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Creating Generational Legacies

Friday, August 18, 2017

New Cancer Cure?



The Bob Pritchard Corner 

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common cancer among young children, accounting for a quarter of all cancer cases in kids, and it has no cure. For about 85% to 90% of children, the leukemia can, however, be effectively treated through chemotherapy.
 
If it is not eliminated and comes back, it can often be fatal. Rounds of chemotherapy can buy patients time, but as the disease progresses, the periods of remission can become shorter and shorter.   The patient could receive a bone-marrow transplant, but only about half of those procedures are successful, and there is a chance that they could reject the donor cells. If that happens, chances of surviving are very small.
 
There is now a radical new option, using gene therapy to train a patient's immune system to recognize and destroy their cancer in the same way it dispatches bacteria and viruses. The strategy is the latest development in immunotherapy, a revolutionary approach to cancer treatment that uses a series of precision strikes to disintegrate cancer from within the body itself.
 
What saves the patient is an infusion of their own immune cells that are genetically modified to destroy the patient’s leukemia. With this therapy, 90% of patients go into remission. Such radical immune-based approaches were launched in 2011 with the success of intravenous drugs that loosen the brakes on the immune system so it can see cancer cells and destroy them with the same vigor with which they attack bacteria and viruses. Now, with the genetically engineered immune cells known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, doctors are crippling cancer in more precise and targeted ways than surgery, chemotherapy and radiation ever could. While the first cancer immunotherapies were broadly aimed at any cancer, experts are now repurposing the immune system into a personalized precision treatment that can not only recognize but also eliminate the cancer cells unique to each individual patient.
 
What makes immune-based therapies like CAR T cell therapy so promising--and so powerful--is that they are a living drug churned out by the patients themselves. The treatment isn't a pill or a liquid that has to be taken regularly, but a one-hit wonder that, when given a single time, trains the body to keep on treating, ideally for a lifetime.
 
This therapy is utterly transformative for this kind of leukemia and also lymphoma. Eager to bring this groundbreaking option to more patients, including those with other types of cancers, an advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously in July to move the therapy beyond the testing phase, during which several hundred people have been able to take advantage of it, to become a standard therapy for children with certain leukemias if all other treatments have failed.
 
Across the United States, doctors are racing to enroll people with other cancers--breast, prostate, pancreatic, ovarian, sarcoma and brain, including the kind diagnosed in Senator John McCain--in hundreds of trials to see if they will benefit from this novel approach.
 
NIH National Cancer Institute
 
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Musk vs. Zuckerberg: the tech heavyweights square off on the perils of artificial intelligence



“Is AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation
In recent news, two of the biggest names in tech have been facing off in a showdown over the perils of artificial intelligence (AI)

In one corner, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk; in the other, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. For years Musk has warned that “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation”, while Zuckerberg says he is “optimistic” about the possibilities AI offers. So who is right about the perils of AI?

It’s an issue worth pondering. AI is already an integral part of our everyday lives. It’s giving us information and helping us with our daily tasks on our phones and computers, in the form of Apple’s Siri and Android’s Cortana; it’s translating languages on Google Translate; and it’s now officially better at the complex game Go than everyone else on the planet. And it’s only going to become more ubiquitous. AI is, for example, an essential component of autonomous cars, which are set to take over our roads in the near future.

But while these are positive examples of AI enhancing our lives, there are also examples of AI that make one pause, such as when Microsoft’s AI chatbot, Tay, resorted to spouting racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic slurs after only 24 hours of interacting with humans on Twitter. 
In response to one of Tay’s tweets, Musk replied, “Will be interesting to see what the mean time to Hitler is for these bots. Only took Microsoft’s Tay a day.”
So the question is: could AI eventually take over the world?

