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CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS, TRENDS & IDEAS

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Technology

Chasing Innovation

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Urbanization has been the engine of modernization in Europe. For most citizens today, every event from birth to the grave including education, marriage, work and leisure, occur in cities. Cities are mirrors of cultures and regimes. McKinsey’s report entitled “Urban World: The Shifting Global Business Landscape” predicts the changes of the major cities in the next decade. According to the report, there are 8,000 companies that account for 90% of the total world GDP and third of those companies are located in 20 major cities that generate 40% of their revenue. McKinsey’s forecast shows that by 2025, there will be 15,000 companies to have headquarters in 330 cities, and 40% of these companies will be located in emerging economies. Additionally, according to UN’s estimations, between 2010 and 2050, over 40% of the world’s population will be living in cities. Other studies, such as the UN Habitat: State of the World’s Cities 2012/2013, present a prosperity framework which tries to achieve equitable distribution; where poverty is reduced, minorities have rights, genders have equal participation, energy is used efficiently and the quality of environment is increased. The UN also presents some facts regarding the rise in productivity with urbanization and they find two general categories…

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A Tantalizing Glimpse of the Social Web in the Future; When Everything is Connected

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Imagine yourself chatting with your home before you leave the office. Your home control panel will immediately communicate with an oven and a cooktop to prepare dinner and activate the washing machine before you arrive home. Your vacuum will check the condition of your carpet and clean it. When you are stood up on a date, your home will respond and recommend you food. Your home appliances will gear up for a warm welcome to cheer you up. Once you walk into the house, your favorite music and TV program will already be on along with a welcoming message. This is what Ericsson believes is the upcoming society. In years to come, wireless communications will progressively become part of the fabric of everyday life. Tiny communication chips and sensors will be embedded everywhere, weaving themselves into dense digital meshes. Internet-enabled objects will chat with one another by transmitting massive volumes of data; which once collected, will be processed and analyzed in real time for a variety of applications, creating seemingly endless opportunities for business. This may sound like a futuristic movie story line, but evidence demonstrates that this blue-sky dream is becoming real. A group of university students in Korea,…

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How to Design a Truly Smart City

in Politics/Technology by

For hundreds of years, people have been flocking to cities where jobs, ideas, and wealth are generated. Cities have been perceived as a symbol of opportunities for success, attracting millions of youths and ambitious individuals every year. According to the United Nations’ projections, by 2050, the urban population will rise to almost 6.5 billion, and 64.1% of the developing countries and 85.9% of the developed countries will be urbanized. In response to rising urban population, some countries, such as China and India, have been spending heaps of money to build new cities for the accommodation of mounting city dwellers. Growing urbanization has caused several problems (e.g. environmental degradation, excessive energy consumption, and traffic congestion). City planners have selected Information Technology (IT) as a solution to some of the urbanization problems as well as a means to promote economic growth. Smart grids, for instance, have been installed to reduce the peak demand of electricity and to conserve energy. The Economist introduced a calculation, which states that if America’s power grid were only 5% more efficient, it would save the equivalent of the greenhouse-gas emissions of 53 million cars. Thomas L. Friedman also claims in his book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, that…

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Technological Advances in M-health

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As smartphones and wearable gadgets cascade into every crevice of life, the prospect of technological advances in mobile health (m-health) that will usher in a transformative era of healthcare has appeared. M-health refers to the practice of medicine supported by mobile devices. Particularly in developing countries that have experienced a sharp rise in mobile penetration, a flurry of innovative experiments have been under way to revolutionize their ill-equipped healthcare systems and provide life-saving services to those who need them the most. For instance, Dr. Andrew Bastawrous and his colleagues have developed Peek, the portable eye exam kit comprised of a mobile app and a clip-on scanner added to a smartphone that can perform a wide range of ophthalmic tests, such as a cataract diagnosis. With this smart toolkit harnessing wireless technology, his team was able to diagnose eye diseases at an early stage and prevent a host of people in Kenya from becoming blind. The example of Peek epitomizes one of the features of m-health technology, i.e. remote monitoring and diagnosis of patients. This technology allows doctors to remotely monitor patients, systematically analyze vast amounts of health data and effectively provide treatments in a timely manner. Another technological achievement in…

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Causality and Big Data

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“You see there is only one constant. One universal. It is the only real truth: Causality. Action, reaction. Cause and effect.“ The Frenchman America Online’s 2006 crisis and Edward Snowden’s disclosure got great amounts of public attention, criticizing surveillance parameters and the ethics of big data usage. In this article, I want to look beyond privacy and rather talk about institutionalization. The first thing we should ask is fundamentally how does a search engine work? As any statistical correlation study, big data also starts with sampling but rather than random distribution it collects everything possible where sampling becomes equal to all of the data. Interpreters then make several correlation studies, but usually interpretation ends up with probabilistic causality (factors increase the probability of another). This is normal because as the numbers get bigger, distortion becomes less visible and lets us see things that we have never thought about. Though as we have ‘smoking causes cancer’ signs on cigarette packages, we also should have ‘big data does not mean causality’ because things are getting wrong without any regulation and we have only started to see its implications. Causality is the relationship between one specific event with another and is generally used…

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Decentralization of Production and Customization Culture

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“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” Henry Ford Fordism, named after Henry Ford, refers to a modern economic system built on a standardized form of mass production using assembly lines. It was preceded by Frederick Winslow Taylor’s scientific management techniques whose objectives were to improve efficiency and achieve economies of scale. Thereafter, benefiting from standardized production methods, outsourcing models were developed and became a trend to reduce labor costs. As a result mass production became a major factor of international trade. Three years ago I wanted to produce mouthwash dispensers. They had a simple plastic design but the investment amount for 10 units was nearly the same as 500,000 units. This restrained me from testing the market because there was too much risk to produce without knowing market demand and whether the product would be easily replicable. At the time 3D printing was not popular, but now things have changed. 3D printing is an additive manufacturing method that melts plastic wire to create an object layer by layer. It can produce a variety of products by changing print heads using different types of material including plastic, metal, ceramic,…

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