Archive | October 9, 2015

Towards an artificially intelligent future?

There are technological innovations happening all around us and a major trend in the past decade has been the application of “artificial intelligence” onto already existing technology.

As a result of that we now have smart mobile phones, smart watches, smart televisions, smart cars and even smart toilets (seriously)! And those are just examples of artificial intelligence in isolated devices. We are developing entire systems that need minimal human interference.

If we think about it, more than the immigrants it’s the machines that are taking away our jobs.

Initially only the blue collared jobs were taken over by the machines but now the machines are moving up the ranks. We’ve got websites acting as housing agents, supermarkets with hardly any staff, mobile phone apps that could possibly replace your mother (Siri)! This has got to stop! We need to come together as a specie, to guarantee our existence. Have we learnt nothing from Person of Interest??

On a serious note, we need to proceed with caution when it comes to artificial intelligence. In a quest to make life easy we are giving life to machines and it might just turn out to be apocalyptic in the long run. It is something that has got even Stephen Hawking worried. We are curious beings and we are going to press the “red button” when given a choice.

A major concern is definitely the advancements of AI in autonomous weapon systems. Recently, over 1,000 high-profile artificial intelligence experts and leading researchers have signed an open letter warning of a “military artificial intelligence arms race” and have called for a ban on autonomous weapon systems. The letter was presented at the international Join Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, and the signees include Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Stephen Hawking among others.

The letter states: “AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of [autonomous weapons] is – practically if not legally – feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.”

Here’s hoping we don’t end up creating one of these.

Author: Amogh Jain, 437457


Modern Wars: How Information Technology Changed Warfare

Modern Wars: How Information Technology Changed Warfare

On the 30th of September Vladimir Vladimirovitsj Putin, President of Russia, announced that Russia conducted its first air-strikes in Syria targeted at ISIS (or ISIL). However, in the days after the United States of America and other countries began to question Russia’s motive and use of old school bombing technology which might cause harm to civilians and inflame the civil war in Syria (CNN/Time, 2015). According to US official’s Russian bombing technology is a lacking behind American weaponry in terms of accuracy. As such moves increase the tensions between the East and the West and businesses use information technology to reach their goals, I started to research how information technology has changed warfare over time.

A B-2 stealth bomber refuels.

A B-2 stealth bomber refuels.

The main goals of warfare have not really changed, but the way wars evolve and are waged certainly have. Just hundred twenty years ago, armies marched to battle in their uniforms, lined up against one another, and mainly used weapons with a short effective range. Thus, people who killed one another were always in close proximity. Later on, longer-range weapons emerged, and the distance between the soldiers became larger and larger. Today, some countries have the capability to destroy towns without having to be physically at the site or even have a within a hundreds of miles. All due to the introduction of IT in modern warfare which enables people to fight wars with the touch of button. This instantaneous transfer of information through the Internet and availability of the Internet around the world increases the number of participants in war. Unarmed actors thousands of miles away can participate in a conflict even by sitting at their computer, providing funding or (video/picture) information through the Internet or deep web.

Read More…

iPhone 6s: what’s good?

iphoneWhether you are an Apple fanatic or a tech-geek, I’ve got good news for you. Today is the day that you can finally make your money rain on the iPhone 6s you longed for ever since its launch. Although I have eaves-dropped a lot of criticism along the way about the innovative nature of the newest member of the Apple family, and a lot of people are wondering if the only thing that has changed is indeed everything, I must say that one newly added feature does catch my eyes and the technology behind it impresses me. That one feature I’m talking about is the 3D Touch.

The iPhones and iPads Apple has introduced until now are all working with Multi-Touch, which allows you to tap, swipe and pinch on the screen. However, with the 3D Touch Apple is now allowing the phone to detect how hard you are pressing on the screen. The phone can distinguish the pressure on two levels: soft or hard (Charmary, 2015). Along with this, Apple adds two more gestures to Multi-Touch interactions: Peek and Pop (Apple, 2015). Let me simply describe what Peek and Pop actually mean.

