5G Network Technology

  

5G Network Technology
5G which is a Fifth Generation cellular technology is now available for use. This is an interesting leap in the field of wireless devices. This high-speed internet technology will enable the users to stream and download without any problem. It will also improve the data sending and receiving tasks.
5G technology proposes best data rates (10 to 100 times) faster than the current 4G networks. Now users will see downloading in Gigabits per second. Forget the Megabits per second because 5G will completely change your experience.
On the other hand, introduction of 5G technology will make it possible for different applications, software and hardware to work. There are several technologies unable to perform according to expectation. However, these technologies will do the best job in fifth generation networking. For example, the transformation of downloading from megabits to gigabits is a special attribute for users. Now you will download the movies, clips and more within a few seconds. On the other hand, 5G is also going to change the automation and artificial intelligence sector forever. The virtual technology applications will also become frequent in this network.
Besides data rates, the emerging technologies are going to have a big support in presence of 5G. Users who expect betterment in the Smartphone, Laptop and other devices will see the promising results. As a matter of fact, this new fifth generation networking will enable the businessmen, organizations and others to perform the technology based tasks within one-thousandth part of a second. IT sector will also get new reforms. The older technologies, infrastructures and networks will definitely require upgrade in future. Remember, 5G is not available in all the countries. There are a few countries using this modern technology at public level. Actually, implementation of this technology requires installation of new infrastructure and servers. More time is also needed to complete the prerequisites.
Is 5G Dangerous for us?
No doubt, technologies are launched for the benefits of mankind but there are some side effects too. It is necessary to focus on the side effects. The 5G technology is going to transform the IT sector completely. Experts are saying that replacing the old technologies will increase the cost because of the new installations and infrastructures. This would be the first thing most economists think about after seeing 5G in the fields.
On the other hand, the health effects are also prominent. The new technology is expected to use radiations. Light or energy moving with great speed in the space will definitely have negative impacts on the nature. Ionizing radiations are dangerous for the human skin as well as chemical bonds inside the body. This radiation can break the chemical bonds damaging the DNA and skin cells. A team of researchers proposed that implementation of new 5G technology will change the brain cells. This is going to make things more complicated. Brain tumors will become more common.
On the other hand, increased ionizing and non-ionizing radiations will also increase the heat in atmosphere. This will lead to global warming which is already a huge issue for mankind. According to experts, 5G technology is beneficial as it will transform the economy, industry and users. However, it is also expected to make certain damages. There is a need to focus on the precautionary measures to avoid negative impacts.
 
Huawei (photo) is arguably the main leading global provider of information and communications technology infrastructure and smart devices including 5G mobiles, with innovative foldable 5G phones such as the HUAWEI Mate X. This incredible device breaks the technology barrier and took a revolutionary step into the next generation of 5G mobile technology. Unfold and accomplish more everyday tasks with a smartphone designed for the 5G world.

 