Elon Musk on AI
According to Musk, people just don’t appreciate how quickly AI technology is currently developing.
At the International Space Station (ISS) R&D conference in Washington DC on 19 July, Musk said this during a Q&A session: “I think it is difficult to appreciate just how far artificial intelligence has advanced and how fast it is advancing because we have a double exponential at work: we have exponential increase in hardware capability, and we have an exponential increase in software talent that is going into AI. So when you have a double exponential, it’s very difficult to predict. Real predictions are almost always going to be too conservative.”
His fear is not robots rising up and taking over the world; what is more likely, he thinks, is in fact much more sinister.
In an interview with CNN, Musk said: “It would be fairly obvious if you saw a robot walking around talking and behaving like a person … What’s not obvious is a huge server bank in a dark vault somewhere with intelligence that’s potential vastly greater than what a human mind can do. I mean, it’s eyes and ears would be everywhere, [in] every camera, every microphone, every device that’s network accessible. That’s really what AI means.”
He went on to say: “If we’re not careful about the advent of AI, it’s possible that there could be what’s called a ‘bad utility function’ … Humanity’s position on this planet is dependent on its intelligence, so if our intelligence is exceeded, it’s unlikely we will remain in charge of the planet.”

Mark Zuckerberg on AI
Zuckerberg’s take on the matter is decidedly sunnier.
In a Facebook Live broadcast on 20 July, he said: “If you’re arguing against AI, then you’re arguing against safer cars that aren’t going to have accidents. And you’re arguing against being able to better diagnose people when they’re sick. I just don’t see how, in good conscience, some people can do that. I’m just much more optimistic on this, in general, than probably a lot of folks are.”
It’s no secret that Facebook are investing heavily in AI, and that Zuckerberg has ambitions for Facebook that are reliant on the technology. In December 2016 last year, Zuckerberg previewed an AI assistant he had built for his home. In the video, the assistant, Jarvis, voiced by none other than Morgan Freeman, shot t-shirts out of a cannon, spoke Mandarin with Zuckerberg’s daughter, and use facial recognition software to see that Zuckerberg’s parents were at the door.
It was also reported just this week that Facebook’s translations, of which it makes about 4.5 billion a day, are now completely powered by AI. By using neural networks that use a machine-learning component known as a long short-term memory (LTSM) network, the new system can now, according to a company blog post, “account for context, slang, typos, abbreviations and intent simultaneously”.
And just last week, Facebook were slammed in the press for an AI experiment involving chatbots that had gone slightly awry. Built by Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research, the bots were designed to learn how to barter and trade by mimicking humans. But when the bots were paired against each other, they began to diverge from English into what seemed to be their own language. The headlines were sensationalist; one article read, “Facebook engineers panic, pull plug on AI after bots develop their own language”.
One of the researchers, Dhruv Batra, spoke out about the reporting, saying, “While the idea of AI agents inventing their own language may sound alarming/unexpected to people outside the field, it is a well-established sub-field of AI … Simply put, agents in environments attempting to solve a task will often find unintuitive ways to maximise reward. Analysing the reward function and changing the parameters of an experiment is NOT the same as ‘unplugging’ or ‘shutting down AI’. If that were the case, every AI researcher has been ‘shutting down AI’ every time they kill a job on a machine.”

In that same Facebook Live broadcast, Zuckerberg said, “I think that people who are naysayers and kind of try to drum up these doomsday scenarios – I just, I don't understand it. I think it's really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”


To which Musk retorted: “I've talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.”

Trust, the Gig Economy and the Future of Work



Perhaps robots are coming to take our jobs, perhaps not, writes Fairfax's Caitlin Fitzsimmons (Find her on Facebook )

Either way, it's worth remembering that some technology is about connecting humans with humans.

And the key to doing that is to build trust with each other!
 
A study of 18,289 members of Blah Blah Car, a ride sharing platform,  across 11 countries , co-authored by assistant professor Mareike Möhlmann at Warwick University, professor Arun Sundararajan at New York University, 
has found that 88 per cent of humans  highly trusted a member with a full digital profile vs a neighbour or a colleague! 

This was nearly the same level of trust in family members (94 per cent) or friends (92 per cent).
Yet only 58 per cent of respondents said they would highly trust a colleague and 42 per cent, a neighbour.
It turns out that we are far more likely to trust a stranger than their own colleagues or neighbours. 

Why?????

What has created this trust on sharing platforms and the gig economy - and what can business learn from it? 

It seems that there are two main reasons - 
  1. the strangers build a digital profile to let people know who they are, and this can be linked to other digital profiles.
  2. Second, a lot of it is driven by trust in the platform itself. (Creating a rating system and form if insurance)
Which brings us to what the next evolution of Airbnb - 

"sharing your passion with the world".

