Science & Tech
Mobileholism: The Dangers of Technological Addiction
The mobile phone and other portable digital devices are supposed to be objects that enhance our communicative abilities. However, I think we have become the subject of their idolizing and addictive controlling sway. Are we becoming zombies and slaves to our creation? The created has become the master of the creator; the invented has become the chief of the inventor.
The mobile phone and other portable digital devices are supposed to be objects that enhance our communicative abilities. However, I think we have become the subject of their idolizing and addictive, controlling sway. Are we becoming zombies and slaves to our creation? The created has become the master of the creator; the invented has become the chief of the inventor. Does your mobile or digital device distract you from studying or working? Are your eyes continually glued to your phone or tablet rummaging for notifications and messages every time? Do people around you often complain that you don’t create time and attention for them? Do you know you may be addicted to your mobile or digital device? The mobile-device-addiction-zombie-bug may have bitten you, and you may be turning and becoming a zombie yourself. Talk about the dawn of the walking dead, the herd of billions infected by the zombie scrolling syndrome (NB. The security company McAfee coined the phrase in 2016) —moaning and groaning with eyes half-closed as we shamble away to our own psycho-social demise.
Since inception, Tech devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptop, and Bluetooth earphones have become avid companions to their users. All these gadgets are carried throughout the day with us, and we are continually getting interrupted by them through their buzz, ping, and ring notifications, messages, and calls. At night, it does not get better; these gadgets are beside us while we sleep at night; that is, if we sleep at all because our eyes are steadily glued on it “liking” and “getting liked,” “viewing” and “getting viewed” on Social Media. We have become prisoners to the neuro-chemical slave driver—dopamine (i.e., the organic chemical molecule of the catecholamine and phenethylamine families behind all our inner cravings—e.g., love, lust, sex life, motivation, attention, addictions (e.g., food, gambling, alcoholism, smoking, etc.)). The fixation is real and dangerous. We even operate them during our family and individual mealtimes, while driving, while walking on the street, etc. People are so addicted to their screens that life is literally passing them by without them noticing. It is almost as if we are unable to function without them. We are in a critical time in our existence as human beings, and we need to address what I now daub as the mobileholics-syndrome.
So, why do we permit ourselves to be controlled by these digital devices? The simple answer to this is dopamine. Dopamine is addiction. The Dictionary does some justice in cluing us into what addiction means—it is the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Addiction to these digital devices comes at various levels—some cases are more severe than others. However, at a basic level, we are all becoming hooked on them. One day, two days, … to twenty-one days, the scroll, scroll, scroll bug bites us daily, injecting the habit-forming virulent virus into the mainstream of our lives and reasoning logic—we become infected—we are dead to real life. We become mobile zombies as we shuffle away to our psycho-social and, sometimes, physical demise, oblivious of reality as we are now lost in virtual reality.
The truth is that today’s mobile technologies offer a vast array of functionalities that amuse the brain. Today’s mobile phone is a communication device, an entertainment center, an amusement epicenter, a games arcade, a bank, a journal, etc. All these functions make the mobile phone a “Brain in Wonderland” adventure that Alice could never match. The level of the thrill is vast and unreal. According to studies, there is a similarity between the way mice behave when expecting to receive treats and how we act when we are about to operate our mobiles because something in our brains compels us to answer to the demands of the mobiles even at the faintest notification. As we earlier stipulated, “Dopamine” is the scientific explanation for this behavior. Whenever we get a notification or a ‘like’ on one of our posts on one of our Social Media handles—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.—we experience a rush of happiness caused by dopamine’s secretion—the happy hormone. It makes us feel good. With a daily supply of this kind of joy, we find ourselves wanting more and more of it. We lose touch with reality because we are engrossed in virtual reality. The addiction peaks whenever it has to do with self-expression and feedback from others. For instance, posting a picture on Facebook will require you to constantly check your phone for updates in the likes and comments section. Our addiction to mobile technologies and social media is sucking the very life out of us.
The validation, popularity, and respect we get on social media have become something we cannot do without. We begin to do more and more attention-seeking acts to get more attention and feel more of that rush. Many scenarios prevail about the digital addictions that we experience in our days. Husbands, not getting enough or any attention from their wives, embark on a hunt for approval from other women on their mobile devices in the social media realms. Women, not getting the love and attention from their husbands, begin to search for other men’s care. Feelings develop—infidelity brews—separation the aftermath as the divorce attorneys get richer. Husbands and wives, entrapped in their mobilehoic demise, neglect their children—not paying attention to them—they become mobileholics and iCrack-babies themselves. Teenagers go through so much to keep people entertained by dancing, making inappropriate jokes, and exposing their bodies on their digital devices. These teenagers become prey to sexual predators. On some occasions, they even become victims of kidnap, rape, torture, and even death. It is all a cry for attention! A ploy to get attention—whether positive or negative, to feed that dopamine craving. What are we really doing to ourselves as humans? We are digging a bottomless pit of many cycles of woes as we sacrifice the things that matter for the things that are fast-fleeting—slaves to our own creations.
“The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free.” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
5 Effects of Mobile Technology Addiction
The effects of mobile and digital addictions can be devastating. The consequences can span various areas of our lives. It could impact our productivity, health, relationships, psyche, and habits, to mention a few. For instance, when it comes to relationships, mobile technology addiction could erode trust in our relationships. It can make us lose sight of reality as we pursue virtual reality on our devices. I have heard of real-life scenarios where mobile addiction murdered trust in homes due to cases of infidelity. Our mobile devices harbor Social Media and other entertainment content, and some people in relationships are drawn away by their lust for other men and women and, as a result, cripple their homes through infidelity and extramarital affairs. Bonds that took years to build and cultivate—dead—because of their unbridled addictions in a matter of moments. Is it worth the Herculean load of harm that one would inflict on his/her relationships? I don’t think so. So, it is worth a rethink on how to break away from the addictive grasp of mobile and digital technology. Moderation is herewith of the essence.
Furthermore, I have seen and heard scenarios where little children become very aggressive at a very tender age because you took away their tablets or mobile device. That is all these kids know—a deluge of hours immersed in playing games on a mobile and digital tablet or other handheld technologies. A good thing could quickly become a grave disadvantage when it becomes an addiction if care is not taken. These children’s parents ignore the sum of hours these kids are spending on these devices, and they develop a severe and crippling addiction to their digital devices. At a young age, a child becomes an addict—and the fixation is real. They become belligerent when you tell them that they have had enough screen time on their devices. They throw a frenetic tantrum when you take away their gadgets. There are scenarios of people on the highways constantly fixated on their devices as they speed through the highways—a reckless endangerment of their lives and the lives of others. There are endless scenarios that are out there about the specific impact of mobile and digital devices. Let us now look at some of the effects of mobile and digital media addiction.
Do you ever have the feeling that the day feels shorter when compared to other days? Do you ever feel like you never have adequate time to finish anything that you are working on? Could it be because you may be constantly distracted by your mobile or digital device? If so, then it may be a good time to lay off your mobile device for a while and get down to the brass track of getting some work done. Research showed that young people spend “an average of five hours a day on their mobile devices—that’s roughly one-third of their total waking hours.” At this rate, the amount of time that people are wasting on their mobile devices is so staggering. At the rate of approximately five hours a day, you would be spending 35 hours (or 1 day 11 hours) a week; 140 hours (or 5 days 20 hours) a month; and 1680 hours (or 70 days) a year—wasted on your mobile digital device. At this rate, approximately 19.20% of a common year (i.e., 365 days) or 19.13% of a Leap Year is wasted on your mobile digital device. A staggering piece of data, right? You can say that again. These are hours that could be better spent elsewhere—maybe reading, working, interning, cooking, or exercising, to mention but a few. You can do many more productive activities during these times. Be a master of controlling your time—don’t waste away your life being a slave to your time-consuming mobile and digital technology.
Many people find themselves spending their night hours browsing through their phones for news or exciting content they missed during the day. Because of this addiction, people have become insomniacs—they find it difficult to sleep or stay asleep. The bright light exposure from mobile telephones passes a message to their body, making it very hard for them to sleep. Research proves that this addiction works like caffeine. Even the light emitted can defer sleep twice as much as caffeine will. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “the blue light these devices emit can suppress the production of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, promoting insomnia.” Dr. Andrew Weil further establishes that this exposure to the blue light emitted from mobile devices “increases the risk of retinal damage and, possibly, age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in those over age 55. Blue light may also be linked to cataract formation, although this has not been proved.” Consider this a warning and start looking for a way to curb your enthusiasm towards the excessive use of your mobile devices.
#3. Relationship Variations
Personal relationships tend to suffer when people become engulfed in the falsities of the virtual macrocosm. The ideology behind mobile devices is to bring people closer to each other, but these days, it’s doing the opposite. These days, people in the guise of coming together are even more distant from each other. Have you ever entered a restaurant and seen a group of people together on a table in a supposed lunch or dinner outing? Often, if you take a cursory glance in their direction, most of the people have their faces buried in their mobile devices. The essence of the outing initially was to socialize with each other over lunch or dinner; however, the purpose is defeated if the reality on interpersonal face-to-face socialization is relegated to the side in preference to virtual interaction. This is a cultural variation or asocial behavior that we need to become cognizant of and start addressing them.
Another instance of its impact on relationships is the slow and gradual death of the time families devote to talking about how the day went. Consider the image above—the father is on his laptop, the mother on her tablet, and the child on his mobile device—all engrossed in virtual reality and the reality of being there in the moment crucified on the cross of time and space. This is the slow and gradual death of family time. Is the picture above your current situation? Are you carrying the cross of your mobile device—a culprit of the mobile and digital insanity—heading towards Golgotha to crucify your sanity? Today, couples are more interested in how many people liked their pictures on Instagram. The women, some married and some not, are checking out men that appeal to them and, on some occasions, reaching out to these men or vice versa. On the flip side, the men are checking out and at times reaching out to ladies to pursue digital infidelity, despite being married. Some people are so addicted to their digital devices that they rather spend time with their virtual friends. In so doing, they shield themselves from any form of intimacy with the real human spouse that they have at home. This could push the neglected spouse away to feel void of the stolen intimacy from elsewhere. In all, this is leading to the slow and fast accelerating death of marriage unions.
Overuse and addiction to mobile devices can entirely jeopardize our relationships with people. In some instances, parents get so engrossed in the virtual world that they neglect their children. How many parents reading this article can relate to the cartoon image above this paragraph? Your action of ignoring your child or children can lead them to become detached from you. It leads to them feeling unloved and uncared for, and the parent-progeny relationship bond becomes seared on the hot coals of mobile and digital device addiction. Mark it somewhere; if they don’t get the love they need from you, they will seek it out from anyone that pays attention to them. That is how children become victims of kidnap, rape, prostitution, social vices (e.g., smoking, drug use, alcohol use, gangsterism, etc.), and victims of child sexual predators. Children who are addicted to mobile and digital devices lose out when it comes to forming adequate social skills in knowing how to relate to their peers and adults—I can go on and on. Mobile and digital media addiction can distract us from living in the moment. It affects our concentration. This affects all age groups as they continuously miss out on the relationship with other people of their peers.
Is the man’s expression in the picture above your look when you lose your mobile phone or handheld digital device? Do you literally panic when you cannot find your device? Consider this hypothetical scenario—you forgot your mobile device at your friend’s house who lives 30-45 minutes away from you. He or she offers to drop it off for you in the morning since it is already almost midnight. However, you insist that you will drive that late to go pick it up, and you do. You could have Nomophobia. This kind of phobia is the fear of being without your cell phone. Cases of this disorder have unexpectedly skyrocketed within the span of a few years—trust me, it has. People with this phobia—nomophobics—do not feel secure around people. People with this phobia do not feel comfortable when other people have their phones. They prefer staying alone with their phones. Nomophobia is an ever-expanding psychological variation that a lot of people are suffering from. Such people may be in dire need of psychological therapy.
Do you become angry when you do not have your phone on your person? Do you become irate when you lose your mobile or digital device—to the point that you could tear the house apart until you find it? Do you create a tense environment for everyone else when you lose your phone? Or, do you experience a nervous breakdown when someone has your phone right there in front of you? Do you become excessively depressed when you lose your phone or when your phone gets damaged? So sad that you even feel this negative emotion of almost wanting to hurt yourself or others who cross your path at that very moment? Do you get violently irritable or a manic restlessness when you don’t have your mobile or digital device on your person? You scream at your spouse or kids, all because you cannot find your mobile or digital device. If the emotions—anger, tension, depression, irritability, restlessness—define you when you don’t have your mobile or digital device, then be sure that you are aggressively nomophobic and need a mobile or digital device detoxification or critical psychological intervention. You have become a chronic cerebral prisoner to your mobile or digital handheld device.
“Technology was supposed to be the help in life, instead it has become the major driving force behind life.” — Abhijit Naskar.
10 Tips to Prevent Mobile Addiction
Technology is upon us at warp speed, so fast that it will give the speedster, Barry Allen—The Flash, a run for his money. With the advance of technology also comes various variations and issues associated with it. Problems arising can span from psychological, social, physical reactions to the technological advent, to mention but a few. The community of human beings needs to start facing the realities of the variations that are arising. As technology advances, so should the knowledge and research concerning how to curb societal issues that may accompany the changes that are brewing with the world-changing rapidly from a bird’s and worm’s eye perspective. We have seen one of them via this article—Mobileholism—if you permit me to create a new word for the English Lexicon. So, how would I define “Mobileholism”? (NB. The word “Mobileholism” does not exist in the English dictionary yet; however, it has been coined due to the addiction to mobile and digital media).