Artificial Reproduction and Species Preservation

  
Artificial Reproduction Tech News
Extinction is a natural process. Over 99% of all species that ever existed on planet earth are now extinct. The problem, is that never before, has only one species been the cause for the death of so many others, and not in such a small space of time. As a result, potentially 50,000 species will go extinct in the next 30 - 50 years. The researchers and scientists behind The Frozen Ark are attempting the seemingly impossible; to find a cure for extinction.
The concept is fairly simple. The team want to collect the DNA samples from plant, fungi and animal tissue on the planet, particularly the endangered ones, and to freeze the DNA samples in liquid nitrogen so that we have effectively a DNA snapshot of life on the planet. This can then be used as technology advances as a last resort for preserving the natural beauty of the world. It is not quite clear how this will be done yet, but with controversial attempts to clone animals making headlines, the idea of reproducing a living creature from well preserved DNA is not unbelievable. So far, 48,000 samples of over 5,000 species have been collected and added to The Frozen Ark DNA banks, in conditions that can endure low or unreliable power supplies with a mind towards conservation of the project, as well as the planet.
The idea of preserving animal tissue and DNA is not particularly new, but The Frozen Ark is the first attempt that has really made progress on a worldwide scale. As the planet warms up and more species are threatening extinction, the pressure is growing, and unfortunately, as fast as the team can collect DNA samples to store in their banks, more species are being added to the list of impending extinction. It has not been decided yet exactly how the DNA will be used, but we do know that it can be potentially helpful if not vital to the future of our planet.
One of the problems that the team face is that the planet is undergoing a considerable amount of climate change, and even if a perfect clone of a species from a DNA sample were already possible, there is no guarantee that the clone would be able to survive against the climate it is introduced to as the climate is was existing in before was somewhat different. It is possible that the scientists will put less weight on collecting DNA samples from species that are unable to cope with climate change because of this reason, and to focus on the species they believe can better endure the shift.
Another similar problem that we face that is being tackled by scientists in The Netherlands is our booming meat consumption rates. Humans consume over 250,000 million tonnes of meat every year, and our demand for edible flesh is constantly growing. Livestock animals take a lot of food, space and resources to produce and maintain, and the idea of growing animals with the sole purpose of killing upsets a lot of people and quickly divides up the population into meat lovers, vegetarians and animal rights activists.
Scientists have found a way that they can potentially produce substitutes for meat in a laboratory. The technology exists to make edible “meat” from minuscule damaged muscle fibres extracted from a living organism, each cell of which can multiply roughly a million times. This is done by breaking apart the muscle fibres both physically and with the introduction of an enzyme and allowing the stem cells to reproduce the damaged muscle. A collagen gel is then added to align the cells into something that, scientifically speaking, resembles meat.
This means that we can produce edible meat without the need for killing animals, but the problem is that humankind has a craving for the particular tastes we have acquired, and the researchers are still trying to discover what gives meat it's meaty flavour. The team wish to experiment by adding iron and fat into the mixture to see if it makes their artificially produced meat taste more like actual meat, and even have the goal to produce an artificially prepared burger that resembles the product on the market today. The challenges they face are the price of production, the controversial ideology, and then induction into a difficult market.

 

Black Mirror - how real is the tech

  

Black Mirror TV

 
Black Mirror is a British television series, originally aired by Channel 4 in 2011 and purchased by Netflix in in 2015. The creator, Charlie Brooker, looks at how technology is advancing and, in standalone episodes, creates stories about the unanticipated consequences. The show is critically acclaimed and has won many awards, and has got many people asking if the often dark and dire storylines are a possibility. Here is a comparison between some of the ideas and our own reality of technology.
Season 3 Episode 1 “Nosedive” - In this episode, the characters possess a handheld device, not so different from a smartphone device, which closely monitors a person's popularity based on online activity. Every social interaction is rated and contributes to a user's overall rating as a human, and those with higher ratings have benefits such as exclusive invitations, better car rental service, and higher chances of promotion. The episode follows one character, Lacie, who makes some brave and risky decisions that ultimately lead to her demise as her rating plummets.
While this is not the strict society that we live in, there are certainly comparable elements. We do control a lot of our life from the smartphone in our hands, and TripAdvisor ratings, the Facebook “like” and reaction system and double tapping on an Instagram photo can all contribute to a person or company's merit and ultimately elate them through the higher stages of society. That said the value of Facebook recently took a hit as it was unearthed that people are posting less and less personal information on their profiles which could have been potentially sold to targeted advertising, so perhaps we are starting to move away from this trend a little. One interesting story that came up was with Alipay; the main form of mobile payment in China, which gave users a rating based on their credit activity, where users with a high rating would receive discounts and benefits, and users with a low rating would often have to pay extra deposits to rent gear, or even get downgraded in travel or in a few cases, banned from certain airlines.
Season 1 Episode 3 - “The Entire History of You” - In this episode, the characters are equipped with a device called “grain” which records everything the user is seeing and can be replayed on a screen. The device is used quite cleverly at airport security so that security personnel can determine what the character did in the last 24 hours to understand if they were a threat to the flight. The episode follows Liam, who begins to suspect that his wife might be cheating on him, and how he uses the technology to unearth the truth.
When you compare our access to digital recording equipment to how it has been in the past, the sheer development of camera equipped smartphones allow us to take photographs and films of anything and everything and immediately access it to the internet, which means that more of our lives are being digitally remembered and stored. This was obviously a lot more difficult before digital technology as film developing was expensive. Snap Inc are potentially developing sunglasses that can snap photographs and upload them to the internet. While it may not be built into our bodies as it is in the episode, perhaps we are unconsciously contributing to a similar reality. Even attaching a GoPro to your head is comparable. The technology is all available in different formats, so it could just be a matter of time.
Season 3 Episode 4 “San Junipero” - This award winning episode is a favourite amongst viewers, perhaps due to it's more positive vibes than most of the other episodes. This shows a reality where dying people can upload their brains into a system to eternally live out their fantasies, and follows the story of two lovers deciding whether to commit to the system or not.
Futurist and professor Robin Hanson predicts that we will be able to digitally capture and to upload brains to a digital system within the next 100 years, though also notes that the episode only focusses on the prospect of retirement and not all the other possible implications of the ability to do this. He claims that the best brains will be cloned and will take many jobs from physical people, as well as creating their own digital civilisation. AI technology is developing fast, and this is just one direction that it might take in the future.

