Artificial, and [somewhat] intelligent: Can common sense be taught?

In a new article by MIT Technology Review lays bare the shortcomings of the current AI landscape: AI Assistants Say Dumb Things, and We’re About to Find Out Why

The goal is to inform a new approach to machine learning that yields better AI experiences. Basically, looking for ways to teach machines common sense and worldly experiences, rather than limiting them to one area of competence and one narrow set of performance benchmarks that create less-than-desirable experiences for end users.

From the article:

Language systems that rely on machine learning can often provide convincing answers to questions if they have seen lots of similar examples before. A program trained on many thousands of IT support chats, for instance, might be able to pass itself off as a tech support helper in limited situations. But such a system would fail if asked something that required broader knowledge.


“We need to use our common sense to fill in the gaps around the language we see to form a coherent picture of what is being stated,” says Peter Clark, the lead researcher on the ARC project. “Machines do not have this common sense, and thus only see what is explicitly written, and miss the many implications and assumptions that underlie a piece of text.”


Here’s one question: “Which item below is not made from a material grown in nature? (A) a cotton shirt (B) a wooden chair © a plastic spoon (D) a grass basket”


Such a question is easy for anyone who knows plastic is not something that grows. The answer taps into a common-sense picture of the world that even young children possess.

It is this common sense that the AI behind voice assistants, chatbots, and translation software lacks. And it’s one reason they are so easily confused.

Why it’s hot: This new approach to testing AI voice command tools like Alexa, Siri, and Google may help lead to breakthroughs and improvements in the space that open up new possibilities in communication.


Rihanna Blasts Snapchat for Ad Mocking Domestic Violence

Snapchat is dealing with more celebrity backlash – this time from Rihanna.

A Snapchat ad ran promoting the mobile video game “Would You Rather” featuring animations of Rihanna and Chris Brown. Under each animation, the copy asked users whether they would rather “slap Rihanna” or “punch Chris Brown.” The ad references a 2009 incident where Chris Brown plead guilty to assaulting Rihanna to the point of hospitalization during their relationship.

Rihanna took to Instagram to speak out about the situation, and expressed the problematic nature of the ad. She said that the focus shouldn’t be on her feelings, but rather the “women, children and men that have been victims of [domestic violence] in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet.”

Even though the ad was created by the gaming company, Snapchat issued a statement that the ad was “reviewed and approved in error.” Snapchat announced that they are investigating how the ad was approved in the first place. Regardless of their apology, an hour after the post, Snap Inc. shares fell 4.9 percent. This incident shows just what not to do when referencing popular culture. Now more than ever it is important to consider all the implications of branded content and look at it from every possible angle.


Nest Finally Ships Suite of Smart Home Devices… 7 Years Later

You might recall when Google shelled out $3.4 billion to acquire Nest in 2014– just more than a year after Nest released its first smart thermostat. Not two years later, people were pointing to the acquisition and subsequent influx of cash as an employee demotivator and company killer– calling it a classic case of why acquisitions fail. Granted, it had been 5 years since its first product launch, and the company that looked poised to shape the future of the Internet of Things, hadn’t innovated much further than where they started from. Fast forward to just this week, and Nest is finally launching a suite of connected home devices that really make sense– and are cleverly integrated with Google Assistant.

Top: Nest x Yale Lock, Bottom: Nest Hello


The new line of products are not just designed as a matched set, but they truly integrate in a way that has yet to be seamless in the world of jerryrigged combinations of smart home appliances and devices. Nest smartly stuck to its core competencies, and partnered with Yale instead of trying to design, manufacture, and market its very own lock. Director of Product Marketing Maxine Vernon puts it nicely:

“In a fully Nest-equipped home, for example, unlocking the Nest x Yale lock using its keypad will disarm the Nest Secure security system, adjust the thermostat, and shut off Nest Cams to preserve your privacy. Though it’s possible to orchestrate similar feats with products from multiple companies using methods such as IFTTT recipes, “we’re not building for the IFTTT people,” stresses Veron. “Very clearly, we’re building for the average user.”


Building Business Ecosystems

L’Oreal group is buying Canadian beauty technology company ModiFace, as it tries to expand its digital offerings. Specializing in AR and AI, ModiFace builds products that tap into the beauty industries’ growing need for digital solutions. The purchase is meant to be a foundation for reinventing the beauty experience in the years to come.

