Tide TIPS: Technology, Innovation, Patents, Startups Volume 21


Tide TIPS: Volume 21

You are reading Tide TIPS, a weekly round-up of all things Technology, Innovation, Patent, and Startup related.


Stop Procrastinating with Puppy Videos: Five Tips

Just in the last hour I’ve been unsupervised writing this tip I’ve booked two flights, watched four puppy videos, and created a new Spotify playlist instead of working (please don’t dock my pay). With dozens of distractions and reasons to not focus on work, how do freelancers and entrepreneurs that work on their own time get anything done? Fast Company provides 5 brilliant tips on how to stay productive and not fall prey to puppy videos. First, every project needs a structure, with some sort of tracking system to ensure you stay on task. They recommend Trello boards to stay prioritized, and we here at the office use Sortd to stay on top of our work. The article recommends building a community of support of other friends and colleagues that run their own companies, so you don’t go crazy and start pitching ideas to your cat on your 5th day on the couch. A shocking tip: take care of yourself, change out of your sweatpants, fuel your creativity with sleep and food. Finally, learn to delegate and trust in your team, and learn the importance of saying no if you don’t think an opportunity will further your business goals. (Fast Company)

Is Your Voice Assistant Eavesdropping?

If you have the Amazon Alexa or Google Home, yes, yes they are. These tools are always listening for their activation phrases,  “Alexa” or “OK Google”, and as soon as you use these magic words they begin recording your voice and send it back to their clouds. So then what? What are Google and Amazon doing with this data? Most likely, they’re only using it to analyze what features of their product are used most, and maybe make fun of you for asking stupid questions. It is possible for you to delete your recordings, but as soon as the device begins recording, everything goes back to their cloud server. The good news is they only record when you use the activation phrase, so maybe don’t say “Alexa-listen to my breakthrough idea of how to beat Amazon at their own game”. If you’re extremely concerned about your privacy, these devices may not be for you. (Wired)

A New Era of Innovation

Experts are predicting a profound shift for 2017, but there’s no need to stockpile canned food and prepare for another Y2K quite yet. Innovation is decreasingly isolated and will instead be built upon a network of connected collaborations and partnerships. This is defined as an “innovation ecosystem”, where complex innovation challenges will be achieved through collaborations.  What will this mean for us, the commoners that benefit from and occasionally drive innovation? We can expect to see more technologies that are integrated with one another, across different platforms and partners. We will rely greater upon digital platforms that involve multiple ecosystems, and be connected to our customers and each other even greater. 2017 will be a defining and transforming year for innovation, and as long as someone can find a way to connect me with Ryan Gosling, a defining year for my future as Mrs. Gosling as well. (Innovation Excellence)

The End is Near (for Awkward Ubers)

Uber has acquired Geometric Intelligent in order to create an artificial intelligence lab, great to news for anyone who has experienced an awkward Uber driver (essentially everyone). Uber has already been exploring autonomous driving for quite some time, but they’re taking it a step further with this acquisition. This lab will take a broader view of artificial intelligence, and solve problems for a variety of users rather than just their company. The staff is comprised of high-profile data science and artificial intelligence academics, who will focus on how to make AI systems smarter with small input. Most AI systems and agents require huge sets of data, which Uber products simply don’t have. (Tech Crunch)

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Have a tip? Let us know by sending the link to Ben, at bhbickerstaff@ua.edu