What is Mobileholism? It is a chronic disorder characterized by dependence on mobile technology and others like it. It involves the repeated excessive use of mobile and digital technology. Upon reducing or the cessation of mobile and digital technology usage, there may be the development of withdrawal symptoms or Nomophobia. In advanced cases, Mobileholism can lead to negative psychological behaviors such as anger, tension, depression, irritability, and restlessness. It could sometimes lead to the display of careless psychosomatic tendencies that lead to sufferers recklessly endangering themselves and others via phubbing (i.e., to ignore (a person or one’s surroundings) when in a social situation by busying oneself with a phone or other mobile device). Advanced cases can also create an asocial state of mind while lost in a virtual state. Some people infected by this addiction have a decreased productivity status and sometimes a reduced ability to function socially and vocationally.
Various authorities from different fields of study (e.g., Psychology, Medicine, Sociology, Technology, etc.) suggest different measures to curb the negative impact of mobile and digital media addiction. There is a growing need for digital detoxification to break the increasing dependence on mobile and various digital technologies. Something good can become wrong if its use is not managed effectively. Here are some tips to prevent mobile and digital device addictions (NB. These suggestions are not expert psycho-social conjectures but advice on avenues to curb mobile and digital device addiction).
Tip #1. Self-Devoted Sunrise (S.D.S)
It would be best if you devoted the opening thirty minutes of your day to yourself. Your first activities at the inception of the day can help you shape how the rest of your day will pan out. Consider it as sowing the seeds that you would harvest throughout the day. Never commence your day by first checking your mobiles. Rule your mobile, don’t let your digital device rule you. Spend the beginning part of your day with calming, soothing, and soul-enriching activities—have a Self-Devoted-Sunrise (S.D.S). Usher yourself into soul-soothing and anti-stress tunes in the morning. Start your day listening to supplementing information—meditate, listen to an audiobook, or even reading a book.
Tip #2. Electronic Sundowns (E.S.)
In an article written by the Technology Reporter, Zoe Kleinman, of BBC News on August 31, 2015, she highlighted several prescriptions for curbing technology addiction that Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan stipulated about having “electronic sundowns.” In his explanation, he specifies the need to pull away from technology 30 minutes before going to bed at night. Many people can relate to the common habit of going to bed with their faces still buried into their mobile and digital tablet devices. He establishes that people should preferably read or listen to a book or refreshing music as they glide off to bed. Meditating and a positive reflection on all that has transpired throughout the day could also be soothing and relaxing. Do not lose your night rest because of your mobiles. Put your phone from your reach, especially while you’re in bed. As much as possible, don’t use your phone as an alternative alarm—invest in an alarm clock.
Tip #3. Stay Focused At Work (S.F.A.W.)
Work is supposed to be a time that we infuse our very best into the task at hand. Productivity is essential while engaged in your professional obligations. The goal should be maximum efficiency and effectiveness with limited variations. Staying focused is a quintessential part of becoming productive. However, with the advent of mobile and digital handheld technologies, we see that these devices could be very distracting. How many times have you been at a job, and you steadily take a cursory glance at your phone or tablet to see what is happening on your Social Media page? The constant stoppage of your work for such virtual frivolities is robbing you of your productive time. Five minutes here, ten to fifteen minutes here and there throughout your day quickly adds up to a lot of hours of wasted time. You could have spent these lost hours being more productive. Put your phone on silent while working to avoid distractions. The goal is to S.F.A.W.—Stay Focused At Work. So, eschew the distractions and get things done—remember, time lost can never be regained—it’s gone and gone forever.
Tip #4. Deliberate Structuring and Discipline (D.S.D.)
To eliminate mobile and digital technology addiction, you need to be deliberate in structuring and disciplining yourself when it comes to mobile or digital technology usage. Developing the ability to structure and discipline yourself will not be a cakewalk. However, when cultivated, it would be the catalyst that will catapult you to great heights. The purpose is not to wholly exclude the use of your device; however, there must be a deliberate plan about usage times and limits. The fact is that you may need your device for work; however, you need to establish time blocks for various activities on your mobile and digital device. It would be best if you established times when never to use your device. There is a difference between using your mobile and digital device for value-adding asset-building activities compared to non-value-adding activities such as continuous and sporadic surfing of the web or socializing on various social media networks. To achieve the goal of planned usage, it would be advisable to set duration limits on usage, mobile and digital activities limits, and develop a structured routine on when and how long you will access your mobile and digital devices and social media as well. D.S.D. will help you form a pattern that will balance the proper usage of your time. With the discipline that structuring brings comes freedom—it all starts with you.
Tip #5. Track Mobile Usage (T.M.U.)
Are you aware that “studies show that an average adult checks their phone 110 times a day—now that is a lot of time handling a digital device? That equates to once every 13 minutes and peaking in the evening to once every 6 seconds.” That is some staggering statistics. So, would you say that you really know how long you use your mobile or digital device on any given day? Be it a portable phone or a tablet device. Have you ever taken the time to track how much time you spend using these devices regularly? If you feel that you are part of the statistics of those that are excessively using these devices, it may not be a bad idea to know how many hours you are really investing daily on your mobile or digital device. Various applications are available out there that allow you to track your digital device usage and how applications you are spending the most time (e.g., BreakFree and Menthal). Some applications help you block sites that you wish to eschew (e.g., ColdTurkey and SelfControl). If you are not up for downloading these applications, many phones, such as Apple phones, come with standard application options that allow you to set a screen time usage reminder. The core message here is to find ways to curb your mobile enthusiasm and usage—adopt T.M.U. and learn.
Tip #6. Mobile and Technology Sabbatical (M.T.S.)
In the education industry, we hear about teachers, instructors, and professors taking sabbaticals (i.e., holidays, vacations, leaves). They take sabbaticals or leaves to enhance their teaching skills, restore their health and achieve state certification in a shortage area. Adopting such for those suffering from acute mobile and digital technology addiction is a proposal that you should never pass along. You may need to take some time off from your mobile or digital technology in other to restore your sanity to yourself. If you cannot completely divorce yourself from your device for extended periods of time because of work, you may want to consider an aggressive D.S.D. (Deliberate Structuring and Discipline) (Or Tip #4). You could also consider taking a social media sabbatical. This will help you in your recovery process.
Tip #7. Relaxation
The meditative relaxation technique of mindfulness can help you reduce mobile and digital device cravings. Mindfulness is a psychological technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them. In the easiest of terms, it is “the state of active, open attention on the present. It means living the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on past experiences or anticipating future experiences.” Mindfulness meditation is the foundation of the psychological technique, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. In this program, patients are taught “to acknowledge and accept their experiences rather than to modify or suppress them as they arise and the recognition of their impermanence.” This will allow you to “re-perceive” or ethically decide whether to indulge the craving; hence, you deliberately change how you relate to the yearning at that very moment. In so doing, you can channel your energies towards relaxing your mind. This process allows you to relax your mind—and teaches you to curb your excessive attention and yearning for your mobile or digital device. After all, is said and done, my admonition to you is—Relax.
Tip #8. Mobile Addiction Therapy (M.A.T.)
So far, Tips #1 to Tips #7 is geared towards assisting you in changing your behaviors. Behaviors, good or bad, are products of repetitive habits. What is learned can also be unlearned. However, if these tips are not helpful, you may be a victim of some severe mobile and digital technology addiction, and Mobile Addiction Therapy (M.A.T.) may be the way for you to go. M.A.T. could involve either Individual Therapy or Pharmacotherapy. In Individual Therapy, the victim could either undergo Cognitive-behavioral therapy or Motivational Interviewing. In Cognitive-behavioral treatment, the psychologist’s goal is to help the victim change their dysfunctional or abnormal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors into healthy and positive ones. Motivational interviewing revolves around the victim. The psychologist seeks to sway them from their current state of reasoning to their future desired state. In Pharmacotherapy, in conjunction with psychotherapy, medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and psychostimulants can help treat mobile and digital device addictions. (NB. Pharmacotherapy may not always be the best path to go as it involves medicating the victim. The truth is that medications always come with some side effects. You can solve one problem; however, another predicament may sprout from the side effects of medicating the patient).1
Tip #9. Treatment Groups and Centers (T.G.C.)
If Tip #9 does not work for the mobile or digital device addict, then the next option may be seeking treatment from a group or seeking out a center. With the rising trend of this addiction, various groups and centers are springing up to help provide a social circle and group help in addressing these variations. It would be best if you did not fight the battle for mobile and digital addiction alone. Some of these groups and centers include, but not limited to the following: Internet and Tech Addiction Anonymous (ITAA); Restart Center; Morningside Recovery.1
Tip #10. Socialize More
As a society, we are quickly losing touch with face-to-face socializing. Have you ever gone to a social event and seen the faces of many attendees buried in the screens of their portable devices and digital media? We are fast losing touch with reality as we get ourselves lost in virtual reality. A social gathering should be a place of face-to-face interaction. Hence, don’t focus on your phone or digital device while you’re at a social function. Deliberately learn to disconnect from virtual reality when you are in a social gathering with other people.
“We all need a technological detox; we need to throw away our phones and computers instead of using them as our pseudo-defense system for anything that comes our way. We need to be bored and not have anything to use to shield the boredom away from us. We need to be lonely and see what it is we really feel when we are. If we continue to distract ourselves so we never have to face the realities in front of us, when the time comes, and you are faced with something bigger than what your phone, food, or friends can fix, you will be in big trouble.” — Evan Sutter.
In summary, the debate goes on and on concerning the behavior around technology usage. Some people will argue that usage of mobile and digital devices should not matter. It solves the problem of communication and networking fast. Despite having some very substantial benefits; however, a good thing can quickly become bad if abused. It would be myopic of us not to look at the disadvantages of excessive usage. Some of the notable effects of mobile and digital device addiction, as we have seen, include its time-consuming nature; users can suffer insomnia; it can impact relationships; addicts can suffer from Nomophobia, and victims could become aggressive.
We have looked at several tips on how to change our behaviors when it comes to mobile and digital technology use. Tips #1 to #7 are personal ways to combat addiction to mobile and digital devices. The goal is to change the addiction habit using all these first 7 tips. If this is not happening, the best bet would be to seek personal one-on-one intervention and therapy (e.g., Tip #8). If going solo on the journey is not your forte, then think of various group therapy avenues that suit you and embark on that journey with others’ help and support (e.g., Tip #9). Finally, the principal goal of this article is to get people talking to one another face-to-face. This is an art that is quickly dying, and it needs to be revived—ASAP.
You can be free from this addiction. It would be best if you made an active attempt to break the habit that you have formed. It will be a difficult journey; however, you must believe that you can do so, and you will see it materialize in your life. Always remember that your freedom from your mobile and digital device addiction is a state of mind. It is a state of mind that has been built via repetition. Understand the effects of this addiction that is stealing away moments from your life. Adopt the tips above to free yourself from this maladaptive habit. Try each tip—try them repetitively to restructure your mindset. Change the state of your mind. Don’t be a prisoner of your mobile and digital device—break the chains of addiction that hold you down. Don’t let it master you and your will. Rather, free yourself from its hardened clutch on your will and become its master today.
- PsychGuides.com. (2018). Treatment for addiction to smartphones. Retrieved from https://www.psychguides.com/guides/treatment-for-addiction-to-smartphones/
Science & Tech
The Future of Technology—Myths & Secret Wishes
We ask many questions regarding what the future holds for us as technology grows and advances globally. There are myths on how technology will run the future and our secret wishes for inventions in the nearest future. Please read all about it here.
Technology’s penchant for continuing to evolve is one of the reasons it keeps increasing in popularity. People can’t get enough of it. It’s in our faces all the time with little gadgets like smartphones and other personal handheld devices, which we can’t seem to do without presently. The truth is that technology will never go extinct because the world is a happier place when technology leads the way. After all, it makes life easier, right?
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” — Albert Einstein.
The advancement of technology is growing by leaps and bounds. In the words of Naveen Jain, founder, and former CEO of InfoSpace, “We are now living in a fast-paced technological era where every skill that we teach our children becomes obsolete in the 10 to 15 years due to exponentially growing technological advances.” The craving for an easier life makes people look forward to the next creation in technology with an interest keener than studying the world’s map. The growth and influence of technology globally are nothing but mind-blowing.
When we talk about technology, this myth factor follows it—we think wild into the realms of unimaginable ideas and concepts. We believe so vast that we often question ourselves on whether our thoughts would ever become realities. We have secret wishes of things we would love to see become a reality. Can man fly without being on an airplane? Can a man walk on water via the use of technology? Can we reach a point that we can beam or move materials across time and space in the blink of an eye? Can we colonize the frontiers of the galaxies as we watch in the movie Star Trek?
Call them myths or fantasies or secret wishes; the truth is that some of these wild concepts are fast becoming realities. In the words of Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze, the founder of Oaekpost, “The move to a technological future is moving the sprockets of time at mind-boggling speeds towards realization.” Some myths may remain myths. However, some of these imaginations may become the realities of tomorrow, all things being equal. Let us look at some of these myths or secret wishes that are becoming today’s reality.
Technology has always been futuristic. It shows us things that are miles away from our current standpoint, and we always run towards it passionately. There’s always that belief that running towards the futuristic eyes of technology would someday reveal that robots would share streets with humans worldwide. Some people get excited with such a thought, while some find it ominous. In all honesty, the idea is scary and exciting at the same time. It’s exciting because the thought of relaxing and allowing a robot to do house chores feels more relieving than the best medicine.