Earthquake Resistance Technology

  

Earthquake Technology

It is hard to stand up against the forces of nature, but as the world becomes more populated, more people are settling in areas prone to natural disasters. As a result, technology is being quickly developed to protect residents and so that life can continue to prosper, and people can relax a little more when living in the shadow and an impending catastrophe.

One of the most unpredictable events to detect in advance is an earthquake, and history has taught us that they can be cataclysmic to infrastructure and even, occasionally, fatal. All over the world, humans in places such as Japan, New Zealand, and anywhere else on a tectonic divide are living in earthquake prone areas and have had to find ways to protect themselves. While the obvious move would be to pack up and to move away, there are often large benefits to tolerating the risk; including land fertility, business opportunities, and just the fact that they call their earthquake riddled country “home”.
Research is underway to try and predict when earthquakes are going to strike, but currently it is only possible to see signs of a strike minutes before it happens, giving a very short time frame to react. These early warning systems are in place in countries such as Mexico, Japan and the USA where, currently, in California, the most developed system named ShakeAlert is in use. This is accomplished by detecting P waves which are non-destructive seismic waves that travel faster that the destructive S waves that cause earthquakes. A warning is then sent out via the mobile phone network to tell people to evacuate buildings and to prepare, which currently gives residents a potential five to thirty seconds advance alert, which may not sound like much, but every second can count when escaping a collapsing building, and every single life is spared from every single additional second of warning is an improvement on the losses that would have occurred without the system in place.
Predicting an earthquake is one way to reduce the chances of fatality, but measures can also be taken to create more resistant buildings and to improve the safety ratings of already existing buildings. This is frequently achieved through two different methods. The first involves creating buildings that are designed to deform and flex without breaking. Certain elements of the buildings are designed to bend or crack to protect more fragile elements. The second method is absorption of the shock waves using dampeners which reduce the energy of the destructive seismic waves to the vital structural elements of the building. The idea is not necessarily to protect the building, but to protect the people inside, so if the building suffers a large amount of damage and has to be destroyed, yet all the inhabitants inside escaped without harm, it is still considered a success.
San Francisco's newest hospital has adapted a Japanese method of dampening which has never been used before in the US. Throughout the skeletal structure of the building, a goo-like substance the consistency of chewing gum called polyisobutylene has been pumped into panels with steel dividers inside. This slows down the violent shaking and also ensures that the structure comes to a rest sooner after the earthquake strikes. It also reduces the need for diagonal braces which can be obstructive when installing windows and doors.
There is always going to be room to improve more. As the population of the world increases, and, especially in restricted spaces such as San Francisco's downtown area, the buildings get taller to cope with the increased number of people, the more they are going to move during seismic activity. There is also a big struggle involving cost, as adopting seismic isolation bases and foundations is extremely expensive in comparison to using standard foundations. While new technology is constantly under development to both predict, warn, and protect people from natural disasters, the unpredictable nature of earthquakes is a hurdle we are still struggling to overcome. It may be a tough problem, but the price of ignoring it is too high to ignore.