Say you are just going through your e-mail and you see mails that may or may not be important enough to spend more than 1 second to look at it. With 3D Touch you do not have to tap on the mail and open it to view the content. Just simply touch the e-mail with a light tap, and the iPhone allows you to take a peek at the content, without leaving the inbox screen. When you decide this e-mail will have an impact on your life and you must act upon it immediately, you can let the device know by pressing just a little bit harder on the screen. This way, iPhone will show you the whole content of the e-mail by popping up the right screen, just like how you were used to it before by tapping on it. 3D Touch does not only apply to e-mails but also when you wants to preview a link someone texted you or take a quick look at the address of where you have to be and more(Apple, 2015), convenient right?

Since you now know what the new technology can do and what value it adds to your phone, let us dive deeper to the technological background of it. The phones with touch screen we use until now contents a two-dimensional way of using. You can imagine it like the pressures are registered on the X and Y axes. This allows the phone track the precise location of your finger and where you are tapping onto. 3D touching however adds another dimension into the tapping experience. It allows the phone to detect and ‘feel’ how hard you are actually pressing. This could be imagined as a Z axe. To translate it into the language we are more familiar with, we could view the 3D touch as the ‘right-click’ of your mouse or trackpad, only for the touchscreen. Once activate this ‘right-click’, extra information and functionality will be displayed with this touch (Chamary, 2015).

iphone blog

The crucial component that has made 3D touching possible is the capacitive sensors that are embedded underneath the Retina display of the iPhone. But this is not where it starts. The not so shocking truth about the component that will recognize the pressure on the screen is actually the display itself. The idea that glass will depress by your touch might seem striking but it is true. Even though you are touching it with the slightest press, the screen will deform and the glass will bend (a little). To pass on the information that the screen is being touched or pressed, the electrical signals must be changed. This is possible due to the ‘strain gauges’ underneath the screen, which will change the electrical signal when they are bent (by the forces the finger puts on the screen) (Chamary, 2015). Since the capacitive sensors are integrated in the backlight of the iPhone, it also measures the distance between the cover glass and the backlight of each press. This is how the device is able to track whether it is a soft or hard press. The device will also let you know that the signal has been reached to the right layer by sending light vibrations. A soft press will get a vibrating respond within 10 milliseconds and a hard press 15 milliseconds (Stinson, 2015). Because the response time is so short, it is easy to find out whether the fingers have left the screen or not.

capacitive sensors

Having discussed the technology behind it, now the real question has strike me: is this new feature really that eye opening and will it raise its popularity among the iPhone users? Because let’s be honest, there are so many features on the iPhone that you hardly look at or use. So with the launch of 3D Touch, will people adapt to it immediately and even if they do, will the change actually improve our lifestyle tremendously?

Let me know about what you think about 3D Touch and whether this feature has (re)made you an Apple fan or not!


Apple (2015) 3D Touch. The next generation of Multi-Touch,, 9 October 2015.

Chamary, J.V. (2015) 3D Touch In iPhone 6S Isn’t Just A Gimmick. Here’s How It Works,, 9 October 2015.

Stinson, L. (2015) The smart UI design behind Apple’s frictionless 3D Touch,, 9 October, 2015.

Is the Fairphone 2 ready to beat competition?

Without a doubt, it can be stated that competing with gigantic smartphone brands such as Apple, Samsung, LG and HTC is tough. However, the startup Fairphone apparently saw a niche market for a new type of smartphone.

The introduction of the ‘smartphone’ was probably the last major change in the telephone industry. However, the working conditions and salaries in the manufacturing companies that produce those smartphones, have been heavily criticized. In 2014, an undercover BBC investigation discovered poor treatment of factory workers in Chinese factories that assemble iPhones, which confirms that Apple broke their promises to protect factory workers (Bilton, 2014). Even worse, in 2010, 14 factory workers under the age of 25 committed suicide at Apple’s biggest manufacturer, Foxconn (Moore, 2012).

Bas van Abel, the founder of Fairphone, believed there is a demand for a fairly produced or ‘fair trade’ smartphone. Therefore, he first started to raise awareness about ethical production of products and creating a ‘buzz’ around that idea. Fairphone’s goal was to establish collaborative, fair and transparent relationships with their manufacturers in order to ensure worker representation, safe working conditions and fair pay (Fairphone, 2015). In addition, they aimed to extend a smartphone’s longevity by improving the life span of the product and increasing repairability by making use of a modular design.
Moreover, millions of smartphones are thrown away every year, generating mountains of electronic waste (Reardon, 2012). Fairphone aimed to find a solution for this problem by by creating a simplistic modular design that allows users to repair their own phone by replacing the old parts with new parts, thereby reducing electronic waste.