“Robots will harvest, cook, and serve our food. They will work in our factories, drive our cars, and walk our dogs. Like it or not, the age of work is coming to an end.” — Gray Scott.
As much as you may think these things are myths or fantasies, these trends quickly become a reality. We see robots fast inching into various aspects of our daily lives and making an impact. We see robots in action in automated transportation, security, defense, and surveillance. We now use robots in the culinary world, medicine, education, home maintenance, dangerous jobs, house chores, social relationships, and crime-fighting. The scary part of the thought is that most people feel a malfunction is bound to happen in the robot’s brain. The belief is that it might lead to the robot showing a dangerous and harmful upgrade that will threaten human life as we know it. For more on robots, check out our Oaekpost article, “Robotics and the Future of Man.”
#2. Flying Cars
Even people who dread the sight of height secretly wish to fly for a minute or two. People have driven cars and covered long distances enough to build multiple stadiums many times over. But many people still want cars to share the sky with an airplane, which is a surreal sight when imagined or seen. This myth is a favorite for many people. What is the main reason for this fantasy? To beat the endless traffic that makes distances longer for cars to cover is a reason that quickly comes to mind. Of course, there are several reasons people want cars to fly—some like it for that rare pleasure of looking down at the earth from an aerial distance.
“We could definitely make a flying car—but that’s not the hard part. The hard part is, how do you make a flying car that’s super safe and quiet? Because if it’s a howler, you’re going to make people very unhappy.” — Elon Musk.
Man is fascinated with flying just because it is fantastic. Call it a myth or fantasy; the truth is that it is fast becoming a reality. Many companies out there are investing many resources to see this human fascination become a permanent reality. Check out the Oaekpost article “Get Ready to Fly—The Flying Cars are Coming!” However, you must note that if traffic is the primary or sole reason people wish for a four-wheeled mechanism with no aerial button on it to fly, then it’s a myth worth orbiting around one’s head and thoughts.
The talk of human clones is quite mysterious because it’s a different and more complex version of a twin. Unlike twins who share more than physical traits, clones are always considered mercurial and somewhat dangerous. The reason is that people feel things like clones are sudden creations and did not undergo the gradual growth process of normal beings. The thought of seeing one’s identical self out of the blue is a hard pill to swallow. It is ethically unsettling to think about it. Yet cloning is very much talked about by people when you mention the future of technology.
“While that amendment failed, human cloning continues to advance, and the breakthrough in this unethical and morally questionable science is around the corner.” — Mike Pence.
It’s difficult to imagine people fully embracing the idea of cloning because people like to be unique. Some people don’t even like standing in comparison with other people. Or something as minute as having someone photobomb their photos. Some don’t even like sharing their names with others. Humans love to be distinct to stand out from the crowd. Despite all these, the persistence of man at times is downright stubborn on many occasions. Despite the push against cloning by governments, some companies are pushing and researching this science. Let’s leave this talk for another day.
Despite the debate on cloning, it still does not stop people from talking about human cloning. In the words of Cliff Stearns, an American businessman and politician, “In early January I introduced my legislation, which, besides prohibiting Federal funding of human cloning, also expresses the sense of Congress that foreign nations should establish total prohibition on human cloning as well.” It is a debate that will continue in many years to come, even if it’s a scary notion that triggers one to venture into the complex world of surrealism.
#4. Intelligent Buildings
Walking into most buildings presently is as easy as walking into a picnic. But the futuristic notion is, structures would be more intricate. In architecture, the talk of intelligent building designs is not a new notion in the developed world. In the Engie article, “The Future of Smart Buildings,” [Link to the URL ] there are talks of buildings gathering human data on body temperature, perspiration, heart rate, etc. Building Management Systems (BMS) now collect data and do more to control different aspects of the building structure automatically. So, can we say that this is still a myth? Is technology making an incursion in the construction of homes? Who knows, we could have homes that repair themselves in the future when its integral part breaks down. The fascinating future of smart homes seems endless.
“The buildings of the future may think for themselves.” — Siemens.
Opening a futuristic door to a building would only be possible if one is tech-savvy, which means the future won’t be for minds with half-baked wit. Like we see in the preceding paragraph, it’s not just about the exoskeleton of the building. People believe that the interior of the building is where the futuristic technology displays itself—things like excessive use of voice commands to carry out activities that hands usually do. Also, locomotion would be limited since the voice can make things happen. Of course, voice command is already present today. Still, people think in the future, it’s going to be super-prevalent, that its excessive usage is going to cause endless echoes around the world, that it could make a voice visible and become part of the world’s population.
#5. Fuel Would Cease to Exist
For most people, the notion that fuel would cease to exist is an excellent thought to wrap around one’s head because it would be highly economical. What makes the ideas wrap around the head more friendly is, people are under the impression that fuel’s replacement would be water or a charging system. Naturally, one cannot imagine a world without the presence of fuel. However, this myth is possible to become a reality.
“We should not just consume hydrocarbon fuel but use it to develop nuclear energy, hydropower, and renewable energy sources.” — Vladimir Putin.
The thought of futuristic progress keeps making the human mind the body’s compass, as it keeps driving it forward before the rest of the body into futuristic skylines. As we see the prevalence of electric cars, especially in the developed world, this presumed myth could become a reality on a global scale. After all, crude oil does not last forever; hence, the need to start seeking alternative sources of energy.
#6. End of Office Work
The end of office work is a favorite with fans of technology. In the developed world, this is quickly taking a foothold. Many companies (e.g., in the United States, companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Adobe, Facebook, etc.) now allow permanent remote working. Remote work is on the increase, especially from the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic till the writing of this piece. However, it happens today, mainly in the developed world, but not too widespread in the non-developed nations of the world. Not having to worry about being late for work should be a huge win not just for fans of technology but also for workers.
“Comfort is never exhausting.” — Unknown.
There is a strong belief that technology would spread its wings of gadgets around the world in the future. Because of this, the assumption is that many companies and organizations will switch to remote work. The thoughts of not having to be part of the hustle and bustle out there to eke out a living must be a colorful thought one would not want to shake off quickly. Is the end of office work a myth or fact? It is safe to say that it depends on the subject nation’s technological advancement. Underdeveloped countries will consider this a tale; however, developed nations will consider it as a possibility or a fact.
Technology has already shown its impressive self and is still working out in the tech gym to show its distinctive physique. Ever since technology took hold of the world with its firm grip, it hasn’t let go. It’s a firm grip that makes people happy. It makes them keep imagining things about the possibilities of technology that seem somewhat fictional at times, yet they very much desire it. The world is looking forward to what the future holds with new science and technological inventions. Call them myths, secret wishes, fantasies, or facts; the truth is that the possibilities are endless.
Science & Tech
6 Reasons Why Your Tech Product is Not Selling
Tech products always require many intelligent strategies to sell, but what if the designs are not enough? Read on as I share some insights into selling your tech product when you’re finding it challenging to sell.
Lately, there have been many tech products springing up everywhere and a lot of noise in the market. However, the truth is that we cannot listen to all the tech cacophony out there; we can only listen to a few. Yes, we hear the others, but few get out attention, and why is that? We’ve interacted with these tech companies because they have been proactive in reaching out to us and convincing us to buy their products.
“Selling a tech product doesn’t have to be complex if you do the smart work.” — Unknown.
Some companies do the right thing that jet sets them off to great fortunes. However, some tech organizations struggle to get their products from off the ground. What are these companies with failing tech products doing that is impacting them and robbing their efforts? That is the essence of this piece.
6 Reasons Why Your Tech Product is Not Selling
You have created a fantastic tech product, and with all the excitement that follows such innovation. But, unfortunately, you’ve launched for sale, and nothing is working out as planned. As it stands, you might be freaking out now, which of course, has prompted you to read this article, all things being equal. So take a chill pill as I share some insights as to why your tech product is not selling in the market. Let’s go:
#1. Your Product is Not Needed
Sometimes as entrepreneurs, we feel whatever we create has to be accepted by the market, and that’s where we get it wrong. First of all, you need to be sure that your target audience needs your product. It would be best if you did the groundwork to analyze your market through research. It would help if you also did some validation to ensure that a good percentage of your target market needs your product. When you’re confident that it’s required, then you can go to market with your product.
Your product should be validated if you’re already selling one without validation, and if you’re having trouble with sales, make sure there is a demand for your product in the market. Then, following your research, if you need to tweak the specs to fit the market’s needs, proceed. No one needs a product that still makes them do 100% of the work. People are looking for the fast and efficient. If it’s something they can already do by themselves, they don’t need your product.
#2. You’re Selling the Technology and Not the Feeling
Marketing is the foundation of any successful or unsuccessful business. You will see your product sales soar if you execute it correctly. When done wrong, it will suffer adverse consequences. In your marketing, what approach are you using? Are you only mentioning the specs your team put together and making your marketing language too techy? If you do that, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. On the other hand, if you’re not marketing right, you’ll be stagnant in sales. When selling your product, sell the feeling—sell the emotion behind the tech.
How does your product make the end-user feel after purchasing it? What experience would they get from your tech product? For example, if I’m purchasing a new laptop advertised on the net, I’m buying the feeling of a lesser weight when I put it into my feminine handbag. I’m buying the feeling it gives me to work faster without the RAM slowing down my work. I’m buying the convenience I’ll get when using the laptop. You must avoid using technical or scientific language in the marketing of a technology product. Instead, list the benefits your product gives that create the feeling your target market needs.
#3. You’re Not Selling the Stories Right
Do you tell stories about your tech product when marketing it? Create a buyer persona and tell how your tech product has helped him or her overcome challenges they were facing without it. In their video advertisements, Google, for instance, can tell a good story. In their ads, a college student can use the Google search bar to find information quickly on a subject topic that would have been difficult to find in a school library. Or a dad can embed YouTube videos directly into an email to save memories for himself and his daughter.
In the two above instances, you can see that Google didn’t mention their specifications in data, speed, or feed. They did not get techy with the advertisement about their technology; they just told a story that people—their audience—can relate to, all things being equal. Google focuses on the stories and memories created from the benefits the specs give to their users. Storytelling is what sells in marketing. Your target audience can connect with stories based on the features your product offers.
#4. Your Pricing isn’t Encouraging
Another reason your tech product might not be selling is your pricing. If your target audience can’t afford the price of your tech product, then you must do some tweaking to make them know you have them in mind. Don’t be too cheap or too expensive but have a standard price for your product that makes your ideal customers purchase. Your customer may not be everyone, but the one who is shouldn’t break the bank to buy from you. You can also create packages so people can know which they can afford. For example, if your tech product is subscription-based, offer discounts or free trials, then upsell.
#5. You are Not Listening to the Voice of the Customer
Again, if your product is not adding any value, you won’t make sales at all. If what you say the product can do is different from what it does, you’ll get many bad reviews that will discourage many people from purchasing it. Sometimes, the voice of the customer plays a huge role in ensuring that you will sell your tech products. In the words of Jonathan Mildenhall, “Amazing things will happen when you listen to your customers.” The million-dollar question is this: “Are you listening to the voice of your customers?”
If your product isn’t saving the day or making the user happy, then pause and investigate it so you can come up with something better, then re-strategize and sell. Your customers’ opinions about your tech products may be the saving grace that brings your sales back on track. So, it pays to have a social listening ear. Look out for reviews or complaints and make the necessary changes to keep your customers and sell more. In business, listening to your customers makes the difference between those who succeed and those who fail. Customer opinions are critical to the success of your tech products.
#6. You’re Not Putting in Extra Effort
Don’t depend on one marketing source or channel. Instead, go the extra mile by attending exhibitions and going to where your target audience is. For example, if your target audience includes college students, do a campus tour to advertise your product and offer freebies. If your target audience includes corporate executives, don’t rely on digital marketing alone. Instead, make sure you attend executive conferences and network. Or, get a speaking engagement to chip in your product and the problem it solves. If you’re not thinking out of the box to make sales, you may get stuck in the rot and not grow. Always remember that success is dependent on effort!
Selling generally as an entrepreneur can be challenging, and selling a tech product might be more arduous. To sell your tech product, you need to ensure that your target audience needs your product and you’re selling the feeling they get from using your product. As well as telling the right stories, you can sell your products by being flexible with prices. Your tech product must save the day for your target audience by appealing to the voice of the customer. Finally, it would be best if you made an extra effort to think out of the box so you can sell more.
“Effort paves the road to success.” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.
Are you in the tech industry? If yes, what tech product are you about to sell? Have you been successful at making great sales? If yes, what are some of your best practices? If not, what have been some of your pitfalls that you would advise readers in our community to avoid? Then, talk about it in the comment section.
Science & Tech
12 Apps You Need for Your Personal Growth
The quest for personal growth, self-help, and self-development is a given in everyone’s lives. We are amid an App evolution and revolution. We can leverage these applications in fostering our personal development. Find out how! Please read all about it!
We are amid an App evolution and revolution. As a result, there is pretty much a mobile application for almost everything that you can imagine. According to the Statista Research Department, the statistics on Mobile app usage are nothing but mind-blowing. They establish that the primary application stores are the Google Play Store for Android phone users, the Apple App Store iOS, and the Amazon Appstore.
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The Google Play Store comes in numero uno in the highest global download of apps. Google Play saw a 21.3 billion apps download—mind-blowing, right? On the split end of the spectrum, the Apple app store takes home the Herculean share of consumer spending on mobile applications—a mind-blowing 64 percent share of global consumer spending. Statista establishes that by 2023 there will be a projected 9935 billion U.S. dollars via the paid downloads and in-app advertising—gut-wrenching and mega mind-blowing, right? Okay, I can go on spewing numbers; however, we get the gist—mobile app growth is a super hungry and growing beast!
