38. In Defense of the Human Experience in a Digital World
  39. Profits that Kill in the Age of Digital Transformation
  40. Competing in Future Time and Digital Transformation
  41. Digital Hope and Redemption in the Digital Age
  42. Digital Transformation and the Role of Faster
  43. Digital Transformation and the Law of Thermodynamics
  44. Jettison the Heavy Baggage and Digitally Transform
  45. Digital Transformation - The Dark Side
  46. Business is Not as Usual in Digital Transformation
  47. 15 Rules for Winning in Digital Transformation
  48. The End Goal of Digital Transformation
  49. Digital Transformation and the Ignorance Penalty
  50. Surviving the Three Ages of Digital Transformation
  51. The Advantages of an Advantage in Digital Transformation
  52. From Digital to Hyper-Transformation
  53. Believers, Non-Believers and Digital Transformation
  54. Forces Driving the Digital Transformation Era
  55. Digital Transformation Requires Agility and Energy Measurement
  56. A Doctrine for Digital Transformation is Required
  57. Digital Transformation and Its Role in Mobility and Competition
  58. A Revolution in Precision Through IoT, Analytics and Mobility
  59. Competing in Digital Transformation and Mobility
  60. Ambiguity and Digital Transformation
  61. Digital Transformation and Mobility - Macro-Forces and Timing
  62. Mobile and IoT Technologies are Inside the Curve of Human Time
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Kevin Benedict
Principal Analyst, Futurist, the Center for Digital Intelligence™
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Artificial Intelligence, Combined Actions and Digital Strategies

Fingerspitzengefühl: A German word used to describe the ability to maintain attention to detail in an ever-changing operational and tactical environment by maintaining real-time situational awareness. The term is synonymous with the English expression of "keeping one's finger on the pulse".  The problem with fingerspitzengefühl traditionally, in addition to pronouncing it, has been it is hard for an individual to scale up. Today that is changing.  In a world of sensors, AI and mobile devices, having real-time situational awareness is far easier than ever before.  In fact, today the challenge is not how to do it, but what to do with the massive volume of data that can be provided.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Competition, Artificial Intelligence and Balloons

W. Edward Deming taught that quality is achieved by measuring as much as possible and reducing variations, and reducing variation is achieved by improving the system, not just pieces.  Japan widely adopted Deming's philosophies in the 1950s and became the 2nd biggest economy in the world.  Quality improvement didn't decrease jobs in Japan, it increased jobs.

AI now has the ability to expand and codify Deming's philosophies - to take them to the next level. AI can improve and standardize decision making based on logic, rather than the fear of missing objectives, bonuses or losing one's job.  It can continuously monitor for quality against specifications by analyzing streams of real-time data coming from embedded sensors connected to the IIoT, IoT and IoA (internet of agriculture). This means companies that are aggressive early adopters of these digital technologies will have more knowledge, higher quality and significant competitive advantages, which means more demand for their products, sales, customer service, manufacturing, distribution, etc.  It also means aggressive adopters will likely generate more jobs.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What Artificial Intelligence Can Teach Us

Most of us understand that artificial intelligence (AI) offers opportunities for productivity improvements in the form of speed, automation, standardized actions and responses, plus the opportunity for continuous improvements via machine learning. These opportunities are enabled by data inputs that are analyzed and processed through AI algorithms that execute a desired decision and action. For all of the great capabilities and benefits that AI can provide, there is also a potential dark side. AI solutions can easily codify our prejudices, bias, gender stereotypes and promote injustices intentionally or unintentionally. This threat, as real and serious as it is, can also be seen as an opportunity to evaluate who we are, what we want the future to look like, and then codify a better tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

The 7 Imperatives for Thriving During Digital Transformation

Center for Digital Intelligence
These days it's not hard to identify the challenges organizations are facing during today's rapid business and digital transformation.  What's more difficult is knowing how to succeed.  The following recommendations are the result of our analysis after interviewing 37 executives and over 80 high tech professionals involved in digital technologies.
  1. Develop and monitor your own digital mindset and that of your organization's: Understand the need to continuously upgrade and update your own thinking, as well as your organization’s.  Accept that digital technologies and a connected world are here to stay, and that the path to business success resides in them. Understand digital technologies and their capabilities, and rethink every aspect of your business, and business strategy, with a digital mindset.
  2. Recognize the role culture plays in being successful in three key areas: your leadership, institutional and customer culture.  Purposely develop a digital culture that accepts and embraces the rapid pace of change that comes with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.