With the above mentioned ideas in mind, they started developing the Fairphone, but instead of moving to investors or venture capitalists, they directly went to the end users, because they believed the phone should be funded by the public. In their Kickstarter campaign, they were looking for 5,000 people who were willing to pay 325 euros for a mid-range Android device, with no special specifications or industry changing features (Best, 2014). Therefore, the value proposition was the story behind the product, and they needed to fully leverage the social message behind the product in order to be successful. In their first campaign, they sold even more than 10,000 Fairphones upfront, indicating that the production could be started right away.

After the success of their first model, they launched the Fairphone 2 two weeks ago, on September 25. Compared to the first model, the Fairphone 2 has a better life span and it is even more fairly produced. In technical terms, the software got upgraded, the phone is equipped with a faster processor and a better screen resolution (Van Lier, 2015). However, the Fairphone two has a price tag of 525 euro, which is, looking at the hardware and the specifications, rather expensive (Verlaan, 2015).


For smartphone users that often drop their phone, the Fairphone might be a cheaper option, since all parts are easily replaceable. Also, the device has a considerably long life span, but I think consumers often wish to buy a new smartphone after 2 years.

To conclude, the most important ‘feature’ of this smartphone is that it is produced in a fair and ethical way. As the trend in the organic meat industry shows, more and more people care about how food and products are made. This is the probably the only reason why there is a demand for this product, because if you compare the Fairphone 2 with a smartphone that has equal specifications, you are very likely to find a cheaper option. So, the Fairphone 2 is expected to be successful in their niche market if they fully leverage the media attention and word-of-mouth effect that this product can bring, but they will not evolve into a real ‘competitor’ of Samsung or Apple.


Best, J. (2014). The gadget with a conscience: How Fairphone crowdfunded its way to an industry-changing smartphone [Blog post]. Retrieved from, D. (2015, July 14).

Bilton, R. (2014, December 18). Apple ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’. BBC. Retrieved from

Fairphone. (2015, October 09). Our roadmap to a fairer phone. Retrieved from

Moore, M. (2012, January 11). ‘Mass suicide’ protest at Apple manufacturer Foxconn factory. Telegraph. Retrieved from

Reardon, S. (2012). Will we ever be able to buy a fair-trade smartphone?. New Scientist, 214(2860), 18.

Verlaan, D. (2015). FairPhone 2 Preview: aan de slag met de eerste modulaire smartphone [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Finally! No ads anymore on your iPhone.

Whether you are on Facebook, playing a game or using another application, you will always get bothered by advertisements on your iPhone. However, Apple has allowed a new ad block application into the iTunes App store, known as Been Choice. This app claims to block advertisements in mobile applications, and also in native mobile apps such as Facebook.

Been Choice offers a combination of a content blocker for Safari and a VPN service. Through the content blocker users can enable ad blockers to eliminate ads from Safari during web browsing sessions if iPhone users have iOS 9. When using the VPN service for the first time, you need to install a profile on your device. When the VPN is enabled, your traffic is then routed through Been Choice’s servers where it performs deep packet inspection on the content. After this, specific content can be removed  through pattern matching. This ability enables Been Choice to block advertisements in Facebook, Pinterest, Yahoo, New York Times apps and more. Blocking ads in all these applications could be very detrimental for many mobile application developers, because the primary way of how they make money is disrupted. Apple may do a favor to consumers by supporting this ad-blocking technology in iOS 9, however, this goes against Apple own interest since advertisements will also be blocked in their own news application. (Twitter is not blocked because they use end-to-end encryption. This makes it t impossible to block ad traffic without blocking non-ad traffic.) (Perez, 2015)

