Emerging Technology

Meet the trysumer … The first intelligent computer … China embraces the net for gaming

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What are trysumers?

Trendwatching.com has identified a new breed of consumers who are wealthy, informed and looking to spend on the new and the fresh: trysumers.

Trysumers crave freshness and authenticity above all else and will pay big dollars if they can find it. After all, buying cool stuff is the trysumers’ favourite pastime.

But they are a tough market to crack, Trendwatching.com says. Discounting or anything that smacks of mass marketing won’t grab them. If trysumers aren’t ahead of the pack, they’re just not interested.

Trysumers:

  •  Like to rent, that way they always have the latest gadget.
  • Are immune to brand loyalty. Its all about the look, not the name.
  • Use the web to keep up to date on products and prices.
  • Love to try, model or roadtest before they buy.

 

The first intelligent computer

The creator of the PalmPilot and the Treo, Jeff Hawkins, is attempting to fuse silicon and gray matter to produce the ultimate intelligent machine, writes Business 2.0 magazine editor-at-large Erick Schonfeld. Inspired by an issue of Scientific American in 1979 devoted to the human brain, Hawkins started pondering how to build a machine that thinks like a human.

His latest start-up, Numenta, is trying to create the world’s first intelligent computer. It has come up with algorithms to allow computers to learn from observation, as children do.

Potential applications include:

  • Helping radiologists or airport workers catch redflags in X-ray images.
  • Teaching a computer about danger to help car drivers avoid accidents.
  • Looking for patterns in seismic data and satellite imagery to uncover new oil and gas fields.
  • Analysing clickstreams on websites so companies market products better.
  • Illuminating big hairy science problems through predictive models and pattern recognition.

 

Game on for China’s net users

China is using the internet differently to the US and Australia. While Americans send emails and surf the net for information, young Chinese are playing online games, downloading video and music into their cellphones and MP3 players and entering imaginary worlds where they can swap virtual goods and assume online personas, says The New York Times.

China’s hottest internet company, Tencent, earns the bulk of its revenue from the entertainment services it sells through the internet and mobile phones.

“Another distinguishing feature is the youthful face of China’s online community,” it writes. “In the United States, roughly 70% of internet users are over the age of 30; in China, it is the other way around – 70% of users here are under 30, according to the investment bank Morgan Stanley.

“Because few people in China have credit cards or trust the internet for financial transactions, e-commerce is emerging slowly. But instant messaging and game-playing are major obsessions, now central to Chinese culture. So is social networking, a natural fit in a country full of young people without siblings. Tencent combines aspects of the social networking site MySpace, the video sharing site YouTube and the online virtual world of Second Life.”

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