2: 10 Technologies To Watch Out For In 2018

Published December 8, 2017
Run time: 00:37:54
Listen to this episode with one of these apps:

Tim and Rob discuss how 10 mobile-related technologies will evolve in the year 2018.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How artificial intelligence isn't exactly Skynet
  • What on-demand apps will deliver to our doors
  • Why 2018 may be the year our parents start using the Internet of Things
  • When you will be able to buy your own self-driving car
  • How your health will be improved by wearing your Fitbit or Apple Watch.

This episode is brought to you by The Jed Mahonis Group, who builds mobile software solutions for the on-demand economy. Learn more at http://jmg.mn.

Recorded November 30, 2017
Edited by Jordan Daoust

Show Notes:

Episode Transcript:

Tim Bornholdt 0:00
Welcome to Constant Variables, a podcast where we take a non-technical look at mobile app development. I'm Tim Bornholdt.

Rob Bentley 0:06
And I'm Rob Bentley. Let's get nerdy and pink.

Tim Bornholdt 0:24
So today, we wanted to talk about what's basically going to be happening in the technology industry for the next year. We're recording this on my birthday, November 30. So we're taking a look at what happened last year. And we're going to kind of give you a rundown of some common industries and we're going to give you some insight as to what's going to happen here in 2018.

Rob Bentley 0:45
Yeah, just like to give my partner Tim a birthday shout.

Tim Bornholdt 0:48
Well, thank you, Robert. Very nice of you.

Rob Bentley 0:51
To business.

Tim Bornholdt 0:52
That's right. So we're going to talk about 10 different industries and we're going to kick it off with machine learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Rob Bentley 1:01
That's like Skynet, right?

Tim Bornholdt 1:04
We're not quite near Skynet, yet. Machine learning is essentially where a computer makes some educated guesses for you. The way that you do this is you have some sort of algorithm and you feed it in a bunch of training data. So let's say for example, the one I always go to that I think is hilarious is somebody took every single script, every word, every cue, everything from the TV show FRIENDS, ran it into one of these programs, and had the computer basically generate scripts, fresh scripts of just, it was all nonsense, but it took a lot of these jokes and had a lot of the cues and everything and basically learned what a FRIENDS episode looks like, and then spit one back out to you. So that's one application of what machine learning could do for you.

Rob Bentley 1:47
I'd be interested to see one of those episodes.

Tim Bornholdt 1:50
They're pretty good. You should Google for it. It's pretty funny.

Rob Bentley 1:52
You can find them?

Tim Bornholdt 1:54
Well you can find them, yeah.

Rob Bentley 1:55
Okay.

Tim Bornholdt 1:56
So like we said, we're not anywhere near Skynet. We're not having computers take over the world and make all these crazy decisions for us yet; it's pretty early days. The thing that's interesting about machine learning, though, is that the technologies are becoming a lot more accessible for developers like Rob and myself to adopt. So you might have heard of TensorFlow, which is a Google product, or core ml, which is an Apple product. These types of services and frameworks allow developers to incorporate machine learning type things into everyday apps.

Rob Bentley 2:27
An example of that would be something like Google Photos; it's starting to identify objects that you see in the photos or different people. So it can tell you which friends of yours are in the photo; you could search by photos of your friends.

Tim Bornholdt 2:39
Or you could say, like show me pictures of all the mountains that we've been to, and it will just know, here's all the mountains you've been to just based off the pictures. So that's the kind of thing we're talking about with machine learning. And that's pretty much where we're at in 2017. I think in 2018 what to look out for is this, like I said, TensorFlow, and core ml, these types of frameworks that you might have heard of are going to start to become more adopted by developers, which means that you'll start to see more mobile apps pick up this technology and just apps in general be able to harness the power of a computer to make smarter decisions and guesses about things that are going on around you.

Rob Bentley 3:14
Exactly.

Tim Bornholdt 3:15
I think another cool application of machine learning that's going to really take off in 2018 is, there's already a lot of content that's being generated by machines, basically doing machine learning and by content, I mean, things for newspapers and popular media outlets, like there's a lot of content that's not being created by humans. It's just you run a couple of things, the bots pick it up, and they write an entire story about some sort of topic. And I think that we're going to start to see more and more of those applications being done for content providers. I think we're gonna start to see a lot more memes and things that weren't created by humans, but were just created by bots that took and saw what was viral and what was funny that people thought was funny and shared, and they're going to start to create their own type of content.

Rob Bentley 3:57
Right and machine learning that's related to Computer Vision, right?