It seems that Been Choice is beneficial for consumers. But of course there is a flip side. This application hides a paid surveys operation, while promoting data privacy. Yoon, the co-founder, says that Been Choice offers users a choice between ad blocking and sharing data in order to earn rewards. This way, consumers understand the value of their data rather than blindly offering it up in exchange for targeted ads. This means that users will receive a compensation, when they agree to share their behavioral data with advertisers, publishers and app developers. For each day the VPN is enabled you’ll receive 1,000 points and you need  30,000 point (a whole month) to earn $20 (Perez, 2015).  It makes me wonder what they will and can do with these data since advertisements will not be shown anymore on consumer’s most important device. According to the their Privacy Policy, they will pull device info, device ID’s, content of your communications  and transactions (excluding financial and e-commerce applications), and of course information about you, what can be everything. This means, and they admitted, that your giving up your personal data even more than with traditional ads.

Thus, this app means to cater to thiose who don’t want ads anywhere, but on the other hand, they need to reach those who are willing to sell their data.

Do you trust this application? And are you willing to sell you data in exchange for no advertisements anymore on your mobile phone?

Perez, S (2015) Apple Approves An App That Blocks Ads In Native Apps, Including Apple News,, 7 October 2015

Data, Risks and How to Avoid Them

Reading through all the blog posts about new technology such as big data, sky technology, smartphones and so on, and the advantages these brings, it made me think. What will be potential risks of these technologies?

In recent time, businesses are increasingly taking advantage of the power of the data they possess. By using analytics and software organizational they are able to utilize their big data in a more efficient way. However, numerous organizations are afraid to engage in such data schemes out of fear of increasing the chances of a data leak. They may set their reputation on stake, and there are also great fines at risk, in addition to a risk of lost revenue and lost production.

So why are not businesses protecting themselves? One can think of three reasons for why businesses are not reacting appropriately. Firstly, business managers may have lack of knowledge about the risks. If they don’t know about the coming disaster, it is difficult to prepare for it. Some managers may be aware of the risk, they do however not know how to respond, and hence end up doing nothing. Secondly, many businesses have no plan or strategy to protect data. They don’t know how they would respond if their data was stolen or other breaches occurred. Lastly, there is often lack of resources to handle this challenge. Especially for small companies, the resource constraint can be significant, both in terms of finances and managerial time.

So what can an organization do to avoid this risk? For a business that wishes to prepare, there are some means that can be used. You don’t necessarily need a full team of security experts in order to succeed, but it takes both time and effort to secure the business.

Firstly, managers should spend time on getting educated on the subject. By seeking out information about the latest data security incidents and how to protect against them, it is possible to try to learn how to avoid such attacks. Furthermore, managers should be clear on what data the company has, and where it is stored. This is not only sensitive customer information, but also unstructured data, such as emails and documents. Not knowing about such information may pose a threat to the company. However, especially sensitive information should be safeguarded. Software can block sensitive information being sent through emails, and encrypting it should safeguard confidential business information.

This is why companies should put in place systems to minimize risk and to protect ideas. Policies for data protection and clear communication of these to employees, strategic partners and customers may help. Furthermore, companies should use layered security, meaning different tools and techniques. The first layer is typically anti-virus, before following up with firewall. Software and patches should always be kept up-to-date. Extra protection may include physical securing the data and keeping a regular back up of all files.

Lastly, the company should have an incident response plan in place in case they are breached. This will allow them to respond faster and more effectively, and they may be able to keep the cost down. Summing up the ideas mentioned above, the company should in general try to be prepared. Don’t wait until disaster is a fact and the breach has happened. This way, they would be able to keep data, utilize it without being afraid of the consequences, and storing it more safely.


Your Digital Diet

As we have previously been taught throughout this course, the food industry is dynamic. This can be seen through the change in how we order food, for example from physical stores to online delivery to the possibility of drones or replenishment buttons. [1] However, the latest trends emphasize sustainability and the use of natural resources. There is no doubt that this has the potential to massively disrupt the industry with food sources coming from insects, seaweed, algae and other similar supplies. [2]

One other technology that is expected to revolutionize a range of industries is 3D printing. Many of you will have witnessed examples such as bionic prosthetics, in other words – printing an amputee a new arm or leg. [3] One of the key ideas within 3D printing is the enabling of personal customization (of each arm or leg).