Yes, the is an app evolution and revolution. In personal development, Apps are also here to stay in helping us become our best selves yet. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” When it comes to personal development, it is a function of choice. It is a conscious decision that we must transform ourselves from who we are in the parlance of our status quo to who we want to become, from soup to nuts. In need of some personal development for a more prosperous life? You can get all the boost you need by having the right apps on your mobile device and grow on the go.
12 Apps You Need for Your Personal Growth
Our phone can be more of an asset when we’re intentional about growth. Mark the qualifying adjective there, “intentional,” you must do it with intention or on purpose. Personal development takes effort. It is a decision that you must make. So, why not leverage the mobile technology in your hand and let it become a positive tool for your improvement? I have carefully listed the best personal development apps you can install on your mobile device, and enjoy your growth journey. Read on and thank me later. Let’s go:
#1. Elevate—Brain Training
Elevate is a brain-boosting app in the form of games that helps improve our analytical thinking, comprehension, focus, memory, reading, writing, quick mathematical calculations, and speaking capabilities. With over 35 games, the Elevate team has been successful in helping us become more confident and productive. The app also helps us track our performance and growth as well as become more successful in life.
#2. Lumosity—Brain Training
Developed by scientists at Lumosity, this app is another brain-boosting app that tests your mental strength and develops your brain. So, if you want to remain bright, stick to this app as it helps to improve your memory, teach you some observation skill and helps improve your problem-solving skills in your leisure time.
#3. Simply Being—Meditation
The Simply Being App by Meditation Oasis® helps build our mindset through daily meditations. You can decide to meditate for a specific time duration, and it comes with meditation music and Natural sounds. You can choose to listen to the music alone to feel refreshed in your mind. Doing this daily, especially to start your day, makes you feel better and helps you stay positive throughout the day.
#4. Hello Mind—Mental Development
The Hello Mind App helps build you by fighting the battles in your mind, enabling you to win life battles. So, if you’re down or struggling with low esteem, bad habits, or specific weaknesses, this app will aid you in overcoming all your struggles and live a happy and more fulfilled life.
Happify is a mental health application that proffers solutions to the feelings of sadness, anxiety, or stress via activities, games, and meditation. Happify allows you to take control of your feelings and thoughts. The science behind its effectiveness hinges on some evidence-based interventions from the fields of positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Unstuck App is that app you go to for quick answers to your questions when you feel stuck in a particular aspect of your life. Hence, whenever you’re feeling down or hate your current circumstances that make you feel stuck, use the app to get out of that box or rut.
#7. Mind Movies—Visualization Training
The Mind Movies App helps you to live your best life. This app gives you access to all the inspiration you need to live a life without limits, set and achieve life goals, manifest a powerful reality, help you achieve your life goals, and connect to a community of people with like minds that will help you grow. Mind Movies achieves its goal via visualization. It nudges you to tap into the power resident in your subconscious, shift your desires into your daily reality. Mind Movies will help you turn your dreams into realities.
Remente is one of the best personal development apps that empowers us to become a better version of ourselves. This app has a library of self-improvement courses, a daily to-do list that helps us achieve our daily goals and our long-term vision. Remente also allows us to track our moods to remain in a positive mindset that encourages us to achieve our set down goals for life and be successful. You can have a prosperous, fabulous, and healthy life by utilizing the Remente App daily.
#9. Pep Talk—Motivation
Pep Talk has an extensive library of self-improvement videos and audios by inspirational experts worldwide that can help you live a more successful life. Pep Talk is an app you can use to inspire you on your way to work, boost your confidence for that project, strengthen you while at the gym, and many more. So, if you want to keep feeding your mind with the right kind of inspiration to aid in your personal growth, then Pep Talk motivation is the app for you.
#10. SuperBetter—Mental Fitness
The SuperBetter App blends gamification with real-life realities. The genesis of this app comes from an actual life experience where the Founder, Jane McGonigal, struggled to overcome intense depression. As such, she had to find a way to help herself and others experiencing the same using the app. As a result, this app has become successful in assisting people to overcome mental illnesses, depression, overcome life challenges, build new habits, and become stronger in mind and body. SuperBetter is the go-to app when you need to overcome depression and remain mentally fit.
#11. Forest—Stay Focused
Like the SuperBetter app, the Forest App uses the idea of gamification to help us stay focused every day in a world with unlimited distractions. Staying focus helps us achieve our daily goals faster and allows us to manage our time successfully. This app helps you set a timer for every work task that you need to get done. If you’re often distracted and can’t get things done on time, then this app is for you.
#12. Workout Trainer—Fitness
The Workout Trainer fitness app helps you remain physically active through a daily workout routine that does not require you to go to the gym or use the workout equipment. You can stay fit by following all the workout instructions in the app and enjoy it more by playing your favorite music to keep you going. Choose a workout most suitable for you and connect with a community of fitness individuals. The app surely helps you stay on track with your fitness goals. A daily fitness routine improves your body, improves your mind, and energizes you for a more productive day.
Personal growth and development are necessary for a more prosperous life when we are intentional about it daily. But, in the words of Hal Elrod, “Every time we move personal development aside, we invite personal struggle into our lives.” We cannot put personal development aside. We must embrace the process of continuous improvement to continue to advance ourselves and move forward in all that we do. Inspiration is key to growth, so why not gain that inspiration via mobile apps that can support the process of our becoming?
“The best investment you can make is in yourself.” — Warren Buffett.
In this piece, we saw some mobile apps that could aid in our personal growth. They include Elevate, Lumosity, Simply Being, Hello Mind, Happify, Unstuck, Mind Movies, Remente, Pep Talk, SuperBetter, Forest, and Workout Trainer. Of course, the listicle is not exhaustive. However, these applications can help our mental health, infuse positive vibes, enhance our growth mindset, help us reach our goals, etc. So, tell me another personal development app I have missed out on in this article? I would love to read your thoughts on this. Good luck as you continue your growth journey.
Science & Tech
Screens & Senses: The Wave of Mobile Technology
Our world today is full of various kinds of mobile screens able to dull our senses. The dawn of mobile technology has made screens even more unavoidable in our lives.
Our world today is full of screens. By the time we get home from work after a long day’s work, we have come into contact with more screens than we can care to count. From our television sets to devices to billboards by the roadside, looking at screens seems to be something we do a lot without even realizing. The dawn of mobile technology has made screens even more unavoidable in our lives.
At the mention of the term mobile technology, many people understandably think about mobile phones. The mobile phone is ubiquitous proof of how technology has evolved since the latter part of the last millennium. However, it doesn’t fully capture the extensive range of mobile technology or other hardware devices and software facilities designed to work in compliance with mobile phones.
Mobile technology refers to any mobile application that allows for the operation or transfer of data on an Internet-enabled hand-held device. Some of these devices worth mentioning include notebook computers, tablets, personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones, smartwatches, virtual reality (VR) goggles, credit card payment terminals, etc. These devices are unique in their portability and multi-functionality. They are exclusively built to work in tandem with mobile technology software’s underlying infrastructure.
However, while mobile technology devices are powerful and helpful tools that have seamlessly enhanced how we relate with other people and ensure higher efficiency in how we work. However, there is an often-neglected aspect of how these electronic devices influence our senses. Especially considering how much time we spend engaging them and our priority on indulging in these engagements. Screen times of these mobile gadgets are definitely up and on the rise.
Mobile technology has also augmented most enthusiasts’ viewing experience, with high resolution and multidimensional displays, creating a symbiotic relationship between virtual reality and the real world. According to The Franklin Institute, the terminology “virtual reality” was first used by Jaron Lanier, founder of VPL Research, in the 1980s. He began to develop the gear (i.e., goggles and gloves) to experience what he daubed as “virtual reality.” This enhancement has added depth to our perception of motion and color, innovatively and artistically.
The downside to this is that constant or habitual exposure to displays of this nature could negatively impact our visual senses. Prolonged exposure could lead to optical strain, tiredness, migraines, and eye infections. These will result in a temporary or permanent loss of sight, partly due to the electromagnetic blue light these displays emit if left unchecked or untreated. With the unfortunate rise of nomophobia, a disorder associated with an unhealthy attachment to mobile devices, there is now an increased negative impact of prolonged exposure to mobile screens.
The same can be said of the audio output of mobile technology devices, from headsets that allow us to have a better appreciation for music, voice processing hearing-aids capable of filtering and limiting the effect of harmful sounds while in transit in a noisy environment. These devices are rarely used in isolation, as they are designed to be adaptable and compatible with other mobile technology devices like smartphones and mp3 players.
However, while these technologies generally enhance the hearing experience, excessive usage, especially at volumes over recommended levels, has led to a marked rise in ear damage and hearing loss issues. There have been many instances where some of these mobile technology devices have hindered the user’s sense of awareness, thereby causing avoidable accidents, some of which have been fatal. Countries like Japan are witnessing an upsurge in young people walking into stationary objects and getting run over by cars due to a lack of attention paid to real-life events while focused on their devices.
The use of mobile technology is teetering to the point of addiction. People are so glued to their mobile devices that it becomes a psychological vice that gnaws at their waking state’s sanity. Like we have alcoholics and drunk junkies, I can clearly say that many people have become mobileholics. To learn more about this, check out the Oaekpost exclusive article on the subject titled, “Mobileholism: The Dangers of Technological Addiction.”
So, while it would be virtually impossible to stop using mobile devices, care must be taken to avoid the adverse side effects. Do not spend excessive time looking at your mobile screens or with your headphones on a high volume. Take time off from your devices to ensure that you do not get addicted to using them. Turn down the brightness of your screen. If possible, buy anti-glare glasses to protect your eyes while reading on your laptop. Avoid cheap or damaged earphones, and most importantly, watch where you are going. We want to make decisions that make sense to protect our visual and auditory senses from the adverse effects of mobile screen exposures. You don’t want to end up another casualty.
Science & Tech
The Power & Future of Cloud Computing Part I
The cloud will become a tremendous virtual autobahn for the migration of the future generated data of IoT. It is a vast network with robust opportunities. Let us delve into learning about cloud computing.
A couple of years ago, I happened to have coffee with a couple of friends who works with one of the Fortune 500 Tech companies, Microsoft, to be specific. As we all discussed, they commented that “The future of Tech is the Cloud.” They said that that is why their company is investing a Herculean load of funds in building many data centers across the United States and abroad. As it stands, Microsoft Azure is in stiff competition with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is currently at the top of the pack among cloud service providers. Other top cloud service providers are Google, Alibaba Cloud, Oracle, IBM, Tencent Cloud, etc.
“If someone asks me what cloud computing is, I try not to get bogged down with definitions. I tell them that, simply put, cloud computing is a better way to run your business.” — Marc Benioff, Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Salesforce
What is Cloud Computing? Various definitions abound. The Amazon Web Service (AWS) system defines it as “the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing.” Microsoft describes it as “the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.” IBM defines it as“the delivery of on-demand computing resources—everything from applications to data centers—over the internet on a pay-for-use basis.” All the definitions point to the same thing—there is a significant workload shift—your local computers in your business don’t have to bench all the weight when it comes to running applications. The interlinked networks of computers that constitute the cloud become the Atlas that carry the weight of your business world.
Cloud computing transcends the mere physical networking of computer devices within a given physical space or location. It deals with how computer services, usually of a complex nature, are delivered over the internet. These services include storage, analytics, servers, databases, and so many others. The advantages of cloud computing are numerous as it offers flexibility and is also affordable for most small businesses. Cloud computing service is also subscription-based. Also, you don’t pay for what you may not use. Your resources are only spent on services that will add value to your business; hence, making your business growth an agile effort. In the process, you can reduce the cost of running your business. You can also grow as a corporate entity without being burdened by business risks that may end up not adding value to your business.
As we advance, we find that the world is fast embracing cloud computing at an astronomical rate. Here’s one staggering statistic I came across on Statista—Amazon Web Services (AWS) is said to have generated over 13% of Amazon’s net sales and 50% of its operating income in the first quarter of 2019. Now think about that! A lot of people know Amazon as an online retailer of goods and services in various business niches. However, as we can see, cloud computing takes the lion’s share of what Amazon makes in terms of revenue. But with such profits it is making from this business niche, we are compelled to pause and ask relevant questions. This is pertinent because it’s not just Amazon that makes this much of a behemoth in revenue generation from Cloud computing. Other companies such as Microsoft, Google, Alibaba Cloud, Oracle, IBM, Tencent Cloud, Salesforce, SAP, etc., are also part of the cloud services rat race.
The power of the cloud in our present age is quite enormous. From the cutting-edge merits of speed to cost to improved productivity, agility, global scale, security, reliability, minimal downtime, etc. The power of the cloud is nothing but astonishing. In the words of Roy Stephan, Founder and CEO of PierceMatrix, “With the cloud, individuals and small businesses can snap their fingers and instantly set up enterprise-class services.” These listed merits are the things that keep drawing these small businesses to the cloud and allowing them to set up enterprise-class services. Business-to-Business (B2Bs) and Business-to-Consumer (B2Cs) have achieved a grand scale and tectonic impact in the 21st century as smaller companies keep migrating to the cloud. Due to these upwards shifts, the estimated worth of the cloud industry is on the rise.
