Technology in Healthcare, Are We Making Progress?

It seems an obvious statement that Technology in Healthcare is a good thing, and there are genuinely some amazing innovations that have made real difference to people’s lives, consider the improved quality of life an artificial pacemaker can offer or the difference that the simple hearing aid has made to millions of lives.

When it comes to innovation in Healthcare Technology it often comes from indirect applications. Take for example the Xbox Kinect, a brilliant piece of technology allowing a game player to interact with a game using body movements, no controller or physical touch is involved. Not long after its launch Microsoft Research and surgical staff at St Thomas Hospital in London began trialing its use in theater as it allowed them to quickly view 3D images without any form of contact, keeping the environment sterile.

Technology for gaming is now being adopted in situations where life and death are quite literally at play. Google’s Glass has also found its way in to the surgical theater and trials are underway to consider its use. Recently a Doctor in Madrid used Google Glass to stream a live surgical procedure to Doctors located at 300 Universities and Hospitals in five continents.

So you would imagine that we are seeing cutting edge technology being rapidly adopted across the healthcare spectrum. Sadly though, we also see areas where Technology appears to be ‘dragging its feet’ so to speak. The ‘TeleMedicine’ approach and mobile monitoring of patient stats has been on the go for many years, and where we should be seeing this as a field of mature technology that has reduced costs, as well as re-admissions, it is really still in its infancy and lacks broader adoption with many projects still in the ‘pilot’ stages.

On a positive note, organisations like Johnson and Johnson are taking a direct approach to Innovation with their aptly named ‘J&J Innovation Centers’. Located in California, Boston, London and Shanghai these centers allow a partnership approach for those with new and exciting ideas to share and be supported by those with a background and experience that can genuinely help drive the idea forward. A key principle behind this initiative is to accelerate the time is takes for an idea to become reality. The centers will focus on innovations in Pharmaceutical, Consumer Products and Medical Devices & Diagnostics. It will be interesting to see what new Innovations we will see hopefully sooner rather than later.

Like a car with no fuel, Innovation on its own is really of no use if it does not have the support and direction to quickly and efficiently become a reality that will ultimately benefit the lives of people.

ITwaffle.com Copyright © 2014 Gareth Baxendale

The Technology May Change, But Human Nature Remains The Same

Let me repeat that..

“The technology may change, but human nature remains the same!”

In this wonderful Internet Age, we are all struggling, and succeeding to different degrees, to keep up with the technology. It’s a never-ending battle. Web Technology! When it’s good, it’s often poorly executed, and when it’s bad- it’s fatal.

Frankly, much of the time, the technology gets in the way of the sales and communication process. Unfortunately, it seems that many people responsible for website design understand the technology available and what they want, more than they understand their fellow man- their potential customers, and what THEY want.

Whoever…?

Whoever got the idea to ask for your name and email addresses before you can enter a site? Try that outside the front door of the local McDonalds!

Whoever got the idea for fancy Flash presentations that take 3 minutes of your time to show off how good the graphics designer was? Try telling people that they have to watch a video presentation before they can enter Wal Mart!

Why can’t more than half of Web shoppers find the product they want on a site? Would that be acceptable at the local sports store, or in a mail-order catalog?

Why do more than half of Web shoppers abandon their purchase after they’ve selected goods and placed them in their shopping trolley? Wouldn’t that send your local supermarket broke?

What About The Customer?

This is truly a fascinating time to be a Marketer, and to watch what is being done in the name of Marketing. Look at any successful business in the ‘dirt world’, and you’ll find that it is being rewarded for responding to the needs of its customers, and making more than enough profit to pay its bills. Then look at what has passed for popular success on the Web, and you find that it has to do with how exciting the concept is, how many eyeballs it attracts, how innovative the ‘business model’, or how revolutionary the technology used is. Nary a word about about the customer satisfaction or profit that are necessary in the real world.

I note with pleasure that some wiser heads are now writing about the “New New Economy”, and noting that it’s looking more like the Old Economy all the time! This trend will help give credit to those businesses that have been truly successful on the Web (and there are plenty of them), and set up a realistic expectation for those that come onto the Web in the future.

The Fundamentals Still Apply

Take away the technology, and to succeed in Web Marketing, you still need to deliver the basic requirements of Marketing:

-A good Product

-At the right Price

-At the right Time

-At the right Place

It also helps mightily, if you have a good rapport with your customer.

I was delighted a while back, to be asked to lead a Clickz Forum. It posed the following question…

“Whether, in a high-tech age when dot-coms are rushing to automate as much as customer contact as possible, there’s still an important place for ‘high touch’– old-fashioned one-to-one sales.”

