/ Weekly Takeaways

Will 2019 be the year of AR? Is TikTok the next big media platform? What will your post-AI job be?

Scientific American lists their top emerging technologies of 2018, with Augmented Reality in the #1 spot

With 2019 well on the way, everyone's making their predictions of what will come. Scientific American does this slightly differently with emerging tech that we saw grow in popularity in the year that's wrapping up - and they're saying that there are big things on the way for Augmented Reality.

Check out the full list here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/top-10-emerging-technologies-of-20181/

Key Takeaway

AR has been around for a while (at least since phones started self-describing themselves as "smart"), but this year we've seen the confluence of data and visualization in nearly every app we use. For the less data-nerdy of us - Instagram and Snapchat filters are a pretty clear example of this (filters are virtually the most well known AR tech we have).

With massive R&D kicking in within this space (e.g. Microsoft just sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of HoloLens glasses to the Pentagon - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-28/microsoft-wins-480-million-army-battlefield-contract) we'll likely be seeing reductions in pricing in this category, and more consumer targeted experiences.

TikTok is now the most valuable startup in the world

ByteDance - the owner of TikTok has been valuated at $75 billion, beating out Uber for their former title of "startup value unicorn champion". https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/30/18107732/bytedance-valuation-tiktok-china-startup

Never heard of TikTok? It's basically Instagram TV / Vine / YouTube all rolled into one. Users are encouraged to live stream their lives and can use the app's tools to edit their "best lives" using filters similar to what you'll find on SnapChat.

How's it different? I'm still figuring that out - but so far it seems to come down to three things:

  1. Amazing design: It's just a lot easier to use than anything else out there. The app screams "publish something NOW!!!"
  2. Its origin is China - so the content is truly global and language barriers don't seem to exist in the same way as they do in more mainstream platforms like YouTube.
  3. The content is extremely addictive. I've watched a few folks just fall into a TikTok hole - watching people they don't know or care about just live their lives.

Key Takeaway

If we thought there was a lot of noise before - TikTok is proof that our immediate future is filled with infinitely more of it. Apps like TikTok that give their users the ability to constantly create content, without needing to edit, refine, or script anything - means that competing with noise is quickly becoming impossible unless you're mastering the art of connecting with people in the right place, at the right time with the right message.

What job will still be valuable once AI gets into everything?

In a recent wave of essays from consulting firms like McKinsey espousing the benefits of digital transformation and AI (https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/how-bots-algorithms-and-artificial-intelligence-are-reshaping-the-future-of-corporate-support-functions) there have been interesting counter-essays written this week about the roles that humans will need to play for any of it to matter.

The TLDR (Too Long Didn't Read) version of one of the better ones that has come out (https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2018/11/29/artificial-intelligence-paradox-as-robots-take-over-people-skills-become-more-critical/#21fde42e76c1) is that until AI becomes self-aware (like in Terminator) we'll still need humans who can see the forest from the trees and interpret what the systems are saying.

In other words - while we'll need technologists to implement these solutions, what may become even more important are the knowledge workers that can synthesize what the systems are saying into business speak.

Key Takeaway

It's becoming more important than ever to learn how to read data as it relates to whatever field you work in. The role of the analyst is becoming even more important to any business, but those that can't translate data into strategies may get lost in technical roles.

If you're looking to dive deeper into the world of data in 2019, don't forget to keep your focus on your business problems and not get lost in the tools that allow for the diving.

Will 2019 be the year of AR? Is TikTok the next big media platform? What will your post-AI job be?
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