According to Gartner, an analyst, the global cloud services market in 2017 had an estimated $246.8 billion worth. According to Markets and Markets, “The global cloud computing market size is expected to grow from USD 371.4 billion in 2020 to USD 832.1 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.5% during the forecast period.” Meaning that the CAGR between 2017 and 2020 was a 13% growth. Hence, between 2017 and 2025, the projected CAGR will be a 16.4% growth. This, on its own, are mind-blowing figures and astronomical CAGRs. And trends from previous years have shown a high growth trajectory for the cloud computing industry. The future of the cloud is grave with potentials and profits.
Speed is one of the distinguishing and powerful features of the cloud. Momentum appears to be one crucial factor that will play a significant role in the cloud’s future. This is one of the most important reasons why most companies outsource their cloud needs to cloud service providers without considering the cost. Speed is essential for business in the world today. With the cloud, one finds out that it’s way more comfortable and faster to access an extensive range of computing resources within a short time, making it an attractive option. This gives room for flexibility. Via the cloud, IT resources can be provisioned in minutes. Data is no longer confined to a local hard drive in a specific geographic space. The immediate access to needed resources saves time. Time saved is money gained by the business that operates on the cloud. That is the power of the cloud—speed and agility. It can determine whether a company will make more profit or stay in place amid competitors around it.
“Every kid coming out of Harvard, every kid coming out of school now thinks he can be the next Mark Zuckerberg, and with these new technologies like cloud computing, he actually has a shot.” — Marc Andreessen, Co-founder of Netscape, Board Member of Facebook
The cloud’s power can be gleaned when you consider some of its unique features and then the possibilities for the industry’s future growth. Cloud computing gives you a significant leeway to scale globally or, in another context, rise elastically. It allows you to outsource managing your data needs to a different corporate entity, allowing you to focus on other tasks at hand. This means you don’t get to spend resources for hardware components each time you want to expand your cloud needs; instead, you inform your cloud provider as they have enough capacity to accommodate more space for your data/cloud needs. With cloud computing, you can do away with the need for software patching and hardware set up. This saves you space and curtails the stress of budgeting for more areas if you don’t have enough space to contain your needs. The future of cloud computing promises to on-board more small businesses into the sales funnel of the cloud service providers considering the potential for the economics of scale, in which cases these small businesses can save a lot and achieve more at the same time. Talk about ease!
Many more companies will keep migrating to the cloud in the future because it promises a lot of security. Think about the numerous cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and so many others whose security policies mean that these smaller companies stand to be indemnified in the event of eventualities such as data breaches. Consider the far-reaching benefits of this for a typical small company in the United States of America or one in Africa, for instance, a country like Nigeria, Africa’s e-commerce giant. What do you think they will do? Jump at such opportunities? Your guess is as good as mine. Companies are so serious about their privacy as no company would want their private security details to be meddled with. Knowing that cloud providers have a track record of consistency in having well-built security walls to protect clients’ vital information, they will gladly patronize these providers.
Flowing from the above is the importance of protecting data if there is a disaster such as fire, natural disaster, building collapse, etc. A company with an in-house data center for its data storage and functioning needs may risk having all of these destroyed if a fire disaster strikes or other disasters of similar damning ramifications occur. With the cloud providers in place, this task is mitigated. Small companies would, therefore, want to cash in on this great advantage. No one ever entreats disasters on a large scale or even a tiny scale to occur, but you sure know the broad implications of that when they do. To ensure that they save themselves from the stress of thinking about how to mitigate or avoid this, small and large organizations reach out to cloud providers whose core specialty is to handle such specialized functions.
Types of Cloud Computing
The growth of cloud computing has led to the emergence of various cloud models. Each of the models gives the end-users diversified levels of control, flexibility, and management. There are three main delivery models of cloud computing services—often called the cloud computing stack because they build on top of each other when deployed. They are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Let’s take a brief look at each of them.
The first cloud computing type or model is Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). This cloud service offers the computing architecture and infrastructure (i.e., it gives you access to all computing resources—servers and virtual machines, data storage, networks, and operating systems—so that multiple users can access them when needed). Most cloud computing vendors are responsible for managing the four infrastructures, as mentioned above. The IaaS user will be responsible for handling other resources such as Applications, Data, Runtime, and Middleware. IaaS users are mainly System Administrators (i.e., SysAdmins). DigitalOcean, Linode, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Joyent, etc.
Some basic pros of IaaS are as follows:
- The cloud service vendor provides the infrastructure (i.e., servers and virtual machines, data storage, networks, and operating systems).
- IaaS offers the option of enhanced scalability—dynamic workloads are supported by this cloud service.
- IaaS is very flexible.
The cons of IaaS are as follows:
- There are security issues.
- There may be network and service delays.
The second cloud computing type or model is Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). It is mainly a development environment with the following constituting parts: a programming language environment, an operating system (OS), a web server, and a database. The aforementioned encapsulates the ground or platform where users can build, compile, and deploy their programs without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. In this cloud computing model, you are responsible for managing the data and the application resources—making you more efficient and focused on innovation without any distractions. All other resources are governed by the cloud service provider or vendor. Users of PaaS are mainly developers of web applications. Some examples of PaaS products and services are AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku, Force.com, Google App Engine, Apache Stratos, OpenShift, IBM Cloud Foundry, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, etc.
Some basic pros of PaaS are as follows:
- It makes for cost-effective and rapid development of applications—it is very scalable;
- It creates a faster market for web developers; it makes for easy deployment of web applications;
- Private or public deployment is possible.
Some of the cons are as follows:
- Developers in this sphere of cloud service are limited to the Providers’ languages and tools,
- Some migration issues arise, such as—the risk of vendor lock-in.
The third cloud computing type or model is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). It is a service that offers an on-demand pay-per-use of application software to users by cloud provider hosts. It is different from license-bought programs because it is platform-independent. There is no need to purchase and download the software. The cloud providers deploy and run a solo example of that software and make it available to several end users. This simplifies the process as it makes the software available on the cloud, making it possible to access it on any system. These computing resources are hence vendor-managed, making cloud computing in this instance more affordable. SaaS is available for use as a web-based application or via the lightweight client application. The users of SaaS is usually end-users. Some examples of SaaS products and services are Google Ecosystem (e.g., Gmail, Google Doc, Google Drive, G-Suite, etc.); Microsoft Office 365; Concur travel and expense management solution; DocuSign, etc.
Some basic pros are as follows:
- It is globally accessible from any platform.
- Telecommuting is possible via its use.
- It is perfect for collaborative work.
- Cloud providers create access to modest software tools.
- Multi-tenancy is possible while using SaaS.
Some of the cons are as follows:
- There could be portability and browser issues.
- End-users Internet performance may spell the overall performance of the software.
- There may be some compliance restrictions to software use.
The Future of Cloud Computing
At this juncture of writing, I hit a research block—it was as if I got starved of reliable data online about cloud computing’s future trends. The closest data that I found that forecasts the future of the cloud is Google’s White Paper dossier titled “Future of cloud computing: A view of the future of cloud computing, through the eyes of the luminaries who helped build it.” The facts and extrapolations that the dossier presents make sense and an excellent read. We should keep an eye on their statistical projections, as it guides their future predictions.
The power of the cloud is quite immense. Once again, as aforementioned above, the benefits of networking speeds, computer power, or storage capability are only the core minimums that cloud computing delivers. We have also seen that it will make computing more efficient and reliable. These factors are critical in providing new computing technologies that are both revolutionary and value-adding. Cloud computing is cost-effective, drives innovation, standardizes, and simplifies security management.1
In the future, cloud computing will evolve as part of a stack that consists of the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing (i.e., processing at the source of data ingestion).1 (NB. According to Oracle, IoT is “the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet”). Concerning IoT, in the future, these “things” generate big data. The cloud will become a grand virtual autobahn for the migration of the future generated data of IoT.2
Google posits some of the following facts and future extrapolations about the future of cloud computing:
- Many corporations utilize a multi-platform cloud computing strategy (e.g., on-prem, off-prem, public, and private cloud options). This is projected to grow by 90 percent by 2024.1
- Between 2018 and 2021, global cloud spending is forecasted to grow 73 percent from $160 billion to $277 billion and more.1
- By 2022, greater than 40 percent of organizations’ cloud deployment will include edge computing, and 25 percent of endpoint devices will execute AI algorithms.1
Google establishes that cloud computing is already changing how we work and will continue to do so in the future. Decision-makers (i.e., IT and business decision-makers at global-midmarket and large companies) have several forecasts that span from now to the year 2029.1 By 2029:
- 77 percent of decision-makers will use the cloud for most of their needs.1
- 64 percent believe that everyone (i.e., even remote dwellers) will have access to computing.1
- 87 percent expect that the cloud will be a significant driver of revenue.1
- 66 percent more companies will adopt edge computing for the lion’s share of their cloud computing operations.1
- 83 percent of corporations believe that edge computing or IoT will impact all industries.1
- 94 percent of companies plan to use Open Source Software (OSS).1
- 41 percent of companies intend to use OSS for much of their software platform.1
- 70 percent of decision-makers expect many security operations to be automated.1
- 72 percent of decision-makers expect to see more security implementations pre-development.1
“In 2030, because of cloud computing, the number one job will be for developers.” — CEO / Co-founder @observablehq, ex-VP of Eng @google.
The above is just some of the facts stipulated in the Google document. However, a terse summary of this document states that “the future of the cloud will be transformative— “technology models will become more flexible, and open; office cultures will shift toward transparency, collaboration, and constant learning.” 1 Because of all this, there will be more innovation, growth, and team building in the future.
Cloud computing spells the word—efficiency—in technological business operations. The more efficient organizations can run their operations, the more profitable they become. The cloud can offer this level of efficiency; hence, the cloud makes enterprises to stay profitable. The cloud is an autobahn that delivers flexibility, capacity, and speed to cloud service consumers at an affordable rate. The merits of the cloud are what makes it robust and a draw for enterprises. These merits also contribute to the astronomical growth and relevance of cloud computing.
Cloud computing allows enterprises to rise or scale elastically. Cloud computing vendors go the extra mile to offer a secure ambiance of operation, which will continue to grow in the future. The three main models provided by various cloud computing vendors— Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This gives the end-users versatility of options in the effective execution of their operations.
The cloud computing future is robust and will continue to transcend and thrive. The cloud is a software developer’s heaven—we are yet to see the full span of software development that cloud computing will ginger in the future. In the future, multi-cloud platforms will increase. Spending on the cloud will increase. Edge computing will fast become the go-to solution to organizations. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a Herculean role in cloud computing. In the future, the cloud will become part of the stringed mesh of society’s fabric.
“Software is eating the world.” — Marc Andreesen, Netscape Co-Founder and Venture Capitalist.
The cloud computing future is bright. In the future, many enterprises will continue to outsource their IT units to the cloud. There will be “Cloud Wars” as cloud providers duke it out for cloud supremacy in the future. Quantum computing meeting cloud computing will become a norm. Cloud computing will continue to evolve the work landscape. There is so much more to come, so much more to unveil. We are yet to scratch the surface of the future possibilities of the cloud. For more on the future of the cloud, check out “The Power and Future of Cloud Computing Part II.”
- Google. (2019). Future of cloud computing: A view of the future of cloud computing, through the eyes of the luminaries who helped build it. Retrieved from https://services.google.com/fh/files/misc/futurecloudcomputing.pdf
- Kaur, C. (2020). The cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT). International Journal of Scientific Research in Science, Engineering and Technology (IJSRSET), 7(7), 19-22. doi: https://doi.org/10.32628/IJSRSET196657
Science & Tech
The Power & Future of Cloud Computing Part II
It is hard to prognosticate concerning the future of cloud computing. At best, we can only extrapolate what the future of cloud computing will be. The territory of possibility is quite vast.
The cloud is the future of technology. We live in revolutionary times where technological and computer advancement takes quantum leaps towards an unimaginable and mind-blowing future. The computer is becoming ubiquitous in everything that you can think of in our today’s macrocosm. The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in the technological sphere was a catalyst that moved the world more in-depth into the computation deep-space. The world we live in today is amid an intelligent transformation. A lot of this change is being powered by the cloud.
Our first article here on Oaekpost titled, “The Power and Future of the Cloud Computing Part I,” did some justice in covering the basics and cloud computing power. We established that “the cloud is the autobahn that delivers flexibility, capacity, and speed to consumers of cloud services at an affordable rate.” Some of the services are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). We also highlighted some predictions about the cloud, according to facts from Google’s white paper titled, “Future of cloud computing: A view of the future of cloud computing, through the eyes of the luminaries who helped build it.”
Facts about cloud computing are organic at best. It is an animated adventure as cloud computing is advancing and changing at an astronomical rate. Network-based computing that existed forty years ago, which the cloud is—a computer network—is not what it is today. It has evolved. It is still evolving. It will continue to evolve way into the future. Hence, our dialogue is organic because of the notion of cloud computing—the term first coined by then Google CEO Eric Schmidt on August 9, 2006, at the Search Engine Strategies Conference—continuing to morph.
We have only yet scratched the surface concerning the power and future possibilities of cloud computing. Prominent and up-and-coming players in the cloud computing sphere need not be static in thought and actions when it comes to the cloud. They must be quick to evolve as the cloud continues to expand, metamorphose, and advance. So, our dialogue continues. As we move forward on our search to further understand the power and future cloud computing. What best way to do so than talking to industry professionals who live and breathe in the cloud via their sundry experiences.
