Future Shock: Voice Recognition Identification Technology

Backgrounder: Kay Hughes, flight attendant for today's non-stop coast-to-coast flight is busy checking her catering order and prepping the cabin. Bob Harmon is the captain and Jeff Mortowski is his first officer. Both are located in the cockpit going over the pre-flight checklist. The pax are from various companies in the New York area or individuals on personal business who have bought seats on his flight.

The Story: Kay woke up with a start as the alarm on her clock radio blared. Reaching across her pillow, she noticed the time, 5:15, and hammered the snooze button in the hopes of grabbing another five minutes of sleep. Tired as she was, her mind began to race as she considered the day ahead. In less than four hours she would be enroute to LA with an aircraft full of passengers. Slowly the thought of additional sleep became less important as she considered all that she had to do before leaving Teterboro. Quietly she slipped on her robe and slippers, poured herself a cup of coffee, and slinked into the shower.

As Kay walked across the tarmac, she saw the fuel truck pulling up to her aircraft and the cater at the gate waiting for a security clearance. It was 6:48 and already she could feel the heat lifting off of the pavement. Another scorcher she thought; at least LA will be cooler.

Kay greeted Jeff who was busy extending the fuel delivery; she then climbed onboard the GV and brave a similar greeting to Bob who was occupied with updating paperwork. Bob finished what he was doing and briefed Kay with the day's schedule. Minutes later Kay turned to assist the approaching caterer with the day's order. Within the hour, the first of the passengers began to arrive. Each sat in the lobby of the FBO waiting to be boarded. At precisely 8:00 am, Kay left the aircraft and walked down the ramp to the FBO. She whispered to the waiting security agent who signaled to the FBO customer service representative to make the boarding announcement. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Jet Aviation Flight # 001 departing TEB for LAX is now boarding. flight. "

Kay turned and left the FBO and walked back to the aircraft. Both pilots were onboard completing their preflight preparations. Kay stand at the bottom of the steps leading up to the aircraft waiting for the security agent to bring the passengers to the plane. She knew that with fourteen passengers the security clearance would take a bit longer than normal.

Kay considered waiting inside the cabin to keep cool, but knew that it was important that she greeted the passengers at the base of the steps in case one of them needed assistance climbing up. "" It must already be 85 degrees out here, "she thought as she watched the heat vapors rise off the pavement.

After what seemed like an inordinate delay – Kay's hair was slowly losing style in the heat – Bob poked his head out of the cockpit and said, "Sorry for the delay, but we used another one." Startled, Kay stammered, "You mean one of the passengers failed security clearance?" Bob replied, "Not only that but he is on the FBI's wanted list of suspected terrorists." The remaining passengers checked out okay, but we'll be delayed until the agents finish interviewing them to see if they know the guy. " Despite the heat, Kay shivered as she thought of the potential chain of events a terrorist onboard the aircraft might unleash.

Her fears graduated subscribed when Jeff reminded her that the VOICE RECOGNITION IDENTIFICATION TECHNOLOGY (VRIT) unit in the FBO was flawless in the near six months of use. Over that time, twenty-six people with a criminal element were dropped, most of which had been charged previously with petty crimes [such as tax evasion] and were either on the run or would be in violation of their parole restrictions had they left the state. Today marked the first time that a suspected terrorist was caught and as the squad car sirens wailed, Kay knew that this day would be anything but normal.

The above account is fiction , but it pre-supposes a couple of things that could occur in the intervening years that would bring about similar results, ie, additional and more widespread terrorist attacks being a preliminary consideration. In addition, a change in the way we do business, ie, selling seats to individuals instead of selling the entire flight to a company or an individual would have to occur – no longer would you have a lead passenger who could identify all of the other passengers. VRIT is now within reach and will, more than likely, become the norm of the day. Essentially, it works this way: a person speaks into a device that immediately matches the voice pattern with one in the database. The database identifies the person and when a match is made, the person is clear [unless the database turns up a warrant for their arrest].

Naturally, in order to get onboard a flight we would require passengers to be part of that database. This could occur if VRIT becomes as mandatory as holding a social security number or a driver's license. Foreign nationalities would have to be keyed into the same system to make it work, so the potential for a worldwide Orwellian-type system would be great.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Russ Cooper, a managing partner with COMPUTEK, a Wall Street company that has developed the latest generation of VRIT. He shared with me that both the FBI and CIA use an older generation of VRIT and his company is marketing the current one. Their customer base potential is impressive: government agencies, security firms, airports, airliners, automobile manufacturers, you name it. Wherever a positive id on a person is needed, their technology might be utilized.

