This month in a rather packed session we looked at some digital assistance technology. Bev demonstrated her Google Digital Assistant for us and fun was had by all in giving it instructions and its response to those requests. We even had some music from Scotland as well as episodes of Late Night Live, as a result of requests of it.
Videos of other assistance technology were shown for example Alexa, Amazon’s version of a digital assistant where you can actually order products from Amazon, by instructing Alexa. Unfortunately Alexa sends only what she thinks is appropriate.
Of particular interest to older people was Apple’s latest digital watch. Apart from telling the time (it seems a minor requirement for a watch now) it can detect when you have had a hard fall and if you don’t respond within a minute it will ring an emergency number for you. Other health features apart from the usual such as heart rate, include monitoring atrial fibrillation which would be of interest to some. Another convenience is that it can be paired to your mobile phone service, and can be used as a phone. Useful for those who don’t have their phones welded to their hand
We brought ourselves up to date with the latest in driverless cars and discussed the things that lead up to the death of a woman wheeling her bike across a four lane highway in Arizona. She was struck by the Uber autonomous car (with a driver on board). After about a seven month investigation Huber have put in place a much more rigorous testing regime.
RACWA have purchased a level four autonomous vehicle at a cost of $500,000 for trial in Western Australia. The small bus which was purchased has an unusually large number of sensors, including three costly Lidars, six cameras, radars and ultrasonic sensors. The trials should lead to legislation for the operation of autonomous vehicles in that state. It is something of an anomaly that the first level three autonomous car is available for sale in Australia but is disabled due to lack of required legislation.
Hydrogen power for electric fuel cell cars has had a boost with CSIRO research into the production of hydrogen from the use of metal membrane technology using ammonia. The idea is to transport liquid ammonia to your local garage where it would be converted to hydrogen on site in a simple process. A number of fuel cell vehicles are being trialled in Australia, including Melbourne, at the present time.
A video proposing wide scale use of hydrogen was discussed. The advantage of hydrogen is that its use produces zero greenhouse gases. Ideal for backup of intermittent renewable energy.
Finally we viewed a video of a TED Talk by Tom Gruber, the designer of Apple’s Siri. He is urging the development of AI as an enhancement of human capability rather than a competitor to it.
This video prompted some interesting discussion. It is interesting to note the timeline for an implant to ameliorate the effects of dementia is slated for 2030. That would be good to bring forward!
About 'Tech Savvy Talks'
Are you reasonably ‘Tech Savvy’ and keen to continue developing your knowledge base? Then this ‘Tech Savvy’ discussion group may be of interest. Monthly sessions include viewing of topical ‘TED Talks’; presentations on topics of interest by class members or guest speakers; shared news of developments across a range of technologies such as 'robotics'; 'alternative options to baseload energy'; 'driverless cars'; 'alternative vehicles' and more. Topics discussed include developments in science as well as technology. An optional reading and discussion group meet at the Northo for coffee and cake on the 4th Thursday at 3 pm—contact Les on 5762 7600.
U3A Meeting Room
10 am to 12 midday
Fourth Thursday- 'Tech Savvy Talkers' chat at 'The Northo' - 3 to 4 pm
Resources from Ian McLeod's 'Making the Most of the Internet' course which preceded Tech Savvy:
Links and references