Next, it is also worth mentioning that ideas have been documented by various innovative companies with the aim to help solve problems such as the growing global population and poverty through 3D printing. We have seen a dramatic increase in development in Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) including Africa. Manufacturing is an area in which Africa hopes it can show progress over the coming years, facilitating domestic production of all sorts of machines. Going straight into digital manufacturing would mean that Africa would by-pass the industrial revolution that virtually all MEDCs went through. [4]

Combing the topics discussed above, namely; the dynamic food industry and 3D printing. Results in the futuristic (or not so futuristic possibility of your digital diet. This idea consists of customizing your diet requirements and being able to print your food. For example, one feature would be to scan one’s DNA to generate a personalized diet chart, including warning signs such as low sodium that the individual is able to act upon. Obviously everyone would require a 3D printer at home, which arguably is unfeasible in today’s world. But just how far off is this idea? People would be able to satisfy all nutritional recommended intake and be much healthier. [2]

There are many other implications that a digital diet has, can you name any?






Legacy systems: headaches of rapidly advancing technology

microsd-2005-2014According to Moore’s Law, the processor speed doubles every two years[1]. In practice, this becomes very clear in the smartphone industry. There have been 8 Iphone versions[2] in roughly 8 years’ time with each version having better hardware specifications.

Now, in my opinion, there are 2 types of consumers. The first has the money and the will to buy a new phone every year or 2, being able to keep up with the current trend in technology. The second might not have the money to buy a new phone this occasionally or might not have the will to switch or might have specific information in his phone that he doesn´t want to lose switching to another device as it would take a lot of time to create the same setting. At some point however, new updates are not supported anymore by our device and if we want to keep up with the updates we need to buy a new phone.Legacy-Software

For us consumers, the abovementioned struggles of the second type of consumer might seem familiar for some but we are alright in dealing with them. However, when these problems are scaled up to systems at a company level, this becomes a quite different story. Outdated software systems that are not supported anymore but are still in use by companies are called Legacy Systems and they can become quite a headache for companies.

The biggest problem with Legacy Systems is that the original engineers who knew how to manage and configure the systems have long since retired so no original knowledge is left to fix or to update the software. For example, the system that maintains the USA´s nuclear warheads still runs on software from the 1970s[3]. As a matter of fact, it has turned out that replacing the system with modern technology is more risky than keeping it running as

Another issue with Legacy systems is that they are not supported anymore by the operating systems they are running on. It is shown that most of the ATMs run on Windows XP which is not supported anymore by Microsoft[4]. This means that any newly found security threats within the operating system are not patched anymore. This poses a major threat for banks as the ATMs are now vulnerable for malware or worse[5].

Some major companies still use physical tapes for their back-ups. This means that every day, an employee has to take out a full tape and has to insert a new empty one[6]. This is because their system just can’t handle new types of back-up systems.

All in all, legacy systems can pose quite a nuisance for companies as they can become quite expensive to maintain. Also, don’t be surprised to see that a lot of companies are actually still dealing with legacy systems though this is may not always be visible from the surface.

So, what do you think about this subject? Do you have ideas how companies can deal with legacy systems?

Tony Jordan – 400986tj







From Pizzaman to Pizzadrone


The use of drones has become widespread; they have been benefiting farmers and wine makers with their crops, construction workers with their work, film makers with filming scenes, and even in the health sector by delivering vaccines to hard to reach places. Based on these examples, it is safe to say that drones can offer great benefits to society.

Meanwhile, companies are also looking to get a piece of the action. The number of UK companies with permits to use drones commercially has doubled since 2014.

The only thing standing in their way are laws and regulations. Regulations state that drones may not fly higher than 120 metres, and no father than 500 metres from the drone operator. They have to be 150 metres away from congested areas, unless the device weighs less than 7 kg and cannot be flown within 150 metres of an open-air assembly of 1,000 people or more.

These regulations are in place to protect people’s privacy, who knows what a owner may do with the footage they obtain flying their drones places they do not belong. Or, what major consequences could the influence of drones have if they place part in public demonstrations? In a football match between Albania and Serbia a drone with Albanian symbols was flown onto the field, which caused an on-field fight.

However, the drone lobby is pushing hard for government to amend the laws so that they no longer have to be operated in the line of sight of the pilot, which is an essential regulation change if deliveries were to be delivery by drone.