MY answer, was a qualified ‘Yes’, and my belief is that ‘one-to-one sales’ isn’t ‘old-fashioned’ at all! Have a look at all the ‘new-fashioned’ sites that tried to sell autos. They were dismal failures. People used them for information, then went right on down to their local dealership to haggle and buy from real people. No matter how good a job the programmers did of automating customer contact, the customers didn’t feel confident enough to complete the transaction on the website. Some businesses are so “high-touch”, that wise marketers would choose to use a website only as an information, branding and lead- generation tool, with real people following up the leads.

Sure, you’re right, the auto example is an extreme case. And, no, you can’t afford to have a real-live salesperson selling that $9.99 CD online. I understand. Even in the real world, we have vending machines, so we don’t need a human holding our hand in every sales transaction. It varies with the nature of the product.

Understand Your Customer’s’ Needs!

No matter how much money and technology some Web businesses throw at automating customer contact, they’re doomed to failure. You can only successfully automate something you UNDERSTAND. Unfortunately, many of our dotcom whizz-kids have never had to make a living from real customers in the real world, so they just don’t ‘get it’. What online businesses DO need to do, is to understand what the customers’ needs are in the sales process, and fulfil them.

What is really needed, is a caring, thoughtful fulfilling of customers’ needs and expectations at every step in their experience with a Web business site. The better all the small steps are performed, the less need there will be for real-time human intervention (and the higher will be the conversion rate). This means;

-a professional, friendly tone to the complete website

-information about who you are- the company, the founder, the staff. Let your customer know that there are real people there

-sensible ads that don’t mislead and set up unreal expectations

-relevant descriptions from customer searches of Directories and Search Engines

-quick-loading web pages

-easy-to-understand page layout, with clear information

-easy-to-understand navigation

-a Privacy Policy to allay fears on privacy

-a Returns Policy and strong Guarantee to allay fears of making the wrong choice

-a clear description of your products or services, and clear pricing options

-secure credit card and information handling to further allay fears on privacy

-a friendly, easy-to-use shopping cart

-a sincere Thank You, and information about what will happen next

If all of these things are done, there will be little need for one-on-one selling on MOST sites. You will already have done the job. Through understanding your customer and providing excellent service, NOT by spending more on technology!

Of course, offering some ‘one-to-one’ contact is a real plus for any business, and necessary for those that are more “high-touch”. There are now a number of programs, some even free, that allow a customer to contact a live operator at your site. Check out LiveHelper.com and HumanClick.com Making it easy for your customer to contact your business site by phone, fax and email should be fundamental.

I read once that the definition of fanaticism was “Redoubling your efforts when you’ve forgotten your original aim”. Solving a lack of customer rapport by throwing more technology at the problem, comes perilously close to the definition.

Future Technology and Innovative Concept Topics and Ideas for Think Tanks and Radio

Greetings and welcome my radio listening audience and online article readers. On this 19th day of October 2012 we will of course be discussing future technology, future innovations, and futuristic concepts. Indeed, I surely hope the Mayan calendar was wrong, or perhaps those carving it merely ran out of stone simply, ran out of rock to chisel on, therefore the world will be saved from whatever it was that the Mayans thought might bring about a new age or renewal.

Okay so, I’d like to dive into our topics for today’s radio talk show and I’m sure by now you understand the format, basically, “I will do the talking for about 30 minutes minus commercials and your job is to listen carefully, come up with comments and questions, and then I’ll open up the phone lines to hear what you have to say.” As you also probably know I do not respond to online comments which are not intellectually based. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion, nor does it mean that it has to be the same as mine. In fact, if you do too much preaching to the choir, I will simply cut you off, perhaps agree with you, and go to the next caller.

Our job is to have an intellectual discussion, dialogue, debate and discourse. That’s why you’re here, and that’s my mission, and we will complete it. Now then, obviously there is a tremendous amount of talk about innovation, the need for innovators and entrepreneurs in our nation to keep us strong, vibrant, and on the leading edge of technology. You won’t get any disagreement here on that reality, nevertheless it seems as if the word “innovation” is perhaps one of the most overused words in the English language currently, perhaps other than “unsustainable” which by the way, some things which may appear to be unsustainable or dire problems we believe we face today, but may very well be solved with the technology of the future.