 

Tesla Roadster

  

Tesla Roadster tech news

Elon Musk is the owner of the two companies Tesla and SpaceX and in February 2018, he elaborately joined the two. SpaceX have developed a rocket called The Falcon Heavy, and during the test flight, Elon decided to launch his own personal Tesla Roadster as the test load, complete with a human scale mannequin wearing a space suit named “Starman” after the David Bowie hit song. The speakers, despite being able to omit sound in space, have Bowie's “Space Oddity” on loop, there is a copy of Douglas Adams' “A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” in the glovebox, referenced with a towel and a sign reading “Don't Panic!” amongst other objects on board.

Traditionally, the test load for rocket launches comprises of concrete or steel blocks so that engineers can test that a rocket can bear the weight needed for launching satellites or objects that are required in space. In March 2017, Musk stated that he would launch “the silliest thing we can imagine”, later announcing that he would launch his own personal roadster which required confirmation due to a skeptical audience. As a result, the Tesla Roadster became the first consumer car sent into space.
The Falcon Heavy test flight took place on the 6th January 2018 at 20:45 UTC. The mission was a success, which concluded that the Falcon Heavy was the most powerful rocket in operation and can lift twice the capacity of the NASA space shuttle launch system. Musk had downplayed the expectations of success in a conference, stating that “There's a real good chance the vehicle won't make it to orbit ... I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it does not cause pad damage. I would consider even that a win, to be honest.” It was successfully launched with enough velocity to enter an orbit around the sun, crossing the orbit of Mars while sending a video back to earth during the early stages of the flight, becoming the second most watched livestream on YouTube.
The Falcon Heavy was launched in a reusable configuration which was designed to recover the central core and the side boosters of the rocket. The side boosters had been previously used on a CRS-9 mission in July 2016 and the Thaicom 8 Launch in May earlier that year.
Something that shocked engineers was the returning of the side boosters to landing zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral. Video footage of the landing not only shows this happening successfully, but happening with pinpoint synchronisation. While this was the intention, due to complex engineering, mathematics and natural factors, seldom is it possible to make it so accurate. What wasn't quite as successful was the recovery of the landing of the central core which was due to take place on an autonomous spaceport drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The booster landed in the water about 100m from the ship, and was not successfully recovered. Aside from the landing of the centre core, every other objective was a success.
The purpose of launching the Tesla Roadster as a payload was to demonstrate that Falcon Heavy was capable of sending a heavy payload as far as the orbit of Mars. Some people consider the Tesla Roadster to be space debris, criticising Musk's decision to send his own car into space, while others see it as a clever piece of advertising or even call it art. While the video is no longer streaming, you can track the location of the Tesla Roadster using the website whereisroadster.com. It is not expected to pass near the Earth until 2091.
Whether or not you consider the placing of Musk's Tesla Roadster in space as a form of vandalism, advertising, or art, this huge step in space technology proves that we are venturing further into the depths of the universe and becoming more confident with complex technology. The car will make a relatively random orbit, pushed further or closer from it's original trajectory by the gravity of passing planets, until it is either recovered or enters the atmosphere of a planet and burns up. If it happens to be encountered by other life before then, there is a message on the vehicle's circuit board reading “made by humans” to inform extra-terrestrial life of the origins of the strange satellite.