L’Oreal is not a stranger to innovation, they have already launched tech-savvy items like sensory brushes that tell you how to care for your hair and phone apps for virtual testing.

ModiFace’s technology also extends to services such as skin diagnosis.

Why It’s Hot:

Competition is fierce in every industry, finding ways to grow business ecosystems to stay ahead of the curve will only become more prevalent.

How many stars would you give to a platypus?

” We all know it’s a good idea to check the product reviews before buying something, whether it is a washing machine or a bottle of hair conditioner. Most people are used to seeing a 1-5 star rating next to inanimate objects, however, Oregon Zoo decided to put a twist on the usual format.

On Friday, they started celebrating the start of the weekend by posting humorous reviews of their animals as if they were ordered on Amazon. The lighthearted joke went viral instantly and other animal enthusiasts picked up the trend as well. Soon, zoos, aquariums, wildlife centers and even regular pet owners all over the world were sharing their own witty comments under the hashtag #rateaspecies. Scroll down to see what animals received five-star ratings and don’t forget to vote and comment on your favorites!”

Amazon Animal Review


Amazon Animal Review

Amazon Animal Review

Amazon Animal Review

Amazon Animal Review

Amazon Animal Review

From: Bored Panda

Why it’s hot:
One more case of smart use of a media and smart use of a cultural trend in order to engage with people.

Choices, choices…

According to WSJ, an average person makes 35,000 choices per day. And a Cornell University study says that we make more than 200 decisions alone on food each day. And it isn’t always a good thing to have many options available. In fact too much choice could cause choice paralysis in which too much choice prevents purchases.

According to psychologist Herbert A. Simon, there are two basic choice-making styles: Maximisers and Satisficers. Maximisers evaluate every option, looking for the best one, and potentially exhaust themselves in the process. Satisficers look for the option that is good enough; it might not be perfect but it fits the minimum criteria.

Brands can help these two types of consumers narrow choices down in different ways.

To target Maximisers, the solution is to make the choice easier through providing guidance. One good example is Tesco’s Online Beauty Sessions where consumers can have a private consulting session with a beauty expert to talk about their needs and preferences. After the session the expert will recommend a selection of products to the consumer.

To target Satisficers, the solution is to create convenience and make the produce easy to buy. One good example is Australia’s fast food brand Hungry Jack’s Brekk-e-tag. Similar to how road-toll e-tag works, a driver can instantly order a pre-programmed breakfast order as he pulls into the drive thru and head directly to the pickup window.

Why it’s hot: crafting solutions based on human behaviors.

The Internet Is Still Weird: Toto’s Africa in an Empty Mall; Simpsonwave; Know Your Meme is 10

It’s Internet Recess!

Jia Tolentino has a great article in the New Yorker about a video of Toto’s “Africa” being played in an empty mall. Apparently this is a thing, that people do. They edit videos to make it sound like songs are being played from another room. This particular video has roughly 751,000 views, and the comments look like this:

She ends the piece by saying:

Our lives increasingly play out in virtual spaces: instead of going to malls, we surf on Amazon; many of us would happily forgo the mess of a party to stay home and flirt through an app. Listening to music, too, is now mostly frictionless, and this quality is why the little shadow world of music that Robert, allyson m., and others inhabit is so appealing to me. It’s nice to think of a handful of young people playing around on Ableton on their laptops, in their bedrooms, trying to reintroduce a sense of physical space into a listening environment of digital isolation: conjuring the sort of scenario in which, say, you’re down the hall from your older sibling who loves the Beach Boys, or in a place where, for a change, someone else controls the music—in a crowd, or at a mall, or in a pounding bathroom—someplace where you’ve taken the chance of being lonely in public, instead of retreating and clicking around alone.

This brings me to Simpsonwave, which has been a favorite meme for a couple years now. Simpsonwave is a flavor of Vaporwave. Vaporwave has been described “as a satire of corporate and consumerist culture and modern capitalism,” but we don’t have to get into that right now.

Simpsonwave is Simpson Vaporwave.