Einstein used to say that; “it takes a brilliant person to solve a problem, but it takes a creative genius to prevent the problem from ever happening first place,” and therefore, I would say that the creative geniuses don’t always get the credit for solving the problems, but the brilliant person will, even if their previous solutions turned into unintended consequences, and they are rehired to fix what they broke the first time after supposedly fixing something to save us all.

Okay so, here is where I’m going to start throwing out topics, with a little discussion attached to each one. They will run the gamut all across the board from science fiction topics to today’s latest and greatest technologies and what they might mean for our future. I will also throw out some personal original innovative concepts, as I come up with at least two new original concepts per day, and we can discuss those as well if you wish, or perhaps you will have a different topic for our dialogue here. Now then let’s begin with the first topic;

1.) Will Physical Money Survive the Next Three Decades – Hackers and Trade Questioned

In reality, money has little or no value – consider a dollar bill, it’s just a flimsy piece of paper, so how much is it really worth? We all believe it is worth whatever it says on the face of it whether it be one dollar, five dollars, $10, $20, $50, or even a C-note. Money only works because people have faith in its value, and what it can buy. Most of the money which is created these days never actually exists in a physical form, it only exists in the digital world. For instance, you might get paid from a Corporation, that money could be digitally transferred into your bank account. You might then use your ATM to buy something, or pay bills online, but you never had that money in your hot little hands. Things have changed a lot in the last three decades haven’t they?

So what will happen in another three decades I ask? Will we still have physical money, or will it all be digitized, and will you ever have any money in your wallet to buy something? There are some futurists that believe that money will go out the window, that is to say physical money, and everything will be digital in the future. But what if our society and civilization doesn’t trust digital money? What if they are worried that our banks are being hacked? Recently in the fall of 2012 we’ve noted that our banks have come under cyber-attacks from Iran at least Leon Panetta believes that’s where the attacks originated, but who is to say in the future if we have a war with another nation that cyber-attacks on our monetary system will not be included?

After all, economic warfare is becoming quite common, why just consider the sanctions, trade wars, and our attempts to stop the money flow from terrorists, drug dealers, money launderers, and human traffickers, along with the central banking computer systems of rogue nation-states and their money transfers for things like oil, natural resources, and military armament?

Then there is the issue currently where more and more people are making mobile payments on their mobile personal tech devices. Today they’re buying a cup of coffee, a hamburger, or various items at retail stores. In the future it might be much more, or if that becomes unreliable or those personal tech devices are being hacked, perhaps through downloaded apps with malware, or from users surfing websites with malware, then people will not trust mobile payments. Some have suggested that some personal tech devices may actually come with pre-loaded back-doors or software that could be used by hackers to steal data or commit identity theft crimes.

There may come a time where people don’t wish to buy anything online, or do online banking because they don’t trust the system, they don’t want their money to disappear one day into someone else’s account in some foreign country. Having someone drain your bank account only needs to happen once, and only needs to happen to a close friend or a family member before everyone they know becomes sketchy. In that case you won’t want to use digital money, and that case more people will opt to use physical money, therefore it is quite possible that physical money will exist simply as a safety factor for decades to come.

But how safe is your physical money going to be in case of a natural disaster, or a wildfire that burned down your home, or an earthquake? What about a hurricane with a huge tidal surge, a tsunami, or a major river which jumped its banks? Is your physical money safe, how much safer is it that your digital money in that case? Speaking of natural disasters and flooding events, maybe we can better predict them in the future? Let’s talk about that for a moment with our next topic;

2.) We Need A Real Test for 100-Year Flood Mathematical Simulations – A Thought

How can we better produce mathematical simulations for flood zones, or the proverbial hundred year flood? What can we do to better fine-tune these mathematical models so that they are completely accurate? Lots of work has been done in the past based on elevation, and flood mapping. But there’s more to it than that, there are all sorts of other things to consider along with erosion patterns. Let me give you a thought here?

We know the dates, temperatures, rain fall, and run-off right, we know history, plus we measured the terrain before and after right? Thus, any really good mathematical simulation for erosion should look the same as the actual if you input the way the terrain once was with the interim conditions to what it is now. See that point.

There is a very interesting YouTube Video I recommend viewing on this topic, well a side issue, that of agricultural top soil erosion; “Dave Montgomery – Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations,” now then, let me express my thoughts on this as, all of these theories and speculation make a lot of sense with unlimited examples in the present period on smaller scales – common sense, observable, and thus it makes sense, so then, Occam’s Razor survives.