Tim Bornholdt 4:01
Well, yeah, you need machine learning to really make computer vision work. And computer vision would be our second topic for the day. Great lead in Robert.

Rob Bentley 4:08
Yeah.

Tim Bornholdt 4:09
So what is computer vision? Computer vision is you have a picture of something. And the computer can look at that picture and say, Oh, this is a x. So let's say you have a picture of a bird, it can say, Oh, that's a blue jay or, oh, that's a picture of a shirt. This is what we're talking about when we talk about computer vision.

Rob Bentley 4:26
Kind of like the Google Photos example.

Tim Bornholdt 4:28
Exactly. Yeah, that's a great lead in. So I think in 2017, where we're at with computer vision is, you know, five years ago, everyone was just like, we're going to need five years and a team of PhDs to be able to pull off this computer vision thing. And I think we're still early days on computer vision. Machine learning and these tools like I was just talking about in the previous segment, they're really actually helping to accelerate the growth of computer vision. And I think that we've come a long way in 2017. But that being said, we're not perfect by any means. It's still very early days, but the accuracy of these programs and the accuracy of computer vision is surprisingly high.

Rob Bentley 5:07
Right. And so that's kind of what we'll be seeing in 2018 and on is it just getting more and more accurate, more uses for it as it becomes more accessible for a lot of developers to play around with and use.

Tim Bornholdt 5:19
And I think that there's with all these technologies, I think that there's low hanging, obvious fruit and computer vision, there are some very obvious low hanging fruit ideas, you know, like everyone wants to build the app that you can hold up to a T shirt and say, Well, where do you get that T shirt from? And it will just tell you it came from the Gap or whatever. The other one would be you pointed, you're at the zoo and you pointed at a bird and it's like, oh, that's a whatever. Those type of low hanging fruit apps, I think you might start to see some adoption of those here in 2018.

Rob Bentley 5:50
Yeah, that'd be cool.

Tim Bornholdt 5:51
That would be cool.

Rob Bentley 5:52
The third point we're going to look at today is the on demand apps.

Tim Bornholdt 5:55
Right. So that's what we're all about here at The Jed Mahonis Group is the on demand app. So an on demand app think Uber, think Lyft, think Postmates, think Dominos, any app where a customer has a need for a service right now, and someone can provide that need to them right now. Those are the type of systems that we're talking about when we're talking about an on demand app.

Rob Bentley 6:17
Yep. It's basically getting a good or service wherever you are, and whenever you want it, and it's driven by an app.

Tim Bornholdt 6:23
So how do you think 2017 looked in terms of on demand apps, Rob?

Rob Bentley 6:27
Well, what we saw is a lot of the people with the early ideas really validating the concept like Uber and Lyft, grocery store delivery apps, things like that. And then what we're going to see now that it's been proven successful in 2018, we'll see it really driven down into more niche markets.

Tim Bornholdt 6:45
So yeah, we've seen a lot of growth in the, again, the low hanging fruit, the ride sharing now I guess in hindsight, it's obvious it wasn't so much back Uber came out. But Uber has proven the model and people trust it for better for worse; people will jump into a car with a stranger and go; that's not a weird thing anymore. Same with food, you'll trust a complete stranger to bring all of your groceries for the week to you on demand the second that you want them. I think that those are pretty obvious applications of this technology. But for example, one of our clients, Kwikly. They do dental staffing for dental offices. So if you need a hygienist right now, through their on demand system, they can reach out to their network of hygienists and fill that job for the office instead of the traditional way of having somebody calling all those people individually. So that's really where we think in 2018 we're going to start to see a lot of spread of that type of technology.

Rob Bentley 7:39
Now that's super exciting, too.

Tim Bornholdt 7:41
It is; it's really cool. All this stuff is really exciting. So hopefully all this actually pans out because I'd love to have more on demand services.

Rob Bentley 7:49
The one I'm really excited about in this list is Internet of Things.

Tim Bornholdt 7:52
Yeah Internet of Things is awesome. So when we're talking about Internet of Things this would be basically instead of like all day, Rob, you and I sit and like look at computer screens and just touch code. And that's all we do all day. The Internet of Things is taking that to the real world. So it's interacting with real world devices, such as your watch ,your refrigerator, your car.

Rob Bentley 8:14
Your dryer.

Tim Bornholdt 8:15
Your coffee pot. All those things, all those things that are real world things that are connected to the internet. That would be what we would consider the internet of things.

