Is Amazon’s algorithm cashing in on the Camp Fire by raising the cost of safety equipment? — from wired.co.uk by Matthew Chapman
Sudden and repeated price increases on fire extinguishers, axes and escape ladders sold on Amazon are seemingly linked to increased demand driven by California’s Camp Fire

Excerpt:

Amazon’s algorithm has allegedly been raising the price of fire safety equipment in response to increased demand during the California wildfires. The practice, known as surge pricing, has caused products including fire extinguishers and escape ladders to fluctuate significantly on Amazon, seemingly as a result of the retailer’s pricing system responding to increased demand.

An industry source with knowledge of the firm’s operations claims a similar price surge was triggered by the Grenfell Tower fire. A number of recent price rises coincide directly with the outbreak of the Camp Fire, which has been the deadliest in California’s history and resulted in at least 83 deaths.

 

From DSC:
I’ve been thinking a lot more about Amazon.com and Jeff Bezos in recent months, though I’m not entirely sure why. I think part of it has to do with the goals of capitalism.

If you want to see a winner in the way America trains up students, entrepreneurs, and business people, look no further than Jeff Bezos. He is the year-in-and-year-out champion of capitalism. He is the winner. He is the Michael Jordan of business. He is the top. He gets how the game is played and he’s a master at it. By all worldly standards, Jeff Bezos is the winner.

But historically speaking, he doesn’t come across like someone such as Bill Gates — someone who has used his wealth to literally, significantly, and positively change millions of lives. (Though finally that looks to be changing a bit, with the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund; the first grants of that fund total $97 million and will be given to 24 organizations working to address family homelessness. Source.)

Along those same lines — and expanding the scope a bit — I’m struggling with what the goals of capitalism are for us today…especially in an era of AI, algorithms, robotics, automation and the like. If the goal is simply to make as much profit as possible, we could be in trouble. If what occurs to people and families is much lower down the totem pole…what are the ramifications of that for our society? Yes, it’s a tough, cold world. But does it always have to be that way? What is the best, most excellent goal to pursue? What are we truly seeking to accomplish?

After my Uncle Chan died years ago, my Aunt Gail took over the family’s office supply business and ran it like a family. She cared about her employees and made decisions with an eye towards how things would impact her employees and their families. Yes, she had to make sound business decisions, but there was true caring in the way that she ran her business. I realize that the Amazon’s of the world are in a whole different league, but the values and principles involved here should not be lost just because of size.

 

To whom much is given…much is expected.

 

 

 

Also see:

GM to lay off 15 percent of salaried workers, halt production at five plants in U.S. and Canada — from washingtonpost.com by Taylor Telford

Wall Street applauded the news, with GM’s stock climbing more than 7 percent following the announcement.

 

From DSC:
Well, I bet those on Wall Street aren’t a part of the 15% of the folks being impacted. The applause is not heard at all from those folks who are being impacted today…whose families are being impacted today…and will be feeling the impact of these announcements for quite a while yet.

 

 

Psalm 100:4 New International Version (NIV)

4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.

 

 

 

Psalm 25:4-6 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.

 

An open letter to Microsoft and Google’s Partnership on AI — from wired.com by Gerd Leonhard
In a world where machines may have an IQ of 50,000, what will happen to the values and ethics that underpin privacy and free will?

Excerpt:

This open letter is my modest contribution to the unfolding of this new partnership. Data is the new oil – which now makes your companies the most powerful entities on the globe, way beyond oil companies and banks. The rise of ‘AI everywhere’ is certain to only accelerate this trend. Yet unlike the giants of the fossil-fuel era, there is little oversight on what exactly you can and will do with this new data-oil, and what rules you’ll need to follow once you have built that AI-in-the-sky. There appears to be very little public stewardship, while accepting responsibility for the consequences of your inventions is rather slow in surfacing.

 

In a world where machines may have an IQ of 50,000 and the Internet of Things may encompass 500 billion devices, what will happen with those important social contracts, values and ethics that underpin crucial issues such as privacy, anonymity and free will?

 

 

My book identifies what I call the “Megashifts”. They are changing society at warp speed, and your organisations are in the eye of the storm: digitization, mobilisation and screenification, automation, intelligisation, disintermediation, virtualisation and robotisation, to name the most prominent. Megashifts are not simply trends or paradigm shifts, they are complete game changers transforming multiple domains simultaneously.

 

 

If the question is no longer about if technology can do something, but why…who decides this?

Gerd Leonhard

 

 

From DSC:
Though this letter was written 2 years ago back in October of 2016, the messages, reflections, and questions that Gerd puts on the table are very much still relevant today.  The leaders of these powerful companies have enormous power — power to do good, or to do evil. Power to help or power to hurt. Power to be a positive force for societies throughout the globe and to help create dreams, or power to create dystopian societies while developing a future filled with nightmares. The state of the human heart is extremely key here — though many will hate me saying that. But it’s true. At the end of the day, we need to very much care about — and be extremely aware of — the characters and values of the leaders of these powerful companies. 

