Month: December 2019

Your train is on time thanks to big data

While most Dutch trains arrive on time — 92.6 percent, to be exact — some delay is inevitable. Falling leaves can make the railway slippery. Snow sometimes causes the railroad switches to freeze up. Machinal issues, on the other hand, such as broken doors or overheated brakes, can increasingly be fixed before they cause severe delays. Thanks to thousands of sensors and big data analytics, train maintenance has become much more efficient. It’s a development that took a flight since 4G became available in the Netherlands, allowing data to be processed at a much higher speed. This includes check-in data,…

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How to train your brain to release more happy chemicals

Do you ever wish you could just turn on the happy chemicals in your brain? Imagine how much easier it would make getting out of bed each morning, getting even the most tedious parts of your job done, and finding the energy to consistently show up as your best self for the people you care about the most. But is it really possible – never mind advisable – to try and train our brains for more happiness? “The quest for good feelings is nature’s survival engine,” explained Professor Loretta Breuning, founder of the Inner Mammal Institute, when I interviewed her recently. “For…

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If you want to sell your products on Amazon, this $29 course can get you rolling.

In fact, Amazon buyers purchase about 4,000 items per minute from US-based small businesses. That accounts for about half of the web behemoth’s total sales. For entrepreneurs looking to get in on this lucrative revenue stream, the courses in The Complete Amazon FBA A-Z Bundle ($29, over 90 percent off from TNW Deals) can help you navigate those waters.

Unblocking Xbox clips and the future of shareable gaming

In the age of Snapchat and Instagram, sharing is a core part of how we communicate. We almost feel as if something hasn’t really happened until we’ve captured that fleeting moment in digital form and show it to someone else – even if that someone else is a person we’ve never even met. It’s no different for gamers. Contrary to popular belief, gaming is not an isolated – or isolating – activity. Social interaction is at the heart of what makes gaming enjoyable for a lot of people, which is why you have such large and loyal communities built around…

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Or just read more coverage about: Xbox

How to recognize an alien when you see one

What would convince you that aliens existed? The question came up recently at a conference on astrobiology, held at Stanford University in California. Several ideas were tossed around – unusual gases in a planet’s atmosphere, strange heat gradients on its surface. But none felt persuasive. Finally, one scientist offered the solution: a photograph. There was some laughter and a murmur of approval from the audience of researchers: yes, a photo of an alien would be convincing evidence, the holy grail of proof that we’re not alone. But why would a picture be so convincing? What is it that we’d see…

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Researcher: Here are 5 things that scare me about AI

AI is being increasingly used to make important decisions. Many AI experts (including Jeff Dean, head of AI at Google, and Andrew Ng, founder of Coursera and say that warnings about sentient robots are overblown, but other harms are not getting enough attention. I agree. I am an AI researcher, and I’m worried about some of the societal impacts that we’re already seeing. Before we dive in, I need to clarify one point that is important to understand: algorithms (and the complex systems they are a part of) can make mistakes. These mistakes come from a variety of sources: bugs in the code, inaccurate…

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2020 will hopefully be the year AI kills company dashboards

For the last 20 years, businesses have fallen hard for dashboards. It was the easy start to becoming an operationally sound and data-driven business. The trend grew, and now board members and executives expect interactive functions and explorable data as part of quarterly reports. Product or demand general managers, who might each drive sales targets and must choose between so many execution options, find that dashboard checks are a daily if not hourly requirement. The analyst, whose work title could be just about anything, was part of this rising tide. But their individual path could be rough or easy, strategic…

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Why Dutch Railways is following an API-first dev strategy

The Dutch railway system is among the most efficient in the world, with only Japan and Switzerland scoring higher when it comes to punctuality. Currently, an average working day in the Netherlands sees about a million commuters traveling by train. The company Dutch Railways (also known as NS) is constantly innovating to keep its spot in the global top three. By providing digital services such as mobile check-in, seat search, and fixed reservations ‘public transport bicycles,’ the company hopes to welcome an even higher number of Dutch train travelers in the future.  Mobile and API first To bring these apps…

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Meet the cobots: the robots who will be your colleagues, not your replacements

The latest industrial robots look like petting zoo versions of the big machines found in many modern factories – small, cute, and you can play with them. But don’t be deceived by their cuddly appearance. They have the potential to change the way humans work with machines and disrupt the existing market for industrial robots. The big difference with this new generation of robots is that they don’t have to operate in closed-off areas. Instead they can safely operate alongside and even collaborate with human workers. For this reason, these machines are often called collaborative robots or “cobots.” Fully automating…

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