Rob Bentley 8:22
Right and you were telling me earlier today what's really going to drive growth in this as marketers figuring out how this can be used and how to make it look cool to people and then everyone's going to start using it.

Tim Bornholdt 8:32
That was what I thought. I noticed walking through Target, we just bought a house and we've always wanted to decorate for Christmas and really make it homey so we went to Target looking at Christmas lights and there was a big advertisement for Google Home and it was that all it said on the side was OK Google turn on my Christmas lights. My apologies if this started your, Okay Google. No, you don't have a Google device but other people that are listening this and might have fired for them. So where I was going with that, though, is that you will ,you're starting to see now, before where you would, these technologies have been available for a while now at least five years that I can think of. But where you're starting to see it is that, my mom, for example, might actually walk through and say, Oh, that's kind of a cool thing and be able to see a real world application for an Internet of Things device. Where before you're just like, Oh, I don't want Wi Fi in my oven. It's like, yeah, you know, maybe you actually do on Wi Fi in your oven. And there might be some cool applications for that. And that's what Internet of Things enables. But the big thing that's enabling, that we feel as driving the growth of Internet of Things would be your Amazon Echo, your Google Home. Basically these always on cylinders that live in your house that you can just shout out to and have them do things for you. Before we didn't have that. So it's just like you had to have an app and you had to be kind of nerdy and you had to kind of set it up the right way and figure it all out where now, you can just say, okay, Google, turn on my Christmas tree lights and then all of a sudden your Christmas tree lights turn on. That's really where we're at now in 2017.

Rob Bentley 10:06
So really, in 2018, everyone's going to be able to for very cheaply get their own digital butler.

Tim Bornholdt 10:14
More or less, I mean, at least cheaper than it has been in the past. You still have to spend whatever the Echo Dot is now 50 bucks, something like that to get the cylinder and then all those different components are still 100 bucks or whatever to buy a switch. I think the interesting thing will be either people trying to upgrade their existing devices to plug in things like the WeMo switch or internet connected, just hardware that you can plug your thing into and have it control your device versus traditional upgrade cycle where you're like, Oh, my coffee pot broke, I need to buy a new coffee pot. Oh, this one's got Wi Fi in it. Let's just do that. I think more and more people are going to start to add, expand their collection of potential things that can be added to your Internet of Things collection.

Rob Bentley 10:55
Yeah, and it might not be something that's totally apparent until you actually have it why it's so cool.

Tim Bornholdt 11:00
Yeah, exactly. Speaking of which, including in this Internet of Things is, I think one area of growth in 2018 is going to be when we're talking about complex combinations of Internet of Things devices, so not just okay Google turn on my Christmas tree lights but you know you're driving home, your phone knows that you're driving home, you're a mile away from your house. So your phone sends a ping, without you saying anything, your phone communicates to your house and says Rob's on his way home, let's kick off the coming home routine. So without you having to do anything, your lights will turn on on your front porch, your garage door will open, the heat will turn up a little bit in your house, your crock pot will get turned down to medium so that it's ready to be served when you get back and change and then your TV turns on to Netflix. All these kind of complex interactions with Internet of Things devices. I think that's what we're going to see a lot of growth in 2018 in is figuring out Okay, we have a smart like fridge and a smart whatever. How do we actually tie these together to do something meaningful in our lives.

Rob Bentley 12:03
What I'm going to do is program a way for entrance music to happen every time I walk in my house.

Tim Bornholdt 12:09
Like you're in wrestling.

Rob Bentley 12:10
Yeah.

Tim Bornholdt 12:13
That would be the ideal, I would say. So speaking of kind of far flung things, I guess this isn't very far flung. But our next topic that we're going to talk about here is augmented reality. So what is augmented reality, Rob?

Rob Bentley 12:26
Well, right now what most people understand it as being able to hold your phone up, and to be able to see on a flat surface, some animated thing of something that's not really there.

Tim Bornholdt 12:37
Yeah. So basically, what we got right now is IKEA, for example, they have an app that you can actually see couches and furniture, you can be standing in your living room and you can drop a chair and looking at your phone, you can see that chair, just in your real world environment. You can plop it down and walk around in three dimensions. See how it looks from different angles. That's really where we're at today. I think the big thing that drove AR was iOS 11, which dropped AR kit, which is basically a, like we were talking about with machine learning, it's just another framework for developers like Rob and I to adopt and put into apps so that it's not as hard as it used to be to do things like augmented reality. Google also has their own. I think it's called AR core. So that's another, both Android and iOS now have that capability to just everyday developers, we can throw in that feature and it's pretty cool.