According to Know Your Meme, it was born with this vine:

It has spawned many videos, like this one:

That’s all, I just like this meme. The Internet is still weird.

Finally, the cataloger of the weird Internet is 10 years old this year. Know Your Meme has been explaining memes on the Internet for a full decade now, and The Verge has a great article cataloguing its history. 

Why the things are hot

Despite everything, the Internet is still weird.

PS: All the fish in the ocean are going to be extinct by 2048. The sea will be empty.

Be Careful Putin That Away

Apparently, a ton of gold, over 170 gold bars as a rough estimate, fell from the sky due to a plane malfunction. A Russian cargo plane carrying platinum, gold, and diamond worth £265m just happened to malfunction, causing the hatch to fly open resulting in 20kg bricks plummeting down to earth. Talk about some heavy metal action.

Why it’s hot:
It’s basically golden. The airport runway was littered with the bricks as workers were Russian around to collect as many as they cold. Reports say that the bricks were scattered up to 15 miles away from Yakutsk Airport which is located in a major diamond producing region.

Source: Sky News

Facebook Opened Its Instant Games Platform to All Developers

Developers can now create games for Facebook’s Instant Games product, which launched to all Messenger users in May 2017. As part of the change, Facebook’s Ad’s API is also now available to all developers, meaning we can integrate interstitial and rewarded video ads, powered by Audience Network, into games.

In a Facebook Newsroom post, product manager Michael Weingert said, “Monetization Manager will help Instant Games developers maximize revenue with advanced optimization tools, simplify management of ad placements across apps and provide enhanced analytics functionality and deeper reporting. We also added Instant Games-specific reporting into Facebook Analytics to help developers understand and optimize the unique social contexts of the platform.”

Weingert also said Facebook will soon roll out the ability for developers to create user-acquisition ad campaigns that will take players directly into games after they click ads on Facebook.

Why its hot

Instant Games is quickly building its roster of games. There are currently nearly 200 games available, up from 70 last December. By leveraging Facebook’s huge user base, game developers are able to get their games in front of a lot of people right away. And these new ad features opens another channel as well. These games, and ads, are another way Facebook is trying to keep people on the site.

Traveling in Oregon (Slightly Exaggerated)

Travel Oregon spent $5m on an animated campaign based on true stories that are only slightly exaggerated.

They have a campaign landing page on their site and also reuse assets throughout various pages. For example an image from the forest scene is used on the page about hiking.

Oregon, Only Slightly Exaggerated


Why it’s Hot:

  • Awesome unique campaign
  • Beautiful animation
  • Field trip to Oregon?

Spotify is testing a new voice search feature

Spotify is testing a voice search feature that lets users more quickly access their favorite artists, tracks, albums, and playlists. The feature, which appears based on a 2017 experiment involving a “driving mode,” has begun appearing inside the iOS app for a small number of users.

To access the new voice search feature, you tap the magnifying glass icon at the center of the bottom row of tabs. If you have it, you’ll see a microphone icon inside a white bubble in the lower-right hand corner of the screen.

So far, voice control appears limited to finding music inside inside Spotify’s vast catalog. Ask it “Who are the Beatles?” and it will start playing a Beatles playlist without telling you anything about the band.

Why it’s hot: This is a great step forward for navigation in app that has sometimes requires too much tapping and typing to get where you’re going.

Source: The Verge

This Is How You Use Facebook Live To Get Men To Understand Gender Inequality


CMI International Women’s Day Blackout

International Women’s Day was a lot of carefully planned images and status updates but the Chartered Management Institute went a step further and hammered home the gender pay gap among managers using an innovative video strategy.

Facebook Live was used to amplify a panel that discussed gender inequality in the workplace but with a surprise for male viewers (thanks to Facebook’s gender targetting). 22 minutes into the livestream, male viewers were shown a pixelated stream for the remainder of the panel event highlighting the gender pay gap among managers based on data from the CMI’s ‘Mind the Gender Gap’ report. The report puts the pay gap at manager level between male and female salary currently standing at 26.8%. Male viewers were further frustrated by not being able to ask questions or register votes for polls (although they were not told about this until later). Altogether a smart and subtle execution – the full video can be seen at the bottom of post.