 

Guitar Technology

  

Guitar Technology

While there is a lot of exciting technology in the musical world, which is dominating the electronic music scene, the rock and guitar led music genres tend to stick to traditional techniques as so advancements and developments in technology have been somewhat slower. That being said, there are still a few gizmos and gadgets out there which are sure to passionate and talented guitar players, some as simple as a well placed and crafted piece of metal. Here are a few developments in the world of guitars, from digital guitars and midi controllers, to quirky capos.

Passerelle Bridge - developed by creative and original guitarist Kaki King and Luthier Rachel Rosenkrantz, this simple but innovative piece of equipment quickly transforms your humble six string guitar into an entirely new twelve stringed instrument, reminiscent of a Japanese Koto. By placing the bridge over the sixteenth fret, each string will be divided into two desperate tones, a fifth apart from each other. Potential tunings are endless, and with strong pentatonic possibilities, you will find yourself improvising and composing in an entirely new way.
Spider and Harmonic capos - the capo is a basic piece of equipment at best, but recent developments have added some creative and ingenious features to this component that can be found in almost every players bag. The Spider Capo allows players to select which strings are affected by the capo, which opens up a world of possibilities using open strings and drones and even the possibility to have two or more Spider Capos to create extra complex open string arrangements. Before it was inducted, partial capos partially did the job, but the Spider Capo takes it one step further. Another slightly newer invention is the Harmonic capo, which has the same effect as gently touching the string with your finger at certain to create a high pitched noise. While limited in it's usage, it, like the Passerelle, allows users to play with entirely new soundscapes.
Guitar snare - developed by Schlagwerk in Germany, this small addition to your acoustic guitar allows the player to experiment more with percussive sounds than were previously possible with just the body of the guitar. The adhesive has been carefully considered so that it holds the snare strongly against the body, is easily removed so the snare can be moved around, and leaves no residue on a lacquered surface. Percussive guitar is not a new idea, but having sounds more reminiscent of a standard drum kit certain.y adds more drive to your performance.
Autotuners - there are several of these available on the market in various shapes, sizes and functionalities, but one in particular, the Roadie Tuner, is a clever piece of technology designed to make the life of a guitarist a little easier. This functions through a smartphone application which detects what pitch each string is emitting before transmitting this data wireless to a small handheld device that will automatically adjust the tuning pegs on the head of the guitar until the note is pitch perfect. In quiet situations, it is a very quick and effective tool, but sometimes struggles in loud spaces. The application allows guitarists to customise tunings and so they are not forever anchored in the EADGBE standard setup.
Wi-Fi enabled guitar jacks - what started life as a humble cable has been developed into an intelligent little piece of equipment. Wireless guitar cables are no new invention, but by creating a wireless connection through wifi, not only can users connect their guitar to their amplification setup, but also a computer or to a smartphone. Using this concept, applications can be developed to add effects to the guitar sound through a smartphone instead of using traditional pedals, and recording can be a whole lot easier without the need for a physical interface.
Wireless MIDI controllers - MIDI controllers have been used with guitars for a while, with notable guitarists like Matt Bellamy of Muse boosting their popularity. The recent development of the ACPAD which started through a kickstarter campaign essentially places a whole orchestra within reach of your fingers while you play your guitar. For those guitarists who are struggling to find bandmasters and want more open possibilities than a loop-station, this can be an elegant solution with unlimited potential for new ideas and sounds.

 

Radio in the digital age

  

Radio in the digital age

From Guglielmo Marconi's first transatlantic transmission in 1902 to the DAB radio and live internet streaming that we use today, the use of entertainment radio has developed and somewhat changed meaning over the years. After surviving the introduction of television, satellite networks and music streaming, the entertainment platform still exists.

