Technology

Visuals: Children's dream jobs

Adecco, a Japanese company providing human resource services, conducted a national survey asking 900 elementary and junior high school boys and girls what job they wanted to do when they grew up. Many children showed an interest in jobs that involve digital technology, which is no surprise since they have been surrounded by the technology since birth.

The detailed results of the survey are shown below.
 



elementary [adjective] /el-uh-MEN-tuh-ree/—simple or early stages of studying

Modern humans hold ancient DNA

For a long time, we believed that Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens (modern humans) were two separate species. With the advent of DNA sequencing, however, it was discovered that Sapiens interbred with Neanderthals as they migrated from Africa 60,000 years ago. Another previously unknown hominid species, known as Denisovans, was also discovered at that time, and it interbred with Sapiens and Neanderthals, too.

Gene sequencing shows that non-African genomes today contain about 2% Neanderthal DNA, and people from Papua, New Guinea, and Australia are about 3% Denisovan. Studies on modern African DNA are taking longer because climate, geography and politics make locating skeletons much more difficult.

Two types of digital transformation

To prosper in the digital age, companies must undergo two types of digital transformation. Firstly, they need to become digitized. Secondly, they have to become digital.

Though both transformations depend on new technologies, they require different strategies and rules to implement. Digitization requires companies to update their operational backbones. In the past, core operations, such as delivering goods and services, maintaining accounts, and completing back-office processes, were handled by people. These days, however, they can be enabled by software-as-a-service. In addition to digitizing themselves, companies also need to become digital, which means creating a digital platform for the company’s digital offerings. Not only does this facilitate business development and connection with partners and customers, it also allows companies to better target revenue growth.

Save energy with new windows

In 1991, researchers at Berkeley Lab invented a triple-glazed window they hoped would revolutionise the building industry. Though windows with three panes had existed for years, what distinguished Berkley’s design from precursors was the presence of a centralised, thin layer of glass. This made the window lighter, as less material could be used to make the external panes. It also made the window more energy efficient, as compartments either side of the central layer could be filled with insulating gas. On paper, the window had the potential to cut annual heating bills by 39 percent and reduce air conditioning costs by 28 percent. The only problem was that it was prohibitively expensive to manufacture.

The History of Planned Obsolescence

On December 23, 1924, a group of international businessmen gathered in Geneva for a meeting that would change the world for decades. Delegates from all major lightbulb manufacturers were present, including the Netherlands’ Philips and the United States’ General Electric. While revellers celebrated Christmas elsewhere in the city, the group founded the Phoebus cartel, a supervisory body that would carve up the global incandescent lightbulb market.

Visuals: Consumer digital privacy

Digital privacy has come to the forefront of business news over the past five years. According to Gartner, a business research company, the combination of data ethics violations like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and data breaches like Equifax, has led to increased sensitivity among consumers about what they share and how it is used.

Please have a look at the chart below and discuss what you see with your teacher.

The idea of Universal Basic Income

According to Vox Media, the idea of a basic income was, for decades, something of a policy fantasy. However, the last few years have seen it become less fringe and more mainstream. In fact, we now have many limited basic income programs running around the world.

The general idea—that the government should give every citizen a regular infusion of money with no strings attached—has been around since the 16th century. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has given the idea fresh momentum, with the crisis generating significant financial loss and uncertainty.

Critics worry that UBI will disincentivize work and hurt the economy. They also say that it is unaffordable for the government to pay every citizen enough to live on, regardless of whether they work. So far, the evidence has not supported these critiques.

The importance of smartphones

Smartphones are everywhere. People use them in rich countries and poor countries. Sometimes very poor people have smartphones, even when they live in slums. I think that most people understand how important smartphones can be. For example, some tuk-tuk drivers in Cambodia would have less business without a smartphone. This is because they can find riders through an app and make more money than just looking for customers on the street.

Phones have changed a lot in the last 20 years. I remember when you could only make calls on cellphones. Now, you can take free classes from top universities. You can film video, edit it and upload it to social media.  

There are many apps available—2.8 million are available for download on the Google Play Store. Apple's App store has 1.8 million. Some people use apps a lot. Research says about 20% of Millennials open an app more than 50 times per day. In general, most people open an app 11 or more times each day.

Sell something: Mobile phone

New smartphones come on the market at least every year. Each model has its own pros and cons, giving that company the opportunity to beat out its nearest competitors for a share of the market. But it's a tough market! If you were going to introduce a new phone, you'd need to make it pretty special.

That's exactly the task required here: you and your teacher are going to come up with a new phone and create an ad that will persuade consumers to buy it.

Try to include two or more of the following power words:

  • hottest;
  • effortless;
  • daring;
  • savings;
  • attractive; and/or
  • phenomenal.

Toyota's struggles with EVs

Toyota was the leader in eco-friendly hybrid vehicles for many years, according to ArsTechnica. The automotive company had a fuel-efficiency edge over its competition. However, it has recently struggled to compete with companies that sell electric vehicles such as Tesla, Nissan and Volkswagen.

Toyota has made two critical choices. First, it tethered itself to hybrids. Second, it bet its future on hydrogen. But now governments around the world are moving to ban fossil-fuel vehicles of any kind.