I’ll admit it; As a CS/IS major, I came into this class nervous that exploring common technology topics, such as AI or the sharing economy, would be a review for me. Boy was I wrong. My grandpa, a previous Economics professor, always used to ask me if any of my classes allowed us to discuss topics, rather than just furiously scribbling in an attempt to absorb everything that a professor taught us while lecturing. While both discussions and lectures provide valuable learning experiences, this class has undoubtedly taught me that the most beneficial learning comes from discussion. Exploring these topics in this manner allows us to make connections that go beyond newspaper articles and the constraints of 140/280 characters on Twitter. Discussions allow for a more fluid learning experience by building upon past classes to find how the trends continue to evolve (Amazon, anyone?). Drawing from the inspiration of @sherricheng5, I’ve decided to incorporate some Christmas/Elf metaphors relating to the conclusions that I’ve drawn from this course:
1. Spreading Christmas Cheer is very important.
The sharing economy and crowdsourcing have enveloped our society in a new age of intelligence. Just as singing Christmas Carols spreads joy, sharing both our wealth of knowledge and resources creates a better society. AirBnB and Uber allow us to pool together wasted efficiencies in order to benefit all parties. Our #IS6621 hashtag also helps maintain a constant stream of information to keep all of us updated on the world of tech. With these new platforms we are increasingly more connected. Unfortunately, we are not immune to scandals with both privacy and integrity dilemmas (@Twitter) and we will continue to see these unfold. The winner of the sharing economy platforms will be whoever can maximize the cheer while simultaneously letting the crowds sing the lyrics.
2. What better way to celebrate than making Christmas cookies (or syrup Spaghetti, if you’re Buddy)?
Who doesn’t love holiday baking? I can without a doubt say that both decorating Christmas cookies and our generation’s obsession with food aren’t going away anytime soon. We’ve seen the battle for building an on-demand grocery delivery empire continue as Instacart continues to ramp up partnerships in an attempt to combat Amazon. Amazon has unleashed Amazon Restaurants by offering free delivery to Prime members, alongside its acquisition of Whole Foods. Our existence seems to revolve around food due to the joy that it brings us, in addition to just basic subsistence. While some advances, like 3-D food printing as seen in @joonkimisys‘s blog, may not be necessary, we’re in a continuous cycle to seek innovation and efficiency in the food realm. This focus on food never existed prior to the ubiquitous nature of technology; tech allows us to be more aware of popular offerings, such as Instagram posts of giant Levain cookies or Tasty videos. If I learned anything from our class, the excitement over simply cookies and chips and salsa is almost comical (is it 5:30, yet?). So while the popularity of decorating cookies or gingerbread houses during the Holidays may be a constant, I won’t be surprised if these activities become transformed by tech and dominate our attention in the comping years.
3. We (including Buddy) love using technology to ask important questions
Voice-assisted technology is EVERYWHERE. @camcurrie99 has graciously shared his experiences with his #ModEcho and @andrewmanginelli taught us all about the Speaker Wars in his presentation. With the release of the Google Home mini, Amazon’s plethora of products, Microsoft’s Cortana, and so much more, we can see that speaking to technology is the future. While we may be better than Buddy and ask more important questions aside from polling Siri/Alexa/Google about their favorite color, our reliance on AI is certainly shifting us towards speaking more and more at little devices. Personally, I think that the winner of this space will eclipse the four major technology giants. With Amazon recently partnering with corporations, such as WeWork, to install Alexa devices, it is clear that the prevalence of this technology is on the rise. Unfortunately, the answer to the question of “Who will win?” might be the one question that these smart devices cannot answer.
4. Gimbel’s: Retail isn’t dead
Yes, Gimbel’s itself may in fact be dead, but the future of retail is innovation. Every department store could use a little Buddy to help spruce it up (although maybe more than just some paper snowflakes.) @taylorvanhare showed us how Sephora is leveraging technology to up-sale its make-up products, and other stores should follow suit. WeWork is a prime example of leveraging retail space: while we didn’t discuss them much in class, they have transformed office spaced into a shared area. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods also suggests that they are looking for increased brick-and-mortar space. Shopping online may be more feasible than always traveling to the store, but brick-and-mortar locations are still heavily utilized, as long as they’re done right. Just look at the Apple Store: consumers don’t necessarily need to go in-store to shop, but most do and it’s been a success despite initial hesitation by many analysts.
5. Santa’s Workshop: The Future of Work is Tech
Technology is necessary if we want to remain employed. Just look at Buddy: He became outdated in the workshop such that Papa Elf moved him to the back to test out the toys rather than building them. We can see that technology alleviates the need for cashiers or drivers, but how will it affect traditional industries like accounting or finance? We cannot let ourselves become obsolete in the economy and in order to do this we just must keep our tech skills up to date (unfortunately, Buddy didn’t see this one coming.) Someone has to build the tech behind all of these great automations, and we can be the ones to do it.
6. Be very, very afraid of the Real World
I don’t know about you all, but thinking of taking classes with exams (!!) next semester and then graduation has me in for a rude awakening. I will miss scavenging my Twitter feed for new articles to post; thinking of creative blog topics; and most of all, snack time. I am forever grateful for this class forcing me to stay updated on the news and providing me with a creative outlet for my opinion on popular topics. Who knows, maybe I’ll even start a blog of my own next semester! Thank you @geraldckane for a great semester, and many more to come!