Companies Look to Make a Quantum Leap With New Technology

7. May 2017

Date: 07-05-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Volkswagen is among a growing number of firms experimenting with quantum computing to push their businesses forward

Companies have started to tap into quantum computing, like this D-Wave 2000Q System, in an effort to gain a competitive edge.

Quantum mechanics has fascinated, confounded and even alarmed scientists for nearly a century with the notion that particles can exist in two states at once and communicate with each other across vast distances. The underlying science that Albert Einstein famously called “spooky” could soon become one of modern computing’s core tenets.

Computers that utilize quantum mechanics are moving beyond pure scientific research and inching toward the commercial sector, with companies such as Volkswagen AG beginning to harness their unprecedented power to solve complex problems in nanoseconds.

“This technology is not futuristic,” said Martin Hofmann, Volkswagen chief information officer, who oversees information technology for the group’s 12 brands including Audi , Porsche and Bentley. “It’s a question of years until it’s commercialized, and investing right now in the technology is a big competitive advantage.”

Companies including D-Wave Systems Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. have been pioneering quantum computing, and experts say that within five years the technology could be powerful enough to solve new classes of problems that are currently beyond the grasp of even supercomputers. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Holy Grail of Future Work

5. October 2016
Photo of Kelli Wells

Kelli Wells

Kelli Wells is Executive Director for Education and Skills at the GE Foundation. 

OCT 5, 2016 Project Syndicate

NEW YORK – Understanding the future of work is difficult, if not impossible. According to the MacArthur Foundation, 65% of today’s schoolchildren will eventually be employed in jobs that don’t exist yet.

As technology, globalization, and many other factors continue to redefine work, one constant will be the need for soft skills, or “skills for life.” Peer-to-peer deliberation, brainstorming, and collaboration are familiar to working professionals today, but we can’t assume that they come naturally, especially to the millions of students without access to proper training and college- and career-planning resources. In fact, a growing global skills gap suggests that many young workers are already falling behind.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy has 5.9 million job openings, while 7.8 million people remain unemployed. In Europe, 5.6 million young people are unemployed, while another two million are neither working nor in school. Read the rest of this entry »


Why are ‘innovative’ tech companies still struggling with diversity?

11. April 2016

Date: 11-04-2016
Source: The Guardian

Technology might like to think of itself as the antithesis of the stuffy east coast old boys’ network, but really it’s just a reimagined, west coast version of it

Will the industry follow up on public actions with a prolonged commitment to redressing the bias that exists?

The more diverse we are, the better we are at making smarter decisions. So why, oh why, is what should be our most innovative industry – technology – also our most homogeneous?

For decades, the research has been demonstrating the advantages of diversity. It isn’t just that people from a variety of backgrounds bring different kinds of information and ways of thinking to the table, it’s the fact that when we have to deal with people who aren’t just like us, we ourselves do better: we do our homework more rigorously, we bolster our arguments more thoughtfully, we may prepare ourselves for a more lengthy process of reaching a conclusion.

You’d have thought the tech set, of all people, would have seen the data. But even when technology companies do recruit members of minority groups, they find themselves still at a disadvantage. Read the rest of this entry »


Technology in Classrooms Doesn’t Always Boost Education Results, OECD Says

16. September 2015

Date: 16-09-2015
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Overexposure to computers and the Internet causes educational outcomes to drop, study finds

While student performance improves when technology is used in moderation, overexposure to computers and the Internet causes educational outcomes to drop, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Beefing up technology in the classroom doesn’t always lead to better education for children, according to a new study from an international consortium presented Tuesday.

The report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, tracked educational outcome among students based on their use of technology at home and in the classroom. While student performance improves when they use technology in moderation, the group found, overexposure to computers and the Internet causes educational outcomes to drop. Read the rest of this entry »


Higher Education: Apocalypse Now?

4. July 2015

Date: 04-07-2015
Source: ParisTech Review

Digital technology is revolutionizing higher education with increased globalization, student enrollment and privatization. Digital technology may be more revolutionary than the printing press in that it “not only disrupts the dissemination of knowledge, but also its production,” report the editors of ParisTech Review. “This double effect is precisely what disrupts the economic balance of the sector.” The knowledge base of any industry or profession is available online. Colleges can expect intense competition. The editors anticipate museums, libraries, broadcasters and corporations to also produce MOOCs – massive open online courses. “The emergence of new private actors may tempt governments whose public finances have suffered from the financial crisis, leading them to pull back from the education sector,” notes the article. Libraries could lose to huge centralized databases. Lifelong learning will expand, and analysts anticipate systems to emphasize a combination of teachers with digital resources. – YaleGlobal

Digital technology is rapidly revolutionizing higher education, with new actors increasing globalization, enrollment and privatization Read the rest of this entry »


Manufacturing in the Balance

3. January 2013

Date: 03-01-2013
Source: Technology Review
Inexpensive labor has defined the last decade in manufacturing. The future may belong to technology.  
Understand the technology and ideas behind the manufacturing renaissance.

When General Electric expanded manufacturing of home heaters and refrigerators at its facility in Kentucky last year, the reasons included big wage concessions the company had won from local workers and the advantages of being closer to its U.S. customers. But writing in the Harvard Business Review last March, CEO Jeffrey Immelt explained that one of the biggest factors in GE’s decision to bring back manufacturing from China and South Korea was the desire to keep appliance designers near its manufacturing and engineers.

“At a time when speed to market is everything, separating design and development from manufacturing didn’t make sense,” Immelt wrote. Now, someone who has an idea for a dishwasher that has fewer parts and weighs less can actually try to build it. These designs won’t be so quick to end up in knockoff products built by GE’s suppliers, either. “Outsourcing based only onlabor costs is yesterday’s model,” Immelt said.

At the turn of this century, manufacturing wages in southern China were 58 cents an hour, just 3 percent of U.S. levels. GE and many other manufacturers rushed to take advantage of so-called labor arbitrage by moving manufacturing overseas. In 2004, the Boston Consulting Group told clients the choice wasn’t whether to go offshore but “how fast.” Read the rest of this entry »


Networks at Heart of Future Technologies

24. November 2012

Date: 24-11-2012
Source: The Wall Street Journal

The importance of the networks, and in particular wireless, is revealed in a U.K. government report published Friday looking at what technologies will be driving growth in the economy in the 2020s.

As its title – Technology and Innovation Futures: UK Growth Opportunities for the 2020s – 2012 Refresh –suggests this is an update to an earlier report, commissioned in 2010.

The original report looked at 53 technologies, from genetech and other bio-related fields, through advanced agriculture, nanotech, advanced materials and the like. It has been updated and the fact that changes in such a short time scale are necessary shows how fast technology is changing.

The British government has noted changes in the speed of development in 3-D printing, in robotics and in the whole area of energy including production and management through technologies like smart grids. Read the rest of this entry »