About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.

What’s Next For AI In The Workplace? (With Infographic)

AI or artificial intelligence is often regarded as the next frontier in consumer technology. Many believe that one day we will get to walk alongside AI-controlled robots in peace. That future is still decades away but at present, AI is already shaping various fields including business.

The biggest hurdle in AI has always been the limits of our technology. As we continue to develop more advancements in AI tech, the bigger the impact it has in our lives. Both big and small brands worldwide are already using what’s available for their own benefit.

AI: Friend or Foe?

AI in business has always been painted as a bad pairing as it could see the loss of countless jobs. However, AI is being integrated in companies in surprising and workforce-friendly ways.

AI isn’t a threat to human ingenuity and intelligence in the workplace. Instead, it is seen as a supporting tool that helps companies a great deal when it comes to processes that can be automated and processes that don’t require human empathy. If used properly, AI can build the foundations for the growth of companies too.

Currently speaking, AI has trouble completing tasks such as identifying what’s morally right or wrong, as well as identifying an emotion of a person depending on his facial expression. These tasks will be best handled by humans still. What’s also undeniable is the fact that AI is far more capable of processing and analyzing troves of data than humans.

People are optimistic that instead of losing jobs, the AI-driven shift will actually result in more jobs being created. One of the people with a positive outlook on AI is none other than Bill Gates.

The Microsoft CEO and founder is confident that AI will never completely take over the human workforce.

Well, certainly we can look forward to the idea that vacations will be longer at some point.’ High-value environments’ including jails, factories, courthouses or operating rooms, and transcribing the ongoing occurrences with computers that can record what’s going on.

If there are safety violations, like an employee on a construction site who’s not wearing a helmet, or inefficient use of resources, the system can be changed.

Companies will get a significant increase in productivity thanks in part to AI and automation. This results in better revenue for them, thus bigger resources for supporting more jobs in the services sector.

On part of the human workforce, they will need to advance as well. Having additional skills in software and tech management will help a great deal as they dive into AI-integrated companies.

Not only will this help them secure better high-paying jobs, but it will also help them grow alongside the emerging AI industry.

AI is often portrayed as a bane to humanity, but recent endeavors in the field have proven otherwise. While we are yet to know exactly how AI will develop in the coming years, what’s certain is that it will never replace humans.

It seems more like there will always be a place for both AI and humans in the workplace.

The AI Revolution

FIVE SUMMER GIFTS – Strictly Briks For Kids

Strictly Briks want kids over the age of five to dream, create and glow by using plastic bricks? Sound familiar?

briksThe world would have it that all kids do nothing all day but stare at a multitude of screens, both big and small, and call that entertainment. However, the world is not just a place for pixels, it is a place for play… play in the real world.

While screens have a great part to play (ahem) in the development of the younger generation’s brains and creativity, the analogue world is just as important, not least when it comes to texture and building.

Naturally, a four-letter beginning with ‘L’ is the product that most people associate with plastic bricks, but here are other emulators and innovators who also offer great gameplay for children, and adults as well.

So step forward Strictly Briks, a company that has more than 20 years experience in the toy industry and provides high-quality and innovative creative products. Two of its products seem to bear this out.

The first is its Brik Tower product that lets kids do what they do best, build as high as they can for as long as they can. The multi-coloured bricks heighten interest and provide a framework for other games played within the tower. It provides, literally, hours of fun.

Strictly Bricks also sells its Trap and Gap baseplates that, again, provide a solid framework for games that are played on the ground, not up in the air. Maybe not as much fun as building plastic towers of Babel, but great nonetheless.

For parents brought up before the screens came down to decimate play as they knew it, using and playing with Strictly Briks will bring back memories when the world was a smaller place, less connected and more human-friendly. That’s not a bad thing… for them or their kids.

REVIEW: Mini: Advanced BT5.0 Earbuds

Mini: Advanced BT5.0 Earbuds are crowdsourcing now. As the people of the world retreat into their respective shells to listen to music and podcasts, they may as well do so with awesome earbuds.

BT5.0BT5.0 Earbuds make listening on the move easier as a swathe of products are hitting the market in response to Apple’s very strange-looking earphones that look like Star Trek mismatches.

Consequently, many prefer large headphones to cancel out external cacophony and I am one of them, especially when it comes to flying. I’ve been loyal to Bose and Sennheiser for more than a decade, but recent earbud products are turning me around.

So step forward Surge Mini Wireless Earbuds that apparently support Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), and ‘provide an amazing audio experience like no other’.

For once the hype rings true. These earbuds really are exceptional, not only for noise cancellation on a flight or other noisy transporation, but also provide a very, very good mode for listening to music of all descriptions… via Bluetooth, of course.

The latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology ensures a broader signal range and an ultra-stable connectivity and the accompanying charging pod can charge the earbuds for 100 hours of total play time.

The pad can also function as a power bank for users’ phones. The cosy design produces excellent noise cancellation and keeps it securely in place for even the most vigorous exercise routine, which is a feature that is unlikely to bother me, but will please those who run, cycle and go to the gym.

BT5.0

The company’s second product, Surge Lite is the 400mAh charging pod version, which is smaller and lighter and provides 20 hours total play time.,

Finally, Surge Pro is the IP67 waterproof and dustproof version, protected from one-metre water immersion for up to 30 mins. The earbuds provide six hours playtime at one charge, perfect if for those who like to swim or snorkel while listening to music.

My ageing Sennheiser headphones are still with me, but the BT.50 earbuds are now also in my hand luggage. It won’t be long before they replace them. Who needs something heavy and large, when BT.50 earbuds are easy-to-carry and light?

This is a highly recommended product and that retails less than $80, somewhat cheaper thany anything Sennheiser or Bose offer.

BOOK REVIEW: The Human Workplace by Andy Swann

The workplace is changing in ways that seemed impossible only recently. Andy Swann’s book explains what is happening in lovely business language.

workplace

I’m really not a fan of business books and as somebody who’s worked from home or a beach for the past decade, I’m not really interested in ‘workplaces’ either, but I really enjoyed this super-fast read.

I’ll disclose now that I’ve met Andy Swann a number of times and although we operate in different, ahem, work places, I’ve always been impressed by his demeanour and manner; he also loves what he does, so I promised that I would review his book.

Admittedly, it has taken longer to do so than I thought because I don’t read business books, but this is a nicely written book that will interest those who work in office management, HR, head-hunting and even psychogeography.

It does suffer from the devilry of small text and font, but that might just be my eyes. Swann uses many modules, graphs and box-outs and they are deftly utilised, not least being on the same page as allusions to them.

So many business books are irritating in that area. On one page is the description, then readers have to go overleaf to find the object of the description.

It’s really easy to read and refreshingly free of anecdotes and clever stories. It gets straight to the point and it’s not surprising that Swann is also a consultant, strategist and public speaker at conferences. It gets to the point.

Being over-critical, it looks as if this book has taken time to be written. Some of the industry examples seem from a lot time ago (18 months/two years!), but that is like any book that is published nowadays; they’re out of date before they’re published.

However, and this is important, The Human Workplace is not time-critical, its messages are current and even visionary, so that slight weakness can be overlooked.

You can buy the book here.

It’s expensive for somebody like me who prefers LITERATURE, but if this is your line of work, The Human Workplace will prove valuable in the way we work and how we do so. It’w worth the £20 or so for a hardback, but Kindle at £12 might be more appropriate.

I would imagine that The AI Workplace will be the sequel, but Swann’s book has at least a decade before it, like all humans, becomes obsolete.

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