Automation, Driverless Cars and so on…

A roadmap is something that many people look at, consider, and build. Some roadmaps, such as Rand McNally, take us from one place to another. Some roadmaps show us the functions being added to the software. Some show the release plan for a product. Others may take us on a journey from where we are to somewhere else either as a group, a technology, or as a society. Roadmaps are designed to help us see what will happen when. The reason for my discussion today of roadmaps is the interesting questions raised yesterday by readers of my automation post. I wanted first of all o say thank you to every single person that commented and asked wonderful questions. Thank you, thank you!!!!

I may not have explained remote surgery effectively. Today what happens is an expert (a doctor that has performed a surgery 100, 200, or more times) does the surgery remotely. Please note that most surgery today is arthroscopic; there are no scales, nor does the body ever get opened in the operating room, There are still many surgeries that have some open-air and scalpels are still used. The majority of surgery is orthoscopic. That means that the surgeon, in the room, versus the surgeon remote, is doing the same thing. So in that scenario, wouldn’t you rather have the person that has done the surgery 400 times before? The impact on the body is the same; the tools are the same, but if the person knows all the variables and see them before you reduce your risk!

Automation is scary. The more things that are automated, the more people are concerned. There was a great point made in the comments yesterday about the time of this eventual change. I suspect that most of us look at driverless cars and remote surgery as being 10-15 years away. Sadly that isn’t true. Most likely, you will see remote surgery as an option starting in 2010. Or, ten years ago. You will see driverless cars as early as 2014. They have driven more than 10,000,000 million miles driven in China, US, Europe, and three accidents (one fatality that is still being litigated). It would be hard to know if you have seen a driverless car, as the driver’s seat is obscured on purpose so that people don’t do crazy things when they realize it is a driverless car.

(like run it off the road, which has sadly happened five times. Why would you run a car off the road on purpose, that has cameras all around it)?

I published a more in-depth article on Automation here:


Automation is coming…

The first rule of automation is, does what you are doing require automation? I ask that question often when I consider technology issues. That said, several things are adding automation that may not quite be ready. So let’s play ready or not. I will post a bunch of poll questions about technologies that are currently or will soon be automated. You get to share your thoughts, should that be automation or not? It is a fun game we can all play on a Monday.

The technologies are listed below:

  • Driverless cars (with a driver still sitting in the driver’s seta)
  • Driverless cars with no driver in the driver’s seat.
  • Remote surgery performed by a doctor far away from you.
  • Full robotic surgery

Let me expand these to make sure everyone understand what each one means:

A driverless car means that the car and the AI does the driving. The two options are with a human sitting in the driver’s seat but not during, able to take over or no human.

Fully robotic surgery means that a robot performs the entire surgery, no humans involved.

Remote assisted surgery means a human operates a robot, remotely, that performs the surgery.

I am always interested in what people think about automation. I can argue both sites of automated driving. The single largest accident type in the world is rear-ending another car. More than 57% of all the accidents in the world involve one car striking the rear of another car. Insurance rates are higher in areas where people drive more miles, around more traffic, because the likelihood is that you will have an accident (not your fault) for every 250,000 miles driven. The other side is that the AI may choose six people on the road injured versus the one person riding in the AI-driven car. Both sides are valid, and both sides have excellent points.

The remote surgery is interesting. A doctor who is extremely skilled at an operation has a greater success rate for the surgery. I do not have numbers for this, but it is something you can find on the internet. I know that the move from Scalpel based surgery to arthroscopic surgery where possible reduced recovery time, the impact of surgery, and capabilities of surgical procedures. ACL and MCL tears (ligaments in your knees) used to derail professional sports careers; With the new method, athletes can recover in less than 12 months.

Enough of me talking – it is your turn – enjoy the poll!!!!


Modify your network at home to better support tomorrow…

I manage my home network; one of the things I have to do is separate the gamers (twins) from the worker (wife)! The reason for the separation has to because the gamers can chew up a lot of bandwidth. The worker doesn’t use as much bandwidth as the gamers do, but her traffic is more time-sensitive. You see., when you are connected to a verified system, some checks and balances have to happen. Are you trying to put information into the system, and are you authorized to do that? Most of you are familiar with an authorization system, you type in your password, and you use the site you are connecting. Not all sites have passwords before you use them.