Pizza drone deliveries aren’t a new topic, but a recent interview with Helen Greiner, the founder of drone maker CyPhy Works revealed that the sky may be filled with drones a lot sooner than we all think.

She said; “From a technical point of view, we can do it, [but] it will take regulatory and cultural changes. The FAA is right to now allow it today, but more experimentation would be great for the community. [The FAA] has signalled they are open to changing the rules if we can prove it is safe.

I can already picture what pizza nights with the roommates would like…



Doward, J. (2015). Delivering pizza, making films … now safety fears grow over use of drones. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 9 Oct. 2015].

Rosario, F. (2014). Pizzeria owner uses drone to deliver pie in test flight. [online] New York Post. Available at: [Accessed 9 Oct. 2015].

Russell, J. (2015). Drones Will Deliver Your Pizza, And Much Much More. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 9 Oct. 2015].

The magnitude of the Internet of Things

In recent years, there has been rapid development in IoT solutions being deployed to advance business intelligence. Through this technology, devices such as smartphones, tablets, refrigerators, TVs and thermostats can share data freely among themselves via the Internet and offer customers greater control over their surroundings.

The IoT can help to create opportunities for more direct integration between the physical world and the technical systems, resulting in better productivity and precision leading to economic benefit. For 2015, Cisco (worldwide leader in IT) predicted that there would be 25 billion connected devices, and that this number will double going towards 2020. So far, investments in IoT have mainly been done in the IT and telecoms industry, which can be seen as a natural consequence of the amount of generated data and application capabilities for mobile devices. However, the application is increasingly spreading to several other industries as well.

This trend may revolutionize industries by allowing companies to engage with customers in a new way, improve their value propositions and build new revenue streams. Take for example the medical healthcare systems. IoT devices can be used to enable remote health monitoring and emergency notifications systems. Patients with heart problems or blood pressure that need to be monitored can monitor this with specialized implants such as a peacemaker. These devices are becoming increasingly popular for chronic patients, helping one to manage vitals and medication routines. By using this kind of technology, the doctor can monitor their patients via their smartphones, and the patient can be discharged faster with fewer check-ups.

Another example is energy management. In todays society there is an increasing focus on the need to be sustainable in how we threat the environment. One way of behaving this way is to manage our energy consumption. Through IoT one can utilize the sensing and activation systems connected to the Internet to optimize the usage. Over time, it is likely that IoT will be integrated into all consuming devices, such as switches, light-bulbs, television and so on. By integrating such devices into the IoT, consumers can control all devices from distance, and it would enable scheduling (for example turning off heat/light is given times of the day), changing lighting conditions and so on.

A third example of how IoT may revolutionize an industry is in manufacturing. IoT systems may enable rapid manufacturing of new products, dynamic response to product demands, and real-time optimization of manufacturing production and supply chain networks, by network machinery, sensors and control systems together. Through IoT it is possible to automate process controls, and to optimize plant safety and security through operator tools and service information systems. However, IoT is also becoming an increasingly important managerial tool for assets management, by giving information about predictive maintenance and measurements to maximize reliability.

The above-mentioned examples were just some of the industries that now are starting to see the benefits of IoT. Based on the technology of IoT, Cisco gives predictions that industries will look completely different than from today. Like in the early days of the Internet, IoT is a undeveloped market. New companies with new business models, approaches and solutions will appear. Furthermore, Cisco predicts that IoT will force businesses to transformation. Like with the wave of the Internet, companies need to adapt and develop strategies and plans for how they can leverage IoT to transform all aspects of their business. This will enable them to capture the value of the technology. Lastly, Cisco predict that IoT will cease to exist. The Internet has grown from being new and mysterious, to be as normal part of consumers life as electricity. The same will be for IoT. In not distant future, it will be difficult to imagine that all things were not connected and that the benefits brought by IoT were not always present.


The value of healthcare data and applications

It is no secret that the availability of a relevant amount of data enables the companies to take better decisions. More information enables the companies to improve profits and cut down expenses, design better strategies and reach more costumers all at the same time. Thanks to the technology advancements in the last decade, we were able to generate and collect huge amount of data and our ability to analyze and understand it also increased.