Another step replacing the old economy with the gig economy - and creating the "future of work" -  making workers "entrepreneurs" - which may be giving us an idea of what the future of work will look like. ( see Thomas Friedman from The New York  about Airbnb's next step)

Airbnb started by enabling people to rent their home or a room in their home to strangers. Now the site is branching out to let members host "experiences".

For $75 you can make brown soda bread and Irish stew at Eimhear's house in Dublin, or for $150 go kayaking on Sydney Harbour with Matt from Glebe. Both "hosts" have five stars.

Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky told Friedman he believed the experiences business had grown tenfold this year and could become even bigger than home sharing. 
He's 35, and his goal is to create 100 million new entrepreneurs by the time he retires.

"The biggest asset in people's lives is not their home, but their time and potential — and we can unlock that," Chesky says.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A new way of learning

The Bob Pritchard Snippet 

According to Business Insider, both  Microsoft  and  Google  envision a not-so-distant future in which donning smart headgear to repair an elevator or assemble a tractor motor is the norm. Over the past several days, both tech giants have revealed they're each taking concrete and compelling steps to make that happen.
 
Microsoft just revealed  that it's working on a new artificial intelligence chip to power its second-generation HoloLens headset. The coprocessor's chief job will be implementing deep neural networks — a machine learning technique with a structure that loosely resembles the human brain — into the HoloLens' core processing unit. A dedicated A.I. chip is necessary to enable it to be able to comprehend large amounts of complex data gathered by its depth and camera sensors without latency. Microsoft’s HoloLens headset is likely to arrive  in 2019
 
 
The announcement comes days after Google divulged new information about its  plans for the next iteration of Google Glass . It is the first time they have spoken about the new version of Glass in development for the workplace, which it calls Google Glass Enterprise Edition. The refreshed model will offer  faster, more reliable Wi-Fi connectivity, improved security, a faster processor, a sharper camera and longer battery compared to its predecessor.
 
Taken together, the announcements confirm that Google and Microsoft view technologies like smart headgear and augmented reality as strategically vital, particularly in the workplace. Google's first stab at consumer-side smart goggles came in 2012 with its initial version of Google Glass, ultimately a flop.
 
Both Google and Microsoft have apparently learned from Glass's mistakes, focusing on applications in commercial scenarios. Google has tested Glass Enterprise Edition in some 50 businesses over the past two years, including companies like DHL, Sutter Health and Volkswagen.
 
While the basic concepts behind HoloLens and Google Glass overlap, in execution they couldn't be less alike. Google Glass is meant to be physically insubstantial like a pair of literal glasses, only noticeable when someone needs it for a specific task. It displays a small virtual screen above the wearer's eye, which can be glanced at without disrupting other visual tasks. The new version is able to clip onto existing eyeglasses rendering the technology more accessible for those who need prescription glasses or protective eyewear in their jobs. It must remain in wireless range of a smartphone to work properly.
 
HoloLens, is much more immersive, since it can display larger graphics that fall within the wearer's field of view. And unlike Glass, it's also a functionally holistic device, unconstrained by reliance on smartphone or virtual-reality-style computer tethers to operate. All of HoloLens's necessary computing components are baked into the headset. Note that none of these workplace-angled changes mean consumer-oriented versions of these headsets won't follow at some point.
When you put Glass or HoloLens on an engineer or mechanic, being able to see critical information at a glance, like how much torque should be applied to a wrench, or whether a new piece of equipment will fit in a medical facility's operating room, both upends and streamlines workflow. The question then becomes whether HoloLens or Glass will eventually dominate the workplace.
 
 
China has a population of a billion people. One billion. That means even if you’re a one in a million, there are still a thousand others exactly like you
 
Don't forget to listen into my radio show on VoiceAmerica Business at 5pm PSTevery Tuesday. Listen to any of my previous shows on VoiceAmerica archives at any time you choose. I interview some of the top people in business every week     

Just Saying

Market Cap - July 2012:

#Tesla:   $3 billion
GM:    $35 billion

Market Cap - July 2017:

#Tesla: $56 billion
GM:    $54 billion

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1000s of new jobs being created by Amazon in Oz

Amazon is coming for a pre Christmas launch - first distribution centre of 24k Sqm , opening up the requirement of 100s of new jobs


Below is a Amazon release:- 

Amazon today announced that it will create hundreds of new jobs with the opening of its first Australian fulfilment centre in Dandenong South. Amazon will begin recruiting immediately for a range of roles, including operations managers, pickers, packers, systems technicians and HR specialists.

