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Neil Harbisson: The World’s First Cyborg, Color Blind Artist

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The World First Cyborg,Color Blind Artist Neil Harbisson,World First Cyborg Neil Harbisson,Startup Stories,UK Government Recognises Cyborg Status,World Government Summit,2018 Technology News Update,World First Cyborg News,Cyborg Foundation,World First Cyborg Artist,Startup News India 2018


Humans have been using technology to improve the standard of their day to day lives and increase the efficiency of doing things. The rapid advances in technology have been met with criticism and support. One such development in technology allowed Neil Harbisson with an extreme form of color blindness “hear” visible and invisible wavelengths of light.

Neil Harbisson, a British born cyborg artist, is the world’s first legally recognized cyborg who has an antenna implanted in his head as a way to ‘cure’ his color blindness. Neil received official bionic status from the United Kingdom government officially making him a cyborg. At age 21, he co devised the antenna sensor implanted in his head that translates different wavelengths into vibrations in his skull, which he then perceives as sound.

At the World Government Summit which is a forum for government leaders to discuss technology, innovation and futurism Harrison said the antenna is not a device but an essential body organ. “I have an antenna that is implanted inside my head, which allows me to extend my perception of reality beyond the visual spectrum. I can sense infrared and ultraviolet. I also have internet connection in my head that allows me to receive colors from other parts of the world or connect to satellite so I can send colors from space,” he added.

Harbisson believes, the biggest challenge for the current generation would be designing ourselves and not the world around us. “The more we design ourselves, the less we will have to design the planet. If we had night vision when cities would be dark, we would not have to spend so much money and energy to create lighting systems. It would also be better for the environment. Also, if we could control our own temperature, we would not have to use air conditioning or heaters. We would not have to heat up the planet when it’s cold or vice versa.

In 2010, this cyborg activist also cofounded the Cyborg Foundation along with Moon Ribas to defend cyborg rights, promote cyborg art and support people who want to become cyborgs. In 2017, he co founded the Transpecies Society to represent those people who identify themselves as non human. The Transpecies Society aims to give a voice to people with non human identities, raises awareness of the challenges transspecies face, advocates for the freedom of self design and offers the development of new senses and organs in the community.

Harbisson is not just an advocate for the Transpecies. His art was also exhibited during the 54th Venice Biennale, at Palazzo Foscari, Savina Museum of Contemporary Art, ArtScience Museum (Singapore,) Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Pollock Gallery, Museumsquartier (Vienna,) Pioneer Works (New York City) and at the American Visionary Art Museum, among others. He also published the Human Color Wheel in 2009 which is based on the hue and the light detected on hundreds of human skins from 2004 to 2009. The book was aimed to raise awareness and state that humans are not black or white, humans are different shades of orange, from very very dark orange to very light orange.

Ranked along with the works of Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono, Harbisson’s work is considered to be one of the most shocking art performances ever. Pointing his antenna at different parts of a face, Harbisson writes down the different notes he hears and later creates a sound file to create a sound portrait. His work is focused on creating a new sense and creating external artworks through these new senses.

Looking at the immense work the world’s first cyborg has created, it is safe to say the future looks promising!

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The Rise Of OTT Platforms In India

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OTT (Over the Top) media services which offer direct streaming services to viewers, have been gaining popularity worldwide.  Some of the frontrunners of such services are Netflix and Amazon Prime, which remain popular worldwide. However, the scenario is quite different when it comes to the Indian OTT industry.  According to a report released by Counterpoint Research in April 2018, the Indian streaming platform Hotstar is the most popular OTT platform in India. Hotstar is closely followed by Amazon’s Prime Video and SonyLIV, while Netflix ranks 4th.

The popularity of OTT platforms is slowly rising with the increase of local OTT platforms like ALTBalaji, Voot and SonyLIV, which are giving direct competition to foreign platforms like Prime Video and Netflix.  Recently, the popular food delivery app Zomato also joined the OTT industry with the introduction of its Zomato Originals. The main reason behind so many new OTT platforms coming to the market is the increasing profits generated by such platforms in India. 

The video OTT revenue in India was Rs. 2,019 crores in 2017.  It is expected to reach Rs. 5,955 crores by 2022. With 500 million internet users, another number which is growing steadily at the rate of 8 percent, India has become the number one market for media and entertainment sector. It is also reported that the Indian OTT market is set to outperform the global OTT market and will likely be ranked among the top 10 by 2022.

With so many options, the competition between the various platforms has also grown.  The platforms are investing in originals produced by the platform itself in order to attract audiences.  The success of Netflix’s Sacred Games and Ghoul, Prime Video’s The Family Man and Hotstar’s AIB On Air and Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai proved original series are a working formula.  With Indian audiences looking for good original content, the platforms are taking full advantage in order to increase their revenue.