Conversation with Chinomnso John Okebie hosted by Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze
On November 19, 2020, I had the profound privilege of discussing with an IT specialist, legal professional, Founder, and CEO, at CJO Consulting, Chinomnso John Okebie, who currently consults to the Government of the Northwest Territories in Canada. In our discussion, I sought an opinion on the future of cloud computing. The summation of his position is that “it is hard to prognosticate concerning the future of cloud computing. At best, we can only extrapolate what the future of cloud computing will be. The territory of possibility is quite vast,” said Mr. Okebie. Other factors that we established are detailed in our discussion below:
Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze (OAE): We are joined here today via call at Oaekpost by Chinomnso John Okebie, Chairman and CEO of CJO Consulting out of Calgary, in the Canadian Western Province of Alberta. In the time I have known Mr. Okebie, I will assert that he is a mega-mind in IT and the legal spheres that people need to listen to. Thank you very much for giving us the honor of tapping into the depths of your super prolific mind and being with us here today, Chinomnso; we appreciate it.
Chinomnso John Okebie (CJO): Thank you for having me here at Oaekpost. I believe that your organization will be a jet setter in media as you continue to transcend to new heights. It is an honor to be part of this interview.
OAE: Thanks for that vote of confidence. We appreciate that as we keep striving to attain new heights daily. So. without further ado, let’s get down to the brass tacks of it all. Tell us, what then are your thoughts on the future of cloud computing?
CJO: The future of cloud computing will be impacted by the following factors: regulation, security, cost, and scalability. These factors will drive the change that we will see in the macrocosm of cloud computing.
OAE: So, how will the said factors—regulation, security, cost, and scalability—play a role in your opinion?
CJO: Let’s look at it this way, with the astronomical growth of activities on the web, there are bound to be incidents—for instance, a cyber-attack or breach—that will occur. Such an experience on the web will prompt the law to regulate the industry and make it safer. The security will come as a response and due diligence from the companies to respond to the established law requirements.
OAE: Hence, you are saying that these incidents on the web will cause regulations to be established by the law to help protect IT corporations?
CJO: Yes…as much as these corporations want to respond to the requirements and regulations, these enterprises will have to look at the cost implications and how scalable that system would be. Will changing the status quo of the technology to meet the law’s needs impact the number of people using the system from a cost perspective? For instance, we have a public cloud, and there was an incident of fraud. Scalability occurs when these organizations provide services to their customers via different hierarchies of service.
In the fraud instance, the cloud vendor may not want to implement comprehensive security across the cloud. The reason could be that they may not want to bear the direct cost of implementing this profound change. So, these cloud companies could decide to partner with a cybersecurity company (e.g., Cisco, RSA, etc.) to implement the general cloud security that further protects the whole cloud to respond to their customers’ needs.
However, some businesses using that cloud service may want an additional protection level and would like to scale up their security. The cloud company moves to provide a private cloud within the public cloud domain. The vendor could further stratify its services by providing a dedicated private cloud and a shared private cloud. With these different layers come higher levels of security being provided to cater to the clients’ needs. Hence, the vendor is providing a scalable resource of value for the customers.
OAE: With all, you have said so far, you are stipulating that these factors are the things that will contribute to the future changes that we will see in cloud computing. So, in your terms, we can’t really predict the future of the cloud, but we can watch and experience the changes to come through the lenses of regulations, security, cost, and scalability. So, you still maintain that it is hard to project the cloud’s future, right?
CJO: It’s tough to project the cloud’s future or what it could potentially become. For instance, let us look at ten years ago. No one would have guessed the number of security vulnerabilities we have experienced on the web in that timespan. As technology advances, more things are coming up…
OAE: Hence, could we say then that the cloud’s future will be an organic experience? It is not absolute but subjective and dependent on the changes that are happening at a Herculean proportion…
CJO: Yes, we could classify it as that—there is an extreme extrapolation of knowledge that will influence the cloud’s direction. The actual picture is hard to dictate. People and corporations will make general forecasts about the future of cloud computing. However, I have mentioned the factors that will play a huge role in mapping the future cloud computing future we will experience. As a general forecast, we can say that security will advance due to hacking and web vulnerability going to the next level—also, the general advancement and growth of technologies that will influence the cloud computing world.
OAE: You state that “security will advance as a result of hacking and web vulnerability.” Then, could we clearly say—based on your assertions—that security will be a significant focus in the future of the cloud?
CJO: Yes, that is my assertion. Hackers don’t just hack for the sake of hacking. Most hackers you see are mathematicians that have a clear understanding of value.
Most people that hack systems are not the people that have the business interest. The actual businesspersons who have the business interest go back and cost the implication of accessing some of these systems. They do it to create value.
Let’s take Amazon Web Services (AWS) as an instance. On a typical day, AWS could get close to a million hacking attempts banging on their virtual doors. These hackers, usually mathematicians and physical scientists, are usually funded by business corporations and individuals, mostly in rogue regimes or more so by western governments as part of intelligence operations. Legal scholars have widely argued the ethical or nonethical nature of such operations and remain to be seen. Also, the deficiencies in a globally harmonized internal law on the web’s criminal aspect further complicates the process. These professionals are busy making informed guesses on clients’ monetary and information values, which have infrastructures and data on AWS should they penetrate the AWS to obtain such data.
These hackers are paid as employees to attempt to penetrate the target host, in this case, AWS. The goal is to penetrate the system to show its vulnerability. Should they succeed in such an attempt, the data garnered can generate value for other tech companies. It will also stir up issues in court that creates room for further litigation in court. They also have an inside value from the information they garner because they can sell such data for a fee.
OAE: Obviously, they are not white hat hackers or ethical hackers, nor are they gray hat hackers? So, would you call these hacks to these businessmen or corporations, black hat hackers? Are they bad people?
CJO: Well, in my view, legal training and understanding of legal theory, I find it hard to use the word bad. This is not to say that tort does not exists in law. Good and bad can be subjective and depends on the adducible facts and evidence before you and the regulations you compare those facts after. Something might be bad in one context and good in another. If we look at the rules and regulations in the North American context, it isn’t good.
Remember that some of these hackers and business hooligans come from countries that praise such actions. For instance, places like Russia—take the Balkans in the former Soviet Union. The communist party of China also encourages such too. We will describe them as authoritarian regimes in the West, but these countries see themselves as revolutionary regimes.
For instance, the Communist Party of China sees itself as the only country that rises against the West. Their ideology is that the West plans to destroy this world. Hence, citizens are encouraged towards such supposed “revolutionary” acts. Come to think of it; China encourages its students to the United States, Canada, and Europe to study these technologies and return to their country with the knowledge they garner to work for their government. They can now give their governments information as they are conversant with the systems they learned about in the West.
We in the West, see this as unfair competition. However, in China, they are only trying to gain a competitive advantage over the West. We cannot exonerate western nations from all this—they hack other countries too.
OAE: So far, you have spoken about four things: regulations, security, cost, and scalability. You have asserted that these are the times that will determine the future of the cloud. So, would you say technically that cloud computing will change the way we work?
CJO: Absolutely. I am telling you right now that the cloud has already changed the way we work, and it will continue to do so. Cloud computing is going to get more advanced in the future. Technology, at its early stages, is very disruptive. Cloud computing, as of today, has already disrupted the whole society. Imagine five or ten years ago, talking about working 100% remotely from your house—it was almost a near-impossible feat. Today, there are many workplaces that you don’t need to step into the office—you can do everything from the comfort of your home. Where in time past, you would have to go into work do these things…
OAE: Exactly…and the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world today accentuated the need for corporations to gravitate their workplaces towards the cloud. For instance, the major tech companies (e.g., Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc.) in the Greater Seattle Area in the State of Washington now allow most of their staff to telecommute to work—and the cloud is making this possible.
CJO: …Exactly. There are so many jobs like that now—thanks to cloud computing. Some of these jobs are not even technology-related jobs.
For instance, these are healthcare jobs, where somebody will not have to see the doctor. With the way technology is disrupting everything, it will get to a point where somebody could totally see a doctor from home. Then the doctor sends the person to a center where you probably won’t find a single human being; it’s all electronic systems in place. The person goes into a booth that is 100% automated.
Let’s say he goes into a lab booth. Artificial intelligence (AI) or a robot will find the veins and draw the blood for a test in the booth. The AI or robot will pass it through the system and do all the necessary tests required for the patient visit, and the test result comes out. Hospital staff doesn’t have to carry out these patients’ medical tests and services physically. The hospital staff or lab professional could be directing the patient from the comfort of his home too. For instance, the sonographer can instruct the patient to walk into the x-ray booth, and the whole process is carried out via telemedicine. The medical professionals in the future will see their clients, but they are not physically in touch with them.
OAE: And all this will be powered by the cloud?
CJO: Yes…all these things art over the Internet—the AI, the robotics, and other platforms are right on the cloud. Once you break the Internet connection, none of these systems will work. Right off the cloud—the software, the firmware, or infrastructure—in conjunction with the Internet is powering these processes. It’s all about the Internet-of-Things (IoT). That’s what it’s all about. Internet-of-Things (IoT) is pretty much using the IT, the cloud, and the Internet to integrate any business’s strategic operation.
OAE: So, technically, in the future, IoT and all these new developments could affect software development, right? Because these new technologies are coming out, they have to write software for it. Do you say that cloud computing is also changing how software developers will be working in the future? Because they have to write programs for these things to work remotely, right?
CJO: Yes, it has already changed, and it will continue to change as the cloud advances. Because of the cloud, programming has advanced. In 1989 or 1990, you would be well-off with one programming language and have a job for life. Now, you are wasting your time if you don’t know at least eight programming languages for you to even have a career in technology and programming.
OAE: As you have espoused, cloud computing is already changing the way we work. You have said that it will impact security at great length. You have said that it will also affect regulations, cost, and scalability. You have also said that it will impact the way programmers work. However, back to security again, you establish that there will be more vulnerabilities, and as a result, cloud computing security and security at large need to advance. Care to delve more into the safety of cloud computing?
CJO: Going back to security, as the systems are changed, upgraded, and improved, the hackers are coming up with more quick ways of penetrating those future systems. They are trying, failing, and learning from their mistakes. Finding out ways that they can penetrate systems anonymously and exit anonymously. Know this, though; any hacker can be ethical and non-ethical. What makes you an ethical hacker is that you have received the company’s consent to hack their system to look for vulnerabilities. There is nothing different between what an ethical hacker (i.e., White Hat) does and what an actual hacker (i.e., Black Hat) does. One has the company’s consent, and the other does not have the authorization to do so.
OAE: With more vulnerabilities increasing, that means there will be more online security firms in the future—still relating it with cloud computing.
CJO: Yeah…obviously, security is a huge market when it comes to the cloud and beyond. There would be more online security firms as cloud computing continues to advance.
Now, when these companies find these vulnerabilities, they patent the vulnerabilities they have discovered. Now, the big tech companies out there (e.g., Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon, IBM, Cisco, etc.) also hire these hackers to pen-test their systems in search of vulnerabilities. Should these hackers find holes in these systems, they sell them as patent-right companies to these corporations that hired them to pen-test their system.
The gaps that they see are the company’s intellectual property rights or the hackers that discovered it. The company or hackers will package it and register that right. They will now present these vulnerabilities to the vendors for a not-so-cheap fee. Many times, these vendors prefer doing this to discover vulnerabilities as they can patch their systems internally. It makes more sense for these companies to pay for these vulnerabilities upfront and then repair their systems to make them more secure. These gaps could cost the organization money, reputation, and business to their end-users if found after the fact.
OAE: From all you have said as we wrap up, you have established that security, regulation, cost, and scalability will affect the future of cloud computing. You stipulate that we can’t make a definite forecast about the future of cloud computing. All that we can do is to extrapolate about what the future of cloud computing will be. You also said that cloud computing is already changing the future by the things happening today. You established that it is already morphing the dynamics of the workplace. You also confirmed that as cloud computing advances that software development will again rise. We also agreed that there would be more online security outfits, as cloud computing continues to thrive.
CJO: Yes, and there is one crucial thing that needs to be pointed out. There is this standard narrative that with all the changes that people will lose jobs. That is true; people will lose jobs. What the advancement in technology does is that it makes the workplace a lot more specialized. There are two things; people will lose jobs because they are too lazy to improve themselves, or they are generally not interested in improving themselves. Second, people lose jobs because the system has been taken over by another method (e.g., AI, robotics, etc.).
Many people confuse AI and robotics as the things that take away jobs—that is necessarily not true. Why? Because at the backend of the AI system, you still need someone to help run the AI or robotic systems. The fundamental problem that makes many people lose their jobs is a failure to retrain themselves after systems are upgraded to AI or automated systems.
When systems are automated, they become specialized systems. When it was in a manual process, you didn’t need any special skills to operate them. But for you to run it now because it has been upgraded with AI systems attached to it, you need to retrain yourself to understand the new system. Hence, if you are unwilling to do it, you lose out on the job opportunity. Those who are willing to retrain themselves become the beneficiaries of such positions.
As a matter of fact, I will say that AI and Robotics create more jobs. Sometimes, in the manufacturing field that uses AI or robotics, you have at least four people operating one robotic terminal. One person can do the job; the other three people could do crosschecks to ensure everything is in order.
Hence, if people are not continuously improving themselves by retraining, they will obviously lose their jobs. Naturally, humans are resistant to change. Many get set in their ways and refuse to change. However, some people accept change, and those are the ones that will reap the benefits of jobs that AI and Robotics will bring in sync with the advancement of cloud computing.
OAE: In your last response, you have infused another dynamic into our discussion. So far, we have established that cloud computing advancement will improve software development that will help build and manage these new technologies. We also furthered our discussion on securities. Now you are adding that cloud computing is going to impact learning and education.