CMI International Women’s Day Blackout

CMI International Women’s Day Blackout

Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy & External Affairs for CMI, said: “By disrupting the male viewers’ Facebook livestream, men could experience how frustrating a small thing like a slightly obscured screen can be, which feels particularly unfair when it’s applied simply on the basis of gender. This way we made the point that small, discriminatory and often incidental behaviour, despite seeming minor, all contribute to allowing gender inequality to flourish in the workplace. We believe this is the first time this Facebook hack around gender-based livestreaming has been used in this way so it’s a truly novel way for people to experience gender inequality first-hand rather than just reading about the latest stats. We’re now going to continue using Facebook to tackle this issue with the creation of the CMI Women group. This will become a forum for men and women to crowdsource solutions.”

International Women’s Day was even more poignant this year as strong women across the globe remain in the spotlight thanks to the #metoo movement, President’s Club fiasco, the recent gun tragedy in Florida, the political landscape and strong female leaders. Every year, women come together to show solidarity but also, sadly, to show how much more work there is still to do. Digital can help level playing fields in this struggle and smart strategies like this one can really affect behavioural change if the comments on the livestream are anything to by.

Source: Forbes

Why it’s hot: Gender equality was all the rage this International Women’s Day as brands looked to unique opportunities to honor the female gender and show their support. CMI found a way to celebrate International Women’s Day while teaching a lesson to those who don’t understand the severity of the gender wage gap.

Bring me to life (wake me up inside)

Now to those who believe in prophecies this may seem like the end of the world. To be frank, a lot of people think that this may be a step too far … but it’s for science! Apparently someone at Swedish funeral agency, thought it would be brilliant if they can create an AI “replicate” of deceased loved ones so that families can have them back in their lives. They’re asking for donations (yes they’re asking for all the corpses) so that they can try to create a synthetic replica of the deceased’s voice.

Why it’s not hot:
Basically The world is going to end and we’re just going to be replaced by the AI replicas of the dead. Fun.


What even is social media anymore?

For the past 24 hours, Wendy’s and Little Debbie have been hosting a “talk show” on Twitter.

Denny’s was invited, but apparently was too busy, so Pop-Tarts stepped in. Moonpie also stopped by to talk about teens and their new interest, tweens.

Why its hot

Twitter is free, by the way! So much of the news around social media today is about Russian bots, toxicity, and fake news. But then, over here, brands are just throwing out the playbook and having fun. Strategy-scmategy. Just hop on Twitter, tweet some stuff, tag another brand, they respond with some more stuff, and so on. They’re not promoting a product, it’s not part of a campaign. Or maybe it is a strategy and the strategy is no strategy. Such is social media today.

How easy is it to trick AI?

Today, an article in WIRED describes how easy it may be to “break” AI-powered technologies– i.e., anything that uses machine learning– particularly computer vision, can be somewhat easily tricked to see things that aren’t really there.  This has resulted in much debate over how and what constitutes as trickery (mostly done in labs by MIT students), and how vulnerable new AI-enabled technologies will be to “hallucinations.” See, for example, below from the aforementioned WIRED article:

“Human readers of WIRED will easily identify the image below, created by Athalye, as showing two men on skis. When asked for its take Thursday morning, Google’s Cloud Vision service reported being 91 percent certain it saw a dog. Other stunts have shown how to make stop signs invisible, or audio that sounds benign to humans but is transcribed by software as “Okay Google browse to evil dot com.”


As AI-powered technology starts to revolutionize the way we live our lives (think: self-driving cars) the security considerations must be front of mind for scientists and researchers. We are eager to make major leaps with this technology, but many caution that deep neural networks are fundamentally not human brains, and therefore the way we think about machine-learning (and safety) must be re-thought.

For more reading on on AI exploitation:


There was Digital Transformation…now there’s Operational Transformation

Most business leaders are talking about the need for digital transformation. They’re trying to figure out ways to bring their organizations into the digital age, leveraging the latest in search, social, analytics, content, commerce, mobile, etc.

These leaders are quickly realizing that digital transformation is a moot point if they can’t shift their operations to facilitate the digitization of their business.

