Talking Tech

Hi, I’m Jim Regan, and this is Capstrat’s The Week that Was.

Wanna talk tech? Good. Let’s go back two thousand years ago. That’s when the Chinese invented Go – a game so complex that it makes chess look like rock-paper-scissors. There are more possible combinations on a Go board than there are atoms in the universe. Now AlphaGo, a new program by Google, has just beaten the world champion of Go in a best-of-five series.

But a game-playing program isn’t the real news here. The intuitive, lateral thinking of Google’s Go engine is the same kind of perceptive, self-teaching technology you may soon be trusting your life with.

Because we’ve all heard of Google’s other big technology bet – the self-driving car. Before long, you may be riding in one. If not, you may be driving next to one. And that new generation of artificial intelligence will behind the wheel.

So it probably raised your eyebrows a couple of weeks ago when Google’s test car was in a collision with a bus. It was the first time Google’s on-board AI had been blamed for causing a collision. Even before that happened, a University of Michigan survey showed that 90 percent of Americans have some concerns about the concept of self-driving cars.

But, not everyone is skeptical about giving themselves over to immersive technology. The $80 billion video game industry has dedicated a part of its annual conference – GDC, to Virtual Reality. This part of the week is being called VRDC, the Virtual Reality Developers Conference. Now that’s commitment.

So, instead of driving our cars, we’re getting ready to put our cars in charge. Instead of playing games, we’re going to let them envelop us. And behind it all is a new technology that’s so strong and so flexible, that it’s already mastered a two-thousand-year-old mind game as an appetizer.

If that all sounds like pie-in-the-sky futurism, just imagine what the “you” of ten years ago would think of THIS. Every future we imagine gets here faster than the last one. By itself, each of these headlines is a curiosity. But together, they’re the trends that are shaping our world. The people who spot them first will be ready to take advantage of their potential for shaping the way others think. So when it comes to lateral thinking… give yourself a little latitude.

I’m Jim Regan, and this has been Capstrat’s The Week that Was.