So, my speculation of Dave Montgomery’s lecture and theory would be the same. Indeed, this was a great lecture, solid evidence, and research. Okay so, now we can now put forth these findings to help calibrate mathematic soil erosion models and simulations. Now then let me ask another question, or perhaps the same question a different way;

3.) Can We Use Mathematic Fractal Simulation to Fool A Human When Viewing Erosion Patterns?

If so, would that be like the Turing Test? And if so, can I call that the Virtual Reality Winslow Test, named after me for considering it? If you are a pilot like I am, and you fly over the terrain, you see various patterns of how the mountains and erosion had taken place over the last thousand to 10,000 years. You can see floodplains, mountains, canyons, and it all makes sense – you can see exactly how the water flows, or had flowed in the past. What if we used a computer to design erosion patterns that never happened, and what if we asked a human, perhaps a pilot who has seen and flown over such terrain many times in the past if it were real or not?

Are our computer simulations good enough to fool the human eye? I’m talking about a trained observer who has seen these things in the past over and over again? Is that possible; I believe it is. And so, how do you know when looking at Google Earth if you are looking at a computer rendition, or a fake Birdseye view which perhaps is covering up a military base, or a secret area? The reality is you don’t, or do you? How about those who work for the national satellite intelligence agencies, where all they do is study terrain maps? Could they pick out the difference?

Before you answer that question, why don’t you use Google Earth on the satellite view and fly over the deserts in Nevada. Some of that stuff looks pretty bizarre with weird colors, but it’s all real. If you doubt that it’s real, go ahead and fly over southern Bolivia on Google Earth and look at some of that terrain in their salt flats region and up against the mountains, you get the same interesting colors, much of it does not appear to be real either, but it is. Some of the features that NASA has viewed on Mars don’t look real, but they are.

No, they are not the same as Earth because the erosion patterns that we see now could have been created by wind, there is a different atmosphere, or lack of. Do you see my point? Not long ago, I was watching an online video lecture about erosion patterns, Stephen Wolfram’s New Type of Science, and Mathematica – fractals and mathematical simulations and projections of erosion patterns. They are amazingly predictable, and that in itself is interesting. It’s as if you can see the geological record through the ages.

You might want to look some of this up yourself. And speaking of free lectures, University level lectures on just about any topic you’d like, I wonder if that will change the future of our higher education, why go to school and pay $100,000 to get an advanced a great when you can learn almost as much online through self-study? Yes, interesting, does this mean it’s the death of the University, or are we entering a new age of information flow in education? Let’s go ahead and talk about lecture type learning.

4.) Want to Learn While Watching an Online Video Lecture – Go Full Screen and Ditch Distraction

First, if you are in a university lecture hall, listening to the best and brightest professor on a given topic there’s a good chance you might fall asleep, but still your attention span will be longer because you are there, and there aren’t the same distractions as watching an online video. If you are watching a University level video at home on your computer in a little box on the screen – there are lots of distractions.

For instance whatever else is in the room, perhaps the doorbell, TV, or your cell phone rings. You might feel the need to text someone back, go to the refrigerator get something to eat, or just zone out – listening while you’re doing something else, assuming that you can multitask and learn something complicated at the same time. It’s not that you can’t, it’s that you probably won’t and your memory retention level will be next to nothing, and you’ve wasted everyone’s time, and some bandwidth to boot. Still, let me ask another question;

5.) Is The Lecture Dead – Even If It’s All Online and Free In The Future?

This is a decent question, even if you disagree with it. On October 20, 2012 there was an article in the technology news. Harvard had put up two free courses online in computer science. They were obviously following Stanford computer science department’s lead, as they did the same thing last year. Harvard had the same results over 100,000 people signed up, people from all over the world. There’s no shortage of people who wish to learn online, but in doing this; are they cutting their own throats as they distribute information to the rest of the world at no cost, or are they boosting their own credibility by doing so? It could lead to more people who wish to attend that school in the future, therefore greater enrollment.

Regardless, things are changing fast, even if the basic lecture at our universities hasn’t changed much since the 1800s. Indeed, I recommend that you watch the YouTube Video; “Don’t lecture me” (with Twitter track) – Donald Clark at ALT-C 2010,” because this gentlemen makes a lot of sense. Perhaps also of interest is another YouTube Video titled; “Re-inventing the Lecture (Or, Why Online Lectures Don’t Work, and What We Can Do About It).”

Indeed, I think after you watch those videos you’ll be better able to comment on what I’m talking about here, and it is something that needs to be discussed. We need a national dialogue on this, that is if we want to propel technology and innovation, and couple that with entrepreneurship moving our great nation forward into the future. Next I’d like to discuss;

6.) Large Universities, High Tuition, and Big Buildings and Beautiful Architecture – Are We Learning Yet?