Data from digital sources like CRM, transactional, 3rd party, and now the Internet of Things (IoT) has been growing exponentially to the point that increasingly sophisticated data management and analytic tools have been developed to derive insight from it. These will be applied to data collected from internal ERP, BPM, and task and process activities.

 AI machine learning will analyze the operations data and make recommendations about eliminating redundancies and what can be automated. AI automation will start to take over the busywork that has been increasing and driving down employee productivity for years. And AI and voice interfaces will provide intelligent agents that will serve most admin and secretarial functions for every employee, freeing them up even more to do the jobs they were hired to do.

Why it’s hot: We make tons and tons of marketing recommendations to our clients, but we also have to better understand the ways in which their operations function to aid them in deploying our work. The better we can understand this and help them operationalize our marketing strategies, the better outcome for them and us.

stay perfectly hydrated with gatorade gx…

Gatorade introduced a prototype product it’s calling “Gatorade Gx”. It’s a combination of a patch you wear while working out, training, or whatever you call your physical/athletic activity, and a connected water bottle. It basically monitors how you’re sweating as you train, “capturing fluid, electrolyte, and sodium loss”.  Based on this, it lets you know when you should drink more, and if what you should drink is something specific based on your unique needs. That something specific being a “Pod” that has certain formula of electrolytes or nutrients you are losing as you sweat (your “electrolyte and carbohydrate needs”).

Why it’s hot:

As we see more uses of technologies like AI, biometrics, and connected sensors, products and services are becoming ultra personal. This is a personal hydration coach, filling a knowledge gap that otherwise only cues from your body might indicate you need. We should be keeping an eye on how brands are taking the old idea of “personalization” to its truest form, creating new ways to give them more than just a basic product or service.


Whole Foods Medical Wellness Center

As a company whose core value is to nourish people and the planet, Whole Foods sure does it right by starting with s keeping their employees healthy and looking after their wellness.

“At the WFM Medical and Wellness Centers, we strive to take you from sick to healthy, happy and thriving – and help keep you there for the rest of your life! We hope you will join us on our journey toward creating a healthier community and a new way of treating people through the highest quality, personalized health care available.” – John Mackey, Co-Founder & CEO Whole Foods Market

The company runs two medical centers in Glendale, CA and Austin, TX serving employees and their families.

“The Medical and Wellness Center provides primary care medical services, administered by physicians with a patient-centered approach. The Medical and Wellness Center not only helps patients with common illnesses and more significant medical conditions, but also provides personalized prevention and proactive care that helps people live their best and most healthy lives.”

Why it’s hot: staying true to its core value and acting on it.

Source: Harvard Business Review and

Mini-Fridge Satellite

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz announced they’re leading an $13.5m investment in Astranis, a startup focused on building commercial telecommunications satellites.

Satellite internet has prompted a “new space race” between companies competing to launch devices and establish networks capable of reaching areas where traditional broadband falls short.

There are still 4B people on Earth without internet access, the majority of which live in rural areas, where broadband service isn’t available. Satellite internet has been touted as a solution to this since the mid-’90s, but traditionally operate 22k miles above Earth, in what’s called geosynchronous orbit, which has been too slow in responding to requests. Satellites in low Earth orbit cover less territory and have to launch a lot more which is extremely expensive.

Astranis’s satellites are about the size of a mini-fridge and are a fraction of the cost of other models (only tens of millions of dollars). Astranis will launch its satellites into farther away from Earth and sell bandwidth to internet service providers, allowing it to reach users in more remote areas. Astranis manufactures its satellites in San Francisco and expects to launch its first commercial satellite in 2019.

Why it’s Hot: Although it won’t solve some of the long-standing latency issues, it could provide a cheaper solution for making internet more readily available in previously out-of-range regions. It could be immensely beneficial to emerging markets, which often suffer from poor connectivity issues.


British Airways expanding biometric gate screening in the US

British Airways is getting into the biometric game with its boarding gates in the US. Last year they began testing self-service boarding gates at LAX, and they are now rolling out the gates in some flights to/from Orlando, Miami, and JFK airports as well.

The new technology doesn’t replace security screenings; rather, it allows the airline to bypass scanning everyone’s boarding passes at the gate as they board the plane. Instead of having to produce their boarding pass, travelers just look into a camera, wait for their biometric data to scan and be confirmed against their passport/visa/immigration photos, and then proceed onto the plane. The main benefit? Speed. British Airways says that in LAX, these new gates allowed them to board 400 passengers in 22 minutes, less than half the time it usually takes.