Another factor contributing to the popularity of certain platforms is the pricing of these OTT platforms.  The prices play a really important role as many local OTT platforms provide the majority of their content free of cost, while international platforms like Netflix and Prime Video have a process of monthly or annual subscription in order to let the users access their content.  This is a major reason behind the popularity of local OTT platforms.

With the explosion of OTT platforms in recent years and with the availability of affordable data, the consumption of digital media has also increased.  It will be interesting to see what kind of strategies these OTT platforms will follow in order to attract more audiences to their channels.

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Is AI The Future Of Retail?

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is slowly becoming a key element in the modern, technologically driven world.  Along with other industries, AI is also making its presence known in the retail industry. 

Artificial intelligence is used to define the intelligence demonstrated by machines.  Through AI, machines can store data from previous experiences, adjust to new inputs and can also perform human like tasks.  By combining large sets of data, iterative processing and detailed algorithms, AI is able to learn quickly from patterned data.  AI can become a crucial part of retail business, if integrated properly. 

AI can be beneficial when it comes to daily task management and gaining insights about customers.  Using AI in retail stores can also contribute to time management for business owners as well. This could also help in customizing the shopping experience of customers all the while creating a better business due to customer interaction.  This, inturn, helps the business gain more customer insights.

Moreover, using such technology in the retail industry will leave less room for errors.  It will also help owners keep tabs on shoplifting as every item will have a record in the store database.  AI operated retails would be able to work 24*7 without any manpower, resulting in more profits for retail businesses.

Even though AI supported retail stores are still far away, two of the world’s biggest retailers, Amazon and Walmart, already introduced stores which are entirely AI dependent. 

In 2018, Amazon announced a chain of convenience stores named Amazon Go, which are partly automated.  The stores use several different technologies like computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion.  The ceilings of the stores are equipped with multiple cameras and the store shelves have weight sensors attached to them.  These weight sensors help in the detection of the items taken by a customer and the item is automatically added to the customer’s virtual cart.  Introduced on January 22nd 2018, Amazon Go has 18 outlets in the United States.

Meanwhile, Walmart, in April 2019, introduced its Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL.)  Based in New York, this store comes equipped with artificial intelligence cameras, interactive displays and massive data centers.  This store is also used by Walmart as a lab to explore the future use of AI in the retail industry. 

While AI operated stores are beneficial to everyone, the cost behind such a project can be a real nightmare.  Implementing high tech devices can be expensive, especially for small businesses and also increases dependency on machines.  However, the benefits of this technology are much higher, to be ignored completely.

Incorporating artificial intelligence into the retail sector may sound like science fiction.  However, the efforts put in by these giant retailers and the advancement of technology mean AI operated retail shops will be a part of our future.

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Zomato – Food App Introduces Video Streaming Feature

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The Indian food delivery app Zomato introduced a new feature called Zomato Originals on its mobile app.  With the feature, Zomato entered the world of video streaming. The over the top (OTT) streaming feature will have original food themed programs belonging to different genres like comedy, reality, fiction, advice and celebrity interviews.  Another category, Sneak Peek, will give inside stories about various restaurants. However, the Sneak Peek feature is currently available in only 18 cities. 

Over the next 3 months, Zomato Originals will feature 18 original series produced by the food delivery app.  These series are divided into 3-15 minute videos. Zomato plans to add 2,000 videos to the app, which will be available for streaming only in India.  However, Sneak Peek and recipe videos will be available across the world. All the shows are shot vertically, which makes it easier to view them on mobiles.

In a statement, Zomato founder and CEO Deepinder Goel said, “We are constantly looking for new ways to engage our users around food. Most of our users visit the app several times a week. This presents an opportunity to further delight our users using Zomato Originals.

Zomato Originals features some well known names of Indian social media, like Sumukhi Suresh, who stars in the show Banake Dikha, in which she teaches the audience how to get the basics of cooking right.  Another show, Food and You, features India’s well known chef Sanjeev Kapoor.  The 3 minute daily show talks about the myths surrounding food.  Other shows on the app include Starry Meals with Janice, where social media star Janice Sequria takes a look inside Bollywood stars’ kitchens.  Another show which would be available is Grandmaster Chef with Sahil Shah, where comedian Sahil Shah learns old recipes.

Although Zomato is new to the OTT sector, according to the Company, it will not have a problem attracting viewers as most of its users spend a lot of time on the app.  With 70 million daily active users, looks like Zomato found the perfect opportunity to grow.

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