Business and Technology News from NUS

Month: September 2017

How Does Technology Improve Education?

Without a doubt, education is one of the most important developmental factors in the upbringing of children. In the knowledge economy of today, jobs and opportunities depend upon it. Of particular importance is an understanding of our technologically oriented world. In Australia, this is recognised by numerous politicians. In 2015, Bill Shorten outlined an actionable Labour Government plan to “ensure that computer coding is taught in every primary and secondary school in Australia so the next generation have the skills they need for the jobs of the new economy.” Even outside Labour initiatives, schools across the country began adopting this ethos. The following year, it was decided at a summit that all Queensland prep schools would begin providing coding lessons to students as young as four. “We have to acknowledge that this is the world students now live in,” began Professor Jason Zagami of Griffith University. “We have to prepare them for that world.”

However, with this increasing need for education in technology comes the irrevocable need for technology in education. From 2008 to 2013, the Federal Government funded and issued almost one million computers to students across Australia, facilitating the ability to learn through modern means, not just the classroom. For example, services like DevOps Foundation Certification Training provide an entirely online educational suite consisting of scheduled courses, exams and certified instructors. The implications of this are both figuratively and literally far-reaching; even when access to a classroom is impossible, students of all ages can acquire the qualifications they need to ready themselves for future study or higher employment opportunities. Even outside Australia the trend is growing. In 2012, the Estonian Tiger Leap Foundation launched the ProgeTiiger Initiative to provide knowledge of coding to all who sought it out. “ProgeTiiger has set up and compiled freely available information into training packets,” said head of Tiger Leap Foundation Ave Lauringson. “They can either go into a classroom and learn or do a 4-week e-learning.” This degree of flexibility is truly a new height for education. It matters far less now where you live or how rich you are in determining whether you have the right to learn.

Yet, there is still an imbalance. A 2016 Google-Gallup research survey found that Black and Hispanic students in the United States are 1.5x – 1.7x more likely to be interested in CS education opportunities, yet have less access to CS classes and exposure to computers. It revealed that, “only 58 percent of Black and 50 percent of Hispanic students say they used a computer at least most days at home, compared to 68 percent of white students.” Stats from Humanium reveal the gap in access to education across the world. According to them, 72 million children remain uneducated world-wide, with Sub-Saharan Africa being the most affected area. In a world where services like training in the DevOps framework exist online, computer science education is compiled into digestible packages and hardware made so readily available, it’s a terrible shame that this is still the case.

So, does technology improve education? The answer seems to be yes on account of improved accessibility. Yet, technology and accessibility alone are not the only deciding factors in whether or not the impoverished and disadvantaged see the benefits. Although the future has never been brighter, we must be hungry for even more advanced education technology so one day, we might all learn together.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

5 Ways Tech is Changing Fashion

The future is here. The clothes and accessories we wear are no longer just devices that conceal our bodies, they are now devices that have paired up with smart-technology. Here are five ways fashion has adopted the digital revolution into its stride:

Augmented reality

Technology has been blending the physical and virtual worlds to create a new, alternative version of real life. Fashion and beauty companies have been playing around with mobile phone applications, letting their customers be able to virtually “try on” different clothing and various makeup or hairstyles. With visualisation being the top priority, companies have blended shopping and entertainment, giving their customers a new and improved kind of customer experience.

“Smart” Fabric

For those who don’t know, Smart fabric is split into two categories. The first is aesthetic, so everything to do with the coolest design; i.e. fabric that glows or changes color. The second is performance enhancing, which athletic, extreme sports and military industries have been utilizing. These second kind of Smart fabrics can help regulate body temperature, control muscle vibration, guard against radiation and high-altitude travels, etc. Endless choices, we as a society are just scratching the surface of possibilities.

“Lab-grown” Diamonds

Diamonds are made up of carbon crystals, which takes its form when pressurized by the Earth. With all the timely and costly ways people have been doing to extract diamonds from underground, scientists have figured out ways to artificially create them. A method called “Chemical Vapour Deposition” is used to create a solid material from gases. The “diamond” is essentially created by combining a variety of gases including methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, carbon; all of which are then energised with high pressure and high temperatures and we eventually get diamonds with water and oxygen as the waste. However the “diamond” has to be cut and polished by experts to achieve the same brilliance as “natural diamonds”. The technology of “diamond-growing” started and is expanding throughout the years due to the limited quantities of “natural diamonds” and consumerism. Diamond buyers should be aware of this growing technology and wary of the diamonds they buy and how authentic they are.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

This particular technology has been applied to make consumers’ lives easier, and with the increased level of convenience, the smartest customer service has arrived. You can find AI in your everyday life such as asking Maps how to get to a certain destination, or asking Siri a burning question. With AI, comes the demand and need for human-computer interaction, because computers are automated with answers the human mind can’t even comprehend.