Other airlines are getting in on the biometric tech too. JetBlue is trialing biometric boarding on flights from Boston to Aruba, and last year Delta started trying out facial recognition for checking luggage and fingerprints for boarding. Dubai International Airport is working on a tunnel equipped with both facial recognition cameras and iris scanners (!) that would cut the need for travel documents entirely.

Why It’s Hot: The impetus behind this tech development – faster, smoother boarding – is ostensibly a positive thing. But what databases are necessary for this kind of screening? Immigration and ID documents are incredibly sensitive, even more so in our current xenophobic political climate. Is cutting down boarding time worth the risk?

Learn More: Engadget | Forbes

McDonald’s Crops the Golden Arches to Direct You to the Closest Restaurant

McDonald’s and Canadian marketing company Cossette have teamed up to create the “Follow the Arches” campaign in Canada. The campaign features billboards with only portions of McDonald’s iconic golden arches logo that serve to point drivers in the direction of the nearest restaurant.

McDonald’s marketing supervisor Andrew Mumford comments on the universal recognizability of the McDonald’s brand: “The campaign is a playful example of how the arches are recognizable, even when the consumer only sees a portion of the logo.”

So far, the campaign includes just four billboards (three static and one digital) in high-traffic areas across downtown Toronto and the greater Toronto area. But Peter Ignazi, chief creative officer at Cossette, said the concept could eventually solve the problem of hundreds of differently designed directional posters in Canada—and around the world.

Why it’s hot: When thinking about playful ways to drive restaurant traffic – this is as simple as it gets! It is leveraging their huge amount of brand equity and universal recognizability of their logo in a clever way.

Source: AdWeek

Facebook overcharged Clinton because her posts were boring

Image via Wired/Getty Images

Regardless of how much influence the Russian Internet Research Agency may or may not have had on the 2016 election, there is one way in which Facebook may have significantly affected the election.

This wired story by Antonio Garcia Martinez explains how Facebook charged the Trump Campaign significantly less than the Clinton campaign thanks to how it’s ad auction system works.

Martinez explains:

As on Google, Facebook has a piece of ad real estate that it’s auctioning off, and potential advertisers submit a piece of ad creative, a targeting spec for their ideal user, and a bid for what they’re willing to pay to obtain a desired response (such as a click, a like, or a comment). Rather than simply reward that ad position to the highest bidder, though, Facebook uses a complex model that considers both the dollar value of each bid as well as how good a piece of clickbait (or view-bait, or comment-bait) the corresponding ad is. If Facebook’s model thinks your ad is 10 times more likely to engage a user than another company’s ad, then your effective bid at auction is considered 10 times higher than a company willing to pay the same dollar amount.

This means that content that is especially alluring can result in the marketer paying significantly lower rates. The Trump campaign used what Martinez terms “provocative content” to encourage clicks and reduce their overall cost.

Additionally the difference in their geographic power bases affected their costs as well. Rural voters (more likely to go for Trump) are much much cheaper than urban voters (more likely to go for Clinton).

Another way that Facebook affected the election is through Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences, two ways in which marketers can identify and spread content. Custom Audiences are merely segmentation. Martinez uses the examples of shoes. Browsed for shoes and got cookied? You’re in a custom audience for shoes now.

Lookalike Audiences take the people in Custom Audiences and look for people like them through mutual engagement, and then spread the messages from the Custom Audiences to the Lookalike Audiences.

All of this is powered through engagement in the user’s feed, and created a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

The Trump Campaign leveraged both of these tools to do things like depress voter turnout in specific communities.

Interestingly, Facebook has released data to rebut these claims, though the data may not accurately cover what needs to be known.

Why it’s hot

We don’t understand how social networks are affecting our democratic process.

Good Riddance Facebook Explore

RIP Facebook Explore feed.

Facebook has decided to end a test of their controversial “Explore Feed,” which separated publisher content from page content. The alternative feed was tested only internationally, in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Cambodia, as a response to user feedback saying they wanted to see more from friends and family.