According to Russ, the technology is fail-safe. When I mentioned that a voice impersonator like a Richard Little type could sneak by, he claimed that VRIT would still know who he was even with the "Richard Nixon" voice. Similarly, voice patterns are distinguishable even when disguised.

We did not discuss "price" as he was not marketing his product directly to me. I can only imagine that the costs involved would be significant, but then I began to think that they could possibly be offset by lower insurance premiums if insurance companies see the benefit of "guaranteeing" passenger security.

So what role could the flight attendant play in utilizing VRIT? Perhaps in lieu of a security agent [especially in an out of the way places like Bozeman, Montana], a VRIT unit would be assigned to your aircraft – much like a cardiac defibrillator monitor – and you would greet each passenger as they boarded the aircraft. Before the aircraft could be cleared for takeoff, the passengers would speak into the hand VRIT and be given a security clearance on the spot.

Let's return to our story and amend it with the security check being placed directly in the flight attendant's hands:

Kay walked down the GV's steps carrying her mobile VRIT device and waited as the passengers exited the FBO and made their way to the aircraft. She announced, "Welcome onboard Jet Aviation flight # 001 bound for Los Angeles. Please speak your name into the VRIT unit. if you need additional assistance, the captain will be glad to help you. "

One by one the passengers filed by, saying that their name and waiting for the green clearance light to flash. As they spoke, a signal was transferred to an orbiting satellite and then beamed to VRIT headquarters in Washington, DC. As the last of the passengers approached, Kay continued to greet each one and wait for clarification. Finally, when all passengers were cleared, she climbed the steps and had both pilots speak into the VRIT unit. At last, Kay laid the unit in the First Officer's hands in order to have him run clearance on her. Kay cleared her throat, spoke her name, but after an extended pause, the VRIT beeped loudly and signaled red. The color in Kay's face drained away and she turned to flee. Within moments several arms arrived forward to appreciate her as sirens wailed in the background.

All she could think about was running away …

Startled, Kay awoke from her dream as the snooze alarm blared away.

4 Ways Cloud Computing Rules

Cloud computing goes where you go. Because it is hosted on an independent server and not on your office desktop computer, you can take it with you. With an access code, it does not matter what computer or device you are on, you can always have access to your documents as long as you have an internet connection. You are never far from your work.

You can access it anywhere.

As long as the device you are using has access to the internet, you can access the cloud. You can always access your work. It also provides a platform where you can share work with co-workers across long distances. They can log on and see your work real time, make changes, and you can see those changes right away.

You always have what you need.

You drop your files into the cloud from your office desktop computer and you can grab them later from another computer or device. Cloud computing can even offer programs so if the computer you are using does not have a program on it that you need to run your files, you can use those programs in the cloud platform. There will never be a work stoppage because a file is missing or the program you need to run a file is not available.

You do not have to worry about running out of space.

The cloud is stored on an external server, not your company's server or your office desktop computer. The outside source has extra room where you might not. You will also not have to worry about downloading extra programs for all your devices. You can put the program on the cloud and all your employees can access it. That can save your organization money as well as space.

Files are never forgotten.

Once you save a file in the loud, it will always be there. The cloud has numerous safeguards so that you will not lose your data. In the past, if you forgot to drop a file on your drive drive before you left for a business trip, you were stuck without that file for the duration of that trip. Now, with cloud computing, all you need to do is go online and pull it up. You will never be without anything you need.

Cloud computing is an advantage the modern business person can not be without. The convenience of having access to your files anytime and anyplace in this fast pace work environment is a tool in which you will thank your lucky stars. Even if you are at a computer that does not have the program you need to use your file, you can use the apps in the cloud. With those apps on the cloud, multiple users can use the programs simultaneously, saving your company time and money since you will not have to put the same programs on all your devices. Plus, because they are on the cloud, files will never be forgotten.

Is A ‘Robo Advisor’ In Your Financial Future?

Question: Would you trust a robot as your financial advisor? The question is not farfetched. Today, there are a large number of financial management companies that use robots a.k.a. Robo Advisors to advise and manage the accounts of investors.

The largest of these companies by assets are in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada and include:

  • The Vanguard Group
  • Charles Schwab Corporation
  • Betterment
  • Wealthfront
  • Personal Capital
  • Nutmeg
  • Wealthsimple
  • E-Trade
  • Ally Financial

Again, this list represents the largest financial management firms. There are a whole lot of companies today that feature these advisors.