With the invention and introduction of digital media, radio stations have become so much more than an analogue audio platforms. For starters, the use of DAB and online streaming now allow stations to transmit their material abroad and all over the world. This is particularly good for gaining an international audience and for expats living abroad who want to listen to radio shows in their own language, and can also help to spread knowledge of foreign cultures in a more connected world. Radio stations are often connected to YouTube and Facebook which create an extra dimension for the broadcasters; visual. Cloud storage systems allow users to access past radio shows on demand and to listen at their own convenience.
Radio stations are also becoming branding techniques. If you take the example of Australia's Triple J station which is popular among underground and unsigned artists, the company is not only a broadcasting station but also incorporates festival hosting and also an online music sharing platform, amongst other social media options. Triple J have a huge following throughout Australia and even overseas, and by allowing users to upload their own music to the Triple J website, it has made radio even more accessible for aspiring artists.
Radio stations have had to heavily adapt to changing demand. In a world where it is so quick and easy to type a song name into YouTube, or to find new music through Spotify's discover weekly playlists, radio broadcasters have still managed to maintain a steady audience through a touch of familiarity. Car users are among the largest consumers of radio entertainment, where radio has the advantage over streaming services for providing information like local traffic and weather reports, as well as music. Many new cars are being designed with inbuilt DAB radio sets, showing that the platform is still standing strong.
Podcasting and online streaming have blurred the boundaries between radio and listening to private music collections. Radio is becoming more interactive through online platforms, but linear scheduling still defines it as radio. Online music services like Spotify and Deezer create playlists and can randomly play music based on various parameters, much like a radio station. Queueing up videos on YouTube could also be argued as a vague form of radio-like consumption. Despite this, traditional linear programming continues to be consumed, and new platforms seem to work alongside traditional radio rather than to replace it, allowing radio broadcasters to take their content further and in ways they never could before.
The future of radio is, as anything, somewhat uncertain, but we can expect to see a lot more personalisation and automation integrated into our music services. We will most likely still require a human element of music selection through DJs as, while algorithms can do so much, music is such a personal thing that AI technology cannot grasp the full gravity of emotion that comes with each song that a human can, and often the enthusiastic voices that speak to us through our speakers to introduce the music are half of the reason we listen to a radio show. Radio's are likely to become more visually appealing and touch screen friendly and to include more on demand features as younger generations are not used to tuning into a television or a radio at a particular time for a show, but to watch or listen to something when it is convenient for them.
That being said, the humble idea of radio is fully ingrained into our existence and not likely to go away any time soon. We may have to redefine the meaning of the word and the values that come with traditional broadcasting, but there will always be a demand for music, news, interviews and entertainment. Digital platforms will continue to shape how we receive this, but we will continue to receive this none the less.

 

Smartphones and Airports

  

Smartphones and Airports

With 98% of all airline passengers carrying a mobile phone when they travel, the demand for a more streamlined airport experience as a result of smartphone technology is always on the rise. Airports are just as eager to push you through the security process as quickly and efficiently as possible, and the amount of time your smartphone can save you is incredible.