 

 

Also relevant/see:

Spray-on antennas will revolutionize the Internet of Things — from networkworld.com by Patrick Nelson
Researchers at Drexel University have developed a method to spray on antennas that outperform traditional metal antennas, opening the door to faster and easier IoT deployments.

 From DSC:
Again, it’s not too hard to imagine in this arena that technologies can be used for good or for ill.

 

 

Luke 10:25-37 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com
The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

 

From DSC:
The Samaritan had to sacrifice something here — time and money come to mind, but also, as our pastor said the other day, the Samaritan took an enormous risk caring for this wounded man. The Samaritan himself could have been beaten up (or worse) back in that time.

 

 

 

Psalm 119:137-138 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

137 You are righteous, Lord,
and your laws are right.
138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.

 

 

Computing in the Camera — from blog.torch3d.com by Paul Reynolds
Mobile AR, with its ubiquitous camera, is set to transform what and how human experience designers create.

One of the points Allison [Woods, CEO, Camera IQ] made repeatedly on that call (and in this wonderful blog post of the same time period) was that the camera is going to be at the center of computing going forward, an indispensable element. Spatial computing could not exist without it. Simple, obvious, straightforward, but not earth shaking. We all heard what she had to say, but I don’t think any of us really understood just how profound or prophetic that statement turned out to be.

 

“[T]he camera will bring the internet and the real world into a single time and space.”

— Allison Woods, CEO, Camera IQ

 

 

The Camera As Platform — from shift.newco.co by Allison Wood
When the operating system moves to the viewfinder, the world will literally change

“Every day two billion people carry around an optical data input device — the smartphone Camera — connected to supercomputers and informed by massive amounts of data that can have nearly limitless context, position, recognition and direction to accomplish tasks.”

– Jacob Mullins, Shasta Ventures

 

 

 

The State Of The ARt At AWE 18 — from forbes.com by Charlie Fink

Excerpt:

The bigger story, however, is how fast the enterprise segment is growing as applications as straightforward as schematics on a head-mounted monocular microdisplay are transforming manufacturing, assembly, and warehousing. Use cases abounded.

After traveling the country and most recently to Europe, I’ve now experienced almost every major VR/AR/MR/XR related conference out there. AWE’s exhibit area was by far the largest display of VR and AR companies to date (with the exception of CES).

 

AR is being used to identify features and parts within cars

 

 

 

 

Student Learning and Virtual Reality: The Embodied Experience — from er.educause.edu by Jaime Hannans, Jill Leafstedt and Talya Drescher

Excerpts:

Specifically, we explored the potential for how virtual reality can help create a more empathetic nurse, which, we hypothesize, will lead to increased development of nursing students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes. We aim to integrate these virtual experiences into early program coursework, with the intent of changing nursing behavior by providing a deeper understanding of the patient’s perspective during clinical interactions.

In addition to these compelling student reflections and the nearly immediate change in reporting practice, survey findings show that students unanimously felt that this type of patient-perspective VR experience should be integrated and become a staple of the nursing curriculum. Seeing, hearing, and feeling these moments results in significant and memorable learning experiences compared to traditional classroom learning alone. The potential that this type of immersive experience can have in the field of nursing and beyond is only limited by the imagination and creation of other virtual experiences to explore. We look forward to continued exploration of the impact of VR on student learning and to establishing ongoing partnerships with developers.

 

Also see:

 

 

 

 

Psalm 19:1-6 New International Version (NIV)
For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
    It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.


 

 

From DSC:
I’m very grateful for the teachers that I’ve had in my life as well as for the teachers that our children have had throughout their lives! (This goes for the coaches and pastors that have been in our lives as well!) Many of those teachers really went the extra mile — making personal sacrifices while they contributed the additional time and efforts that it took to get the job done.

Teaching and learning is messy and very tough work.  For example, it’s very difficult — if not impossible — to simultaneously provide personalized/customized learning to 25-30+ students (and to do so every day)!

  • Not every student has the same prior knowledge.
  • Not every student has the same capabilities; some students have additional/special needs to help them learn.
  • Not every student learns at the same pace.
  • Not every student has the same goals.
  • Not every student has the same interests and/or passions.

The job can be very stressful, for a variety of reasons — one of which is that teachers have to deal with all kinds of agendas that are simultaneously coming at them.

So thank you to all the teachers out there who are making significant contributions to others’ lives.

Thank you for your service to others!

#TeacherAppreciationWeek2018

 

Philippians 4:6-9 NIV — from biblegateway.com

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

 

From DSC:
I must admit that in this day and age, I find it very difficult to not be anxious about anything. LORD, help me. LORD help us.

 

 

 

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2018 | Daniel Christian