In 2002, iRobot announced a vacuum cleaner called “Roomba”. Unlike other vacuum cleaners of its time, the Roomba cleaned entire rooms all by itself. It used sensors to avoid obstacles and navigate to places unreachable by hand to clean the floor. The Roomba earned its way into Time magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2002”, and it was one, of many, breakthrough innovations that has brought us artificial intelligence.
Fast forward 15 years. You are now talking to your phone to do things. You are searching billions of data points for the perfect answers. You are surrounded by artificial intelligence - and sometimes, you don’t even realize that AI is serving you. Artificial Intelligence has become the bread and butter of the technology industry today. Whether you are receiving help from an automated call center or predicting weather patterns, you are probably being assisted by AI some way or the other. And the technology industry is creating new application of artificially intelligent systems every other day, making it one of the fastest growing trends of the 21st century.
The current state of AI
Google’s Assistant and Apple’s Siri both made huge strides this year. Both assistants are contextually aware, so they understand follow up conversation-style questions. They now not only process natural language better, but also speak more naturally. Now that Siri, Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa connect with so many third party services, they are coming extremely popular in home and car automation.
A Verton Analytics report from July 2017 showed that 43% of all smartphones have an AI application installed and used - that is 72 million smartphones with AI powered assistants. Moreover, it was predicted by Oppenheimer analyst Andrew Uerkwitz that over 10 million Google Home and Amazon Echo (or similar) products will be sold during just the Christmas Holidays of 2016. With so may voice assistants all around us, we can be assured that AI assistants are not going anywhere, and will significantly improve in the coming years.
AI adoption in the healthcare industry is already showing its benefits. It is constantly assisting doctors make better predictions, surgeons operate more precisely and researchers analyze complex data. An Accenture report states that the AI healthcare market will reach $61billion, at an impressive annual growth rate of 40%. Currently, robot assisted surgeries is the biggest application of AI in the healthcare industry, followed by virtual nursing assistance and administrative assistance.
Google Deepmind Health, for example, uses AI to mine people’s health data to improve speed and efficiency of treatment. IBM’s Watson can help provide accurate treatment plans for cancer patients. Mazor Robotics is developing robots to assist in minimally invasive surgeries. Sense.ly uses an app to connect patients with their doctors, and uses AI to analyze data monitored by sensors on the patient to send it to the doctor.
The connected smart-car system is right on the horizon, and will take over our roads sooner than later. Automobile safety systems, especially self-driving capabilities, are largely powered by artificial intelligence that sits right in the car. Tesla is undoubtedly the leader in this space, and their newest (and most affordable) vehicle, the Model 3, will play a vital role in giving everyone access to smart vehicles.
There is a lot more happening in the world of artificial intelligence - including the worry that AI will take over the earth. But that’s for another post. Whatever the case, AI is here and about, and is core to many modern tasks. It is interesting to note that the response to AI has been very positive, and AI contributions have led to big progress in all industries.
Your phone is likely your go-to camera to capture those everyday life frames that you can look back at anytime and share with anyone. That said, there is still huge demand for DSLR cameras, and I am certain that the demand will remain.
Nikon announced the D3300 back in 2014, and it has undoubtedly aged well. The D3000 series cameras are Nikon’s entry-level DSLRs for amateur photographers who want to learn the nuances of great photography. For me, the D3300 was a perfect fit: I picked it up for under $500 as a kit which included the 18-55mm and the 55-200mm Nikkor DX lenses. I initially wanted it for photographing gadgets for Technonerds; rather, the D3300 made me an amateur photographer and I turned it into a hobby.
To begin with, here are some pictures I captured on the D3300 (which I later edited in Polarr or Lightroom):
You can download and use the above pictures via Unsplash, a royalty free website for high quality photographs.
The Nikon D3300 is an exceptional beginner shooter. It is a lightweight DSLR with a solid polycarbonate body. It has a 24.2 MP DX format CMOS sensor without a low-pass filter, thanks to Nikon’s new sensor technology. It even packs the (nearly) up-to-date Expeed 4 image processor. The kit lenses included have good build quality and have the same Nikkor glass used in Nikon’s premium lenses. Most importantly, the D3300 has all the functionality of a basic interchangeable-lens manual camera that will let you learn photography tricks without burning a hole in your pocket.