But some do, some go one step further, beyond connecting to the site, or the organization, they ask you to connect first via a VPN connection. VPN or Virtual Private Network changes the status of your connection to an organization. You are on the actual extended network of the company or organization that you VPN into. Then you connect to the company directory system, and you are authorized to use the resources. But, that connection is timed. It isn’t connected once (as many web sites) there is a period of authorization. The example would be a banking website. When you connect, you are only connected for a specific period; once you are inactive, the system logs you out.

Like most homes, we have three types of network connections in our house. The first is the ethernet. The cable that normally plugs into the back of your router. The other is Wifi. In our house, we have a 2nd wifi segment that is set aside for my wife. That way, she never has an issue. I moved the twins over to ethernet by running cables to the switchback in the basement. That way, my wife has the bandwidth she needs without the twins have an issue while gaming. Having three segments also allows for faster troubleshooting when one of the users tells me their computer can’t connect to the internet. I check the connection between their segment and the internet.

I realize this is probably overkill for most people, but it is important to make work at home easier for my wife when she can!


who do you call? when the lights go out?

One of the things that interest me is using and providing technology solutions for problems. One of the jobs that recently transitioned from human outdoors, to human indoors is the Drone management system for verifying pipelines. The reality of watching and checking a pipeline is that in the past, ten works could over a week, cover about 20 miles of pipeline. That meant that the overall cost of the pipeline was increased because they had to have more humans walking the pipeline. Plus, as noted by many spills over the last 30 years, the rate of failure was high enough that it was an issue. Now with a drone, two things can happen. The drones working for human reduces errors.

The same is true for electrical lines and phone lines. The drone operated by an educated human (what to look for) can cover more ground. This allows the operator of the drone to dispatch repair crews more effectively. Breaks and issues are noted, and because of the GPS settings of the drone, the dispatch goes right to the problem. That reduces the time repair crews spend trying to find the problem. The other very interesting thing is that it allows for more overall repair crews. This means that the company can deal with larger and more difficult outages quickly. You wouldn’t fly the drone in bad weather, but you can fly the drone once the storm is passed.

We often don’t see crews out until there is an outage.

Both of these things are great examples of how technology and automation can help people. The other thing that you will see more and more is the use of drones when trying to find people. An operator in a building can fly a drone, 200, 2000, or even 12000 miles away. They can quickly be using the drone to cover a lot of ground. With infrared cameras, they can see a human being at night.

The cool thing is that automation and technology and help people be more effective in their jobs.


Get that next picture…

What do you see? It is a concept that is interesting. Many people carry their cameras everywhere (they often call them smartphones).  The camera has evolved significantly in the past ten years. The large cloud backup solutions for Apple and Android devices talk about the fact that the rate of pictures has gone from a year over the year growth rate of 10% to a year over the year growth rate of nearly three times that. Billions of pictures taken and added to cloud services over the past year. But the smartphone isn’t the only camera out there. As is often the case, the market existed before Smartphones changed it. Yes, there are more pictures taken by smartphones now than ever before.

The technology of cameras continued to evolve. While smartphone cameras got better and better, so did traditional cameras. The rise of digital made it easier for users to do more with less. Many people only have a smartphone as a camera. But, there are now specialty cameras that provide features and capabilities that smartphones aren’t as easily able to provide. I thought it would be fun to talk about what you can do with a digital camera now.

Things cameras can do now:

  • ROV –and underwater camera, you can drive anywhere you want to see underwater!
  • Drone – an aerial camera came as an ROV, you control what you see from above
  • 360-degree camera – allows the camera to take an image all around the camera.
  • Infrared camera – see heat signatures on objects.
  • AR cameras designed to help you capture an area for creation as a virtual room identical to the real room. Realtors use this often now to create 3d walkthroughs of homes they are selling.

The best part of all of these new capabilities is most of them directly integrate with your phone. The future is the smartphone in your hand. As we move towards that new world, it is fun to see how cameras are evolving.