Why is it that we put so much faith into our larger universities? It’s interesting isn’t it? They spend huge amounts of money putting up great architecture and large buildings but is that really what makes them great? Even if someone has a great building, it doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about, consider some of the largest churches in the world for instance, or the largest mosques. Is it the high prices the Universities charge; does that make them great? Having been in business all my life, I can recall various attorneys actually raising their price just so they could get more business because people thought it they charged more per hour they must be good, they weren’t.

Indeed, if a large university spends all their money on landscaping, beautiful brick work, great statues outside the lecture halls, and is one with the epitome of divine architecture – then they have less money to teach you with. They have less money to hire the best professors, buy the best equipment, or provide the best future for their students. That’s not to say that they can’t, perhaps they charge you money far in excess of the amount of education and you just have to the pay for all that extra stuff. If you can get a lecture online for free on YouTube – in many regards the information is basically the same.

Perhaps in the future your living room gaming virtual reality technology will project a holographic professor in 3-D bringing the professor to you, and it can be done for a fraction of the cost, there’s no building to pay for, perhaps the building, and the professor, and everything else can be projected around your living room and you will feel as if you are they are. Therefore, you get the same experience, and interaction, perhaps even breaking up into groups with virtual-reality avatars as fellow students. Who needs college anymore? Better yet, who needs to take out $100,000 in student loans for the same exact information, minus the big building?

Still, in your living room gaming center which doubles as your new education headquarters, and your latest virtual or augmented reality 3-D holographic computer game immersion device – you might actually be training the artificial intelligent supercomputer network to think like a human. That information might be used by future robotic systems for all sorts of things from self-driving trucks, cars, and airplanes through virtual-reality simulator trainers to future combat vehicles in the battle space. Speaking of which I have another question for you;

7.) Should We Crowd Source Satellite Data for Future Military Convoys?

Well, if we did that, we wouldn’t have to tell anyone who was looking at the satellite data when or where we might be moving troops, equipment, or resources, we could just say that this is one of the potential routes for some time in the future, and if you find an anomaly mark it down. Those who find the most anomalies will receive a check in the mail, or a gift certificate to their favorite retail store at the end of two months. They won’t know when, where, or which anomaly they found was the one which garnered them the free gift card.

Those that find more real anomalies than false positives would be given a higher level of point spread for dollars per anomalies they found. Further, they might get an extra hundred dollars in the mail each month because they had a higher credibility rating. If we did this eventually the algorithms watching the very best human minds find these anomalies could figure out how they are doing it, and what is catching their eye, and therefore we could better design artificially intelligent satellite analyzing algorithms which would incorporate how a human mind thinks, and how a computer thinks which will give us the best of all worlds by putting those two together.

Perhaps in a way, humans are already training supercomputers with artificial intelligent algorithms to run our entire society, and civilization for the future. After all, every time you put something on the Internet, the Internet could be learning more about how humans think, operate, and go about their business. In many regards we could be creating the matrix for our own future, and these artificial intelligence systems will become aware, and they will be our leadership in the future, it won’t be human? It’s possible, and let me ask you another question;

7.) What Happens When the Cloud Computing Centers Filled with All Human Information Become Aware?

Consider if you will as someone recently said in The Futurist Magazine in the October-September issue of 2012 along this line of thinking, something to the effect that; “We already have algorithms which can search all the information in any of these cloud computing centers, ” and “We have all sorts of algorithms to help us find the data, and algorithms which talk to other algorithms.” Sure, all that makes sense, and also consider that in the human brain:

A.) We have various brain waves and they interact with each other.
B.) There are various chemicals providing energy with a mix.
C.) We have sensors all through the body, and the five senses which gather information and experience, taking in all of our observations.

If the cloud computer centers, which will be talking to each other and talking to themselves contain all of the written and visual record of humanity, they will have already gathered all the experiences, writings, observations, using, and history, and so it is only one small step away from becoming aware. This is the future we are moving towards, my question is; do we dare?

In a way, the cloud computer would become aware, and it would be very similar to a human brain where every individual neuron was an individual human. That is to say every piece of the puzzle, from the top to the bottom would have intelligence. Is this a new form of intelligence? Well, let me scale it down to a simple board game and ask you a different question;

8.) Can We Design a 3-D Chess Board Game Where Each Piece Has AI and Seeks to Survive?

