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Updates from Paul Spain

Artificial Intelligence: Assistants of the Future, Today

I’m not a robot, but I am interested in where robotics, technology, Artificial Intelligence, autonomous cars are going to take us into the future.

My Thoughts

When I look back at when I launched my first podcast, six or seven years ago, there were varying things that helped me get out to an audience but ultimately, it was Apple’s algorithm that really took me to Number 1 on the iTunes charts in New Zealand.

So, how is this technology going to impact us in the future and help our contents spread out to an audience? Well, AI is the key piece here. Right now, most of you will have a smart phone in your pocket that has an AI assistant on it.

Now, we can utilize that to help us play content, consume content to do a range of things. We might have that also, with earphones or the Apple earPods, some sort of in-home speaker system that we can talk to. And we can ask it to play us the news, we can ask it to answer simple questions. But where we’re at now is fairly rudimentary compared to the place that we’re going to.

We’re going to a place to where we will expect our AI assistants to do more than just answer questions and do specific things. Yes, we’re heading to an AI future where our Artificial Intelligence assistant will know where we are, what we want to do, and that AI assistant will look after us like a real assistant in some regards.

So, in the future, when I jump into my autonomous vehicle to commute to work or get from work to home. In that situation, my AI assistant will know me well enough to know what information I want to consume that might be a little video of the news highlights related to technology and podcasting for the last 24 hours.

It might be reminding me of appointments I have today, key emails, maybe some favorite podcast content. But also it would know that I want its smarts to figure out what is the best content available right now that’s pinpointed directly at me that it rates as really good and I want that slotted into the mix when I’m on that commute when I’m on that journey. So, when I get out of the car, I’m educated for the day, I’ve enjoyed some really great new content all because the AI had the smarts to figure that out.

Will AI replace you and me as content creators? Well, I don’t think so. The AI will help in various ways.

I think that the way that we as people communicate, the authenticity, the realness that we bring, there’s something special that individuals bring to the table, that’s not going to happen anytime soon by an AI.

So, when we jump into our autonomous vehicles, we will be mostly listening I think the human-created content. That’s the key there.

Don’t be fearful of the AI systems and of the autonomous cars that may allow us to watch more content when we’re on the go.

The ubiquitous internet that will let us watch content so we maybe will pivot towards a bit more video than audio but be aware of that.

So, my tips are, be aware of these changes that are coming through. Create the best content you’ve ever created. Make sure you think about, “can video be part of the mix?” Because video will get more and more ubiquitous, we’ve seen this. But focus on creating something that people want to listen to. Create the best content of your life and you will find that will find a place.

We are not having to compete with robots. I am not a robot. I am Paul Spain. Thank you very much for listening. Hope you enjoyed this. If you’d like to talk to me further, look forward to connecting with you here during Podcast Movement 2017.

Passwords and You: How to create and manage your credentials safely and securely

Hey, folks! Passwords for many people are the bane of their lives. What an annoyance! I don’t know how you do it remembering passwords, but I’m not so good. So, let’s talk about how you can make your life easier but also stay safe from cybersecurity and hacking issues that are becoming commonplace in our day to day lives.

My Thoughts

Wouldn’t it be good if we could just completely do away with passwords?

Well, we’re part-way there right now, certainly with a lot of the newest smartphones, you can use biometric authentication. Whether it’s a fingerprint reader, whether it’s something that does some sort of an eye scan. But these technologies are becoming more common on our laptops, who’ve certainly got fingerprint readers, facial recognition coming through on products like Microsoft Surface.

So, the technology is improving but passwords have gone away. So, what am I going to recommend?

Well, for your passwords, the old recommendations having jumbled letters and numbers and characters and maybe a password of about eight characters long, let’s leave that behind.

A better option for a password is one that you can remember. So, unless you can remember a jumbled-up password, then think of this.

Think of passphrase, so a phrase, a number of words you could join together. It’s quite a good approach for a password.

Now, there is no set-rule of what is the best technique for a password because as soon as somebody sets a rule, then people are looking to break that particular technique. But one type of thing that could work is to have a password of a number of words, ideally random words that aren’t sort of predictable, like the lyrics of a song.

Avoid that of words that would normally go together so they’re quite random, very hard for a computer to go in and to guess your password even if it tries a million times, it’s not going to do that if you’ve used a number of disassociated words.

For me, I would tend to add in some extra elements in addition to how many words I utilise. Whether it’s a mix of numbers or something else that I remember that can go together with that password.