Now I wonder, what is going to evolve next?


is technology the solution or the problem?

My grandfather always used to say, “are you part of the problem, or part of the solution? It is not an easy question to answer. Many of us struggle with the question for most of our lives. Situations change, problems arise and decline, and in some cases, we are part of the problem; we are part of the solution. As a technologist, I often look at solutions to problems. Here is the thing that 30 years’ experience in the IT world has taught me.

Most problems are related to how people use the solution.

That is not a condemnation of users, simply the reality that I built a solution to a problem. I perceived that problem. I perceived the solution and acted on it. The reality of that is that I look at things differently than you do. Most likely, you and I or we or them or someone else looks at things very differently than I would or you would. Or, for that matter, we would.

As I peer into my crystal ball seeking solutions to problem suing technology, I often realize that it is harder for someone people to understand the technology. It, technology, creates a fear reaction in some. I have a really good friend that has spent his life as a Car Mechanic. He is really good; when I lived in Indiana, I always took my car to him. But, he hates technology. He will use it only because it is in the cars he repairs, but he doesn’t use it outside of work. That is certainly one way to live your life. I have another friend who is a doctor, and he spends his life seeking technology that will help his patients. He is the person that turned me on the Fitbit technology when it was first available. He embraces new technology in the exercise area.

But, both of my friends who are very knowledgeable in their fields (and people I trust and rely on) don’t use technology as I do. In realizing that, I changed my technology posts over the past couple of years. I no longer talk about technology that is so far away from where most people are, that they don’t understand. It isn’t that they are mad or frustrated with me; there isn’t a connection between the technology and them. That connection is what drives me. It is what drives everyone in their lives. What we are connected to is very important.

So, I will once again offer to read and share your old posts!

I am picking a user a day and going back and reading their old posts and sharing them.


is the phone by your face, clean?

One of the things that I always do when I get a new phone or tablet is buying a screen protector. It is honestly the quickest way to protect the screen of your device. I have been doing that for many years. The only time I cracked my iPhone screen in all the years I’ve owned a smartphone was the day I dropped the phone earlier and ruined the screen protector (I had one of the glass protectors). As fate would have it, I had the phone in my hand at home when I found the second patch of ice for the day and lost my balance; the phone went flying. Phones can land facedown with a projector, and the screen will not crack. They can face up with or without a projector, and most likely, they will not crack.

They cannot land on the corner however, they crack. So I always have a screen protector. I also now that I use the iWatch don’t take the phone out of my pocket as much. The other thing that a screen protector does is keeps the smudgy fingers off your actual phone. But did you know that was a security risk for you? You see, the smudges on your phone screen or projector align to the numbers you press for your access key (if you don’t have an access key today, I will set one). I use the Windex electronics wipes. I store them in a sealed plastic bag (that was my mother-in-law’s recommendation 20 years ago, and honestly, it works. The wipes last 2-3 times longer.

What they do is remove fingerprints from the screen protector. That reduces the risk of you revealing your phone passcode accidentally. The other thing we have is a device called PhoneSoap. What phone soap lets you do is place your phone in a cradle that kills all the germs and bacteria on the device. It, your phone, often lives next to your fingers, and your face, knowing it is clean, is a good thing.

My four recommendations for phones are detailed below!

  1. Set a passcode for your phone. Yes, it is only a little bit of projection, but it is better than nothing!
  2. Put on a screen protector to help your phone stay well, not broken!
  3. Get some electronic wipes and clean your phone’s screen.
  4. Finally, get the PhoneSoap Device. It will kill the germs on the one thing you often put to your face!!!!


New Beginnings…

An interesting modification of Carol’s awesome idea to share the posts and spotlight specific writers. Let’s give the challenge a name – my choice is The New Beginnings Challenge!

First, we want to be able to quickly find the oldest post of the authors we are including. Let’s start with how to get to an author’s oldest post, you go to their author profile page. Select the more button. Select posts. This takes you to a listing of all of their posts. Now click the highest number on the list you see and share the very first post they made on Virily. Views are slightly up based on the initial challenge (spotlighting by CarolDM). Let’s see if we can get things moving forward! The goal is to get the community engaged and involved moving forward with positive posts. Some of the older posts that authors have had on Virily for a while have many hundreds of views. Some of them are themes we see throughout our time here writing!