Rob Bentley 13:32
Yeah. Oh, it'll really speed up development, which will mean a lot more people will be willing to invest and buy it and things like that.

Tim Bornholdt 13:38
Yeah. I think one thing that it's limited in right now, though, is like Rob said, it's basically if you project an image off of a flat surface, so picture like looking at the ground, if you just look down at the ground right now, you'd call that a horizontal plane. So projecting off of that, like off your table top or off your floor, those animations are what we can do right now. Projecting things off of the side of our house or any plane that's vertical in orientation, that's something that is still really hard to figure out and something that we can't quite get access to. There are ways to do it. But there's nothing really as good as we have for the horizontal plane at this point.

Rob Bentley 14:16
It's definitely not easily accessible or easy to develop at this point.

Tim Bornholdt 14:19
It's early days.

Rob Bentley 14:20
Yeah. So for good wall not so good right now.

Tim Bornholdt 14:23
Right. So I think in 2018, where we'll see augmented reality go is, I think, overall, it's still kind of a novelty. We'll start to see some cool applications of it. Like, I think the cool one would be I want to know what my house would look like if I painted it this color. Those types of apps I think are going to start to become more prevalent in 2018. But before we can do that, we need to get that vertical plane issue figured out. I think there's two ways you can approach this from because you need to, obviously the easy answer would be we'll just buy a new phone, but I got a new iPhone 10 and thank God I could charge it to the company because I couldn't afford that on my own. Not everyone can afford a new 1200 dollar device. So we need to basically, the easy way, if you could just have everyone buy a new device and say, Okay, we'll install a different sensor on the back of it. And now we can detect how far away you are from it, we can do everything we need to do to project something off of that. That's the easy solution. But that's not practical, because there's how many billions of smart devices out there, smart phones. So I think what we're going to need to do is, when I say we, I mean, our industry like Google and Apple, basically, the smarter people than I need to crack the code for how do we do vertical plane detection in a way that makes it so it doesn't feel weird? And then we'll be able to kind of expand from there.

Rob Bentley 15:38
But you know what they will.

Tim Bornholdt 15:39
Absolutely, yeah, that's, that's good. I think that's going to happen in 2018.

Rob Bentley 15:43
But yeah, 2017 was pretty groundbreaking as far as the ease of use and widespread availability for developers to use augmented reality and we'll see a lot of improvement in 2018.

Tim Bornholdt 15:53
Exactly. I think more people kinda like we were talking about with the on demand side, more people became aware of on demand as a result. of things like Uber and Lyft. And I think as a result of AR core and AR kit, more and more normal people, normal, not meaning super nerdy technical like us, but just more regular people are going to understand augmented reality and understand the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality and how it could apply into their software.

Rob Bentley 16:17
Right. So we do have augmented reality, and we have virtual reality. And these two things I got mixed up all the time as the terms are still new to me. Can you explain what's different about them?

Tim Bornholdt 16:27
So yeah, so augmented reality would be, you're holding your phone up, and you're able to see basically things projected onto the real world inside your phone. So you're still kind of living in your own reality, so to speak, and things are just kind of augmented as a result of that. Whereas virtual reality is you have a visor or something that is completely encompassing your vision, so that your entire, everything that you can see is a totally fabricated environment, something that's just completely from scratch, made up however the developer wanted you to see it.

Rob Bentley 16:59
In 2017 we didn't really see a whole lot of advancement in virtual reality, at least as far as I could tell.

Tim Bornholdt 17:07
Yeah, there, there was incremental improvements. I think more and more large companies like Disney are really getting into the space and trying to enhance it. And you've got Facebook who owns Oculus, and they're obviously doing what they can to make this technology more improved. But you really see the advancements happening in games and in content distribution, there's not too much more. It's kind of what you think it would be at this point.

Rob Bentley 17:29
Yeah, I think I saw a commercial that one of the major platforms, I think it was PS4, is releasing 100 virtual reality games.

Tim Bornholdt 17:36
Yeah. And it's the PlayStation has their own headset as well. So there's kind of and you've got Samsung that has their, the Gear VR and all of them are. They're really cool technology. It is a really cool experience. If you haven't done this before. I highly encourage that you get your hands on a VR headset and give it a shock because it is really cool technology. But like I was saying the technology itself, there needs to be more and more improvement before you really start to see really widespread adoption of it. And you need to have kind of a couple of killer apps that everyone's like, Oh, you gotta have this app. So you have to incentivize them to go buy the hardware, whereas everyone has a phone. So augmented reality is kind of low hanging fruit that way.

