Tech entrepreneur opens NSSGA Annual Convention

By |  February 11, 2019
Byron Reese

Reese

Byron Reese, CEO and publisher of Gigaom, addressed the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) Annual Convention as the keynote speaker during Monday’s opening general session.

Reese’s technology research company helps business leaders understand the implications of emerging technologies and their impact on business, media and society. His keynote address was very much focused on this area, as he explored tech advancements over the course of history and how tech provides a basis for civilization.

Reese also addressed emerging tech categories that should have an impact on all businesses in the years to come. Here are five areas to keep an eye on:

Reese’s five

1. New materials. 3-D printing is one example here, and Reese points to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates city, as a rather progressive example that’s pursuing opportunities with 3-D printing.

By 2025, it is mandated in Dubai that every new building be produced with 25 percent 3-D printed materials. This initiative is already underway, with a 2 percent mandate for 2019 according to the Dubai Future Foundation.

2. Nanotechnology. New sources of power are on the way, as well. For example, Reese suggests we may live to see the wireless transmission of electricity.

3. Artificial intelligence (AI). According to Reese, there are two kinds of AI: narrow AI and general AI.

Narrow AI is simpler, he says. It involves programming a computer to do one thing after patterns are discovered following studies of large datasets. General AI, on the other hand, is a bit more complex.

“Nobody knows how to build this,” Reese says. “It’s based on the idea that people are machines. When they ask people when we’re going to get it, they say between five and 500 years. It’s this mysterious technology we don’t know how to build.”

4. The combination of AI and robots. In our industry, the advent of equipment like autonomous haulers could be placed into this category.

5. The combination of AI, robots and people. The medical industry is among the first to put this tech to use, developing prosthetics, for example, that link artificial intelligence with robots and people.

Final thoughts

While some of the technology Reese describes is potentially centuries away, new tech is on the doorstep of influencing industries like ours. Aggregate producers are tasked with determining which tech to adopt and when to implement it, but Reese advises business leaders to follow certain rules when exploring opportunities.

“Avoid tech that doesn’t offer an easy way to go back to an old norm,” he says.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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