CJO: The cloud, AI, and Robotics may not necessarily change education per se; however, when a process is specialized, it will require more training. The only other narrative I added is that people have this natural fear that they will lose jobs when processes change. That narrative is false.
When you look at its reality, most of these robotic and advanced systems require more hands to manage them. They need humans who are in the back end to control and crosscheck their performance. Because a higher level of accuracy is required, multiple human eyes must monitor these new systems for better accuracy and proper data documentation.
If people entertain the notion of fear towards retraining, that may handicap them not to retrain themselves. As a result, they will eventually lose their job to those who decide to take that leap to garner that new knowledge. It all boils down to the factor of choice.
OAE: You have thrown yet another dynamic into it, and I believe that our leaders are learning a lot from our dialogue. We are discussing how the cloud will impact the future. We established that cloud computing advancement would impact software development, security, and education.
Now, you are talking about fear—that is, people having an apprehension towards the continuous improvement of training. You also spoke about others who will have the needed motivation to improve themselves via systemic learnings. Speaking of motivation, I would say that you have thrown the curveball of psychology into the mix. So, are you saying the future of the cloud will impact our psyche?
CJO: I will not exactly say that or put it necessarily in that way. I only threw in that curveball because people change when changes like this happen—because what we are talking about here is a Herculean change, for that matter. The changes we see are not just to the workplace, but the cloud and its future are also changing the way we live and the things that we do.
There is always this natural notion, particularly when it comes to jobs, that the constant improvement to technology and the addition of all these complex systems take away jobs from humans. But we tend to forget that these complex robotic systems or AI systems don’t work in isolation. There is still a need for supervision of these new systems, and sometimes this cannot be done by just one person—you will even need a team for these functions.
Note that a robotic or AI system is heavily limited to the codes programmed into it. AI systems try to develop intelligence. However, all these are within the bounds of what has been programmed into it. When you have people observing and assisting these programs on the backend, the corrections they input into these systems’ governing program further make the system smarter at the end of the day.
I am saying all these things to debunk the narrative that people will lose their jobs when you upgrade systems. In my opinion, and from what I know about technology, this narrative is not valid. I believe that systems like these can create more jobs, albeit specialized jobs.
So, if you are someone that goes to work and doesn’t embrace furthering your brain, and you are not interested in improving yourself, then you are the one that will not have a job in the future of all these things we are discussing. However, those who will exert themselves to the utmost degree to learn the new and changing systems will be inundated with jobs. They won’t have to look for the positions; the jobs will look for them.
OAE: We have covered many points. We have concluded that “Cloud computing will change the way that we work.” So, we can say that “Cloud computing is revolutionizing work,” right?
CJO: It has revolutionized work, and it will even further revolutionize work.
OAE: Okay, I am going to throw in another final dynamic to our discussion. How would you say that cloud computing is going to impact data analytics? Because with all these new things happening—new technologies, new software, IoT, etc.—all funneling out of the cloud, there will be a Brobdingnagian amount of data. So, how will it transform the work of people in data analytics?
CJO: Data analytics, Big Data, or Data Engineering in general, will be impacted. However, it will depend on the nature of the information collected. Obviously, the regulations and laws will have to come front and center for data collected. If the data collected are necessary business information to improve business processes—provided there are no privacy infringement—then that data can be fed back into the system to develop more business intelligence (BI). That is the whole idea of data analysis or engineering—you collect intelligence based on the system’s operations and processes; you analyze them and feed them back into the AI system to make it more efficient and creative.
There are three things you must consider before data engineering can begin. First are the laws and regulations governing data collection. There are many laws and rules regarding what kinds of information you need to collect. Secondly, you must also look at your duty of care as someone collecting information. Thirdly, you must look at the user consent. You want the end-users to consent that their data is being collected, and you must also make the purpose clear to them. All this will fall into the regulatory aspect of things, as I mentioned from the beginning of this interview. So, there are no presumptions here because the end-users give consent from the get-go.
OAE: It’s been a time well spent, and we want to thank Mr. Okebie for gracing our studios with his presence. The ideas he has presented are profound. It gives cause for rumination and consideration as we delve into the power and the future. Thank you very much for joining us virtually today.
CJO: Thank you for having me.
OAE: The dialogue continues as we explore facts, thoughts, and intentions about the cloud’s future. Feel free to express your thoughts in the comments section below. If you are an IT professional in the cloud computing sphere with credible information about cloud computing’s power and future, feel free to Contact Us for a possible interview, all things being equal.
Science & Tech
10 Most Technologically Advanced Countries in Africa
Globally, technological advancements are on the rise at an impressive speed, with America, Europe, and Asia leading the way. However, the African continent is never really considered to be active in technology; despite Africa holding the world’s earliest record of human technological advancement, dating back to Ancient Egypt.
Globally, technological advancements are on the rise at an impressive speed, with America, Europe, and Asia leading the way. However, the African continent is never really considered to be active in technology; despite Africa holding the world’s earliest record of human technological advancement, dating back to Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptian Technology actively boasts of many inventions. We see Ancient Egyptian Technological innovations in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, medicine, language, architecture, and much more. Some specific examples are the development of writing, papyrus or paper, and ink; calendars, clocks, the pyramids, organized labor, simple machines, just to mention but a few. We will not dive into the technological inventions of ancient Egypt in this article but suffice it to say that they are many and a lot of those inventions are still being used today, albeit refined.
As much as Technology does not have all the answers, it has done and is yet doing tremendously well in shaping the world around us at warp speed. We can see the extent of the positive impact in nations that are classed as “developed.” Advanced science and technology innovations are some of the yardsticks that are used to classify nations as “developed.” The advanced technological base of nations serves as one of the foundational pillars that are helping to drive the economy of these developed nations upwards. This gives them clout, a leadership status in the community of nations. As we can see, technology plays a vital role in distinguishing nations in the alliance of all other nations—nations that show a great advancement in technology and development wield a lot of power, those that don’t recline to the shadows of just being mere spectators lacking power. Countries that are slacking in the science and technological race are competitively disadvantaged to say the very least. Nations that are not as technologically advanced are not usually classified as “developed.” The future of nations is the embracing of science and technologically advanced present and future. The best time to have acted was yesterday, the second-best time to perform is today. As governments come to this realization, they must make a desperate effort to join the technological development rat race.
“Modern technology has become a total phenomenon for civilization, the defining force of a new social order in which efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all human activity.” — Jacques Ellul
Africa cannot stay at the bottom of the technological totem pole. There is a need for countries in Africa to rise and pay attention to the state of their technological advancement. Africa cannot and should not stay at the bottom—after all, when we look back at our historical accounts, we see Africa, via Egypt, as the birthplace of many notable technologies that are in use today. So, where did we fall off the bandwagon? Where did we miss the mark? Where did we go wrong? Technology can help solve a lot of problems that we face in the African continent, and it is a reasonable assertion to say the very least. African leaders cannot stay myopic to the need that relates to embracing science and technology. An agenda to infuse resources into science and technology should be one of the prime agendas in the manifestoes of those going to the election polls across Africa. Those contesting for the role of Presidency should not be voted into office if they do not have a clear plan for science and technology. However, there are some countries in Africa making efforts to utilize the technological opportunities available. Apart from the ample supply of human and natural resources these countries possess; presently, they have minds that are among the elite in the space and could further become shapers of the global Tech industry.
1. South Africa
South Africa is said to be the most technologically advanced country in Africa. In the Global Innovation Index of 2015, South Africa came in at the 53rd place when compared with 143 countries of the world. South Africa is said to support its potentials and has recorded massive growth in Information Technology (IT). Several technological inventions put South Africa ahead of the technological race in Africa. The designs include the following: CAT (Computed Axial Tomography) Scan; Oil from Coal by the South African Coal Oil and Gas Corporation (Sasol); Kreepy Krauly; Pratley’s Putty; Dolosse; the Cricket Speed Gun, Smartlock Safety Syringe, etc. South Africa is the home to Multichoice company (DSTV), a video entertainment and internet company, recognized at a global level.
Egypt is hailed as the cradle of world civilization, and for long, it has related to innovation. Like we saw above, many scientific and technological discoveries are credited to ancient Egypt. In our current day and time, Egypt has not failed to impress us in the world of technological advancement. Possessing some of the best universities in Africa, which carry out high-level scientific research, Egypt has widely adopted the use of technology in all her industries. Egypt’s information and communications technology (ICT) and telecommunications industries are particularly experiencing growth and success.
The most populated country in Africa, Nigeria is a country that has experienced huge leaps in technological innovations. The twist to her tale is that many of these innovations still exist on a small scale, without massive investment being put into them yet. There is the Urine Powered Generator that supplies 6 Hours of electricity on 1 Liter (i.e., 0.264 gallons (US)) of Pee. This inventive process was developed by a group of high-school teenagers (14-year old’s)—Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin, and Bello Eniola. The method uses urea electrolysis to make hydrogen and then using that hydrogen to produce electricity.1 This was particularly ingenious coming from a group of teenagers.
We also see the Moringa plant technology that allows the use of the Moringa plant to treat water. It was developed by the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology in Zaria, Kaduna State. We also see the INYE-1 and INYE-2 tablet computers created by a Saheed Adepoju and released to the world on May 8, 2010. Also coming out of Nigeria is the autochthonous privately-owned computer company, Xinox, that specializes in the manufacture of solar powered inverter systems, laptops, desktops, and tablets. We also see the domestic automobile brand, Innoson. These are just some of the technological innovations that we see coming out of Nigeria among many others. Nigeria comes in third in rank in the community of technologically advanced nations in Africa.
Kenya is the rising star of Africa regarding technology. There is a new-found enthusiasm for Tech in Kenya, backed by a fast-growing Start-Up scene. The Kenyans have borrowed from India’s tech policy framework, using it as a template for their development. This adopted framework is reaping bountiful rewards, with Kenya’s E-payment solutions such as M-Pesa, gaining global recognition. Some other noteworthy innovations from Kenya include solar-powered refrigerator to store vaccines in rural areas with a limited power supply; tamper proof voting machine, a drone which flies for two hours, and a Short Message Service (SMS) car immobilizer.
“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” — Steve Jobs
Ghana’s rise in the last ten years especially in technology is inspiring. It is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to set up a mobile network. Freddie Green, the man who came up with an invention that uses compressed gas to generate electricity, is from Ghana. The country is also the host of Africa’s largest Tech Summit that “brings together hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, digital marketers and creatives under one roof together to address humanity’s greatest challenges via technology and entrepreneurship.” The country is not slowing down in the aspect of technological innovations.
Despite the genocide that brought ruins to the country, Rwanda is rising to become one of the centers of Information Technology (IT) in Africa. The nation launched a 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network to provide better high-speed wireless communication for mobile devices and data terminal services to her people. Rwanda is also flying the Made in Africa banner as the nation produces its mobile phone called Mara with three phone specs (i.e., Mara Z1, Mara X1, and S). Rwanda is also embracing and coming up with innovations to help improve the standard of living of her residence. The government of Rwanda is also making bold steps to develop an automobile industry by partnering with brands like Volkswagen.
The country which has one of the most successful economies in Africa is well known for her Innovation Hub (i.e., Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH)), which is designed to grow start-ups, global corporations, health, and research organizations. The BIH is Botswana’s first Science and Technology Park that is supported by the government to push technological advancement in the country.
There is said to be an increased awareness in the country in the aspect of information and technology development. In 2016, the nation invested in Sphera Bluoshen, a healthcare company which launched an app that provides a 24-hour medical consultation. It is believed that with sustained growth and development, Angola could be one of the most technologically astute countries in Africa.
The government established a fund to finance science and engineering programs at the undergraduate level to promote innovation. There is much investment in the ICT sector and the government encouraging developmental shifts in the areas of health, education, and agriculture. The construction of the Center of Excellence in Biomedical Science began in 2016, with the purpose of facilitating workforce in the biomedical sciences.
The country is presently not experiencing any technological revolution but is said to be one of the technologically advancing African countries being involved in research to improve the country’s industries. Zimbabwe is one of the nation’s leading in biotechnology research in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense, it is all about potential.” — Steve Ballmer
We have seen the countries in Africa that are at the forefront of technological advancement. For the continent to effectively compete with the developed continents of the globe, currently and in the future, then all governments and leadership in Africa need to make concerted efforts in investing heavily in the science and technological sectors. All peoples of Africa must see a non-commitment to science and technology as a threat to the economic security of their respective nations. Africa has the knowledge and human capital, natural and economic resources to start redefining its science and technological stance. The future of Africa is now, the future of Africa rests on the foundations of science and technology. Africa needs to embrace it, cultivate it, and eventually reap the proceeds of its benefits in the present and in the future.
- Walia, A. (2013). Urine-powered generator: 6 Hours of power on 1 liter of pee. Retrieved from https://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/12/23/urine-powered-generator-6-hours-of-power-on-1-liter-of-pee/
Science & Tech
Robotics and the Future of Man
We are living in an age where fiction has become a reality—these are fascinating times to say the very least. We don’t just talk about robotics. We no longer just study about robotics. We don’t solely fantasize about robots or AI. We are now living in the age and reality of it all.
Several years ago, the concept of robotics or artificial intelligence (AI) was mere fiction. Then, we would talk about robots and what they were able to do. We relished ourselves in the futuristic movies and books that we saw about such concepts. Well, today, “Sci-Fi” (i.e., Science-Fiction) has become “Sci-Re” (i.e., Science-Reality). We are living in an age where fiction has become a reality—these are fascinating times to say the very least. We don’t just talk about robotics. We no longer just study about robotics. We don’t solely fantasize about robots or AI. We are now living in the age and reality of it all. We are in the early stages of the Sci-Re age—we are living in the new era of the AI. Technology is evolving and materializing right before our very eyes as the robotic and AI touches our lives in a new way.