Rob Bentley 18:16
Yeah. So basically, 2017 nothing really that groundbreaking, but a lot of incremental improvement. And we'll probably see the same thing in 2018. Or maybe someone will surprise us and come out with something huge.

Tim Bornholdt 18:27
Oh, yeah, with all these, there's bound to be some kind of, you know, no one saw it coming out of left field type of thing that all of a sudden now, that's what this industry is, but as far as we can see, my opinion is it's just going to be like we said with if you're, if you're a football fan, it's just going to be incremental improvements for a rebuilding season, if you will, if you're a football fan.

Rob Bentley 18:48
But definitely worth mentioning, because it is such an emerging technology that we don't fully understand everything we could do with it. .

Tim Bornholdt 18:55
Right. Then that's what's cool about this space is that people come up with new ideas all the time, and use these new technologies in ways that we have never foreseen.

Rob Bentley 19:03
And I hope one of you are getting one of those ideas right now.

Tim Bornholdt 19:06
Just give us a call.

Rob Bentley 19:07
Yeah. So yeah, this is something that we need to talk about.

Tim Bornholdt 19:13
You never want to have. You never want to have those conversations. What are we talking about, Rob?

Rob Bentley 19:17
We're talking about security.

Tim Bornholdt 19:20
It's no laughing matter. I mean, if we're going to say what happened in 2017, I think everybody knows what happened. It was Equifax. And that leak happened and it showed the entire industry that no one's infallible from being hacked. And that pretty much, virtually every single American now has to monitor their credit reports for the rest of their lives as a result of it.

Rob Bentley 19:43
Yeah. And you can think of this way too; that's a company that probably has a six or seven figure budget just dedicated to their online security and they still got hacked.

Tim Bornholdt 19:51
Six? I mean, it's at least an eight figure budget if you're talking about a company that large. So yeah, they are in it. All it takes is one errant to person forgetting to, and they left their laptop open, or they did something. It's not even just like something they necessarily could have prevented. But I mean, there's also a lot ,after looking at some of the new stories that came out, there were things that could have been prevented. So I think one thing that we noticed in 2017, as well, not even just the Equifax, but before that in earlier years with Target and Home Depot and all those other security breaches. So when we started the business in 2012, we got some people coming to us. It was basically an afterthought. If somebody was asking about security, they would say, maybe at the end of the conversation, so what do you do for security? Nowadays, it's either the first or second question people ask us. If it's not one of those it's very high up there, is how is my data going to be protected?

Rob Bentley 20:42
Yeah, they want it to be, they want it to look good. They want it to be easy to use, secure. It's really in the first sentence usually now.

Tim Bornholdt 20:49
Yeah, exactly. So that's where we're at in 2017. So I think in 2018, it's going to be just more public awareness of security and I think more and more people are going to start to understand ramifications of not protecting your data.

Rob Bentley 21:03
There's a lot in the software world that, especially before now, it was kind of like the Wild West with just building apps. And there's going to be a lot more regulation enforced on it so that it's a lot more standardized and what is secure versus what isn't.

Tim Bornholdt 21:17
Right and more and more people are going to be held accountable for poor security practices. So if you own an app, just make sure that you and your team are on top of that. So the next topic that we're going to talk about is something near and dear to our hearts, which is autonomous vehicles.

Rob Bentley 21:32
So to start explaining this we'llgo through the different levels of autonomy.

