Will Microsoft’s HoloLens kill the smartphone? Best of the Web

Will Microsoft’s HoloLens kill the smartphone? Best of the Web

Next generation augmented reality devices, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and an updated version of Google Glass, are set to appear in the marketplace over the coming years.

Of course, the question is if people are wearing a device that can project objects over the real world, will they still want to also carry a mobile phone in their pocket?

In a controversial article for Forbes, Ellen Huet finds one Silicon Valley entrepreneur who predicts the mobile phone could soon find itself superceded:

In an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit Tuesday morning, Magic Leap founder and CEO Rony Abovitz described a future where smartphones are replaced by his company’s technology, which projects a digital light field into a user’s eye to create realistic images over the physical world.

“We believe that people may want to use this new form of computing as much, if not more than their mobile device,” Abovitz said.


Why US air traffic control runs on Nixon-era technology


A month can be a long time in the tech world, and a year can be an eternity.

So it’s perhaps a little alarming to learn that the systems powering air traffic control in the US were being developed back when Richard Nixon was still president.

In a piece for Wired, Sara Breselor asks why 40-year-old tech is still running america’s air traffic control:

At any given time, around 7,000 aircraft are flying over the United States. For the past 40 years, the same computer system has controlled all that high-altitude traffic—a relic of the 1970s known as Host. The core system predates the advent of the Global Positioning System, so Host uses point-to-point, ground-based radar. Every day, thousands of travelers switch their GPS-enabled smartphones to airplane mode while their flights are guided by technology that predates the Speak & Spell. If you’re reading this at 30,000 feet, relax—Host is still safe, in terms of getting planes from point A to point B. But it’s unbelievably inefficient. It can handle a limited amount of traffic, and controllers can’t see anything outside of their own airspace—when they hand off a plane to a contiguous airspace, it vanishes from their radar.

According to Breselor, the key issue with replacing Host with a more recent system, known as NextGen, is an institutional rather than a technological problem:

The problem is that NextGen is a project of the FAA. The agency is primarily a regulatory body, responsible for keeping the national airspace safe, and yet it is also in charge of operating air traffic control, an inherent conflict that causes big issues when it comes to upgrades. Modernization, a struggle for any federal agency, is practically antithetical to the FAA’s operational culture, which is risk-averse, methodical, and bureaucratic.


Your computer is thinking… literally!


From 40-year-old technology to something straight out of sci-fi, Jenny Morber from Ars Technica looks a look at a new type of computer software that works by emulating the human brain:

Long the domain of science fiction, researchers are now working to create software that perfectly models human and animal brains. With an approach known as whole brain emulation (WBE), the idea is that if we can perfectly copy the functional structure of the brain, we will create software perfectly analogous to one. The upshot here is simple yet mind-boggling. Scientists hope to create software that could theoretically experience everything we experience: emotion, addiction, ambition, consciousness, and suffering.


Why small businesses are looking at ERP


Finally, at Small Business Computing, Pedro Hernandez examines why a growing number of small businesses are looking at getting ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems:

Traditionally, small and midsized business (SMB) IT environments and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software have rarely mixed. And the reason for it lives right in the name.

ERP is the quintessential enterprise-grade application. In a large corporation, it automates and helps coordinate complex business processes, including supply chain management, accounting and human resources—sorely needed capabilities when millions of customer interactions and thousands of jobs are on the line.


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