Humans and Robots: Augmented Productivity

For a few million years we’ve been augmenting our productivity with tools. Those tools helped us to catch more meat and to fight our enemies, in other words they made us productive. We continue to augment our productivity with new tools that help us achieve modern day productivity needs. Whilst productivity itself is a simple measure of input, added value and output it’s not always easy to define what the added value is. How people add value is going to be a key question as we transform the meaning of productivity in the coming years as the tools available change dramatically.

There have been a number of items highlighting these new tools over the last few days:

  • The MIT Technology Review is reporting on the impact of augmented reality on healthcare and the Operating Room in particular. The key thing here is that the information is augmenting the operating environment within the context of the operating environment.
  • Improbable has secured a $500m investment to help it continue to develop it’s simulation technologies. As Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality devices become more mainstream there’s the potential for a huge market in creating the simulations that bring those devices to life.
  • Cisco, Google and Microsoft have all made announcements aimed at augmenting today’s office productivity environment with various uses of AI.
  • And someone decided to make a robot that looks and moves like a spider (but only 6 legs so no needs to worry) 🙂

AR Is Making Its Way into the OR via MIT Technology Review

Doctors may soon be able to augment their view of your body, but it will be some time before it’s commonplace.

“Scalpel. Forceps. Suction. Oh, and nurse, pass me the HoloLens.”


If we’re living in a simulation, this UK startup probably built it via Wired

Improbable’s platform, SpatialOS, is designed to let anyone build massive agent-based simulations, running in the cloud: imagine Minecraft with thousands of players in the same space, or researchers creating simulated cities to model the behaviour of millions. Its ultimate goal: to create totally immersive, persistent virtual worlds, and in doing so, change how we make decisions.

Or more simply, as Narula often jokes, “Basically, we want to build the Matrix.”


How machine learning in G Suite makes people more productive via Google Enterprise Blog

According to a Google study in 2015, the average worker spends only about 5 percent of his or her time actually coming up with the next big idea. The rest of our time is caught in the quicksand of formatting, tracking, analysis or other mundane tasks. That’s where machine learning can help.


Transforming Collaboration Through Artificial Intelligence with Cisco’s Acquisition of MindMeld

Artificial Intelligence represents a tremendous opportunity to expand the reach and enhance the capabilities of enterprise technology. At Cisco, we have already been introducing AI into our solutions across security, orchestration, application performance and collaboration. Today, I’m excited to share Cisco’s intent to acquire MindMeld Inc., a San Francisco-based company that has developed a conversational platform based on natural language understanding (NLU). This acquisition, Cisco’s third in two weeks, represents how the buy pillar of our innovation strategy continues to impact our strategic shift to become more of a software company.


Microsoft’s Presentation Translator translates presentations in real time via TechCrunch

The Presentation Translator can automatically provide real-time translated subtitles or translate the text of their actual PowerPoint presentation while still preserving the original formatting.

In its current iteration, the service supports Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. While the focus here is on translation, you also could use the same service to caption a presentation for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing.


Man’s homemade robot spider looks real and we are sufficiently freaked out via Mashable

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