Tim Bornholdt 21:37
Right. So when we say, so let's take another step back. So autonomous vehicles is a self driving car. The levels of autonomy Rob's talking about is there's the Society of Automotive Engineers. They have basically in order to get everybody speaking the same language, they came up with five levels that would identify how much autonomy your car has to make decisions when it comes to driving. So level zero would be like nothing. They might issue a warning that something's coming up or it might momentarily take control of the vehicle. But essentially, this is not autonomous at all. So my car is a level zero. Level one, this would be things like lane keeping assistance, automated parking assistance, like if you try to do the parallel parking thing, that's what level one would be. So level one you still need to be able to take control of the vehicle at any time. Level Two is hands off. So your car can basically steer itself. So it steers; it can drive itself. It can go forward, it can break, it can steer, but you still need to be able to intervene just in case something can go wrong. And usually this type of autonomy happens at like freeway speeds. It's not necessarily great at in the city or something where you're constantly stopping and and starting. Level three autonomy would be eyes off. So basically, you can take your eyes off the road, you can text, you can watch TV. It can pretty much handle most everything. But you still need to be in the driver's seat and ready to take control because there will be some sort of, your car basically can drive itself for a certain period of time, give it like a bit like maybe five seconds before it's like, okay, like I'm handing control back to you. So this would be what we would call level three autonomy. Level four, and five, so up to this point levels zero through three, essentially, it's not great autonomous. It's not what you would think of as like the Jetsons or whatever where it's flying itself, driving itself. Levels four and five though, are where you would consider it to be actually a full autonomous vehicle. So level four is what they would call mind off where basically you would only ever drive the car under very specific situations. So let's say you have the car drive you to a track where you can drive yourself because in 50 years, why would you drive yourself anywhere. You have a self driving car, you know, so either that or if you were in like a big traffic jam and you needed to get around a car or something and your car doesn't know what to do, you could take control and actually drive it around it. But for all intents and purposes, I could get in the backseat of my level four autonomous vehicle and put my like sleep mask on, maybe a little robe and some slippers, just get nice and comfy in the backseat and have it drive me to my inlaws in Wisconsin. That's what level four autonomy would be. Now level five is what they call steering wheel optional. So at level five a human can't even drive the car. It's pretty much the car does it. Level five is full, complete self driving car. That's what you would think of when you think of like a full self driving car is level five. So that's, that's a lot.

Rob Bentley 22:32
So do these cars exist right now? The level four, level five?

Tim Bornholdt 24:43
They do exist. Do they exist in the real world, though? No, it's basically this would be if you ever heard of the DARPA challenge, which happened a few years ago. There was a event at DARPA, the government's defense organization where they do research for projects like this, they had the DARPA challenge where they basically had these people build cars that could drive through the desert. And they had to go from one part of the desert to the other. And they gave them no information about where it was going to take place or anything like road conditions or whatever. They're just like, build a vehicle that can drive itself. So all these teams entered and no one won. The first year, no one even finished, because all the cars like drove off the road or like one caught on fire or whatever, like things, things happen, but so the cars like in that case, those would all be level five autonomous vehicles, you know, so we have gotten better. There are cars that can drive themselves on test tracks, and we do have that available but you couldn't go to a Ford dealer and buy a level five autonomous vehicle at this point.

Rob Bentley 25:43
Well, what's getting in the way of that?

Tim Bornholdt 25:46
That's a great question. There's, basically it's all comes down to safety. You know, we have to improve the smarts of the computer. That goes back to machine learning from earlier, is the computer needs to be better at making decisions, but also there's things like regulations that need to be written of what happens when your level five car drives into a tree? Who's at fault? Was it you that owns the vehicle? Was it Ford that manufactured the vehicle? Was it some company that wrote the algorithm to drive it? Like there's still those types of things need to be handled before we can really see full autonomy out on the road.

Right. It's such a new thing that society still at this point is trying to figure out how we can handle it, what to do with it and how it can be used safely and best for everyone.

So that being said, though, what do we have on the road? Like what does2017 look like right now? From what I could tell, I think there's only one maybe a handful, but one for sure vehicle that is level three autonomous, and the only condition that it works is if you're on a freeway with a barrier between you and the oncoming traffic lane. So if you're in a big city basically, then it can pretty much fully drive itself with you not paying attention, but you still have to be sitting behind the wheel. Every other, whenever you hear of any other car that you can buy today that's out on the road, like the Tesla Model S or those high end kind of cars, those are all level two autonomy. So I've been in them. You have to be sitting in the seat with your hands like basically near the wheel, and then it drives itself and then it'll just, as soon as it doesn't know what to do, it just goes ba-do-do. And then it's like all of a sudden, you have to grab the wheel because you're in charge again.

Rob Bentley 27:27
So what are we going to see in 2018, as far as the autonomous vehicles are concerned?

Tim Bornholdt 27:32
Well, again, we're nowhere near level five. That's from what I was researching. Most companies aren't even promising level four until like 2020 or 2021, which I still think is pretty aggressive. But it's going to be incremental improvements. I think what you'll see is more vehicles that you can buy that are not luxury vehicles, but more regular vehicles are going to start to see level two autonomy. And I think that 2018 is going to be a very big year for regulatory agencies, whether it's the Federal Highway Administration or whether it's the local department of transportation. It's making laws regulating what types of vehicles can be on the road and who's at fault under certain circumstances.