From time to time, more and more stories pop-up about people who have been given another chance to lead full, productive lives despite their disabilities because of the improvements on the technology of robotics. Recently, the video of a little girl, Tilly Lockey, who got robotic/bionic arms in place of her polio meningitis-damaged hands flooded the Internet. Or the story of Melissa Loomis, who got her right hand amputated after she was lethally infected via a raccoon bite and became the first to test out the proprietary neuro-prosthetic arm being developed by the John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab—an astounding feat and technological breakthrough (NB. Check out the YouTube video below). Several other such videos have also surfaced online, showing how robotics have helped to change lives for good. It is no longer a figment of one’s imagination. We can still go crazy with our imaginations, but the truth is that we are in the thick of the robotic or AI revolution.
The Mind-Controlled Bionic Arm with a Sense of Touch; Source: Motherboard
“Robots are interesting because they exist as a real technology that you can really study – you can get a degree in robotics—and they also have all this pop-culture real estate that they take up in people’s minds.” — Daniel H. Wilson
Another key example of the positive impact of robotics is in the army, where soldiers risk their lives and limbs to keep their countries safe. Members of all branches of the United States (US) Military (e.g., Army, Airforce, Navy, Marines, etc.) no longer must live as amputees—thanks to the advances in robotics technology. They are grateful for the opportunity to live life again despite their disabilities, with the aid of a prosthetic limb. What Robotics has done is to restore confidence and give back to the veterans and victims of accidents the ability to carry on with their lives without being dependent on others. Science and technology are advancing by the day—case in point is the story of Melissa Loomis as we saw in the YouTube video above. The study of robotics is changing lives at warp speed—I can only wonder what the future holds.
The power of the human imagination and intellect is indeed vast. The Homo sapiens race has proven time and time again that they are able to subdue the impossible. We have seen humans dream; we have seen humans turn their visions into reality. The power of the human-encephalic bundles has shown over the centuries of the ability of man to achieve the seemingly impossible task. Via innovation, man is once again turning fiction into actuality via the advent of the robotic age—the AI age, the Sci-Re age. Again, technology scores one point in the endless curiosity into the extent of its reach. What is the future of robotics in this world of men?
“Robotics, manufacturing, medicine, farming, energy—all will be pushed to and beyond their limits and, by so doing, will advance at speeds far faster than without the impetus and challenge of opening a frontier – thus also raising the odds of survival in our favor.” — Rick Tumlinson
In simple terms, if we have control over these things, robotics will help improve our lives a whole lot. Work can be done a lot faster and with a lot more productivity and efficiency while eschewing the variations that arise due to human error. Life-threatening tasks need not have human casualties anymore. For instance, we are in an age where drones are now used in place of human beings as seen in the various militaries of the developed world (e.g., the US Military). The agricultural sector is witnessing the benefits of AI as robots are deployed to farms to plant, water, maintain, and harvest crops.
Transportation will also be a lot more enhanced in an age of AI. Also, we have seen companies like Amazon, testing the use of drones in their supply chain and logistic strategies. As a matter of fact, on August 29, 2020, Amazon Prime Air received its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 135 air carrier certificate. They can now use “unmanned aircraft systems,” that is, UAS, for delivery products to their customers. In warehouse operations, robotic technologies are being produced for autonomous yard operations. Robots are also being built for last-mile operations
We have seen companies like Microsoft extensively researching and deploying several AI operating systems and technologies. Some Microsoft AI initiatives are Premonition, Trove, Cortana, etc. In the health sector, we can already witness the wonders of these machines and how they are changing the narrative by giving people renewed hope. The revolution is immense, and the transformations are mind-blowing.
However, there are still some concerns as to the potential negative impacts of a world that is even more dependent on machines than it already is. Recently, with the introduction of lifelike sex dolls, an alarm has been raised as to the long-term effects. Will humans get to a point where we prefer being with machines than our fellow human beings? Only time will tell. Many naysayers also point to the potential dangers of AI taking on a life of its own and possibly becoming a threat to humanity. Will there be a robotic invasion? Could Sci-Fi become Sci-Re on this note? Anything is possible. Other experts have downplayed this possibility, claiming that if humans control the switch, we will always be the masters. Is this response an oversimplification of the problem? Should we be worried about what the future of humanity would be with the continued dependence on robotics and AI? It might be worth taking into consideration.
“Technology and robotics are advancing and will reduce the need for workers in the future.” — Jan C. Ting
In an interview, Jing Bing Zhang, Research Director of Worldwide Robotics at International Data Corporation (IDC) Asia/Pacific, shared top predictions and significant robotic trends which will present opportunities and challenges to respective organizations by 2017 and beyond as follows:
First, the need for robotics regulations will arise. Following the continued expression of the autonomy of robots, there will be the need to put rules in place to check the activities of these robots because, believe it or not, people are scared about the possibility of robots taking over. Robots are principled. If they feel that the human element is the anomaly, they will work to eliminate the variation—at least that would be their programming.
Second, there will be an evolution in the competitive landscape. By this, we mean that there will be a competition were human workers would have to work harder to try and beat the robotic workforce to jobs which they both can handle. Should robots be more efficient, which is more likely, it is sad to say that a lot of people will be out of a job very quickly. Hence, it is bound to be a very competitive landscape in the future between the human element and AI. Who wins—man or AI? Time will tell.
Third, there will be an increased talent crunch. In the work landscape, organizations must always deal with the deficiencies of their human employees. Many occasions arise that spell human as unadaptable. Management will usually have to deal with the psycho-social and physical variations that the human element brings to the workforce. On the flip side of the coin, robots are adaptive and can evolve in their intelligent quotient (IQ)—they’d easily knock out their human counterparts in jobs which require specific talents. The Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is defined by efficiency, productivity, and quality.
Fourth, there will be a growth in the demand for Robotics-As-A-Service (RaaS). According to Zhang, 30 percent of commercial service robotic applications will be in the form of a RaaS business model by 2019. RaaS is a new business model where robots are offered as a service rather than as a product to manage an organization’s most manual, mundane repetitive, or hazardous tasks across multiple locations.
Fifth, the dawn of the Intelligent RoboNet will come upon us to compete with the human Internet. This will be in the form of a connected mesh of shared intelligence and will result in a 200 percent improvement in the operational efficiency of robots. Could a RoboNet future be the new wave of globalized networking? We shall see what the future holds.
In summary, the future of robots in the future of man is a highly competitive one, and many are expressing fears of a violent overthrow of power—an alarm, most inspired by Sci-Fi and futuristic movies. There will be advancements in health, transportation, supply chain, logistics, construction, energy, economy, and scientific research and there may be setbacks in human value for labor. Whichever the case, the topic of robotic technology is a very delicate subject. However, all signs point that the future of man is AI.
The Battle of the Clicks and Bricks – Who Wins?
We currently live in a digital age, and E-commerce companies are doing everything possible to win the market share of online consumers. Retail transactions are now being conducted at the speed of a click.
There is a vast global war going on between brick-and-mortar companies and online companies. Technology is currently developing at a breakneck pace, and many consumers are now harnessing the potential of these technologies and using them to shop for their basic needs. We currently live in a digital age, and E-commerce companies are doing everything possible to win online consumers’ market share. Retail transactions are now being conducted at the speed of a click. Consumers are forever seeking ways to make their shopping experience super easy. All these changes are happening right before our eyes. Things we could only have imagined yesterday have become the sure realities of our today.
Who knows what technological mysteries that tomorrow will unfold? Come to think of it, Amazon received its FAA approval for their Prime Air drone delivery fleet service as written by Annie Palmer on CNBC. Soon, maybe AIs will be knocking on our doors to deliver our purchased products after we buy them virtually. Or, maybe, the sci-fi life of Star Trek, “Beam me up, Scotty!” Would be the way of traveling and sending packages across the world—who knows the possibilities of tomorrow?
The war between brick-and-mortar retail and E-commerce has gone from just warming up to red hot fierce. In this battle, there has be casualty companies that could not stand the heat leading to many closures. More is yet to come as the future unfolds. The E-commerce and brick-and-mortar war continues to rage; a battle between “bricks and clicks.”
In the United States, an ample number of store chains and local stores that were started between 1920’s and 1950s have become defunct since the late 1960s. Many of the stores were either liquidated or consolidated as others were declared bankrupt and gone out of business. One of the brick-and-mortar retail companies still pushing onward to stand is Wal-Mart whereas other defunct retailers such as Circuit City are coming back as online stores. The brick-and-mortar store went bankrupt only to be revived online. Furthermore, some bookstores (e.g., Borders Books and Music, HastingsEntertainment, Crown Books, Encore Books, Atlantic Books, etc.) have closed after consumers change their reading habits. With today’s technology, instead of people buying books at a brick-and-mortar bookstore such as Borders, many have chosen to buy books online as other goes for downloading digital prose.
Online stores are fast edging out brick-and-mortar companies in the retail business. As mentioned above, one of the giants still standing in the battle field is Wal-Mart, Inc. Its almost becoming a dual battle between two main giants—Amazon and Wal-Mart. The giant online store Amazon is fierce in its operations—literally using innovation, technology, and the power of the cloud to demolish all that stands in its way. They provide the same products without paying local taxes and other complications faced by physical brick-and-mortar retail stores. However, Wal-Mart is in dead pursuit of the Amazon giant as it maneuvers to become more flexible as it innovates not to lose its retail competitive edge. The Targets, Albertsons, Dollar Generals, 7-Elevens, etc are also trying to evolve to stay alive in the fierce battle of the clicks and bricks.
E-Commerce companies across the world have enabled many consumers to buy goods more efficiently through the Internet. Products are purchased and delivered on time to customers, which is very convenient and reliable when compared to taking a shopping trip to the local store. The E-Commerce retail companies refer to companies that are rising and using technology to effectively and efficiently run their business operations. Some of these companies include Alibaba Group, Amazon.com, eBay, Shopify, JD.com, Rakuten, and Flipkart. Speaking of Flipkart, in trying to stay on top as a big player in retail, Wal-Mart acquired 77% of Flipkart for $16 billion-the world’s largest ecommerce deal. In trying to stay relevant, Wal-Mart has made many other acquisitions—all trying to battle Amazon.
In most cases, E-commerce retail companies are operated in major cities across the world including in the United States, China, India, Britain and many others. Therefore, E-commerce companies are striving to be the best in comparison to their on ground competition. Generally, they provide product descriptions and videos online. Consumers who have interest in these products view the goods and purchase them if it appeals to them. These customers have their products delivered sometimes on the same day or tops a couple of days down the road, and this is an added advantage for the E-commerce retail companies.
E-commerce Edge Over Brick-and-Mortar
Many E-commerce giants such as Amazon have drastically disrupted the market. The phrase, “the age of Amazon” has become the buzz in every home on a global scale. Traditional shipping companies were struggling, however, with the growth of E-commerce companies, deliveries to residences have increased year after year. In a close look at today’s consumers, they desire fast and affordable shipping for quality products. Hence, they turn to E-commerce retailers instead of the brick-and-mortar retailers who are likely to charge more. Furthermore, E-commerce companies offer residential, holiday, large packages, and long distance deliveries at affordable rates across the world and in this case, clients can continually buy more goods online and have them delivered to their doorsteps. In recent times, many Americans have gotten used to products being delivered to their homes including furniture and even groceries. The E-commerce market keeps growing and winning over many brick-and-mortar companies while forcing others to adapt to the new system to sell goods online.
Strategically, E-commerce companies such as Amazon are securing storage containers in different apartments in some cities where customers can pick their packages after they are dropped by delivery drivers. The system has improved delivery efficiency because dropping packages in one parcel locker saves time and resources rather than delivering to ten doorstops. The system has helped Amazon deliver ten times more packages in a short time. Also, they have adapted drone systems in different countries where items ordered online are delivered in times as short as thirty minutes. As we saw above, Amazon has secured its FAA permit to deliver by drones her in the United States. However, they are still carrying out tests to perfect this service before mass launch.
The emergence of COVID-19 in the Fall of 2019 helped E-Commerce companies to increase their market share astronomically. For instance, Amazon is reeling in billions of dollars and is becoming stronger than ever during this pandemic period. As a result of social distancing and the global lockdown of 2020, Amazon and many delivery service companies became the essential workers that delivered purchased products to customers. Wal-Mart grew strong in these times as they got sold out of survival essentials daily. This was bricks flexing its muscles as they own close to 5000 stores just in the continental United States. This has also triggered Amazon to compete against Wal-Mart by making its own acquisitions and pushing to start building brick-and-mortar stores across the United States.
It is evident that E-commerce companies is winning in many aspects of this war over brick-and-mortar retailers leaving many of them on the verge of bankruptcy. However, the likes of Wal-Mart are leveraging the power of the bricks to stand and fight the Amazon and E-Commerce rage. Correspondingly, E-Commerce companies have attracted more customers by delivering high-quality goods in a short period of time. E-commerce companies are striving to be the best. As a result, they are upgrading their systems, which enables them to offer better services to their customers. Struggling brick-and-mortar retail companies should consider adopting new methods of marketing in order to retain their businesses and market share. Improved means of transportation and communication will make it all possible. We sit and watch what the future will unfold as it pertains to this global retail struggle in the battle of the clicks and bricks.