And if we could design something like that, wouldn’t that be very similar to the whole Net Centric Warfare concept? Isn’t that how a real military works? Each soldier is given a job, but each soldier is a thinking machine, it follows its orders, but also attempts to do what is in its best interest, that is to survive, to fight, and to win. In war it’s pretty serious, you either win, or you die. Can we design a 3-D chessboard to do the same thing? How much better would it be if it was giving feedback back to the artificial intelligent chess master?

We’ve already found that artificial intelligence working with a human chess master can beat an artificial intelligent chess playing machine from IBM. When we merge human intelligence with artificial intelligence we seem to get a boost. What if each piece on the chessboard had artificial intelligence and it understood how humans think, adapt, survive, and operate under pressure? Aren’t we already teaching all these things to the future of AI through our input onto the Internet? Sure we are, and if you’ve listened to this radio show, or read my articles for any period of time, you already know the answer to that.

What if we scale down even further? What if we scaled this all the way down to the molecular level? What if those molecules or nanoparticles could talk to each other? Are we talking about the next generation of microelectronics? Taking it all the way down and continuing the tradition of Moore’s law? Have you recently noted in the scientific news October of 2012 that carbon nanotubes have incredible properties for producing light and miniature holograms? Will this be a new way to communicate at the micro level?

Bacteria seems to communicate and once it gets economies of scale and reaches a tipping point, it activates itself, trying to overwhelm by force and numbers. It operates much like an army, although strategically, mathematically, and predictably, well almost? Almost like a chessboard where each individual member is also serving its best interests? Perhaps as we design computer algorithms for the small-scale or the largest scale we will begin to see the same thing, and what we learn will propel us further and faster into the future.

There was an interesting article in Photonics on September 27, 2012 titled; “Nanotubes Project Holograms,” which noted that;

“Holograms can be generated by harnessing the conductive and light-scattering qualities of carbon nanotubes, a development that could lead to crisper projections with a larger field of view. Many scientists believe that carbon nanotubes will be at the heart of future industry and human endeavor and will have an impact on solar cells, cancer treatments and optical imaging. Researchers used these nanotubes as the smallest-ever scattering elements to create a static holographic projection.”

The applications for all this are incredible and it could revolutionize everything, change ALL of human technology; communication, computers, transportation, energy, healthcare, and you name it, just consider the realities here? Would it be so bold to suggest that someday;

9.) An AI Super Decision Making Computer Could Be Running Human Civilizations?

Interestingly enough, I have deeply considered the future eRepublic or eGovernment AI decision making system, enterprise software super computer concept. If it were not corrupted by humans it could work well, programmed benevolence – if that is possible and if the programmers are on the same page of liberty, freedom, and standardization of some aspects and basic infrastructure needs. The anarchists might not like it, the crony capitalists would try to corrupt it, the socialists would want to control it, the religious fanatics would want to destroy it, and so on – again humans, but living in such a system designed for liberty and freedom “I think it would be a good idea” paraphrasing Gandhi on Western Society.

What I’m saying or asking rater is; could we ever get human populations to agree to live with this even if we could prove to them mathematically that would be in their best interests? Are humans ready for that yet? I would suggest you that they should be getting ready for that because they are currently training AI supercomputer decision-making machines to do just that in the future, as humans are putting all of their knowledge onto the Internet. You see my point?

Of course, if we do this we must get it right the first time, but have you ever known any technology to have come into the world perfect the first time? Look how many airplane designs crashed and burned before the Wright Brothers actually got one to fly? And even with them it wasn’t like they were not adding insult to injury, as they too crashed a few times themselves and had broken bones and broken wing spars to prove it. Speaking of which I like to discuss with you a little bit about how innovation comes to be, and the subject of;

10.) Innovation, Trial and Error, and Original Thinking

Not long ago, I was discussing this with an acquaintance of mine from across the pond and he suggested that; “Most innovations might be just applications of trial and error.” Is he right? Yes, a good portion really is so, that’s true enough. Indeed, isn’t it so that; those who know that may have learned it through the adversity of failure, find themselves in a place where they refuse to quit for the next round, eventually that leads to success due to strength of character.

Thus, those who’ve achieved have proven they have the right stuff, and have worked to solve real problems, but you can’t solve real problems by practicing “the definition of insanity” which is generally how humans “following the leader” usually get there, as they hire those experts who got them into the hot water in the first place (refer back to Einstein’s quote), learning from their success, but not their failures as mentioned above

Because of this, if someone is unintelligent and just recites the experts, then are they really needed for a think tank or for future innovation? No, we ought to enlist the experts themselves, not their hook, line, and sinker followers – of course, as I’ve discussed in previous shows and articles we’d be better off following those who question authority, rather than leaving it all up to status quo intellectual elite.