Rob Bentley 28:11
Right. So not only do we have things to figure out with the technology still but also just society wise.

Tim Bornholdt 28:17
Alright, two more to go, Rob. The ninth topic that we're talking about today would be cryptocurrency.

Rob Bentley 28:24
Yeah. So when we talk about cryptocurrency, a lot of people right away or if you've heard of it at all, my think of Bitcoin.

Tim Bornholdt 28:31
Which is essentially true, it's a type of cryptocurrency but cryptocurrency is just digital currency more or less with a lot of complicated ways to make sure that it works. And where we're at in 2017, is that Bitcoin is not a joke. Cryptocurrency is absolutely going to be a thing that's here to stay. I mean, just look a couple of days ago, it just topped out over $10,000. Like one bitcoin is worth 10,000 United States dollars. So it's certainly not a joke. The other thing that we're seeing is that ICOs are taking off. So you have, if a private company is going to be listed on the stock market, become public, you have what's called an initial public offering or IPO. An ICO on the other hand would be an initial coin offering. And you see these happening all over the place from companies that are running them to help bolster up a new product that they're building. But then you also see companies like Burger King and Russia coming out with a Whopper coin. I see those are just kind of becoming a new way to raise a lot, a lot of money all at one time.

Rob Bentley 29:32
How does the Whopper coin work?

Tim Bornholdt 29:34
I honestly have no idea. I was trying to look it up and research it. I think it's just kind of a way to buy Whoppers in advance for things. I didn't really understand why, but just seemed kind of gimmicky.

Rob Bentley 29:47
Yeah, it's interesting nonetheless.

Tim Bornholdt 29:50
Right. The thing though, is even though Bitcoin is no joke, the cryptocurrency is still pretty volatile at this point. Even just like I said it hit its highest point this year at over, I think it was $11,000, just earlier this week, and today it's plummeted down to $9,000. So these cryptocurrency type things, if you're using them as an investment tool, they're still incredibly volatile.

Rob Bentley 30:14
Right. But that gives you the opportunity to either make or lose a lot of money on them. So it's an option for sure.

Tim Bornholdt 30:21
Yeah. And I think the big thing, though, that 2017 gave us and I mean, it's been around since before that, but basically the technology known as blockchain, which enables cryptocurrency, is the big piece that people are starting to really understand more and be able to apply to other areas.

Rob Bentley 30:38
And you can Google it if you really want to get into how blockchain works. It's kind of technical, but basically, it's a giant online ledger that can't be forged.

Tim Bornholdt 30:46
Yeah, that's a great, great summary of it. And it really is a lot more in depth than that. So we won't get into it on this show. But just understand that's a thing you should probably kind of know about. So, in 2018 what we feel will happen is that more and as more and more industries are going to adopt blockchain into their software. Now, not necessarily for the financial side, like for building out cryptocurrencies, but basically any industry which has contracts that go back and forth between people that you want to ensure that they actually were signed and that they're valid. They're going to be run through blockchain. And that's something that we're going to just see the spread of in 2018.

Rob Bentley 31:23
It's a great thing for like business trust, especially.

Tim Bornholdt 31:27
Yeah, exactly.

Rob Bentley 31:28
Then we have one more on the list.

Tim Bornholdt 31:30
That's right. Finally, we come to wearables. Everyone's favorite.

Rob Bentley 31:33
Yeah, everyone loves to talk about this. And we're all familiar with devices like the Fitbit, things like that.

Tim Bornholdt 31:39
And the Apple Watch and every other type of thing that you can strap onto your wrist or your chest or whatever. There's also some cool things that came out in 2017. Like, Rob, you were mentioning a hat that truckers can wear.

Rob Bentley 31:50
Yeah, I was watching a YouTube video. And some trucking companies are starting to give their truckers hats that they can wear and what it does is it monitors your brainwaves. So then the hat actually can tell the trucker that they're too tired to drive and that they need to pull over.

Tim Bornholdt 32:06
That's really cool. It's cool that these technologies are coming out to really help us understand our bodies better and make smarter decisions for ourselves and for our safety. And I think that's really been what we've seen in 2017 is a lot more entrepreneurs are building devices to be able to use this information and help us understand what's going on with ourselves.

Rob Bentley 32:27
Yeah, the difference between this in 2017 and 2018, I'd kind of say is like the on demand apps where it's been around for a while. The concept has been validated. And now we're going to see a lot more niching down into really specialized things like the trucker hat.

