Category: Technology

This post about the future of Venture Capital and ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) is an excerpt from the full article, found here at I focused on the Machine Learning and human talent aspects and how they will impact the future of the industry. Another post of interest about the future of the crowdfunding market can be found here. -Spencer

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BY HIMANSHU BHARADWAJ – DESIGNER @ TOPTAL  (Original article link here)

Advances in artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality mean fresh design opportunities for designers.

The digital and technological landscape is constantly changing, and in many ways accelerating. Designers tasked to come up with innovative ideas have to keep track of what is trending and where the creative opportunities are. Recognizing the changes that are occurring in the industry will help designers design smarter and make more informed creative decisions.

Bell curve graphic of the technology adoption life cycle

Bell curve graphic of the technology adoption life cycle

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BY NICK MCCREA – SOFTWARE ENGINEER @ TOPTAL (link to original article)

Machine Learning (ML) is coming into its own, with a growing recognition that ML can play a key role in a wide range of critical applications, such as data mining, natural language processing, image recognition, and expert systems. ML provides potential solutions in all these domains and more, and is set to be a pillar of our future civilization.

The supply of able ML designers has yet to catch up to this demand. A major reason for this is that ML is just plain tricky. This tutorial introduces the basics of Machine Learning theory, laying down the common themes and concepts, making it easy to follow the logic and get comfortable with the topic.

This curious machine is learning machine learning, unsupervised.Read More »

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BY MUWUSO MKOCHI – FREELANCE DESIGNER @ TOPTAL  [Original article posted here]

The state of UI design in most vehicles today is widely criticized for being unintuitive, outdated, and aesthetically unappealing. Car manufacturers have been slow to implement the quality of design that other industries assume as standard. As a result, many designers have taken on this opportunity to speculate how the future of vehicle UIs will change our driving experiences.

There are more developments in the automotive industry seemingly every day. So much so in fact that the car industry predicts more change in the next two decades than it saw in the previous century. Therefore, cutting edge digital designers should focus their attentions towards this critical industry. So, what will be the future of vehicle UIs? Can they fundamentally change our relationships to our cars?

The following is a curated collection of beautiful and futuristic Vehicle HUDs (Head Up Displays), Interactive UIs, and third party app controllers created by different designers from around the world. Some of the designs are captured from live products, and some are still in development.

Tesla Mobile Control Centre Prototype

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BY MELISSA LIN – FINANCE EDITOR @ TOPTAL (link to original article)

Key Highlights

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Is Exploding
  • The widespread adoption of AI across industries is predicted to drive global revenues of $12.5 billion in 2017 and $47 billion in 2020 with a CAGR of 55.1% from 2016 to 2020.
  • The industries that will invest the most in these technologies are banking and retail, followed by healthcare and manufacturing.
  • Economists designate general purpose technologies (GPT) as those important enough to spur protracted economic growth and societal advancements. For example, electricity is a GPT. A recent Harvard Business Review article designates AI as the most important GPT of our era.
Risk Management
  • PayPal has been able to boost security by leveraging deep learning technology. PayPal’s fraud is relatively low at 0.32% of revenue, a figure far better than the 1.32% average that merchants see.
  • While a linear model can consume 20-30 variables, deep-learning technology can command thousands of data points.
AI Trading
  • For years, investment management companies have relied on computers to make trades. Around 9% of all funds, managing $197 billion, rely on large statistical models built by data scientists.
  • However, these models are often static, require human intervention, and don’t perform as well when the market changes. Therefore, funds are increasingly migrating towards true artificial intelligence models that analyze large volumes of data and continue to improve themselves.
  • In 2000, Goldman Sachs’ US cash equities trading desk in its New York headquarters employed 600 traders. Today, it has two equity traders, with machines doing the rest.
  • For investors, robo-advice can offer up to 70% in cost savings in certain services.
  • Some established investment firms are buying existing robo-advisors, such as Invesco’s acquisition of Jemstep and Blackrock’s purchase of FutureAdvisor. Others are even creating their own robo-advisors, such as FidelityGo and Schwab’s Intelligent Advisory.
  • 77% of wealth management clients trust their financial advisors and 81% indicate that face-to-face interaction is important.
Insurance Underwriting and Claims
  • PWC report predicts that AI will have automated a considerable amount of underwriting by 2020, especially in mature markets where data is available.
  • In a 2013 Oxford study analyzing over 700 professions to determine which were most susceptible to computerization, insurance underwriters were included in the top five most susceptible.
  • Underwriting may leverage not only machine learning but also wearable technology and deep learning facial analysis technology.

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What does financing the future look like? We all know incredible advancements in technology have made new discoveries and products available to millions of people worldwide. But can those same people look to the technology of crowdfunding to help finance their dreams, and by extension, our future? Here is a sobering article on the current state of crowdfunding and what will have to be done to ensure crowdfunding can live up to expectations. -Spencer

[Update: Here’s a complementary article with a top 10 list of problems that can happen once your campaign is funded. The article is by John Hawthorne at floship.]


In April 2012, then President Obama signed into law the Jump-Start Our Business Start-Ups bill, otherwise known as the JOBS act. In the midst of a recovery from the devastating after-effects of the Financial Crisis, the move was hailed as “a ‘potential game changer’ for fledgling businesses in need of financing.”

In particular, the bill unlocked the promise of equity crowdfunding, an activity which, simply put, allowed companies to raise money from any willing investors via the internet. As President Obama himself put it, by removing these restrictions, the JOBS act promised to allow “start-ups and small business […] access to a big, new pool of potential investors—namely, the American people […] For the first time, ordinary Americans will be able to go online and invest in entrepreneurs that they believe in.”

