3 things direct from the future

30th Edition

Once every 2 weeks I will deliver “3 things direct from the future”. A 2 minute read that will always give you:

  • one thing that can help,
  • one thing to be wary of, and
  • one thing to amaze.

If this sounds interesting to you then please subscribe.


1. One thing that helps

Virtually Real Patient

Getting 30 health professionals together in a room to train on new situations and emerging threats has not been possible in the last 12 months. During the period when it has been more necessary than ever. Hospitals and universities have needed to embrace technology to ensure that the people we need most, have the training and resources that they need most.

In the growing industry of Extended Reality (XR) training (jargon check here – basically AR+VR+MR), Virti’s AI virtual patient has been a standout for providing health professional training this past year. It is not surprising that it was named by Time Magazine as one of the best inventions in 2020. The system uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and a host of other AI-based techniques to create a virtual patient that will respond and react the same way that a real patient would. This allows the medical professional to hone their skills quickly in a safe environment.

One of its most important uses is training medical personnel to communicate with patients – including difficult tasks like breaking bad news or simply knowing how best to comfort someone who is distressed. Specialist training scenarios include communicating effectively when your face is covered with a mask, or when wearing all sorts of other PPE equipment.

Virti can also be used to guide front-liners through unfamiliar emergency wards when they are reassigned. 

These types of tools have been essential as the requirement for more staff, doing things they may not have done before, in workplaces they may not be familiar with, has been increasing like never before.


2. One to be wary of

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NFT Security

Back at Edition 27, we told you about the great potential of NFTs for creators and collectors alike. But as in any new technology or innovation, hackers love the opportunity to cash in. 

Over at Nifty Gateway digital art marketplace, some users lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of NFTs to hackers. The fault may be the lack of two-factor authentication on the users’ part. 

Two-factor authentication, or 2fa, requires another login credential aside from your username and password. Yeah it’s that annoying thing when you have to confirm the login through a code sent to an authenticator app, your email, or phone number. This adds a second layer of security to prevent fraud and alerts you to a suspicious login attempt.

The affected users of Nifty Gateway had no 2fa enabled. This means that once hackers obtained their username and password, they’re just one click away from accessing the victim’s account. Nifty Gateway says that their platform isn’t compromised: the hacking incidents were isolated to users without two-factor authentication and who transacted outside of official channels.

The takeaway? Make sure to have two-factor authentication enabled if it is available in any site or software you use. It is worth the inconvenience. You don’t think you will be targeted until it is actually you.


3. One to amaze

Holograms. Finally!?

Here’s my prioritised list of technology wants:

  1. Me on a hoverboard
  2. Me in a flying car
  3. Me as a hologram

The first one is not looking great, the second a little better, but the third one is the great hope at the moment.

Microsoft has just launched Mesh, their effort to help us work and play together when we are not actually together.

Using Mesh, you and your team/family can “holoport” to a central location and interact like you are all physically present, or collaborate around a virtual 3d model. In true technology-demo tradition, the video shows us as full holograms that look like us when the small print says “that bit is still coming”. For now we interact as avatars but the promise is that my hologram experience, replicating gestures, eye contact and facial expressions, is getting pretty close. I choose to believe.  

If Iron Man and Princess Leia could do it all that time ago it feels like the time is nearly here.

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I look forward to being able to sit with my whole team together, wherever they are, and be as productive as if we were all in the same room. I also look forward to hanging out with my friends and family on the other side of the world without the (currently impossible) 24 hour journey. It will never be an experience like the real thing, but it will be much better than none at all, and much better than the dreaded multi-person video chat.  Bring it on!

Have a great week.

Daniel J McKinnon

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