Mike Elgan

About the Author Mike Elgan


Will augmented reality make lying obsolete?

I’m putting the liars on notice.

The most underappreciated application for the combination of augmented reality (A.R.) and artificial intelligence (A.I.) is persistent lie detection.

Smartphones and smart glasses will soon support apps that show you in real time whether the person you’re talking to is telling the truth or lying.

Imagine how that will affect business meetings, sales presentations, job interviews and department status updates.

(Not to mention political speech. Some 35 years ago, late-night talk show host Johnny Carson imagined what it would be like if politicians were hooked up to lie detectors.)

To read this article in full, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

With smartphones like these, why do we need laptops?

Smartphones are supercomputers.

Or, at least, they’re significantly more powerful than supercomputers were ten years ago. And way more powerful than desktops were five years ago.

Smartphones also offer killer benefits that laptops don’t — namely, longer battery life and biometric security.

So why are we still using laptops?

Microsoft’s smartphone-based laptops

Microsoft and Qualcomm this week announced a new kind of laptop.

In a nutshell, it’s a laptop powered by a smartphone processor running a desktop operating system.

Specifically, the new Windows 10 laptops that will be built initially by HP, Lenovo and Asus are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. This is the same chip that powers high-end smartphones such as the Galaxy S8 and Note8.

To read this article in full, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

When the threats get weird, the security solutions get weirder

The world of security is getting super weird. And the solutions may be even weirder than the threats.

I told you last week that some of the biggest companies in technology have been caught deliberately introducing potential vulnerabilities into mobile operating systems and making no effort to inform users.

One of those was introduced into Android by Google. In that case, Android had been caught transmitting location data that didn’t require the GPS system in a phone, or even an installed SIM card. Google claimed that it never stored or used the data, and it later ended the practice.

To read this article in full, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

Why we can’t trust smartphones anymore

Your smartphone may contain secret “features” that leave you vulnerable.

I’m not talking about accidental design flaws that hackers might exploit. Security issues have always existed. They represent a cat-and-mouse game between malicious actors, who try to break smartphone security, and the smartphone industry, which tries to identify and fix the accidental vulnerabilities that make phones susceptible to hackers. Nothing new about that.

What I’m talking about is a new phenomenon — a trend we’ve learned about only in the past few weeks.

I’m talking about design decisions made by smartphone companies that cause phones to do things invisibly, behind the scenes and behind your back, that make phones potentially less secure.

To read this article in full, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

Why virtual assistants are the ‘killer app’ for wearables

Star Trek got it right.

In the future, we’ll interact with computers mostly by talking.

But for those computers to be available for instant interaction, they’ll have to be attached to our physical persons. I’m talking about virtual assistants on wearable devices.

Technologists are ambivalent about both virtual assistants and wearables. Some love and rely upon them. Others are indifferent.

That’s why it may seem unlikely that these two technologies, used together, are the future of computing. Still, it’s going to happen.

Stay with me here, because by the end of this column I think you’ll see clearly how inevitable this scenario is.

To read this article in full, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

The future of smart glasses comes into focus

Will smart glasses fog when I drink my morning coffee?

So many questions about the future of smart glasses remain unanswered.

As we slouch toward the end of the smartphone era, it’s important to consider what comes next — and plan accordingly.

Here are the questions technology professionals like us should be asking, with the answers we know so far (many of which have emerged in the past week).

Q: Will Apple make smart glasses?

Yes.

I told you in January why Apple needs to make smart glasses in order to stay on top. In a few years, smart glasses will be at the center of consumer and business electronics in the same way that smartphones are today.

To read this article in full, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

Critics are wrong to slam iPhone X’s new face tech

Apple’s new iPhone X reads faces. And privacy pundits are gnashing their teeth over it.

The phone’s complex TrueDepth image system includes an infrared projector, which casts 30,000 invisible dots, and an infrared camera, which checks where in three-dimensional space those dots land. With a face in view, artificial intelligence on the phone figures out what’s going on with that face by processing locations of the dots.

Biometrics in general and face recognition in particular are touchy subjects among privacy campaigners. Unlike a password, you can’t change your fingerprints — or face.

Out of the box, the iPhone X’s face-reading system does three jobs: Face ID (security access), Animoji (avatars that mimic users’ facial expressions), and also something you might call “eye contact,” to figure out if the user is looking at the phone (to prevent sleep mode during active use).

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

Apple’s iPhone X proves it: Silicon Valley is getting emotional

Apple’s shiny new iPhone X smartphone became available for pre-order on Friday

Packed with both bells and whistles and dominating the field in both speeds and feeds, Apple’s hotly anticipated iPhone X will be considered by some to be the world’s greatest phone.

The technology in the iPhone X includes some unusual electronics. The front-facing camera is part of a complex bundle of hardware components unprecedented in a smartphone. (Apple calls the bundle its TrueDepth camera.)

Apple iPhone X camera Apple

The top-front imaging bundle on the iPhone X has some weird electronics, including an infrared projector (far right) and an infrared camera (far left).

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

Silicon Valley is getting emotional

Apple’s shiny new iPhone X smartphone became available for pre-order on Friday

Packed with both bells and whistles and dominating the field in both speeds and feeds, Apple’s hotly anticipated iPhone X will be considered by some to be the world’s greatest phone.

The technology in the iPhone X includes some unusual electronics. The front-facing camera is part of a complex bundle of hardware components unprecedented in a smartphone. (Apple calls the bundle its TrueDepth camera.)

Apple iPhone X camera Apple

The top-front imaging bundle on the iPhone X has some weird electronics, including an infrared projector (far right) and an infrared camera (far left).

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

Smartphones are driving us to distraction. Here’s help.

Ho-hum. Another year, another crop of amazing smartphones.

The latest advancements come from Apple and Google. The new iPhone 8 line and iPhone X phones, as well as Google’s new Pixel phones, are blistering fast, offer near-DSLR-quality cameras and perform a growing range of cool stunts, such as supporting augmented reality.

If you were to ask the public if they want all this power and ability, they’d probably respond, “Well, yes! Absolutely!”

But if you were to ask them if the newest phones solve any problems people have with their lives, the answer would be, “Well, no. Absolutely not!”

In fact, smartphones are making our biggest problems worse.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

Google’s Clips camera offers a snapshot of things to come

Google held a big hardware event this week, announcing a couple of new Pixel-branded smartphones, two Google Home devices, a new Pixelbook laptop, new earbuds called Pixel Buds, and a consumer camera called Google Clips.

Of all the new Google products announced, Google Clips is the most interesting by far — which is to say that it represents the most interesting trend. This consumer device represents the future of enterprise A.I.

But wait, you might say. Isn’t Google’s Pixel Buds product the most revolutionary? Its ability to translate language in real time is something out of science fiction, and the elimination of language barriers surely has major implications for the future of mankind.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Read more 0 Comments

There’s no such thing as a ‘remote’ employee

Over the next year or two, some of your best employees may quit and find work elsewhere for a simple reason: They want to work from home full time.

During the past 10 years, telecommuting has gone up – doubling, in fact, with growth of 115% between 2005 and 2015, according to the US Census Bureau.

But when Yahoo and IBM famously banned telecommuting, some assumed the trend toward increasing work-from-home policies would be thrown into reverse. That assumption is a big mistake.

The telecommuting trend will continue. More than that: Companies will be increasingly forced to allow employees to work from outside the office. This trend obviously has major implications for security and management. 

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Read more 0 Comments