The Software Society

How digital technology is changing our culture and economy

Will Artificial Intelligence someday dominate humans?

The term “Artificial Intelligence,” or AI, suggests a category of computer technology that challenges humans. Some very smart people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steven Hawking warn of the dangers of AI getting so powerful it dominates humans. The basic claim is that these techniques will get smarter as computer power continues to grow, […]

Redistributing income won’t solve the jobs problem

Technology is eliminating many jobs through automation at a rate too fast for society to adjust. This core economic problem won’t be solved by changes in the tax structure that simply change where the government gets its money. Tax reform can correct imbalances in income distribution to some degree, but it doesn’t create jobs. And […]

Conference Emphasizes the Critical Role of Language Technology in the Usability of Digital Systems

The sixth annual Mobile Voice Conference organized by The Applied Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS) is aimed at showing how the Language User Interface has matured and is driving the evolution of user interaction on mobile devices and beyond. AVIOS announced that the preliminary program has been posted on the conference web site. See

Up to ten free signed copies of my mystery available at GoodReads

Technically Dead 5 of 5 stars Archibald Teal and his virtual assistant Erasmus help detective Nikki Sharp solve a puzzling murder where all the suspects seem to have alibis. The case takes place in the near future, with Erasmus having special investigative abilities, in part due to a secret connection to NSA resources as […]

The US stock market: Good as gold?

The world economy is a mess. The US seems to be a bright spot, although its slow recovery is a bit spotty and seems to be benefiting the already-wealthy more than those trying to move in that direction. China’s economy is still growing, but slowing, and it faces long-term hurdles in clearing up pollution and […]

Amazon Echo: Why you’ll want one

Most of the press commentary on Amazon’s Echo speaker-as-a-personal-assistant characterizes the product as a solution looking for a problem. And Amazon seems even to have some doubts, with an announcement notable for its lack of fanfare and a limited distribution of the device. But looked at properly, it has huge potential. Think of it as […]

Is the US stock market the new gold standard?

The Fed’s policy of “quantitative easing” consists of buying government bonds with money that is simply created from nothing. Historically, simply “printing money” has led to high inflation and economic disaster. Why isn’t that happening today? Is the Fed creating a “money bubble” that must burst? When the US was on the gold standard, it […]

Apple’s next big thing isn’t a thing

Reports that Apple has ordered enough parts to ship 3-5 million of an unannounced smartwatch in the near future raise the question of whether the “iWatch” is the “next big thing” from Apple. Most analysts downplayed the announcements at the recent Apple Developers Conference, saying no new device was announced.

My view is that Apple made it clear at the conference what its next big thing is, and it isn’t a device. I argued a year ago in this blog that Apple would leverage its advantage in controlling both the hardware and software of its products (in contrast to Android-based devices, for example) to create a unified experience for its users across devices and applications, reducing the increasing problem users face with digital overload—too many devices with too many applications with too many features and too frequent updates and too much communications from a growing range of communication and social media options.

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