What Is A Robo Advisor?

To understand the concept of robots providing investment advice you need to know exactly what Robo Advisors are.

First introduced in 2008 during the financial crisis, these advisors are financial counselors that offer financial advice or investment management online with some or very little human intervention. Their advice is based on mathematical rules or algorithms that are operated by software that manage and improve a client’s assets. The Robo Consultant commonly assigns a client’s assets on the basis of risk preferences and desired target return. These robots can apportion assets into a number of investments including stocks, bonds, futures, commodities, and real estate. However, in most cases, the resources are guided into Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) portfolios. An ETF is a marketable security that tracks an index, commodity, bonds, or a basket of assets like an index fund and they trade like a common stock on a stock exchange. Clients can choose to be passively or actively involved in the process.

How Robo Advisors Work

When a human client first encounters a Robot Advisor he is asked to provide information on his current financial condition and his future goals. The Robo Advisor takes this data and computes where the client should invest his money. The suggestions are based on a given level of market risk with the goal of achieving maximum return for a given risk.

These machines, like IBM’s Watson, can analyze a human client’s personality to determine how it influences his risk-taking behavior in financial decisions. The machine uses personality insights to determine a person’s temperament from available content the client has provided. The deduced personality is then used to determine the client’s risk tendency and helps the machine select recommendations.

Who Uses Robo Advisors?

Investors who use Robot Consultants include:

  • Registered Investment Advisors and Financial Advisors
  • Millennials
  • Retirees
  • Individuals with high net worth

Registered investment and financial advisors benefit from Robo Advisors because they streamline investment management and financial advice making the process of serving the client more efficient. The human advisor can concentrate on the tasks that a robot cannot perform.

Millennials love using Robot counselors because they have been raised on technology and it is a major element of their lifestyle. Millennials also like this type of investing because it is less expensive than relying on a human advisor and often enough they don’t have the money to capture the attention of a human advisor.

Retirees will be a growing segment of this group because more and more investors near retirement age are relying on these machines and so when they retire they will continue using them.

Individuals with high net worth rely on Robo Advisors for a portion of their wealth while they continue to use human advisors.

In the long run, though, all investors will be using Robo Advisors. It is predicted that Robo Advisors will manage as much as 10 percent of the entire worldwide assets under management (AUM) by 2020. That equates to $8 trillion.

Indeed, as you can see we are witnessing a brand new world in which machines that can learn will touch just about every element of our lives.

Social Networking Sites Allow Friends to Find Each Other Online

Like most people, you've probably considered tracking down a friend who you have lost contact with, but do not know how to begin your search because you no longer have any of their contact details, or the information you own was given to you years ago and is incomplete. No need to worry, there is a relatively simple way you can try and find your long lost pals, and even make new ones, and it is through a social networking site.

Websites that have been designed for the purpose of online social networking have become extremely popular over the past few years, and there are a number of reasons for this. Many online users enjoy the fact that they can create their own profile for free, allowing them to have their own personal space on the web. People also like the fact that they can share pictures and other media with those in their network, as well as play games and get involved in other groups, or even create their own. Additionally, it is a great way for members to find old friends, new friends, connect with co-workers or past classmates.

If you would like to try and find your friend using a social network on the web, you should begin trying to locate them with two of the most popular networks – MySpace and Facebook. However, if you have no luck with these sites, try others including LinkedIn, Plaxo, Hi5, Wink and Orkut.

How should you begin your search? Essentially, all you do is follow the searching instructions that have been laid out for you by the site. You will discover that some webpages are different than others, but basically all of them function very similar to a forward search, and will allow you to lookup a friend by using their name as your main search tool. Therefore, in the provided query box, enter the full name of the person you wish to find. If too many results, or none are found, try searching for them under another last name such as a married or maiden name if you are aware of one, or try an alias or a popular nickname they went by when you were close.

If searching their name is unsuccessful, the site may also provide you with other options for your hunt, such as finding a person from their …

– High school or college name and year they graduated
– Place of work or their career title
– Common interests or hobbies

Should you be able to track down your friend on a social networking site, keep in mind that you will likely need to create a free membership in order to contact them or access their profile. Furthermore, also keep in mind that while you can use these networks as a type of forward search, they do not function as a phone number lookup , so if you are trying to find your friend through their telephone number, you will need to use a separate reverse search