Tech News on My Mind
Every day I make it a point to get my fix of news, with a focus on technology trends. Lots of burgeoning activity was to be had over the last week or two, so I’ll be sharing some of the highlights (or lowlights) that caught my eye.
Ray-Ban and Facebook announced new smart glasses (see below).
The difference between these glasses and Snap’s infamous Spectacles is the discreetness — both in colour and capabilities (try noticing those two five megapixel cameras more than ten feet away). The glasses also feature a three-microphone array and four GB of storage. Media can be saved and synced using the Facebook View app and with built-in speakers, calls are made possible, too, by the glasses.
With the pros of wearable technology come immediate cons — namely, privacy. I believe the first iteration of these glasses do not stop functioning if one covers the cameras’ recording light, meaning recordings could very easily go unnoticed. In light of the recent turmoil Facebook has gone through with WSJ’s jarring report re: internal woes surrounding mental health & worker complaints and having its CTO resign, this release with Ray-Ban is questionable to say the least.
Apple is working on developing iPhone features that help spot and mitigate anxiety & depression in its users. Previously Apple’s [smart]-Watch has taken centerstage with regards to tracking user health & wellbeing, but the iPhone’s plans now include sensors that can monitor one’s mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, typing behavior and more. The company has even forayed into researching how the iPhone can detect childhood autism. Once again, the issue with these projects’ unchartered territories is privacy — after already having much of their personal data and lives stored in their devices, how much more “tracking” will users be comfortable with?
Next on the list: Amazon. Amazon announced that they’ll be complementing their online retail behemoth of a business with more traditional brick-and-mortar department stores.
Two things I admire about Amazon are its focus on the customer and its constant innovation. From AWS to online shopping algorithms to drones & Prime Air to the genius business strategy of Amazon Prime and more, Amazon has led the way for 21st-century retail. Now, they look to upend chains like Macy’s and Kohl’s. These stores will ostensibly have robot assistants, dressing room touchscreens and QR code scanning to expedite the clothing procurement process. I can’t wait to see how this one turns out.
Some other stories I was following included the Prop-22 battle with the likes of Uber, DoorDash and Lyft, Goldman Sachs’ new tech-oriented ETF and the eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) movement — the WSJ had a short piece covering one company in particular named Joby Aviation and their work towards decreasing the “noise pollution” commonly associated with airborne transportation.
With markets volatility imminent from a likely Fed taper, I’ll be watching news in the tech space intently over the coming weeks.