For having different passwords on different sites, you’ve probably heard this advice: “Don’t use the same one password in multiple places that leaves you at risk.” And the reason being, is a lot of websites get hacked, there’s a lot of compromise and if somebody guesses one password, you don’t want them to have access to absolutely everything or if they get your password through a website that was hacked and linked to your password, you don’t want them to have that carte blanche access.

So, what do you do in that case? How do you keep all your passwords different? That’s where a password manager comes in that can remember all the passwords for you. They could be as complex as you like.

If you’re very paranoid about certain sites like your core account for business access, maybe it’s internet banking, all sorts of ones.

Well, a small number of passwords you probably can remember up there, particularly if you come up with a technique to remember them and there are a whole range of those.

On my website, you’ll see some more recommendations on passwords but I do recommend considering one of these tools for storing your common passwords.

If you want to sort of write both sides and not leave it all in your head but use a tool to remember it, what you can do is store maybe, half or portion of a password in repository that is safe, not in a bit of paper on your desk or stuck to your monitor or under your keyboard, those don’t work so well. But if you do want to do that, go ahead but leave part of it in your head.

So, if somebody does get that, they don’t have the whole up.

Hey, that’s it for me. If you want to see those password tips, go to www.gorillatechnology.com/password-tips and you can find some insights there. You can follow my updates, paulspain.com/updates. Hey, I’ll be back with my next video, next week. See you, then.

Facebook Watch: Taking on Netflix, Youtube and Pay TV

So, Facebook have just announced their newest product, Facebook Watch. No, I’m not really talking about one of these. Facebook are not launching a smartwatch, I’m talking about Facebook’s new video-streaming service. So, what’s this all about? Are they taking on TV stations, Netflix, Youtube? Could this be your chance to make your millions by producing content and streaming it through Facebook Watch? Or, do you think Facebook’s ulterior motive is to get you to spend even more time on Facebook?

My Thoughts

So, Facebook launched in 2004, quite a small social network, focused on universities in the U.S. They grew very quickly, right now they have over two billion active users.

Every month, every day more than a billion people log into Facebook and the very large majority of those are accessing Facebook from a mobile device. Well, what’s Facebook’s next plan to capitalise on that?

Well, that’s all about Facebook Watch. They’re hoping, this is the thing that’s going to increase their earnings and have a big impact on other players on the online space.

So, they’re definitely gunning after Youtube, and they would very much like to have an impact on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon video, traditional pay TV providers too. So, that’s what they’re working on.

How is it going to work? Well, you will have a watch icon come up on Facebook.

For now, this is just limited to certain Facebook users in the U.S but very soon, it’s going to spread across U.S, across the world, everybody will have access.

Now, the opportunities here are pretty interesting. For those who create content, create good videos, and one who actually create series, TV-like series, well, there’s going to be some interesting opportunities here from an earning perspective because Facebook will be putting adverts in the middle of these programs.

So, a little bit like traditional TV. We don’t know yet whether they will have some variations on a model where you could pay to get rid of the ads, certainly no suggestion of that at this stage.

Well, what will be interesting though, I think, for advertising on Facebook Watch, of course, is that Facebook knows so much about you, that I would expect that they can deliver much more pinpointed advertising, therefore, advertising that isn’t so annoying because it’s actually, somewhat relevant to you.

So, let’s hope they get that piece right and let’s wait and see how it works out. But at this stage, if you’re into video content-creation, you want to watch the space.

If you like watching content, then, this is going to be another thing where Facebook try and take up your time. It’s not that they’ve taken enough of it.

Alright, that’s it for me this week. You can catch me here on Facebook, of course, each week with my weekly videos and at paulspain.com/updates.

Can Tesla Model 3 and Elon Musk change the world?

So, this last week, Elon Musk and his team at Tesla unveiled the first Model 3. Now, what stands out about the Model 3 of course is, this is the world’s first semi-autonomous vehicle that is mass market. It’s also maybe more importantly, an electric vehicle. This is really set to stir things up. So, is Elon Musk the next Steve Jobs? Or is he going to be a whole lot more? Of course, he has big ambitions in terms of changing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and even ambitions to go to Mars.

My Thoughts

So, who is this Elon Musk?

Well, born in 1971, moved to North America in 1989 and it wasn’t too long before he founder X.com that became PayPal, and ultimately solved for 1.5 billion dollars.

He’s got a history of doing fairly well. Since then, of course, he’s launched a number of other businesses and they’ve generally been incredibly successful.