Amazon recently announced its intention to bring a retail offering to Australia and the opening of this 24,000 square metre fulfilment centre is an integral early step in the move towards that goal.

We are thrilled to be creating hundreds of new roles in Dandenong South,” said Robert Bruce, Amazon’s director of operations for Australia. “This is just the start. Over time, we will bring thousands of new jobs to Australia and millions of dollars of investment as well as opening up the opportunity for thousands of Australian businesses to sell at home and abroad through Amazon Marketplace.”

The new centre is located in the Pellicano’s M2 Industry Park in Dandenong South, providing easy access to the South Gippsland Highway, Monash [Freeway] and Eastlink. The building is also in close proximity to a wide range of amenities for employees. The lease of the centre was facilitated by CBRE’s Industrial & Logistics business.

This new fulfilment centre will stock hundreds of thousands of products which will be available for delivery to customers across Australia when we launch our retail offering,” said Robert Bruce.

We will be focusing on offering our Australian customers low prices on a great selection of products and can’t wait to get started.”

10 major cities beginning to go car-free

The Bob Pritchard Snippet 

Urban planners and policy makers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions. 
 
 
Oslo announced a ban on all cars from its city by 2019, six years before Norway's country-wide ban would go into effect.  Now, the country wants to take the initiative a step further. Norway is proposing a bill banning the sale of gas-powered cars by 2025, investing heavily in public transport and replacing 35 miles of roads with bike lanes.
 
Madrid  is banning cars from its city center by 2020, with urban planners redesigning 24 of the city's busiest streets for walking rather than driving.  The plan is to reduce daily car usage from 30% to around 20%. It will be expensive to park the most polluting cars.
 
In Chengdu, China, the new city layout makes it easier to walk than drive, with streets designed so that people can walk anywhere in 15 minutes. While Chengdu won't completely ban cars, only half the roads will allow vehicles. 
 
Hamburg plans to make walking and biking its dominant mode of transport. Hamburg is reducing the number of cars by only allowing pedestrians and bikers to enter certain areas.  The project calls for "green network," of connected spaces that people can access without cars. The network is planned to cover 40% of Hamburg and will include parks, playgrounds and  sports fields.
 
Over half of Copenhagen's population bikes to work every day, thanks to the city's effort to introduce pedestrian-only zones starting in the 1960s. The Danish capital now boasts more than 200 miles of bike lanes and has one of the lowest percentages of car ownership in Europe.
The latest goal is to build a superhighway for bikes that will stretch to surrounding suburbs. The 28 planned routes will be completed by the end of 2018. The city has also pledged to become completely carbon-neutral by 2025.
 
When Paris banned cars with even-numbered plates for a day in 2014, pollution dropped by 30%. Now, the city wants to discourage cars from driving in the city center at all. 
Since last year, all drivers with cars made before 1997 are not permitted to drive in the city center on weekdays.  Paris plans to double its bike lanes and limit select streets to electric cars. The city also curbs emissions through car-free Sundays rule last year.
 
London will ban diesel cars by 2020. Currently, the city discourages the use of diesel engines in some areas of the city by charging a fee of $12.50 per day for diesel cars.
 
Brussels, features the largest car-free area in Europe. Most streets that surround Brussels' city square, stock exchange, and Rue Neuve (a major shopping street) have always been pedestrian-only. The roads make up the second largest car-free zone in Europe, behind Copenhagen.  For one day in September, all cars are banned from the entire city center.
It is proposed to turn a popular four-lane boulevard into a pedestrian-only area.  Brussels has announced that diesel cars will be banned starting in 2018.
 
Mexico City plans to ban about two million cars from the city center by prohibiting a portion of cars from the city center two days every work week and two Saturdays per month. The policy helps to mitigate the city's high smog levels.
 
While New York City isn't planning a car ban anytime soon, it is increasing the number of pedestrian areas, along with bike share, subway, and bus options.
Beginning this week, strips of popular areas like Times Square, Herald Square, and Madison Square Park are permanently pedestrian-only. On three Saturdays, hundreds of thousands of people will take advantage of Summer Streets, an annual event that prohibits cars and opens major roads for pedestrians.
Cities are coming to the realization that they need to swing the pendulum