So I interrupt your regular schedule technology broadcast to join The Challenge of the new Beginning!

The challenge that was issued was by Ghostwriter. The rules are as follows (totally making these up there are no rules)

  1. Pick three authors and go to their profile page!
  2. Go to the last page of their posts in the author profile and share their very first post.
  3. Then send a message (see above) to the last person on your list of 3 authors. Include the link to the person who challenged you like a chain letter.
  4. If you have already been challenged you don’t have to participate more than once!

So to be clear – 3 authors. The author that challenged you, an author you read often, and finally, the author, you are challenging.

5g is it already killed Wifi 6?

Apple Pay and Android Pay are systems that use what is called NFC or near field communication. The phone is a secure device that supports the NFC transition. One of the things that I suspect the implementation of 5g throughout the world that is going to change is that NFC. You see, with 5g, either mobile for fixed (fixed is when the 5g signal goes to the home or business and is then shared by multiple users in a building or home), everything will become NFC. NFC with a lot more data available. I was in downtown DC about two weeks ago, and with a 5g hotspot, I was able to get 1.2 megabytes download and 1.1 megabytes upload. At the same time. I was uploading a one gig file and downloading a one gig file simultaneously.

That’s what 5g brings. The ability for applications to now moves massive amounts of data quickly. That got me thinking about Wifi6. Wifi6 is the upcoming or recently released new standard for Wifi. But with 5g, having more bandwidth in more locations, I wonder if Wifi6 might be the last Wifi ever deployed in the business world. It raises a technology question that isn’t always considered. Does the future now change because of what is happening now? If you watch superhero movies, or movies involving the many time-travel theories you know of the butterfly effect. What that says if you kill a specific bitterly, and that butterfly has an impact on the world, the next day history changes.

Well, the future, that will be the present that could once have been the past, will change.  I wonder having been playing with 5g for a bit now if the future hasn’t already changed. The first significant impact of 5g will be the reality of what people do with devices. I know that the fast runner who leads the pack early in a footrace is called the rabbit. Normally the rabbit slows down and falls back to the pack. But what if because of the evolution, 5g as a rabbit is going to lap the field. Then if 5g slows down, it will take the rest of the pack a long time and a whole track to catch up. Suddenly, the rabbit the race which doesn’t usually happen in footraces.

But it appears that 5g has changed the butterfly. What Wifi 6 was going to bring to the market, 20 years ago, may no longer be relevant now.


are you the same online or offline>?

Connected or Disconnected, it is a question that many people ask today. The first part of the question comes from the separation of what people now call the real world (IRW or IRL) With the two acronyms meaning in The Real World or real life. First, can I tell you that it makes me laugh that people refer to the world away from online, as the real world? To me, and I realize I did not grow up in the computer age, I was alive before the computer was big, well, that isn’t true. When I was little, computers were not big for homes, but they were physically huge. They filled rooms and basements and entire areas of buildings with a computer that was frankly not as capable of calculations as your smartphone is today.

The reason it makes me smile is that computers and virtual/augmented reality are part of the real world. There is no essential difference between you online and you offline. A good friend of mine at the University of South Carolina (although he is moving to a new job, on a tenure track at a different university) has been working on a study for a long time. It currently helps up in legal, but the intent was to see if people understand that we are in the real world. That what we see and do online, is still part of the real world. There might be situations where we do some level of separation between us and the things online, but the reality is, who we are in the same in either place.

It is easy to get lost online. To dive into the world that exists at your fingertips. With VR/AR, you can even reach out towards that world beyond your fingertips, but it is while part of the real world, no different in the end. There is not IRW or IRL. You are IRL in real life when you type in real life to someone. One of the questions my friend asked several people is how I am going to end my post today. It was a question he first asked a bunch of us about ten years ago. We were all together for a seminar on communication, and he asked this question. It was the basis of his study, and it is one question that I find hard to shake all these years later.

“Do people that physically sit in rooms with you, an nd people that know you online think the same of you?”