John Chen to stay on as BlackBerry CEO through 2023

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BlackBerry today announced it reached an agreement to keep CEO John Chen in his current position through 2023. Chen joined the company in 2013 and is responsible for leading the company’s recovery as it left smartphones and embraced services.

When Chen took over the company, the company was struggling on all fronts. Its time as the smartphone leader was done but it still had a strong brand in key markets. Chen lead the company to a modest turn around and has seemingly found its footing. The company stock is up 89.9% over the last 12 months and nearly level with the stock price when Chen took over during its decline five years ago.

“The BlackBerry Board of Directors has tremendous confidence in John Chen . John engineered a successful turnaround and has the company repositioned to apply its strengths and assets to the Enterprise of Things, an emerging category with massive potential,” said Prem Watsa, Lead Director and Chair of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee of the BlackBerry Board, in a released statement. “John’s leadership is critical and the Board has determined that it is in the best of interests of BlackBerry and its shareholders to continue his service through November 2023.”

Going forward Chen’s compensation is weighted towards longterm goals. His salary will stay the same. He will be award 5 million restricted share units vested over five years if and when the company’s share price amounts from USD $ 16 to $ 20. A performance-based cash award will vest and become available if the company’s share price hits $ 30, resulting in BlackBerry’s market capitalization hitting $ 16.1 billion, an increase of 134% from current levels.

It’s painful to watch iconic companies die. BlackBerry was dying and Chen managed to keep the boat afloat through cuts and redirection. If there’s anyone who’s able to keep the company moving forward, it’s John Chen and BlackBerry’s board clearly felt he was the right person for the job.

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What will smart speakers be like in 2023?


The past year has been great for the smart speaker industry. Smart speakers, the voice-activated, home-based devices that allow you to make searches, play music, and even purchase items, skyrocketed in popularity in 2017, with sales more than tripling. Brands like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Sonos One have become household names, and consumers have already gotten used to having a voice-activated assistant on standby. But in the realm of technology, it’s hard to spend much time contemplating the present without looking to the future. Smart speakers have the potential to grow and develop even further in the future, especially…

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The Next Web

Reports Indicate That Sweden Will Stop Using Cash by 2023

Is Cash Dead?

Have you noticed that, over the years, you’ve begun to use your cards or mobile pay apps much more frequently than cash? You’re not alone in this, and this trend has been on the rise in other countries around the world. In China, for example, cash is quickly on its way out, with mobile payments doubling in the last year. Sweden has also been forgoing cash an at increasing rate over the last several years, and experts predict that it’s only a short matter of time before the country is entirely cashless.

In fact, Sweden may be completely digital in just a few years, if researchers Niklas Arvidsson of KTH and Jonas Hedman of Copenhagen School of Economics are to be believed. The pair estimate that cash will no longer be used or accepted by Swedish retailers by 2023, at the earliest.

Polling various Swedish retailers revealed that about half expect to stop accepting cash by 2025. Currently, 97 percent of all retailers accept cash payments, but only 18 percent of all transactions actually involve cash.

Card or Smartphone?

Interestingly, mobile payments are performing rather poorly. Credit and Debit cards are the primary way people pay, with mobile pay apps accounting for only 0.4 percent. It’s unclear why only a small amount of people seem to use them; it could be a matter of convenience, trust, or simply knowing how. According to Arvidsson, people are generally comfortable with paying digitally in some way, even if they never see the money leave their hands.

“We are a small country that has had a very stable democracy for a long time,” Arvidsson said. “For us, it’s no problem that the money is only visible on an internet site – we trust it.”

Consumers are largely facilitating the change, though banks have also done their part to push people away from cash, as they want to reduce the risk of robbery. Retailers share this sentiment.

“We wanted to minimise the risk of robberies and it’s quicker with the customers when they pay by card,” says bakery manager Victoria Nilsson, speaking with the BBC in September. “It’s been mainly positive reactions.”

The post Reports Indicate That Sweden Will Stop Using Cash by 2023 appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

General Motors Will Launch 20 All-Electric Cars by 2023

Electric vehicles (EVs) are no longer just for hungry startups. A number of veteran car makers have joined the the EV race, launching various electric car concepts. Some are even promising to develop only all-electric vehicles from here on out. Now, General Motors (GM) announced on Monday its plans to launch at least 20 new EVs by 2023.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Mark Reuss, GM Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain EVP, said in a press release. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”

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Image credit: General Motors

GM plans to unveil two new all-electric cars in the next 18 months. These cars no doubt will benefit from the experience GM had developing the Chevy Bolt EV, which demonstrated the company’s dedication to reaching zero emissions. “These aren’t just words in a war of press releases,” Reuss added, according to Business Insider. A zero emissions future, GM acknowledged, “will require more than just battery electric technology.”

Instead, the car maker has been focused on both electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. To that end, GM introduced the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS), a four-wheel drive concept vehicle that runs on fuel cells. The SURUS’ heavy-duty truck frame is powered by two electric motors, making it an ideal zero-emission vehicle for delivery trucks and even ambulances.

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GM will release at least 20 all-electric cars by 2023

General Motors announced today that it will introduce two new all-electric vehicles within the next 18 months, the first of at least 20 new EVs that the automaker will launch by 2023. GM also renewed its commitment to hydrogen fuel cell technology, a clean fuel concept that still needs major infrastructure upgrades before it can become a viable alternative.

At a press conference in Detroit this morning, GM’s executive vice president of global product development Mark Reuss said that the company was “committed to an all-electric future,” but cautioned that it wasn’t going to happen “by flipping a switch.”

