Humans Versus Technology. Have The Games Begun?
We live during an iconic time. For the first time since the inception of the world, not only is more than half the world’s population literate but is also able to participate in written and recorded culture. We live in a time where technology is at its best, with the ability to take over human thought, ideas and principles. Human nature is baggy, flawed and with rough edges.
Up until now, technology has not been able to take over our minds. However, at the moment of time we are in, technology challenges us once again to ask what place we occupy in the Universe: what it means to be creatures of language, self awareness and rationality. Technology has been created by humans and keeps re defining what we as humans can achieve.
In the past, technology was used by people as a means of protection rather than something which has the possibility of developing into a larger idea. Now, technology is at a place where it can potentially rule our lives. We have stopped communicating with one another. We have stopped having real discussions, real feelings and meaningful connections.
Therein lies the paradox between technology and human beings. We are growing more distant from each other when we choose to make smartphones, computers and television our primary means of communicating with each other. Technology is a wonderful tool that is supposed to help humans improve their life quality but instead of that, it is preventing us from continuing to be able to form meaningful relationships with each other.
While we complain and fret about not being able to live the way we used to, there is also another important factor to consider. Trillions of dollars are being spent to make everything around us technology friendly. The world is becoming smarter – smart cities, smart farming, smart energy, but very little is spent on getting humans ready for that very near future. In fact, while machines get smarter we may actually become dumber.
There are a few poignant question which needs addressing here. When the time comes where our world is completely dominated by technology, are we at the risk of forgetting the basic things in life? Are we going to become so technologically dependent that our very way of life is at risk? Think about this while I sign off here: will you be able to live in a world where Social Media does not exist? Will you be able to live in a world where you do not have a smartphone in your hand or access to Wi FI at all.
Emerging Startup Stories
Suki: This Startup Wants To Transform Healthcare With Its Artificial Intelligence Tool
We live in a rapidly transforming era where humanity is making exponential leaps in technology. Thirty years ago, no one would have believed you could talk to an online voice assistant to create tasks and get things done. Ten years ago, no one would have believed humanity would land robots on Mars. Technology truly has improved the quality of living of every human who owns a smartphone and has access to an internet connection. Voice assistants are slowly replacing manual tasks and making lives easier and efficient. Siri, Alexa, Google Voice Assistant are just some of the widely used artificial intelligence based tools which are employed on a daily basis. Artificial intelligence, which is hailed as the technology of the future is now slowly making its way into much more complex domains like self driving vehicles, quantum computing and also health care.
Suki, a United States of America based startup founded by Punit Soni, developed their own voice assistant which runs on artificial intelligence to simplify healthcare for doctors and other healthcare professionals. In simple terms, Suki is akin to Siri for doctors. While you could order a pizza or schedule an appointment on Siri, doctors could modify, edit and add health records of their patients. Suki is a powerful tool to help doctors with documentation of health records which often take hours of their (doctors) time.
Suki currently focuses on documentation but has the potential to expand its usage to data queries, ordering, prescribing and billing. According to a white paper published by Suki, using its technology increases the time a doctor spends with a patient by 12% by cutting note taking time by 76%. The time which is saved also brings in a financial benefit of $30,000 more in revenue a year on average for doctors.
Suki raised a $ 20 million Series B round from Flare Capital Partners, First Round Capital, and Venrock, doubling its total funding to $ 40 million since its 2017 launch. Suki is also looking to expand its reach in India and has decided to establish Bangalore as their base of operations. India holds a lot of potential for Suki considering the amount of manual work which goes into almost any sector.
It would be interesting to watch how Suki and other similar AI based startups would transform healthcare across the world.
Leher Versus Clubhouse: Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?
Clubhouse is a new type of social networking platform which is an audio only platform. This means every conversation takes place through audio where users speak to let their thoughts known. Users can create and host rooms where speakers will talk about a particular topic. Originating in the Silicon Valley, Clubhouse attracted some major names onto its platform like Elon Musk, Evan Williams, Reddit co founder Alexis Ohanian, former Y Combinator President Sam Altman, AngelList co founder Naval Ravikant, Ashton Kuthcer, Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Kevin Hart and many others are some of the influential personalities who are on Clubhouse. There is however a catch as Clubhouse is currently limited to iOS.
Leher is an Indian made alternative to Clubhouse and is a similar audio sharing and listening startup. Leher also has video support unlike Clubhouse and is also available for both Android and iOS. However, Leher does not have the biggest names in the world on its platform but it does have significant micro influencers and is growing at a rapid pace. Within 180 days of its beta version launch, the company claimed to have its users spend about 44 minutes every day and 250,000 minutes per month for live video sessions.
We at Startup Stories are curious to see which among Leher or Clubhouse would our readers choose to take part in a virtual discussion. Please let us know your answer in the poll below.
4 Useful And New WhatsApp Features That Released During The COVID-19 Lockdown
WhatsApp is one of the worlds largest online texting applications which is used almost in every country. It is a light and easy to use texting application which also offers a lot of other important utilities other than texting. These include video calling, group video calling, digital payments, document and media sharing and location sharing. What began as a simple texting application is now an indispensable part of our lives because WhatsApp has made information flow faster and safer. WhatsApp kept scaling new heights time and again and this was possible only because of the constant innovation by the developer team.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced entire countries to go into lockdown and shut down businesses, WhatsApp is doing its part to help people during these times by rolling out some nifty and important features.
Group video call limit increased
WhatsApp had the facility for group video calls which could only accommodate 4 people in a single call. However, with a new update WhatsApp increased the limit of group video calls to 8 users. The update is not just limited to increase in participants but also to the audio and video quality. There has been a noticeable increase in the quality of the video and audio in group video calls.
‘Together At Home’ sticker pack
WhatsApp has launched a new sticker pack called ‘Together at Home’ in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO.) The sticker pack aims to help people stay connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restrictions on frequently forwarded messages
This is probably one of the most important features to be released during the COVID-19 lockdown. In a country like India, a lot of misinformation is shared on a daily basis on WhatsApp messages and most of these messages are forwards. The amount of misinformation on WhatsApp is so high that WhatsApp is often referred to as ‘Whatsapp University.’ During the coronavirus pandemic, WhatsApp restricted ‘frequently forwarded messages’ to be sent to not more than one chat at a time.
WhatsApp has launched chatbots by partnering with WHO and the Indian government and launched a chatbot to provide authentic information related to the COVID-19 virus. The chatbot developed by the Indian government is known as MyGov Corona Help Desk and can be accessed by adding +91-9013-151515 to your contacts and sending a message.
Sharing correct information, avoiding incorrect panic.
Here is an effort by WhatsApp and @mygovindia to ensure you receive accurate and verified information on Coronavirus.
Please click on this link https://t.co/REabfIp5QT or send Hi on +919013151515. #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/0maqUE3PvG
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 21, 2020
ALSO READ : Zoom Video Conferencing App Downloads Dethrone Whatsapp And TikTok In India
We believe that these features are definitely the need of the hour and will go a long way in creating a positive impact. Let us know if you used any of these features on your mobile device!
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