3D Printing

The idea is that companies want to create a customizable 3D printing section in their stores. Imagine coming into an athletic store with an image in your head of what you want to buy, and an hour later you will be coming out with exactly what you had thought of. The challenge now is how to transform expensive prototype to products that are actually affordable.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

5 new jobs that will exist in 2030

According to Dell Technologies, 85% of the jobs in 2030 are inconceivable as of right now. But that hasn’t stopped forecasters from trying. Here are a few that seem the most promising and plausible.

  1. Experimental human conductors for AI

The demand for such conductors will depend on how well we are able to fine-tune AI and the number of companies undertaking the development of this long anticipated technology. Conductors will be responsible for testing various new forms of AI and perfect them before its release to the public. Certain technologies being worked on currently are smart exoskeletons that will allow the paralysed to walk, implants to restore sight and even help with damaged memories. But by that time these roles emerge, we might be looking at computerized brains which are able to access the internet with a simple thought.

  1. Drone-related workforce and other robotics services

We are not talking about technicians and engineers; think in terms of insurance agents, drone sporting events, aesthetic workshops and the like. It is a whole new industry that opens up plenty of room for new business owners to come up with revolutionary ideas and the employees needed to keep everything in running order or better. Fitting customized parts or upgrading software as per requested.

  1. Reputation keepers

Or as CST puts it, “Digital Memorialist“. A person who, upon the passing of a client, fulfils their final wish either by moving all traces of their online presence offline or scrubbing their internet identity clean. Eradicating the existence of mistakes and embarrassing moments to retain a pleasant experience for friends and family when they reminisce through old photos and posts. As their opening statement goes, “people may die, but data doesn’t”.

  1. Restorers

While it may seem morbid and ethically questionable, as we advance, it proves to reason our bodies will too. Instead of being put on a waiting list for a matching organ, they will be farmed. Meanwhile, vertical farms would replace the current food production industry, leaving land to be restored to its original wilderness. Although it seems to be a job more suited for machinery, just like any other industry, there will still be a need for supervisors.

  1. Virtual reality operator guides

When the world becomes digitalized and we are able to venture to new worlds in the comfort of our bedrooms, instructors will be needed to help us navigate the foreign landscapes. Similar to scuba diving or other such sports that require gear, we must familiarize ourselves with the equipment before being given clearance to explore at our own leisure.

To prepare ourselves for the future, it may be worth it to invest in a course regarding advanced technology such as machine learning through R training. Being able to read code will be the new definition of literacy, and those educated in programming machines will be the new breed of teachers. It is never too soon to start planning for the future.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

5 Internet Tools that Make Real Estate Brokers Redundant

A dramatic transformation of the real estate industry is underway, with consumers today exerting more control over the buying and selling process than ever before. In today’s digital age the consumer has options to use the internet for nearly all the stages of the home buying and selling process. Real estate agents have traditionally filled several functions including finding and matching home for buyers, marketing a property to attract buyer interest, closing a sale and conducting negotiations and paperwork.

However, according to data from the National Association of Realtors, 90% of home buyers use the internet to search for homes. Informed buyers and sellers today have a number of real estate tools and instant information at their fingertips. Real estate brokers are realizing that they cannot afford to continue charging high commissions and extensive fees for real estate related services.

Savvy homeowners and buyers are much more aware of the data and information available to them online, at far lower prices or even free of cost. Here are 5 internet technologies and online services driving real estate broker obsolete:

  • Property Aggregators Websites and apps providing aggregate information have changed the real estate landscape. By giving people the search through hundreds of property listings for apartments, home buyers/tenants and sellers are much more empowered during the real estate transaction. Thanks to these online search directories, agents had to completely reshape how they built their business and got leads. Property search tools give buyers and sellers more control and more freedom over their decisions.
  • Real Estate Rating and Research Tools: Home buyers need not bother with employing an agent to tell them about the neighbourhood, or give information on things like schools, hospitals, crime and pollution in the area. Many new internet companies provide buyers with virtual tours, videos and detailed data on neighbourhood and location driving extreme competition for real estate services.
  • Property Valuation and Pricing Tools: Selling a house has become a much simpler and hassle free process thanks to several tools available to homeowners trying to find the right price. Valuation services can be done quickly and at low cost while other services provide market data and pricing calculators.
  • Communications and Online Marketing tools: In the internet world, almost all documentation and communications can be handled by email and apps. Sellers can get far more exposure than most real estate brokers would provide, simply by paying a one-time fee for an listing on a website or online classified service. Many drag and drop online design tools even make designing attractive property listings simple.
  • Social Media and Search Ads: Facebook ad campaigns can be targeted to display to the right buyers, and Google AdWords pay-per-click campaign for the keywords based on the locality and homes for sale will give results very few agents would be able to match for the price.

Agents who cannot figure out how the game has changed thanks to these internet tools, and don’t adapt their business to provide clients with transparency and excellent service will surely be on their way to becoming redundant.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.

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