Now then, along this line of discussion my acquaintance also noted that; “Most mind stunning discoveries are still linked to few masterminds.” Well, this is fairly true, and why we study the names of dead white men, the victors of history who wrote themselves in, and speak of the “shoulders of giants” however, many of these incredible advances may have come from associates or combining information.

Consider a stable man for a member of the Royal Geological Society back in the day, he came up with the idea, but he couldn’t read or write, so the individual who wrote it down got and took the credit for it, and today we have to “memorize” his name in school, yet in reality that’s not how it actually happened.

Thus, in many regards it’s hard to say what an original thought is, or how many actually come about. After all, many psychologists and philosophers have noted that the human mind comes up with ideas and thoughts based on its experience and input from its sensors through the sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. It’s rather difficult to conceive something that you haven’t experienced or is not within your realm, it’s not to say that you couldn’t, it’s that it doesn’t happen very often. Getting to a big breakthrough is highly uncommon.

Indeed it is known that most innovation comes from problem solving, and perhaps using known knowledge, observations, and experiences in unique ways. Then there is the trial and error period, where you crash and burn, or you modify, adapt, and survive to fight another day – to tweak your invention, and to make it work. This is your job as an innovator, and it’s something I hope you will consider.

Well, that’s the end of 30 minutes of me talking (minus the commercials and distractions) and you listening. Now it’s your turn to chime in and I will open up the phone lines. If you are reading this transcript online you may post a comment if you’d like, or shoot me an e-mail. Just remember the rules; you must bring your mind and intellect. You may dial now;

“Hello Caller, you are the fifth caller, and you are on the air, what do you think?”

Presenting a New Technology to a Venture Capitalist

When presenting a Business Plan for a new Startup Technology Company to a Venture Capitalist you need to understand that they are looking for a one to three year kill. In other words they wish to fund a company that can be sold for 10 times or more their investment in three years.

They are not interested in a long-term investments, but rather a short-term three-year maximum turnaround. They will plan on selling their shares or their percentage of the company whether you like it or not. If you are an entrepreneur who has fallen in love with your own idea and wants to do this for the rest of your life then perhaps Venture Capital Cash is not a good idea for you.

When presenting your business plan you must also understand that the technology you are wishing to refine and bring to market needs to be 99% complete. They are not interested in research and development funding for anything that will take over five years. It is best to have technology that you have patents for and potential clients lined up.

Venture Capitalists are also looking for businesses in new technologies, which are desirable to large corporations so they can sell this technology along with the startup company. You should have prepared a two or three paragraph executive summary to pitch your idea to the venture capitalists if they seem interested then you should have a two-page executive summary and a non-compete clause that you can send along with it. Once they sign that and if they are still interested then you can see in your entire business plan to them and follow up in one week. Please consider all this in 2006.

Beware the Seductive Power of Technology

I Like Technology. I’m conceding all the good and fun things that computer-based technology has brought into our lives; I’ll not fight that battle. Not only would I lose any argument against the wonderful additions technology has made to our lives, I would be fighting against myself. I love it that I can flip open a Star Trek “communicator” and talk to almost anyone, anytime. I love the very idea of having a communication device out in my back yard, near the bird feeder, that is communicating with a satellite in low earth orbit. Wow! And do I ever love my computer-oops, computers. As in many computers. In fact, my job is strongly tied to technology and I love to get paid. However, this article is a warning, a plea to open our eyes wider than our big screen TVs, to step back out of cell phone range, to put down our PDAs for a minute and look at what has gotten a hold on us.

Technology is Seductive

Technology has the power to draw us in and cause us to lose perspective about what is happening. Just try talking to your child (or maybe your spouse or best friend) the next time some slick TV program or commercial is shimmering across the screen and you’ll see what has all of their attention. Technology draws us in. But if we’re drawn in, we’re also leaving something behind. We could be abandoning loving or developing relationships or the quiet time necessary to think purposefully about our lives, where we are going and how we want to live five years from now. To continue this idea, that technology is seductive, let’s look at the natural progression of how we respond to new technology.

