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Consciousness was on our minds this year. It was definitely on mine. Twice, on transcontinental flights, I watched Ex Machina, a thriller about artificial intelligence (AI). It was a disturbing movie to watch in the mind-altering confines of a flying machine.

In January 2015, Bill Gates joined the chorus of high-profile names  – including billionaire Elon Musk and physicist Stephen Hawking – who have voiced concerns that machine intelligence will eventually threaten humanity. If you have any doubts about the role of machine intelligence in our lives, look around: online services from Google to Netflix to Amazon are all using it to learn about our habits and influence what we do.

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Bob Mical/Flickr
Bob Mical/Flickr

We are creating as much information annually as mankind generated from the beginning of civilization to a few years ago. As more of our devices are connected together with microprocessors and sensors that gather and interpret information that can then be shared with other machines, the generation of data will become even greater.

Mankind, in its quest for greater understanding and control of the world around us seems destined to make the things that surround us intelligent extensions of ourselves.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is on the cusp of a high-growth age and will reach almost $1.3 trillion in spending in 2019, according to a new report. The Asia-Pacific region is currently leading the way, while manufacturing and transportation are the industries currently seeing the biggest IoT spending.

IoT spending is expected to be $698.6 billion in 2015, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). This figure is forecast to grow at a 17.0 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to nearly $1.3 trillion in 2019.

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We’ve had a couple virtual reality headsets in the Digital Trends office, and whether or not they’re comfortable to sport on your face, they make the wearer look kind of ridiculous. If your living room was one big augmented reality space, though, that would mean you’re not constantly hunting for your headset. That’s Amazon’s idea, away, according to a couple new patents the retailer recently filed.

One is for object tracking in a three-dimensional environment​ and the other a reflector-based depth mapping of a scene, according to Bloomberg Business.


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future of work man

Recently we asked members of the Future of Work Community (a brand council of the world’s most forward thinking organizations that I help run) to contribute their thoughts and perspectives around how the workplace is changing and what.

The result is a free 50 page eBook called, “The Future of Work:Make the Future Work For You“ with extraordinary insight that explores everything from the future of HR to robots and automation to freelancers to leadership. I wanted to share some of those insights here. Below you will find the name of the contributor, their role within their respective organizations, and a snippet of their contribution from the eBook. You can click to download the full 50 pages.

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Fitbit on Monday announced the addition of PurePulse heart rate tracking and SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition to its Charge HR and Surge devices.

The PurePulse monitoring will be activated whenever the devices are used in Exercise Mode, providing users with continuous, automatic tracking of heart rate trends over time without the need for a chest strap.

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This new Wi-Fi technology is being hailed as one of the best technological innovations happened this year. The Power Over WiFi (PoWiFi) system uses a WiFi router and its WiFi signals to power the devices.

Earlier this year, this technology came into the limelight when researchers published a new paper that outlined a way to harvest energy from WiFi signals and power a temperature sensor, a charger for an activity tracking bracelet, and a low-res gray-scale camera.

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