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商業 - 科技

新興技術太強大,讓人擔憂

Robert Horn 2019年03月18日

專家們一致認為,虛擬現實、人工智能與合成生物學等技術一方面讓人困惑,另一方面也能激發靈感。

在新加坡舉辦的2019年《財富》頭腦風暴設計大會上,洛杉磯設計咨詢公司Vantage Point的創始人及首席執行官摩根·默瑟發表演講。圖片來源:Stefen Chow for Fortune

深入研究就會發現,設計師的目標是解決問題,而從定義就能看出,技術就是一系列解決問題的工具。

為什么要一邊恐懼一邊歡迎新興技術呢?

不久前在新加坡召開的《財富》頭腦風暴設計大會上,設計師們討論了這個悖論。

“想象一下使用這些媒介后世界會是什么樣子,很不可思議。” 斯坦福大學設計學院的執行董事莎拉·斯坦·格林伯格表示。她推動了一場討論,嘉賓包括Impossible Foods的高級香料科學家勞拉·克里曼、Vantage Point的創始人及首席執行官摩根·默瑟和斯坦福大學設計學院高管培訓項目學習經驗設計的負責人凱瑟琳·塞戈維亞。

專家們一致認為,虛擬現實、人工智能與合成生物學等技術一方面讓人困惑,另一方面也能激發靈感。

各種新技術讓很多人困惑,因為很少有人真正了解如何使用。“技術越來越容易使用,但精通各種技術的多元化設計師群體并未形成。”格林伯格表示。

不過,積極運用新興技術的設計師們表示,可以幫忙解決曾經看似無法克服的問題和挑戰。

比如拯救地球環境的種種努力。克里曼指出,氣候變化和生態破壞的重要因素之一是人類熱愛肉食。肉類生產是資源密集型產業,消耗了地球上30%的淡水,導致了全球15%的溫室氣體排放。

“人們喜歡吃肉,強制移風易俗行不通。”克里曼說,他的公司位于加州,主要生產肉類和乳制品的植物替代品。

克里曼說,她和團隊進行了深入研究,找出肉類口感的“秘密來源”,發現是一種叫血紅素的化合物。她們公司利用合成生物學手段從植物中提取血紅素后大規模生產,開發肉類替代品,她表示替代品幾乎可以滿足所有人的味蕾。

“我們沒有重新設計最終的產品,只是重新設計了制造產品的工藝。”她說。“產品是由植物直接制成的肉,可以說省略了‘中間有牛參與的部分’。”

從米其林星級餐廳到快餐連鎖店,全世界6000多家餐館都在供應植物肉制品。不久前,新加坡的7家餐廳也開始供應。

按照默瑟的說法,虛擬現實可以讓人類更聰明。她在洛杉磯的設計咨詢公司就在研究該項技術。她說,研究表明虛擬現實訓練能提升75%的知識留存率。可以通過多種方式利用該項優勢。

想象準備演講的場景。演講者要練習排練,還要記住表現最好的細節。聽起來挺順利,但等到真正發表演講面對真正的觀眾時,還是會緊張。通過虛擬現實,演講者可以在真實觀眾面前排練。真正演講時便輕車熟路。

“身臨其境的媒介非常真實,非常有力,也非常有影響力。”默瑟表示。

怎么看算法?斯坦福大學的塞戈維亞說,近年來批評聲音不少,但算法只是工具,不管產生的結果有用還是令人恐懼,最后都要看創建算法的設計師。

談到新興技術時,設計者們都同意造出好產品的可能性很大。格林伯格補充說,為了真正實現,設計師應該考慮想要生活的世界什么樣,以及不愿生活的世界什么樣。(財富中文網)

譯者:馮豐

審校:夏林

When you get down to it, designers aim to solve problems, and technology is, by definition, a series of tools to do just that.

So why we do we fear and embrace emerging tech with equal measure?

Designers convened at Fortune’s Brainstorm Design conference in Singapore recently to discuss the paradox.

“It’s amazing to think what the world might look like when you apply these mediums,’’ said Sarah Stein Greenberg, executive director of the Stanford University d.school, who facilitated a discussion that included Laura Kliman, senior flavor scientist at Impossible Foods; Morgan Mercer, founder and CEO of Vantage Point; and Kathryn Segovia, head of learning experience design in the executive education program at Stanford’s d.school.

Technologies like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology can both confound and inspire, the panelists agreed.

These technologies confound many of us because few of us truly understand or know who to use them. “They are becoming more accessible, but there is not yet a diverse community of designers” fluent in these technologies, Greenberg said.

But the designers who employ emerging technologies today have begun to show us that they can help solve problems and challenges that once seemed insurmountable.

Consider the effort to save the planet’s environment. One of the most significant contributors to climate change and ecological destruction is our appetite for meat, Kliman noted. Meat production is enormously resource intensive, using 30% of all the fresh water available on the planet and producing 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“People love meat. Asking them to change their behavior isn’t going work,’’ said Kliman, whose California employer makes plant-based substitutes for meat and dairy products.

Kliman said she and her team conducted deep research to identify the “secret source” of what gives meat its flavor, and found it is a compound named Heme. Using synthetic biology, her company extracted Heme from plant sources, produced it at scale and developed meat substitutes that she said can satisfy just about anyone’s taste buds.

“We are not redesigning the final product. We are redesigning the process to make that product,” she said. “It is meat made directly from plants. I like say we cut out the ‘middle cow.’”

Her plant-based meats are now being served in over 6,000 restaurants worldwide from Michelin-starred bistros to fast food chains. And on Wednesday, seven restaurants in Singapore began serving them, too.

And then there’s virtual reality—which can make all of us smarter, according to Mercer. Her Los Angeles design consultancy works with the technology. Studies show that virtual reality training can increase retention of knowledge by 75%, she said. That benefit can be applied in a number of ways.

Imagine someone preparing to give a speech. They practice, rehearse, and memorize the best parts. It all sounds smooth until they actually deliver the speech and become nervous in front of a real audience. With virtual reality, a speaker can rehearse in front of what looks and feels like a real audience. Delivering the real speech then becomes a piece of cake.

“Immersive mediums are so real, so impactful, so influential,’’ Mercer said.

And what about algorithms? They’ve gotten a bad rap in recent years, said Stanford’s Segovia. But they’re just tools—whether they produce results that are useful or terrifying depends on the designer who creates them.

When it comes to emerging technologies, the possibilities for producing good are great, the designers agreed. To achieve that, Greenberg added, designers must think about the world they want to live in, and the one they don’t.

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