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Tech changes the user interface of the world

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Often it feels that the pinnacle of design has been reached, but technology is ever changing and improving. The current pinnacle of innovation comes in the form of the Galaxy Note8, says CRAIGE FLEISCHER, Samsung’s Director of Integrated Mobility.

Some argue that the wheel is mankind’s greatest innovation as it led to mechanisation and industrialisation. But it is the evolution of language and the written word which enabled these advancements in the first place. Skip forward a few hundred years and we find ourselves in the digital era where all our thinking and writing is contained in a series of ones and zeros, every comma and full-stop a perfectly engineered code. This evolution aside, we have never lost the dexterity of holding a pen and etching an idea into existence, or navigating a paint brush on a canvas.

While electronics giants are creating more advanced technologies that aim to simplify our lives, many are overlooking simple ergonomics. Technology is there to complement life, not complicate it. The evolution of the mobile phone makes this ever so clear.

In 1973, all a mobile phone had to do was act like a house phone and connect two users over a distance. In the 2000s we expected phones to remember names, take pictures and play music. It’s 2017 and our appetites have grown exponentially. We demand so much more from our devices, we want bigger screens, improved screen quality, larger storage, faster processors, extended battery time and a longer shelf life. Smartphones heeded this call, but still we ask for more.

The demands include a desktop in my pocket, being able to access spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations on demand, exceptional picture quality, a personal assistant to be available around the clock, and a platform that can support my creative side. This list of demands requires an integrated solution.

Rising to the challenge, Samsung gave us the Galaxy Note 8. A phablet by definition, due to its size; it is a technological work of art based on its performance capabilities. It boasts a dual camera that is considered the best in the industry. It can capture clear pictures, even in low light, placing it at the cutting edge of capturing stills and videos.

The Galaxy Note 8 has a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED screen, the biggest on any phablet in the market, complementing those high definition pictures and videos superbly. With an aspect ratio of 18.5:9 and an infinity display, the screen allows us to do great things and the tiniest details are brought to life with the most vivid clarity. The phone’s S Pen stylus brings the immense screen to life-this pen being a distinctive feature of the Note series since its inception in 2011. The S Pen allows us to live message, create our own emojis, edit pictures and documents with a hand-written element, and create our own GIFs. For the artistically inclined, the intelligent S Pen is pressure sensitive, allowing the artist to sketch various hues as if using different pencil types on a sketch pad. But one of the most practical features of the S Pen, is being able to speedily jot down notes without unlocking the phone’s screen.

The Galaxy Note 8 embodies everything modern, it speaks to opulence and productivity. Its 10nm mobile processor and 6 GB RAM makes gaming, watching movies or switching between monitoring the stock market, emails, GPS and other operational apps, a breeze. It is the perfect gadget for those who want more out of their mobile devices, and those who want to do more.

Helping people cope in a digital, fast-paced environment, Samsung makes life easier with Bixby. The artificial intelligence platform is so advanced, that it adapts, learns and grows with us. At the click of a button, we can summon our own personal assistant to help organise meetings, remind us of lunch with our mother or download that live show we had queued, either on our mobile or television.

The rise of the Internet of Things means everyday products such as watches and houses are becoming smart and syncing across devices. Samsung Dex allows us to connect our phone to the television, making file sharing as simple as clicking a button.

The inspiration behind this innovation is to do bigger things for longer, having a positive impact on the world and about a vision for the future. Discover new possibilities and inspire the world to create the future using creativity, innovation and technology.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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SAFTA awards get first streaming video nominees

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The 2019 nominations for The South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) were announced late last week, and for the first time in the 13-year history of the awards, a TV series produced for a video-on-demand service was in contention. The result was a surprise boost to streaming service Showmax.

The comedy series Tali’s Wedding Diary, which premiered in December 2017, represented a major step for the then two-year old streaming service. It was the debut Showmax Original, the first time Showmax ventured into producing its own content. The gamble paid off, with the show becoming the most watched of any series on its first day on Showmax, and now Tali’s Wedding Diary has been further recognised with seven SAFTA nominations, making it this year’s most nominated comedy.

“When we first floated the idea of Tali’s Wedding Diary, we joked about winning awards,” says Candice Fangueiro, Showmax’s head of content. “At that point, just getting our first Showmax Original off the ground was already a major challenge and it was more than we could hope for to actually hit it out of the park. I was stunned when I heard the news about the nominations – it’s amazing to be considered in the same company as these other shows and thanks to this we’re already seeing a fresh spike in Tali views.”

Tali’s Wedding Diary was also a first for co-creator and star Julia Anastasopoulos, who until then was best known as YouTube star SuzelleDIY. “I am so thrilled about the SAFTA nominations for Tali’s Wedding Diary,” says Julia, who is up for Best Actress – TV Comedy and Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Comedy, along with her husband Ari Kruger and Daniel Zimbler. 

“It was such a big and daunting step to create a full TV comedy series and intro a brand-new character. I really didn’t know how it would be received and am so happy to have received such positive feedback for the show and the Tali Babes character, along with the nominations. It feels so good to be recognised for something we poured our hearts into. None of it would have been possible, of course, without the incredible hard work and vision of my husband Ari and the incredible team, cast and crew that were part of the show. And a huge thank you to Showmax of course for making it all possible. Congratulations and best of luck to the entire team and to all the other nominees.”

Tali’s Wedding Diary is a mockumentary that follows Tali, a self-obsessed Joburg princess who’s moved to Cape Town and is planning her wedding to property-agent fiancé Darren (Anton Taylor). The series was inspired by Julia’s own wedding to Ari, her SuzelleDIY and Tali’s Wedding Diary co-creator, who is also up for Best Achievement In Directing – TV Comedy.  

In addition to Julia and Ari’s nominations, Tali’s Wedding Diary is up for Best TV Comedy, Art Direction (Keren Setton),  Cinematography (James Adey), and Editing (Richard Starkey). Winners will be announced on 2 March 2019 at Sun City Superbowl.

Following the success of Tali’s Wedding Diary, the second Showmax Original, The Girl From St Agnes, was released earlier this month. A third Showmax Original, Trippin With Skhumba, is slated for release at the end of February.

“With three Showmax Originals now under our belt and more on the way, we’d like to think this is the start of many more SAFTA nominations for shows from a streaming service,” concludes Candice.

South African content currently on Showmax has 110 nominations and includes the most nominated movie (Five Fingers With Marseilles), telenovela (The River), drama (Lockdown) and soap (Isibaya), with more SAFTA nominees scheduled for the coming months.

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