Some Quick Thoughts on Sustainable Transportation

There has been a lot of commentary lately regarding sustainable cities and particularly about sustainable transportation.

The discussion about sustainable transportation usually revolves around mass transportation systems like light rail.

Light rail can be great for places like Tokyo where most people live in high rise buildings. In Tokyo, one can walk a couple of blocks from their apartment to a train station where multiple trains show up every 5 minutes or so and head off in multiple directions. It's very convenient.

But America's penchant for single family homes means that light rail is unworkable, or at most a minor part of the solution in most cities, bar Manhattan and a handful of other densely populated urban areas.

A better model for the U.S. would be small multi-rider vehicles that can accommodate something like 8-12 passengers, that swarm all over an area.

The Philippines has such a transportation system of privately owned van-sized buses called Jeepney's, which …

Web 4.0

The world is on the verge of a new generation of Web computing.

Over the next several years, technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, 5G mobile networks, and Internet connected embedded devices (the Internet of Things) will collectively come together to create a fundamentally different computing environment than exists today.

There isn't yet any consensus on what this new environment will be called, but I like to call it Web 4.0.

Web 4.0 will be pervasive, "smart" in targeted ways, and heavily automated.

But before we delve into the details of Web 4.0, it's instructive to take a look at how we got here.

Before the Web

There were many generations of computing prior to the web -- punch card mainframes, terminal-based mainframes, minicomputers, and client-server. Each generation featured proprietary networks, data formats, and protocols that weren't designed to integrate or cooperate.

Web 1.0 - The Static Web

The original web was built in the 19…

Does AI Need Ethics

Over the last couple of years we've been hearing a lot about the tremendous progress humanity has made in creating "artificially intelligent" computers.

While a lot of progress has indeed been made, much of the commentary is off the mark because it fails to distinguish between the different types of AI and the progress made with each type.

There are fundamentally two different types of AI – Weak AI and Strong AI.

Weak AI is about creating computers that are oriented to achieving specific goals. Weak AI is currently an evolution of the data mining / predicative analytics efforts of the early 2000’s. In Weak AI, various types of statistical and heuristic algorithms (including deep learning neural nets) are used to evaluate voluminous amounts of data to achieve a specific goal.

The availability of inexpensive and flexible cloud computing services has enabled a staggering amount of progress in creating computers that can do things like evaluate loan applications, target adv…