So, let’s look at each of those. What are these companies?

SpaceX, a ground-breaking company, working out how to recycle rockets and they’ve been quite successful in doing so, recovering these used rockets that in the past, every space launched has needed new equipment other than the few exceptions such as the space shuttle. Well, SpaceX has changed that.

They’ve also got some ambitious plans going to the moon in 2018 with a flyby and then future plans for going to Mars.

What else? Well, there’s Neurolink which is a company that’s working on a brain-computer interface. Hooking up brains to technology and well, hopefully, this isn’t something that goes too far down the matrix track but very interesting all at the same to see what’s coming there.

And then there’s Solar City. Solar City has moved in and is now part of Tesla, a company that’s been very successful in building solar cells and of course, hooking these up to Tesla batteries in recent times.

So, Elon Musk is someone who is really going places, ground-breaking things in the past, and no doubt in his future. And then, of course, there’s the boring company.

No, I’m not talking about a company that’s dull and boring. I’m talking about a company that is drilling underneath cities. So, they’ve already started in Los Angeles to try to make a quicker route to the airport.

The next thing for the boring company is a hyperloop. A high-speed transportation system between New York and Washington DC.

So, their risks on getting on-board with Elon Musk’s visions? Well, sometimes he certainly sets deadlines that seem a little lofty and he doesn’t always manage to have his teams deliver on those deadlines.

But in general, he seems to be getting there and innovating, delivering some incredible technology, some really incredible results that are quite different from what others in the market are doing.

I think you can have a fair degree of confidence in many of the things that Elon is talking about. And certainly, when it comes to the new Tesla Model 3, I think there’s a lot to like here.

What are the standout things about Tesla’s Model 3? Well, for me, it’s that, it is a semi-autonomous vehicle that is going to be updated overtime to become fully autonomous for those that ordered that option.

Comes in it is starting price of US 35,000 dollars and it’s really been mentioned that there are some 500,000 initial orders or people who have puts deposits down now. Some, 60,000 of those cancelled those orders and it is going to take some time to deliver these initial vehicles.

There are people that, for instance, say, in countries like UK, Australasia, India, and so on where their right-hand drive vehicles aren’t going to be shipping until at least 2019.

So, a little bit of a delay there and a delay for other people ‘coz it’s going to take some time to ramp up the manufacturing, of course, the Model 3 isn’t an all-electric vehicle, 220, or 350-kilometer range on the base models are pretty capable.

Overall, I think this is an exciting vehicle. I think it’s going to spur on a change. This move away from traditional combustion engine vehicles to the more environmentally-friendly electric vehicles.

Certainly, more environmentally-friendly in some markets such as New Zealand, where most source of the electricity is generated from renewable means today.

The other thing that stands out for me is that all of Tesla’s vehicles get continuous software updates, so most car manufacturers will make a car and sell it and they’ll come up with some new software, some new changes, most of those innovations go into the next models. You have to sell, get rid of your older model to take advantage.

Tesla will take advantage of a different approach and they’re continuing to do software updates for older vehicles. So, very positive.

So, I think Elon Musk, look, he’s doing some great things for us and for the planet, very exciting things ahead. But let’s watch the space and let’s see just how well he does.

Thanks for joining me, I’m Paul Spain. You can follow my future updates at paulspain.com/updates.

Can AI save lives by helping to find Cancer and other illnesses earlier?

Today, we’ve heard about 1492, the secret Skunkworks Lab from Amazon. What’s this all about? Well, it seems that’s like Amazon is investing heavily in the future of healthcare through Artificial Intelligence and Cloud data storage. So, are they the first? No, they’re certainly not. We’ve got Google, IBM, Microsoft among other players working in their space. They’re trying to solve the big issues like cancer. So, are we going to live forever? What is this technology going to do for us?

My Thoughts

So, we know that Amazon has been developing all sorts of technology over the years. They now a half-trillion-dollar business.

Their founder Jeff Bezos, was today, actually, highlighted as briefly being the world’s richest man. This is a company with a leader that is not fearful of trying new things, dominating new spaces.

The healthcare areas with something like three trillion dollars annually, so, from their perspective it’s worth investing into. There have been lots of developments in the space, though.

Microsoft, some months ago, talk publicly about their developments trying to solve cancer through accessing masses of patient records, putting all this information together, trying to deliver results that can’t be delivered by individual doctors. And that’s one of the possibilities of this technology.

