Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, the day after Galentine’s Day, or just another weekday where you are, there’s one love we can all share — that of technology. Take a look at five technology matches that are downright perfect for each other.
1: AR and VR
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) certainly serve different functions, but the two can also meld together to create a superior experience in something called “mixed reality” (MR). While AR extends our grasp of the world (think virtually trying on clothes or virtually placing an entertainment unit in the layout of your living room), VR recreates or transcends the real world (like Pokémon GO).
But MR allows virtual and real-world content to blend in real time. (See Microsoft’s HoloLens, for example.) MR places digital content into a physical space by first scanning the real-world environment and mapping it in 3D. The possibilities, and the holograms, are endless.
2: Blockchain and bitcoin
Much like AR and VR, blockchain and bitcoin are not the same but they’re two digital peas in a digital pod. Back in 2008 when bitcoin was created as an unregulated digital currency, there needed to be a secure way to make transactions. Enter blockchain, a distributed ledger on a public, open peer-to-peer network. Today most things you can make a list of can benefit from blockchain technology, but it all began with bitcoin. (Quite the complex first love.)
3: Crowdsourced design and AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is another buzzy term that’s often misunderstood. And the reason crowdsourcing in particular is a good fit for AI-driven projects, and design projects in particular, is because optionality and innovation are essential for both good design and smarter use of AI.
For instance, voice as a platform (powered by AI) demands new methods of interaction — not traditional tapping and swiping. Just as businesses once migrated to mobile-first thinking, it’s time to use AI-first thinking. That involves getting more designers involved in the initial ideation phase. And through crowdsourcing, you get access to more designers and new ways of interacting with technologies designed specifically with AI in mind.
4: Geo-targeting and smart messaging
As consumers with smartphones, GPS, NFC, and Bluetooth, we’re just begging to be tracked — some of which is to our advantage. If I walk into a certain store, I might get a push notification informing me of a discount from the retailer’s app. If I request a Lyft and my driver arrives at my designated pick-up spot, I’ll get an in-app message, a text message, etc.
While geo-targeting from social platforms like Facebook and Twitter enables companies to reach more relevant audiences, smarter businesses are also taking it upon themselves to gather location information from all of their mobile subscribers. That way they can send geo-targeted offers to the right customers in the right regions, cities, and so forth. Even fast-food chains like Domino’s have already jumped on the geo-targeting bandwagon to further entice customers with location-specific offers; because nothing says made for each other like pizza and a discount.
5: Robotics and healthcare
There’s no shortage of incredible advancements being made with 3D-printed prosthetics and mind-controlled wearable technology. But today we also have robots assisting in surgical procedures, like a cochlear implant. While robots and humans still heavily rely on each other in this capacity — humans for basic functions like stopping and starting, and robots for increased accuracy — we’re looking ahead to a more autonomous future for robots in healthcare.
Robots can help in smaller ways too, like reminding people to take their medication at home and sending encrypted data from patients to their doctors. It may not be the most romantic love connection on this list, but it’s certainly the most life-saving one.
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