But, unsurprisingly, users were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing in Explore and having two separate feeds made it harder for users to access important information. Publishers saw a decrease in traffic from Facebook during the test, and that decrease was especially large for smaller publications more reliant on Facebook for traffic.

Why Its Hot

For better or worse, people are turning to social media for their news, and anything that takes the news out is going to be a problem. Between live shows, news and information, buying and selling things, and soon job listings, Facebook is becoming less and less the site to go when you want to see pics of your friends.

Uber is getting into healthcare with Uber Health

Uber’s launching a new business line called Uber Health on Thursday that will provide a ride-hailing platform available specifically to healthcare providers, letting clinics, hospitals, rehab centers and more easily assign rides for their patients and clients from a centralized dashboard – without requiring that the rider even have the Uber app, or a smartphone.

It was born out of patient need: some 3.6 million Americans miss medical appointments each year due to lack of available, reliable transportation. Nearly a third of patients fail to show up to medical appointments every year in total.

Uber Health stores all of the trip information but only in client-side, HIPAA-compliant servers, and that data is never stored on Uber’s own, Weber points out. The ability to view and export the records is key for the organizations in terms of billing and reporting, and provides basic patient info (name and number) along with trip star and end point data.

Why it’s hot: The healthcare industry is on the cusp of undergoing major innovation. With companies like Apple and Amazon–and now Uber–getting more involved, there will be a major shift toward customer experience.

Killer Tech

According to Eric Shmidt, a former Google boss, we’ll be amongst killer computers in the next decade or so. But fear not, Eric believes that it’s not completely life-threatening, well, I mean, it kinda is life threatening…. like if an aircraft was fully dependent on tech making life-or-death decisions, we’d all die. But it’s fine because we, the genius species that we are, “will remain in charge of AI for the rest of time.”

Is it hot?
Unless it’s molten metal, I’m not too sure. Does this mean that the Terminator movies and iRobot were just prophecies that told the future? Let’s not glitch out about it just yet, AI is still super helpful, watching your every move, learning everything about you, your strengths, weaknesses … Good ‘ol AI.

AI? More like A…. I think not.

Source: Metro

Enjoy the Show

The comedian Dave Chappelle hated when fans would pull out their phones during his show, record his act and post it online. But then he discovered Yondr, the technology that requires fans to place their cellphones into a form-fitting lockable pouch when entering a show. Fans keep the pouch with them during the show but it’s impossible to take photos, videos or text while the pouch is locked.

Chappelle now insists on deploying Yondr at all of the shows on his tour. Other entertainers including Alicia Keys, Guns N’ Roses and Donald Glover have implemented the system as well. The founder of Yondr described the solution as intuitive. “Our attachment to our phones isn’t all that intellectual,” he says. “It’s much more a body thing, so it was always clear to me that whatever solution there is to this problem had to be itself physical and tangible.”

Lesser known bands might be more hesitant to try Yondr as they rely on fan photos and videos to promote their shows. Many music fans, especially younger ones, say they would be disappointed to not be able to capture these experiences and relive them. On the other hand, older brands appreciate the old-school feeling of the fans being actually experiencing the show and not watching it through an iPhone.

Yondr has been used at weddings, schools, restaurants and movie screenings in addition concerts and comedy shows. The phone still gets service so you can feel the phone vibrate when a message arrives. Anyone who needs access during the show can simply leave the room, have the device unlocked and use the phone in the lobby or outside, not dissimilar to smoking.

Why it’s hot: This system addresses a modern dilemma that is not as often seen as an issue but just our current reality. It also calls out the question smartphone etiquette: when and where are our devices appropriate in the modern world?