Google will be working here through their acquisition of deep mind. They’ll be working with one of the largest hospitals in the world, in the UK, with their analysing data that are collected when they’re testing people’s eyes.

Now, by utilising Artificial Intelligence technology, they expect to see a big reduction in the number of people that are impacted with blindness through age-related macular degeneration.

So, Artificial Intelligence technology can really deliver some great stuff. In terms of us living forever, well, I’m not too sure about that one but we certainly will see continuous improvement going forward.
Amazon are also within their developments that appears, looking at how to store patient records and that information.

Once that stuff is stored centrally, it makes it makes it easier for you to get access to it when you’re travelling, when you’re in different locations, if you change who is your primary doctor then that should benefit you.

Yes, there’s some risks around security of information that we’ll need to think about. Cyber-security, what will a big company like Amazon do with our data.

Looking back a few years, we heard about target in the U.S who looked at individual shopping habits and in one case was able to pick that a teenager was pregnant before she even knew about it based on the thing she was buying.

So, data can do some incredible things when, the sort of technology is applied. So there, we got great things ahead in the space. A very, very interesting area to watch.

My recommendations for you? Keep a track on what’s happening, encourage your healthcare professionals to be utilising technology, maybe they can provide you with your personal healthcare records, digitally share those with you.

There really are lots of possibilities. Try out things like a health tracker or fitness tracker, so, you get used to collecting your own information. See how that can encourage you to be healthier.

For businesses that are in the healthcare space, whether they’re doctors, medical specialists and so on, well you should make sure you keep at the forefront of technology to deliver the best results for your patients and make sure you keep secure from that cyber-security perspective.

Hey, that’s it for me this week. Look, I can’t give you an answer right now with the technology and Artificial Intelligence is going to help you live forever but look, we’re hitting on the right track. You can get more from me on my updates paulspain.com/updates.

The two faces of Social Media: It’s changing how we interact and not always in a good way

Let’s talk about Facebook and other forms of social media. Look how good they are for keeping in touch. Friends, families, especially when people are travelling but so many users. And great is you don’t have to spend all those hours on the phone like we used to be. When you have issues, nowadays, you can do most of that online. And of course, businesses love social media for connecting with people too. But is there a dark side? Is there an underbelly to social media? Well, we’ve heard recently, people are getting hit with fines for what they post to social media. So, can you get in trouble? Should you be worried? What about online addictions? How should we address these matters?

My Thoughts

So, we definitely have some issues with social media. Very easy to fall into negative or bad practices with social media.

Maybe sharing stuff that really isn’t so positive or getting tied up in, when you got lots of likes. Lots of shares and re-shares, tweets and re-tweets.

And of course, there’s that temptation to share information that maybe isn’t quite right, isn’t quite accurate.

Recently, we heard of an individual in the UK, who, across boarders from the US was fined over a quarter of a million dollars for doing what they thought were doing anonymously which was sharing a terror threat against an airline that were maybe disgruntled with and of course, they weren’t going to carry this out.

But ultimately, it’s going to put them in a pretty difficult spot with such a big fine. In New Zealand, there was a case, around a million dollars was in question.

Now, this was settled out of court but one of the results of it was that we now believe, that people could be held liable for just simply liking a Facebook post.

A Facebook post maybe that’s libelers are wrong. So, we need to be really cautious around what we do online.

And then we have businesses that are spending huge amounts of money to protect their reputations online, to promote themselves online and sometimes shoving junk down our throats, quite frankly.

So, what should we do? Well for individuals, I think it’s really important within our homes, within our families, we think about how do we get the best out of social media, and how do we leave the negative side effects behind?

Some families, that means putting in place some formal constraints about where and when devices and gadgets and social media are getting used, where they don’t get used. In some homes, that means no devices at the dinner table, in bedrooms and you know, certain times only for doing the social media.

And then there’s thinking about what do you post online and you know, I guess my thought there is I would encourage positive use of social media.

Think of a social media interaction just like an interaction with an individual in person. Bring your best to the table.

Bring something positive and uplifting. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

We see way too much where people are being bullied and hurt online from horrible comments. That’s just not needed.

Now, for businesses, what should you be doing? Well, think of how you can help, how you can serve your customers.

What can you share that’s going to help them? Put that before your thoughts about how you promote and sell. Serve your customers through social media first and foremost. If you get that right, then the sales, they will come.

Hey, that’s it for me this week. I’m Paul Spain. You can find my updates – paulspain.com/updates.