Tim Bornholdt 32:41
Sure, I think too, as the march of progress moves forward, we're going to see more. Because there's sensors now like you can go to a doctor and have an MRI done to see inside you. You can't necessarily put on something on your wrist and see what's going on. But I think that there are different tools out there that you can only get at a doctor's office that are going to start to become embedded into, like your Apple watch or to a hat or to something that you are always wearing to help you better understand your health at any given point. And I think that the more data points that we collect on this, there's going to be some kind of machine learning that's done to help us better understand our bodies and help us understand like, take all this. There's gonna be a ton of data. Like, I wear my Apple watch all the time, it tells me my heart rate, every few minutes. All that information is going to help me to like, there'll be some app that comes out that helps me make sense of all that information.

Rob Bentley 33:30
Yeah, and wearables are interesting, too, because they're a combination of some of these different technologies we've been talking about, like it also ties into Internet of Things, where you just keep amassing all this data and then, but it's about your body and your health. So it's really cool.

Tim Bornholdt 33:43
I think the interesting part of it is that whereas like a smart light switch or some other piece of technology that we've talked about is just kind of for nerds, these types of things are a real fashion thing as well. Where like the Apple Watch, part of the reason for its appeal is you can get all kinds of different bands and accessories and things to make your Apple Watch cool. So it's really, I think, in 2018, a big thing is going to be finding a way to make like hats and shirts and pants and everything else that you can wear with an embedded sensor in it to be also stylish at the same time so that people actually do want to wear these, these pieces of clothing.

Rob Bentley 34:21
And also not only being fashionable, but some of these devices are going to save lives, which is really cool, too.

Tim Bornholdt 34:27
Absolutely, yeah. That's kind of the cool thing that we get in our job is that we get to be part of this industry and see all these exciting improvements happen. Which kind of leads into our final thoughts for the day, which we didn't actually write down.

Rob Bentley 34:39
Well, my final thoughts, I think I'll do it this episode, when we were discussing this before we recorded, I was just thinking about all these things, and it's just crazy where we've come to. Like when Tim and I started this company five years ago, we were really focused on just the phone itself and what apps could do but it's so much more than that now with the Internet of Things and machine learning and computer vision and wearables. And it's really, like we're starting to see things people only imagine could be in the future are starting to begin right now. And we're seeing all the possibilities sprouting up all over the place, like things you only saw in movies 20 years ago are true now.

Tim Bornholdt 35:20
And I think it's interesting because we talked about security. I think a lot of the pieces that we talked about, like you just said, there's a lot of optimism in this space. I think that there's a lot of pessimism as well for what people are doing with privacy for how all these giant companies, what they're doing with our data and, and all of that, but I think overall, the outlook on this is pretty positive. Take the sum of everyone's decisions and take a moral stance that you want on technology, but I think overall, it's just fascinating to see the, like you said the growth of where we came from to where we are now. I think that we're seeing a lot more positive things come about, like you just said, with I have family members who have diabetes. And they have sensors now that they can plug onto themselves and actually monitor their glucose levels on a constant basis. And that has helped very much for my family member because all of a sudden, like one night, they had an issue and it woke them up and they were able to adjust themselves and they were fine. Whereas before you could go into a diabetic shock and die like it's these technologies are actually saving lives. The trucker hat, another perfect example. It's something that I would have never thought of personally, but somebody thought of that. And it's probably saved some truckers lives who thought, Oh, I can make it another two hours. And then they didn't.

Rob Bentley 36:38
Truckers and other passengers.

Tim Bornholdt 36:40
Right. You never know what could have happened. So it is really cool to see what happened in 2017. And it's just very exciting to see what's going to happen in 2018.

Rob Bentley 36:50
And beyond that.

Tim Bornholdt 36:51
Absolutely. So if you have any ideas to incorporating these technologies, feel free to reach out to us. We'd love to chat about this. We chat about this all the time, so it's really fun. Wouldn't you agree Rob?

Rob Bentley 37:03
I would.

Tim Bornholdt 37:04
People can't see you nodding your head in agreement, need to actually verbalize.

Rob Bentley 37:07
Oh they can feel my excitement.

Tim Bornholdt 37:10
Well show notes for this episode can be found at ConstantVariables.co. You can get in touch with us by emailing Hello@constantvariables.co. I'm @TimBornholdt on Twitter. Rob is @ScottMahonis. Today's episode was edited by the sensational Jordan Daoust. This episode is brought to you by The Jed Mahonis Group who builds mobile software solutions for the on demand economy. Learn more at JMG.mn.