Week 10

Today’s lesson was on Emerging Technologies and the impact that they have on the world. As quoted from Prof Shahi, “when it comes to new and emerging technologies, we are limited only by our imagination (and lack thereof)”, which I truly agreed with. Creativity and imagination enhances innovation, and vice versa. Without imagination, the scope of innovation tends to be rather limited. And if we are able to consider possibilities that do not currently exist, we will be able to come up with new things.

There are two types of drivers for the development of emerging technology; Market driven innovation and technology driven innovation. Though the market that is market-driven tends to be more lucrative as there is a ready consumer market that is able to recognize  and work on the gaps and weaknesses, the technology driven market CREATES the demand such as nanotechnology. However, more startup capital and resources is needed for the technology driven market. Hence I believe a cost-benefit analysis needs to done to determine whether the investment in the given innovation is worth the time, effort and money.

Something interesting that was raised in class was Prof’s question on how to differentiate between sales and marketing. Sales is about “pushing” or promoting products, while marketing is about attracting consumers and “pulling” people to the given product or service. Mass media is a common tool in both sales and marketing, in fact how I would see it is that media changes our WANTS to NEEDS. There is a wide array of advertisements, both print and digital, surrounding us in our daily lives. One very successful company that has influenced the consumer market through effective marketing is Apple, which has seemed to create a need out of a want, as I mentioned earlier.

I think the idea of “augmented reality” is pretty fascinating, though there are both sides to the coin whether the benefits of such an idea outweighs the costs. Augmented reality employs technology to interact with the real world, and in a sense it creates a medium such that one’s perception of reality is modified and enhanced. Isn’t it cool to be “in” a mall shopping for clothes, when you are in fact just sitting behind a computer screen? While it makes greater convenience in this aspect, people may tend to be more lazy and reliant on such “mediated worlds”. One major problem that could possibly arise would be similar to that in the case of “Inception”, where the user would not know how to differentiate reality from the augmented one. Also, there may be health problems associated with long periods of inactivity, should the users end up being over reliant on the program.

One example of new technology that we discussed in class was on robots. A question worth pondering on is, “Is it possible to love a virtual person/character?” As robots become increasingly human-like these days, I would not be surprised to see robot-human relationships, however warped the idea may sound. In fact, with greater degrees of liberalization human-robot marriage could be legalized, and marriage vows could even be consummated! With Japan, being the land that simply cannot get enough of robot, and the presence of the I-fairy robot priest, this concept is not entirely impossible.

On a sidenote, this whole idea reminds me of the movie “Lars and the Real Girl”, which is about a delusional young guy who strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet. Sound crazy doesn’t it.

Lastly, I would like to end off this post with another quote by Steve Jobs, “innovation distinguishes the leader from the follower”. Innovation leads to positive change, to make someone or something better. It also results in increased productivity, which is the fundamental source of enhancing wealth in an economy.

It is indeed exciting to see how life in 30, 40 years’ time would be from now, especially in the areas of biotechnology, biometrics, GRID technology as well as plastic technology. Plastic technology can be incorporated in food packaging, such that prices on supermarket price tags can be adjusted with the use of remote control.

I would rate the lesson 8/10, as the emerging technologies we discussed in class is pretty fascinating and intriguing. The oral presentations were rather interesting as well. In fact, Marcus deserves a thumbs up his multiple change of outfits, in a bid to create different scenarios for us. Good effort!

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