It is no secret that you can check in to your flight through airline smartphone applications or from your personal computer a few days before your flight. Some airlines, such as Ryanair, require you to do this to avoid a large additional fee. It is easy to understand why, as by automating the service, less staff are required on the check-in counter, and so the airline saves money on labour fees. Other airlines, such as Lufthansa, provide you with either option, but seasoned travellers will know that they can save considerable amounts of time by skipping the check-in line. By downloading the airline app to your smartphone, you will also most likely be able to download your boarding pass as an electronic document to your smartphone, reducing paper waste and reducing the amount of vital things you can potentially lose as you navigate the airport.
What this means, is that if you just have a small piece of hand luggage, after arriving at the airport, you can skip check-in and luggage drop and head directly to security. If you do have luggage to check in, this is also often automated. Self-serve stations allow you to print out your own luggage tags and drop off points automatically weigh your luggage as while you make an electronic declaration that your luggage is safe. The need for human staff in airports is quickly diminishing as technology becomes smarter.
Airline applications are always developing and, alongside checking into your flights, you can often upgrade your flight class, choose your seats, track your flights for delays, hire cars, check out hotel deals at your destination, and even reserve parking spots at the airport, depending on which app and airline you are using. More universal applications are also available such as Tripit, which combs your emails for booking confirmations and puts all of your flight information, tickets and passes into one place, and GateGuru which provides you with airport maps, arrival and departure times, restaurants at the airport and waiting times in security lines. Google has a similar application built into many smartphones which also provides travel times to and from the airports, traffic updates, and weather reports, all in the palm of your hand.
Another way in which smartphones are speeding up the journey to the other side of security is often active, but a little more hidden than through intelligent applications. Airports are often tracking the locations of smartphones to find out how many people are in queues at security to provide estimations on how long you will be waiting to pass the checkpoint. This provides vital data online and in the terminal to passengers so they know how much time they need to comfortably make their flight on time. This technology is also used in immigration halls so that passengers know how long it will take to cross the border, and airports know where to dispatch more staff to when the demand for more help is high.
Other airports use this technology to track how long people spend in parking lots, walking routes, entrances and exits and provides airports with early warnings about congestion points and can really improve the flow of passengers through the terminal. Smartphone tracking works as each mobile device emits a MAC address which is not linked to any individual user data, meaning no personal information is revealed and aligns the process of smartphone tracking with EU data privacy laws.
Aside from intelligent applications, airport navigation, passenger streamlining, check-in and electronic passes, smartphones can also provide an endless world of entertainment as you wait for your plane in the departure hall. Smartphones are brilliant tools to increase your comfort and to reduce the time you spend at the airport, meaning you have a few more minutes of precious vacation and less time waiting for your flight.

 

Spotify Algorithms

  

Spotify Algorithms

Spotify is a music platform with over 190 million users. Once a week, users receive two playlists in the discover section of the music browsing function, one of which informs people about newly released music from artists that they listen to, including a few new recommendations based on an algorithm, and the other suggesting new music that the user may like based upon what they frequently grace their ears with.

The results are surprisingly accurate, with many users shocked at how well their music platform understands their listening needs. While this may seem like voodoo, the results are achieved using digital algorithms which are constantly being refined to be as accurate as possible. With so many music streaming platforms available, all of which have access to most of the music out there, Spotify has had to do something to stay ahead of the competition and to set them apart from the rest. This is why this algorithm is so important for retaining their paying customers.
The program was initiated in June 2015 and grew quickly in popularity, so much so that when there was a glitch in the server which delayed the release of the weekly playlist in September 2015, many users expressed their dissatisfaction on social media. The brains behind the algorithm boast that it is also beneficial to the musicians putting their media onto the database, claiming that they have the technology to find the twenty users who would enjoy the most diverse of compositions out of the millions of users who rely on the music service.
The ingredients in this digital concoction begin to make sense, the more you dive into the subject matter. Spotify begins by pooling data from other user's playlists. Those users who have some sort of a crossover with your own music taste are likely to enjoy similar pieces of music, and by pooling large amounts of data together, this can be refined down with unfathomable accuracy. Playlists from all levels are entered into the algorithm, from celebrity users to the playlists of your hairdresser down the road. Naturally, more popular playlists have more importance in the algorithm. To put it simply, if you share two songs with another playlist, but a third song is on the other playlist which you haven't heard, Spotify will recommend the third song. The reality is more complex than this, but it should give you an idea of how your music platform understands you so well.
To make it even more accurate, Spotify creates a digital profile of your individual music taste, refined into not just sub-genres but micro-genres, the names of which you may well have not heard of. Using this and adding the element of shared interests with other users, Spotify uses the open-source software Kafka to bring both elements together, combining this with collaborative filtering, and produce a list of songs that you may like and that you haven't listened to yet.
This opens up the potential for artists and labels to bribe Spotify so that their songs appear on the frequently played discover playlists. A spokesperson for Spotify claims that, despite having many requests, this is not the case, although sometimes it seems that songs can pop up in multiple playlists all at the same time.
Of course the picks aren't perfect, and often while a user might really enjoy one or two songs and like a few more, there will be a few on each discover weekly playlist that the user will not enjoy. The fine tune your weekly playlists, you can make extra effort to add songs that you do like to playlists in your own library. You should also skip the songs you don't like, as if songs are skipped in the first thirty seconds, the algorithm counts this as a rejection and will include this data for the next playlist. Exploring outside of the mainstream music and “going down the rabbit hole” is also noticed by the algorithm, and the more you explore micro-genres, the more this will influence what comes up on your playlist. The result is that the music platform will be providing more accurate music for you to listen to every week, and you will be supporting the smaller independent artists who rely on music streaming to provide an income.