To be clear, the process of raising money from private investors is nothing new. However, in most countries, including the US, there have historically been rules regarding such an activity that tended to exclude the average person on the street from investing in these deals. In the US for instance, in order to invest in the equity of private companies, individuals needed to be approved accredited investors, or go through regulated middlemen, both of which limited the playing field and created barriers to mass participation. The JOBS act, and the promise of equity crowdfunding, changed all that.

Nearly five years on though, equity crowdfunding continues to remain a fairly limited niche activity. Despite a few success stories, the grandiose predictions of industry-wide disruption haven’t come to fruition. In this article, we take a look at the current state of the equity crowdfunding market in the US, and assess the challenges it needs to overcome in order to live up to its promises.Read More »

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BY NICK MCCREA – SOFTWARE ENGINEER @ TOPTAL. (Original article posted here)

Let’s face it, robots are cool. They’re also going to run the world someday, and hopefully at that time they will take pity on their poor soft fleshy creators (AKA robotics developers) and help us build a space utopia filled with plenty. I’m joking of course, but only sort of.

In my ambition to have some small influence over the matter, I took a course in autonomous robot control theory last year, which culminated in my building a simulator that allowed me to practice control theory on a simple mobile robot.

In this article, I’m going to describe the control scheme of my simulated robot, illustrate how it interacts with its environment and achieves its goals, and discuss some of the fundamental challenges of robotics programming that I encountered along the way.Read More »

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BY DAAN TERRA – DEVELOPER @ TOPTAL (with link to the original article here).

Despite some rough years, the automotive industry is still one of the most important economic sectors. Car manufacturers are continuously trying to put the current technologies to use in order to deliver the best vehicles. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology is advancing rapidly as computers are becoming more powerful. The market of AR/VR has already become a billion-dollar market and it’s projected to keep growing well beyond a $120 billion market within a few years.

At the low-end of the VR market, Google blogged that their Cardboard has already shipped over 10 million units. It upgrades one’s smartphone to a VR viewer. They also distributed over 160 million apps for them. That’s not all, though, since third-party solutions are available as well. As for the more complete commercial products, Sony reported that almost a million units of their Playstation VR headset were sold.

Virtual Reality in Automotive Industry Driver Illustration

And then there’s the automotive industry. We already laid out the growing market of app development for Car Infotainment Systems which is projected to exceed $35 billion by the end of the decade. With AR/VR becoming more mainstream, developers can also start moving it into your car. Creative minds will have an opportunity to conquer some of that market with new AR/VR apps.

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BY IVAN VASILEV – JAVA DEVELOPER @ TOPTAL (original article here)

Republished with permission by Toptal.comTranslated by Marisela Ordaz into Spanish.

In recent years, there’s been a resurgence in the field of Artificial Intelligence. It’s spread beyond the academic world with major players like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook creating their own research teams and making some impressive acquisitions.

Some this can be attributed to the abundance of raw data generated by social network users, much of which needs to be analyzed, as well as to the cheap computational power available via GPGPUs.

But beyond these phenomena, this resurgence has been powered in no small part by a new trend in AI, specifically in machine learning, known as “Deep Learning”. In this tutorial, I’ll introduce you to the key concepts and algorithms behind deep learning, beginning with the simplest unit of composition and building to the concepts of machine learning in Java.
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Posthuman Dreams: 37 Inventions of our After Mind World

A Technology Companion for After Mind.

Posthuman dreams: After Mind Bookmark Front

Years from now in our posthuman future, a web crawler might discover this page and smile… in whatever emotive way it will be programmed to do.

After Mind explores more than a few dozen technologies, many on the cusp of breakthrough today, and others that stem from deeper dreams.

While intense human relationships underpin the story, 37 human and posthuman technologies rise to open so many doors.

First, the 23 technologies of our posthuman future that will forever change who we are or how we think about ourselves:

1.   General AI that interprets human memories and thrives with an imagination and dreams of its own.

2.   AI Psychology as the new science of humans helping AIs adapt to their new sense of self.

3.   Mind Uploading to bring a human’s lost mind back to life.

4.   Brain Scanning through a combination of nanobot “throwers” that travel and transmit their signals from within the brain to external “catchers” that receive and interpret the whole of the mind. Built on advanced Magnetoencephalography (MEG), the throwers and catchers measure the small magnetic fields that are produced within the brain.

5.   Quantum Computers and Qubits (also spelled ‘Qbit’). Where a standard computer bit can only be a zero or one, a Qubit exists in the strange and wonderful quantum world and can be either a zero or one, or the superposition of both zero and one at the same time. [Spoiler Alert: If Packet’s mind is a quantum computer, then one of its Qubits is represented by Cessini and Ceeborn; each being one of Packet’s two different states of being, and the superposition of both at the same time. Other Qubits include: the reaction or adaption to water; mind or body; reality or imagination; technology or nature; and fate or free-will. Packet is always one or the other, and both at the same time.]

6.   Mind-Body Problem. Exploring the location of consciousness and the soul from the systems engineering perspective.

7.   Enhanced Blackwell Inversion Test (EBIT). An Epistemological test, designed to be failed on its first attempt, that is given to a general AI. The persistent AI will return to self-determine if it is a computer, a human, or a human-computer. The EBIT goes well beyond the Enhanced Turing Test which adds pictures and visual complexity to the Turing Test. The Turing Test is used with text-based conversations to judge for indistinguishability between a human and a machine.

8.   CRISPR Genome Editing for precise, targeted changes to the human genome to improve or repair the genetic code of life. CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

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