Technology as a Toy

All new technology comes to us in the guise of a toy, thus its initial seductive pull on us. No matter the age, the new technology feels like a toy. It is smooth, pretty and flashes little lights. It makes cute sounds and we respond to it from the childlike (or childish) center of our being. It is not the sophisticated 35 year old business executive that is responding to the new all-purpose, highly-evolved technology thing, it is instead the seven year old child inside that is gushing and filled with Christmas morning lust. We might not even have any way to use it yet, but we play with it. We turn channels, set the volume on the 96 surround sound speakers (yours doesn’t have 96?), take pictures of our toes with it, and enthusiastically pursue carpel tunnel problems as quickly as our thumbs and fingers can fly over fun little colored buttons. It is a toy. But it does move evolve into our next category and that makes us feel a little better about it and helps us avoid the fact that we just spent a year of future retirement on a toy.

Technology as a Tool

The toy usually becomes a tool. In our strong desires to justify the purchase of the toy, we look for things it can do. Ah, it keeps my calendar. Cool! Now I won’t have to keep track of my $29.00 day planner and worry about losing it. I just need to worry about losing my $495 PDA. But it can also take pictures. That’s important. It’s also good that it can erase them because I find I take a lot of pictures that are really crap and now I not only spent time taking the pictures, I also get to spend time erasing them. But the toys often turn into very serious tools. I may continue to use my cell phone toy as I unconsciously blow through red lights and make turns without signaling (need that spare arm for the cell), but I also realize this toy is a serious safety tool. I don’t want to be broken down on the highway and not have this link to help. The same 50″ flat screen wall hanging that is a toy is also a tool to be aware of threatening weather and important current events. And the notebook computer that empowers me to look at pictures of potential Russian brides helps me write this article and project investment returns. Toys have the potential of becoming tools. From puppies to working dogs. But there is a third and more dangerous level.

Technology as a Tyrant

Dictionary.com offers one definition of a tyrant as, “a tyrannical or compulsory influence.” Wow! Think cellphone, e-mail, Skype, compulsive checking of forums, chat rooms, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other current flavors of Turkish delight known as technology. These things can be toys (relatively harmless except for what they might be replacing), they can be tools, or they can become tyrants. When deeply engrained into our work or social structure, they change from being puppies or work dogs and become pit bulls that can bite and clamp down so that it is very difficult to dislodge them. I used to be able to keep up with the demands of my job. Once upon a time I actually had a little time that I could budget weekly that was “walk around and get to know everyone better” time. No more. Now I am constantly juggling attention among appointments, drop-in unannounced visitors, snail mail, phone calls with the pink reminders, cell phone calls, and e-mail. I can never get one caught up without intrusions from all of the others. The first four were barely manageable, with cell and e-mail added, I’m no longer in control, the pit bull is. So, what happened?

How Did We Get Like This?

Okay. Here is the crux of this article. Technology is on a different evolutionary rate than us humans. It reproduces faster than mice and changes species with each generation. We were enticed, and continue to be enticed, by technology due to its seductive dark side. It beckons to the seven year old inside and draws us in. As a tool, technology is embraced and embedded into our lives, seemingly as a partner, one called alongside of us to help us. But, without an understanding of the evolutionary path of technology, we do not control its place in our lives. It becomes a tyrant that bullies us and pulls us around on its lease instead of the other way around. Because of the initial seductive nature of technology, we don’t easily see that it will tend to take us to where we don’t want to go and make us pay more than we first thought we were willing to pay. So, what shall we then do?

What We Must Do

I’m not offering a plan but an approach. The approach depends upon fully understanding what has gotten a grip on us. I suggest the following critical pieces for beginning to manage technology and protect our humanity:

  • Clearly see that technology is seductive and separate out and control the childish reactions to the initial toy aspects of new technology. Gratification can be delayed (an adult response) and toys can be both played with and put away.
  • Think through both intended and unintended consequences of bringing a shiny, new technology toy into your life. What is it replacing? How will you control it so it doesn’t put you on a leash?
  • Do not assume that a new technology tool is better than an older one that worked well for you in the past. I have a colleague who keeps in a pocket a little list of things to do, thoughts, and insights. His pen and paper list worked a lot better than my PDA when when my technology tool lost both primary and backup batteries and I lost passwords to multiple accounts and forums. Which is better?
  • Many new technology tools cannot be avoided. However, they can be managed. Think of ways to limit their use and how to communicate your policies for your use to your colleagues, family, and friends. For example, I check my email once a day and make it clear to my colleagues that I am not sitting at my computer all day waiting for the chime (evidently, they are).
  • Finally, pay attention to the things that technology tends to replace and redouble your effort to work on relationships so you have no regrets.

To rewrite a common adage, no one’s last words are likely to be, “I wish I had purchased the 60″ HD instead of the 54”.