“These aren’t just words in a war of press releases,” Reuss added. “We are far…

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Analysts Predict That Artificial Intelligence Will Be a $14 Billion Industry by 2023

Exponential Growth

A recent report asserts that the artificial intelligence (AI) industry will reach a compound annual growth rate of 17.2 percent by 2023. The market is set to swell to a whopping $ 14.2 billion over the next six years, up from just $ 525 million in 2015.

Understanding Machine Learning [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Natural language processing technology is set to be a huge contributor to this growth. This tech is being adopted rapidly, particularly by financial institutions, because it can carry out customer service transactions and answer common questions in the place of human employees.

As for geography, North America is expected hold the majority of the AI industry’s market share by 2023, but Europe and the Asia-Pacific region will see significant growth thanks to the rapid pace of urbanization in some areas, increasing use of smartphones, and robust automotive sectors.

The Time Is Now

Inevitably, any transition away from human labor could result in fewer jobs. The big question is whether AI and automation can produce enough new jobs to ensure that the people being replaced aren’t left unemployed.

According to the World Economic Forum, automated systems are on track to replace more then five million workers by 2020. In the U.S., some have predicted that 7 percent of jobs will be lost to automation by 2025, and a recent study found that as many as 10 million jobs in Great Britain could be swallowed up by automation over the next 10 years.

While we still have reasons to be optimistic that AI and automation could create jobs rather than just take them away, that’s not likely to happen organically — we need to make some big societal changes to ensure the benefits of AI outweigh the negatives.

These changes might mean some sort of adjustment to academic curriculum that takes into account the types of jobs that students are likely to hold 10 years from now. Universal basic income (UBI) could also be the answer, giving citizens a way to ensure their basic needs are met even after they are no longer needed at their job.

AI and automation are no longer the wave of the future — the technology is already here, and these systems are being implemented more broadly than even before. The world of work is changing, and the way society functions needs to change along with it.

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SNCF on track for driverless high-speed trains by 2023

NCF on track for driverless high-speed trains by 2023

French national railway operator SNCF aims to have driverless high-speed trains running by 2023.

The company is working on a ‘train drone’ project, and is hoping to have a prototype train to test the transport of goods between Paris and the south east of France in 2019, according to a report from FranceTV.

The driverless train will look like a regular train, but will be equipped with external sensors that can anticipate the slightest obstacle on the track, and if necessary, automatically brake. However, it will likely be semi-autonomous – at first at least – with a train driver in the control station, to take control in the event of unforeseeable issues and emergency situations.

Having a driver or someone on board to look after the train at certain situations is not new: in London, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) has run like this for years. However, Matthie Chabanel, of SNCF, suggested that it would be a ‘world’s first’, perhaps because it is a high-speed train that travels at almost 200mph, and because it is aiming to become fully autonomous in the years to come.

Chabanel likened the system SNCF that is working on to a plane’s auto-pilot system.

“On high-speed, we are aiming for automation in the sense of automatic steering as in an aircraft. In aircraft, you always have a driver, fortunately, but you also have an automatic steering system,” he said.

Read more: UK fire engines become smarter with IoT connectivity

The need for speed

Rather than reducing headcount, the aim, according to SNCF, is to increase the speed and frequency of high-speed journeys. It believes that the automated system would increase the number of trips between Paris and Lyon, for example, by 25 percent.

Rob Bamforth, analyst at Quocirca, believes that while autonomous trains are technically feasible, the biggest hurdle is passenger acceptance.

“Is there a risk and even if this is only a perceived risk, are we willing to take it?” he asks.

“The greater the numbers of people travelling in one ‘vehicle’ and the greater the speeds, the greater the fear and risk of a bad accident,” he says.

However, Bamforth suggested that is the number of variables can be reduced, then the simpler it should be to keep these trains both autonomous and safe.

“The more things are monitored and checked [to ensure] that they fit within the expected norm, the more processes are confirmed with explicit actions, and the more the risk is reduced,” he states.

However, he doesn’t believe that computers will be necessary for every aspect of autonomous trains; engineers will be needed to decide how many parameters need to be used and checked to make the vehicle autonomous, as developing the right systems that take into account feedback loops, redundancies and fail-safes  involve substantial design skills.

“The engineering is evolving to make it feasible; the psychology and marketing needs to be there too, in order to make it acceptable,” he concluded.

Read more: Turkish Airlines takes flight with IoT, AI chatbots and tech start-ups

The post SNCF on track for driverless high-speed trains by 2023 appeared first on Internet of Business.

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France Plans to Have Driverless “Drone Trains” Transporting Passengers by 2023

In autonomous vehicle news, SNFC, France’s national railway operator, has announced their intention to have autonomous TGVs (French abbreviation for “high-speed trains”) running by 2023. SNFC has dubbed the concept the “drone train” and plans to start prototype testing sometime in 2019.

The History (And Future) Of High Speed Rail
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Driverless public transport might make some uneasy, bringing up visions of the film Speed and the potential ways things could go awry, but with years of testing and preparation, every possible issue should be resolved.

The SNFC’s trains, which can already travel at speeds up to 321 km/h (200 mph), will have automatic brakes installed (for both regular and emergency situations), as well as sensors to allow the trains to identify objects in their path. To ensure safety, the trains will still have conductors aboard for the first excursions just in case anything goes wrong, and because remote piloting is an option, even unforeseeable issues with the trains could be dealt with safely in a variety of ways.

As autonomous vehicles continue to increase in popularity, the future of transportation promises to be safer, more efficient, and beneficial to the economy. From Tesla to Toyota, manufacturers across the globe are investing in the development of autonomous vehicles, and in some places in the U.S., driverless cars could be on the streets in as few as two months.

Autonomous vehicle development isn’t slowing down any time soon, so the next train you take might have no conductor at all, and that could be a good thing for everyone involved.

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