This is true for every kind of business and healthcare is no difference. But what is making this industry particularly relevant for the use of information, especially during these days?

Differently from many other businesses, the only way to generate relevant medical information has always been using expensive specialized equipment and the support of trained staff. The high degree of specificity in the diagnosis and the lack of data sharing among the different facilities prevented for many years the generation of information that was useful not just to cut internal costs, but also to increase the effectiveness of the treatments. Additionally, this also meant that this pool of data was only available to hospitals, medical structures and professionals in the sector, making impossible for a single individual to assess its personal health status.

But now the landscape is changing: the advancements in technology are now overcoming these highlighted limits. Specifically, the new generation of smartphones now allows its users to obtain basic information on their health without the need to access specialized medical structures.

What we can see it is not just an improvement in the user’ service, but a giant opportunity for external companies to access relevant information and develop new profitable applications for the market. It is possible to forecast that in the next few years the availability of medical data will raise dramatically and will be accessible to the general public, allowing also new companies to step-in the healthcare business.

More data, better treatments, easier prevention, but also a huge opportunity and a new market that is being unlocked.

Still some major problems remain before this new trend takes over. Most notable is the security of these personal data and small companies will have a harder time in protecting this information, due to the lack of structures and knowledge. Additionally, since this technology is just at its beginning, the kind of diagnoses that an individual will be able to do by its own are very limited in reliability, complexity and data generated.

As a final consideration, we should also take account of the legal constraints biding this new technology: if the data generated by personal devices will not be recognized as a solid instrument to provide treatments, then it will likely happen that governments will not grant it the status of proper and reliable diagnoses. This means that this technology will be regarded more as a personal tool than a proper medical device able to substitute medics and hospitals.



Twitter Increase Character Limit

As you might have heard in the past few weeks Twitter is considering removing the 140-character limit. Currently, Twitter is creating a new product that will enable users to share tweets with an unlimited amount of characters. But what does this mean for the future of twitter? There are various characteristics that separate Twitter from other social networks but the 140-character limit has always been the most important trademark of Twitter. Twitter has been under scrutiny about this for years and many have argued that Twitter should expand the limit. But now that this might actually happen, will the users see blocks of text on their timelines? Or will it be a separate blog-type of service? This change will certainly have an impact on marketers who use Twitter to connect to consumers. Due to the longer content that will crop up almost immediately after the change, marketers will have to spend more time writing the body of tweet. This could create a shift on Twitter from many, small tweets throughout the day to fewer, longer tweets because marketers will not want to deplete their own time and resources and alienate consumers who may unfollow if they feel bombarded with content.

Lifting the limit might seem like a good thing, however, will Twitter be able to differentiate itself from other social networks after this implementation? This change could be detrimental to the unique community of writers and creatives who have found a home on the platform. The inconvenience of the 140-character limit has forced Twitter users and marketers to become better writers and salespeople. These parameters have taught Twitter users to develop their own unique style and flow. The only downside to the limit is that there is not much room for nuance. Twitter user must create a thread of tweets in order to show a progression of thought. However, this separation actually allows followers to process information much more seamlessly. After practicing marketers can learn to use the limit to their advantage with more precise and to the point content, as the most successful Twitter users manage to be both poignant and witty in bite-sized portions.

Not only is Twitter a platform where ideas are exchanged constantly but it is also a platform that turns minorities into targets of harassment by trolls. If Twitter is strongly considering lifting the 140-character limit ban, it must first put in place stricter anti-harassment regulations. Without the character limit trolls will be given more freedom to attack. This can cause the number of Twitter users to decline while Twitter is desperate to find new ways to attract users to the product.

Twitter wants to improve its appeal to the mainstream social media users, who do not know how to interact on a 140-character landscape. Removing the 140-character limit is a way to achieve that and will provide new readers of marketers’ content. However, the question arises whether or not this would actually increase Twitter’s audience. Twitter’s 140-character limit has force innovation in language and art, and created a platform perfectly tailored to facilitate instant interaction and community building. Instead of eliminating the characteristics that make Twitter unique among its competitors and the power these innovations have, Twitter should focus on making it secure for users and use this opportunity to improve this innovation and differentiate even more. Do not mess with what is not broken. Or do you think otherwise?