 

Smart Homes

  

Smart Homes

You've heard of smart phones which, with their growing power and technology, allow us to to open a universe beyond calling and messaging. You've probably also heard of smart televisions, which can connect to the internet and even messaging services, alongside catering to your daily television needs. The first big shock was maybe the smart watch which, while telling the time, can also tell you the weather forecast and to send simple messages. Now there's something new; the smart home.
Smart homes harness the power of handsfree technology to assist the user with day to day tasks. Rooms can be fitted with microphones which receive verbal instructions which are then digitally perceived and carried out. Instructions can be something simple such as “lights on” or “dim lights”, or they can be more complex such as requesting a particular song to be played on a speaker setup which is wired to the system. Instructions can be room specific, or apply to the whole house, for example, when playing a song, you can ask for it to be played in just one room, or throughout every room that the smart home technology is set up in.
The main functions include controlling media, moderating the temperature, adjusting the lights, and also security. These components create the basis on which the smart home is built, however there are new advances within these systems being developed. One example is the smart plug, which can be programmed to turn on and off, for example, after your phone is finished charging, and also to make it look like you're still home while you're travelling. There are also smart smoke and carbon dioxide detectors that can be programmed to detect a hazard, to alert the inhabitants of the home of the hazard and in which room it is in, and to turn on the lights in case of an emergency. The level of detail can potentially give you life saving information if a fire were to strike your home.
This technology not only makes day to day life considerably easier, but also can be a substantial help to those with disabilities who find simple movements difficult or tiring. While this is all very impressive, there are obviously a few concerns over the new technology. Firstly, when technology does half the work for you, owners of smart homes could potentially become lazy and reliant on the system. There is also the issue of security as, in this day and age, it is always a case of when the systems will be compromised and not if. While listening to your conversations through the microphone is terrifying enough, if you rely on digital technology to let you in and out of the house, naturally you want to be certain that nobody else can compromise the security of the system and to access your personal property. While we may be excited by all the new gadgetry and unique systems, we should focus more on how to keep it secure from digital threats as we develop it into the future.
There is huge potential to develop this further in the future. If your smart home can anticipate your arrival, it can potentially idealise the atmosphere by amending the lights and thermostat before you've opened the door. As more people are ordering their groceries on the internet, perhaps your refrigerator can detect what is missing and automatically order what you need. When developers factor in the data that we share with digital devices, even something as small as a location marker on a smartphone, they can develop technology that automates everything around our needs. Artificial intelligence is already being introduced to our daily lives, and, as it becomes more efficient, less manual labour will be needed in every aspect of our lives. Imagine coming home to an opening door which has detected your arrival, to a house that has been set with music, lights, and temperature to your favourite settings, to have a meal automatically cooked for you as you sit down to watch your favourite television show without lifting a finger. While it's not quite a reality yet, the smart home is the beginning of this movement, and has the potential to change the world as we know it.

 

  
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