ISTM #21: AWE From Irrational Exuberance to Clean & Sober

AWE

I recently attended the 10th annual Augmented World Expo (AWE) at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley. With 7,000 attendees— up almost 25 percent from last year— over 350 speakers and 250 booth exhibits, it was by far the biggest event ever for the Immersive Technology community.

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ISTM #20 Zucked: When Algorithms Replace Ethics



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I am about halfway through Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee. I am only halfway through because I am reading more slowly and carefully than I usually read. This is partly because almost every page causes me to stop and think about the deteriorating relationship between people and technology and the self-evident truth of this broadside against the most powerful company in history is painful for me to accept.

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About ItSeemstoMe

ItSeemstoMe is my personal blog and newsletter. It is for business decision makers and is about disruptive technologies. I mostly cover Immersive Technologies such as AR and non-gaming VR as well as AI-powered products such as autonomous cars, robots, chatbots, drones and wearable tech. I am always looking for a good story and if you have one, we should talk.

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ISTM #15: Will Exit VR Become the Netflix of VR?

I met Exit VR co-founder Ilya Druzhnikov on an extremely rainy night at a tech event in Pacifica. We were two of only three people who showed up, so it gave us time to talk. I learned that he and Yoni Koenig, his business partner, had devised a rare business model that promises to be lucrative and sustainable.

In 2016, at a time when both the tech and entertainment communities were going bonkers over the near-term promise of VR and AR, Ilya and Yoni decided to run a field test. They took a battered old van and converted it into a mobile VR lab. Equipped with state-of-the-industry VR gear, they would park it where people gathered in the many diverse neighborhoods of San Francisco. They would vary the price for viewing as well as the time per visit and the apps that were shown.

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ISTM #12: How Two Otter Encounters Inspired Me to Change My New AI Book

Last week, I interviewed an AI startup named AISense whose single product, Otter Voice Notes, a cloud-based platform, seems to me to have as many uses as Word does. It records conversations of almost any length between multiple people with uncanny accuracy and speed.

Start with the billion-dollar transcription industry that serves medical procedures, legal testimony and depositions, then move into all forms of education and training, and there’s the foundation for a big business opportunity. Add to that all your business meetings and Zoom video conversations. Take all the time required to turn talk into text, correct the invariable typos and homonyms, delete “um’s” and so on. Eliminate the time and expense of turning spoken words into accurate text, and I think you will see how such technology can change your life.

It turns out there are already 13 AI Speech startups: almost all have technologies in the market and such competitive markets invariably accelerate innovations while keeping prices low. AISense is the apparent leader right now and seems to be well-positioned to maintain that lead. Whether or not it does, users still win because this level of competition usually leads to rapid innovation and refinement. Otter provides users 600 free minutes a month and the platform allows users much longer recording periods, so that you can automatically record 10 hours of conference presentations if you wish.

For me, there was another revelation: Otter.ai changed the actual dynamics of my meeting with its founders. Because I trusted their tech to take notes, I could enjoy a more immersive and authentic face-to-face interaction with co-founders Sam Liang and Yun Fu and JD Lasica, my friend and fellow author, who was also present.

Otter produced an entirely more comprehensive transcript than I ever could have otherwise accomplished, and the tags produced let me find what I needed afterward with great speed. This is AI Augmentation at its best: the humans get to do humanly interactive things, while Otter tirelessly takes notes.

Liang and Fu explained how Otter’s AI can extract conversation summaries with bulleted key points and action items. It will use social graphs to see the relationships between conversation participants and can detect emotions. My talks with the Otter guys have excited me for other, more personal, reasons. They have to do with Augmenting People: Why AI Should Back Us Up, Not Push Us Out.

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