But in this age of smartphones with killer cameras, why should you even consider buying a DSLR?
In my post “The truth about megapixels,” I wrote an explanation as to why more megapixels doesn’t always result in better quality images. One of the points from that post was that the size of a smartphone camera sensor is about one-tenth the size of a DSLR camera sensor. The larger sensor on a DSLR means that more light is captured which means higher quality images with less noise in low-light situations. And unlike smartphone cameras, almost all DSLRs can capture RAW files (a picture file format), which retains important data from the sensor without compressing the image, so you can manipulate the image better using photo editing apps.
The D3300 does an excellent job handling most lighting conditions. On Auto mode, daylight pictures look crisp and clear, and even low-light pictures capture significantly more detail than a smartphone camera. However, the camera really shines in Manual mode, where you can tweak your shutter speed, aperture and ISO for capturing the perfect low-light shot. With the right settings, the D3300 does a great job capturing nightlife, the stars and even motion blur. The kit lenses are a great pair for beginners - the 18-55mm (ƒ/3.5-5.6) lens is extremely compact and can capture wide landscape shots, while the 55-200mm (ƒ/4-5.6) lens is perfect for capturing the moon, or birds from far away.
With a few accessories, like a tripod, Natural Density filters and some great photo-editing apps (Polarr for beginners, Adobe Lightroom for advanced users), the D3300 may just be the camera of choice for everyone wanting to do creative photography.
In the last three years, Technonerds has achieved over a million page visits and has maintained over 5000 Facebook page likes. As a blogger, these numbers encourage me to write better content more frequently.
However, I see a massive potential for growth. I started Technonerds with a singular aim: to share my ideas and experiences with technology with my friends and the public. Technonerds 3.0 seeks to streamline this process.
#1: The new design
Technonerds’s older design relied on a simple blog theme that emphasized on blog posts. While this made new posts immediately available to read, the theme lacked visual appeal and the organization required for the 300+ posts I’ve written. Technonerds 3.0 has a new theme that works better on mobile devices, improves audience interaction, streamlines fonts and colors and improves website performance.
The new Technonerds logo is inspired by MIT Media Labs’ logo. The MIT Media Lab’s logo has thousands of permutations and combinations. This flexibility allows for creating diverse uses for the logo. In Technonerds' new logo, the 3x3 grid of squares performs the same task - to maintain the original identity of the blog while creating unique identities for each of the categories.
The new website design also makes place for polls, so that you - the readers - can share your opinions on trending topics. I will host polls weekly, and I will release their results when the poll ends. Making audience polls helps me interact with you, and hear about your opinions.
#2: The refocusing of the blog
Technonerds started off as a technology blog, and it will continue to be that. I will be focusing all my future blog posts into three core categories I have been passionate about: artificial intelligence, startups and product reviews. I aim to write more detailed, in-depth articles for my audience. Rather than being redundant by posting about every new tech release, I will share my own opinions about the products I own and the innovations I am inspired by. Technonerds is not a media company, and I hope to maintain that status.
Why these three topics?
Artificial Intelligence is the domain of computer science that I am most interested in studying. As a blogger and CS student, I am constantly on the lookout for emerging AI technology that I can be a part of in the future. Technonerds will be the perfect platform for me to share about this.
Startups are always developing innovative solutions for real-life problems, be it big or small. As I begin to involve myself in the startup ecosystem in Vancouver, I hope to write about my discoveries and dig deep into the ideation process that goes behind their creation.
Product reviews have always been a part of Technonerds. I will continue to post my opinions about the products I buy.
All that said, I am looking forward to hearing from you. If you have interesting posts related to AI and startups, or if you want to send me a product to review, please contact me via email or message me on the Facebook page. I am also open to collaborations.
Finally, thank you for making writing for Technonerds a rewarding experience. I write for you readers, and I value the time you spend on this website. Keep Technonerding!
Creator & Editor