Amazon is taking a photo of your front door to show you where your package is

Amazon is delivering more than just your packages these days — it is also delivering photos. As part of the company’s efforts to make it even easier for you to receive your online orders, Amazon has taken to taking photos of your doorway to show exactly where your packages are being deposited. This will hopefully cut down on customer confusion, and also serves as photographic evidence of the successful delivery of your precious cargo.Amazon’s new picture-taking practice might also allow delivery folks to leave packages in more inconspicuous spots, like behind a bush or in a flower pot, as USA Today notes. Given the rise in package stealers, having a safe and somewhat surprising place to put your packages may not be such a bad idea and being able to document where that place is makes things easier.The new service is called Amazon Logistics Photo on Delivery and according to a company spokesperson, is “one of many delivery innovations we’re working on to improve convenience for customers.” Amazon Logistics in and of itself is one of those delivery innovations — it’s an Amazon-owned delivery network that is completely separate from other delivery services like FedEx or UPS. And while the Photo on Delivery program has been rolling out in batches for the last six months, it’s becoming more widespread. Now, folks who receive packages in the Seattle, San Francisco, and northern Virginia metro areas will likely be receiving photographic notifications of their delivery’s safe arrival.

 Of course, if the thought of someone taking a photo of your property doesn’t really sit all that well with you, don’t worry — Amazon is giving you a way to opt out of the feature, too. Simply head over to the Amazon website and navigate to the help and customer service tab. From there, you should be able to tell Amazon folks not to take an unapproved photo (assuming the photo-taking option is even available to you). But if you’re interested in seeing exactly where your packages are at the end of the day, Photo on Delivery may be the feature you have been waiting for.
Why Its Hot
Could this be data collection disguised as innovation? Or a way to cut down on false claims of lost packages and package stealing? In any case, I have always wanted my packages to be more inconspicuously placed and now they can be. Plus, why not gameify it? “Alexa, where’s my package”?

A circular building that actually makes sense

The nordic architecture firm, Snohetta, has recently designed concepts for an “energy positive” Arctic Circle hotel in Norway. Svart Hotel will consume 85% less energy than contemporary hotels and will produce energy through solar panels. Regarding eco-friendly design, Snohetta said, “It was important for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful northern nature.”


They mapped the sun’s movement over the site and decided that a circular structure would provide the most light throughout the day and across different seasons. Recessed terraces shade rooms during the summer to reduce cooling systems and the large windows allow more thermal energy during colder months. The v-shapped stilts that holds up the hotel are inspired by traditional fisherman houses in the region.

Why It’s Hot: Unlike Apple’s new campus, this hotel has been designed as a circle in function of a larger goal – to produce energy to power the building. This type of approach to design and architecture is what will be needed to reduce human impact on the environment. This is a good example of how we can use new technologies like solar panels as well as traditional methods to lessen our impact on the environment.


KFC: We do chicken wrong

Due to a change in KFC’s supply chain in the UK, the fast food giant recently ran out of chickens in the UK….which is really bad if the entire business model relies on chickens.

Some Brittons have lost their ever-loving stuff and one woman’s whine about “having to go to Burger King” went viral. See below:

But the fiasco gave KFC an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. The food chain ran an apology ad in the paper with the letters on the bucket spelling FCK instead of KFC.

Why it’s Hot

It’s hot because they were able to use humor instead of some stock pr apology, though it might take the woman in the viral video a bit longer to get over it.

Facebook rolls out job postings

On Wednesday, Facebook rolled out job posts to 40 more countries.

Businesses will be able to post job openings to a Jobs tab on their Page, Jobs dashboard, Facebook Marketplace, and the News Feed that they can promote with ads. Meanwhile, job seekers can discover openings, auto-fill applications with their Facebook profile information, edit and submit their application, and communicate via Messenger to schedule interviews.

“One in four people in the US have searched for or found a job using Facebook” writes Facebook’s VP of Local Alex Himel. “But 40% of US small businesses report that filling jobs was more difficult than they expected. We think Facebook can play a part in closing this gap.”

“The Job posts rollout could help Facebook steal some of the $1.1 billion in revenue LinkedIn earned for Microsoft in Q4 2017. But the bigger opportunity is developing a similar business where companies pay to promote their job openings and land hires, but for lower-skilled local companies in industries like retail and food service.”

Troy, the owner of Striper Sniper Tackle in North Carolina had trouble finding people with the specific skills he needed until he posted the job on his Facebook Page. He received 27 applications immediately, and hired 10 people” Facebook writes. 

Why it’s hot/warm:

Hot: Serving as a LinkedIn for blue collar jobs – benefiting both employers and those looking for jobs.

Warm: Users will likely be slower to adopt this since they might be reluctant to share their social profiles with employers.

Source: TechCrunch