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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

2020 Approaches - Augmented Unreality and Entertainment


Recent events in the technology industry remind us that research and development are progressing at an ever accelerating rate. Specifically, the recent SPIE Advanced Lithography conference in San Francisco, ASML joined the eBeam Initiative and SXSW (the South by South West show in Austin, TX). The examples I mention here illustrate the progression of new technologies being deployed, sometimes in advance of our expectations. More critical observers might complain that the newest technologies have yet to be deployed. While we wait anxiously for new high tech toys, we might also take notice of the social trends shaping our society. We’ve seen examples of how human culture and lifestyle change when infused with smart phones and instant access to almost everything. Our language is becoming more technical and our culture is evolving.

Today’s technology/social curve is such that we ask if culture emulates technology or does technology emulate our culture? The question has become familiar cliche. Watching TV one evening my smart phone spoke spontaneously. It was the Google gal who quipped, “I didn’t get that. Did you say something?” I laughed aloud when I realized the Google gal (my name for her) had been listening all along and was responding to a key word she heard on the TV. After a brief laugh of amusement I turned her listening mode off and changed settings to require a keyboard awakening. Tweaking hardware has become more complex. Computer graphics overlaid on real time video screens now appear as heads up displays in our cars and on our smart phones. Such applications are limited only by our imagination and have been marketed as “augmented reality.”

Augmented Unreality

If we examine current trends we begin to see augmented unreality. Special effects and graphic overlays can now seamlessly enhance computer generated unreality and make us question our sensory perceptions. The motion picture “Avatar” is a great example. 

For many years I’ve been a fan of Asian pop music. Several weeks ago I discovered a collection of music videos produced by the Japanese pop group “Perfume”.  A three girl group, Nocchi, Kashiyuka and A-Chan are very popular in Japan and are known for their techno-pop music genre. In sampling their video collection I discovered their live 2015 SXSW stage performance of “Story” which I’ve termed augmented unreality.  As the show opens the stage and audience are overlaid with a three dimensional projection which convincingly displaces the immediate surroundings. Accompanied by a high tech sound track the unique effects were unexpected and rewarded with howls of approval by the audience. A 3D change in visual perspective was achieved by rotating the overlay and clever use of layered projection screens on the stage. Studying the video several times it appears that at least two layers of the screen panels are fabricated from optically switched glass such that alternate states of transparency and translucence are used to create a dynamically altered visual display. The technique is used to maximum effect as Nocchi, Kashiyuka and A-Chan maneuver among the panels changing their positioning and perspective on the fly. As if to tease the audience the visually obscured girls suddenly emerge from behind the panels as if to say “Yes, we’re really here.” The crowd roared again. I blinked my eyes several times to confirm my perception and found myself laughing in amazement at the illusion. Perfume’s performance is awesome and beyond verbal description. See for yourself on YouTube. Perfume’s “Story”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZiPIgCtIxg
 

In March of 2018, Japanese television network NHK featured another live performance by Perfume. The title for this event is billed as “Reframe, Fusion, Perfume x Technology.” In actually it’s an elaborately repackaged version of “Story.” As an abstract performance it’s difficult to describe but is a must see. It artistically emulates a life/story portrayal in high tech fashion. The final segment “Interlude” exudes technology and seems to embody the physics of optics, memory, metrology and electron beams. Watch the video and decide for yourself. I found my self amazed at the visuals. Perfume has the assistance of skilled technologists required to produce their imaginatively sophisticated videos. We must pay tribute to their off stage effects team. Great Stuff! I highly recommend you view the music video “Reframe, Fusion, Perfume x Technology” but set aside thirty minutes for viewing as you’ll likely re-run segments of interest. See Perfume’s “Reframe, Fusion, Perfume x Technology” video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WQZ_Q8e_pU
 

A closing thought prompted by Perfume. Years ago I became interested in stained glass art. I bought some colorful glass pieces and made a few items for practice, one of them a small blue pyramid. For years I kept it on my dresser top as a decorative item. A few days ago I ran across another timely music video by Perfume, "Tokyo Girl.” It reminded me of the small glass pyramid I had made. The video opens with Tokyo Tower in the foreground which becomes dwarfed by a high rise computer crafted spire created for the video. Now, where's that pyramid I made? Watch and enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxl4gsvgEQY
 
It's inspiring to see technologists advancing the state of the art (and artists) such that inspiration and emulation create new vistas in entertainment.  2020 Should prove interesting.

 
Get real everyone.  Spring time approaches!

Best regards to all,
Thomas D. Jay

Semiconductor Industry Consultant
Thomas.Dale.Jay@gmail.com
https://ThomasDaleJay.blogspot.com
Thomas D. Jay YouTube Channel

Thomas D. Jay is a member of SPIE and IEEE.



Corporate, private entities or publications referenced or linked in this article are the respective owners of their logos, trademarks, service marks, media content and intellectual property. Unless otherwise disclosed, Thomas D. Jay has no financial interest in companies referenced in blog articles or other published media communications. Thomas D. Jay is not a registered financial advisor. No representation is made to either buy or sell securities. Opinions expressed by Thomas D. Jay are his own. Thomas D. Jay does not employ or otherwise utilize/authorize third party agents to express his opinions, represent his interests or conduct business on his behalf except where formally contractually designated. By default Thomas D. Jay opts out of requests to share personal information or incidentally collected unidentifiable user data. Thomas D. Jay does not agree to indemnify or hold harmless vendors, clients or third parties to related contractual agreements and reserves the right to applicable legal remedies in lieu of arbitration. Contractual agreements are to be written and interpreted in the English language and are subject to the laws of the United States. Clients, vendors and concerned parties should check my blog site at www.thomasdalejay.blogspot.com for periodic updates or changes to theses terms.


References and acknowledgements:

[1] Perfume Music Video SXSW "Story" YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZiPIgCtIxg


[2] Perfume Music Video
“Reframe, Fusion, Perfume x Technology” YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WQZ_Q8e_pU

[3] Perfume Music Video "Tokyo Girl" YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxl4gsvgEQY

Sunday, July 29, 2018

New 4.1% GDP Growth Proves Trump’s Success, Obama’s Failures

Economic news on July 27, 2018 reported the US has achieved GDP growth (Gross Domestic Product) of 4.1%. In a speech by President Trump on Friday, he announced the new 4.1% GDP data and confirmed the sustained momentum of the US economy. The financial markets and broader US economy are poised to reach new highs. The projected growth should provide sufficient revenue to support recent tax cuts and military spending.
 

In addition to positive GDP data, FRED (the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis) also reported the fourth consecutive increase in both M1 and M2 velocity, the rate at which US currency changes hands. (take a minute to read the “Background on economic Velocity” below). After FRED’s previous report on velocity in May 2018 (see my earlier blog post) I predicted the recovery begun by President Trump was sustainable based three previously consecutive quarterly increases in velocity.

See the FRED graphs below:
Note the sustained downward trend in M1 and M2 velocity during the eight years of the Obama administration and recovery after President Trump taking office.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Velocity of M1 Money Stock - July 29, 2018










Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Velocity of M2 Money Stock - July 29, 2018 


 

While the good news was eagerly reported by the Trump administration, the President’s detractors did their best to discredit the data citing residual recovery trends from the Obama administration (untrue as I will illustrate). Over the years I’ve found that velocity data reported by FRED provides the most telling indicator of the US economy as it mirrors the mood of the broader US population’s spending and savings habits. Because velocity data are reported quarterly (and their meaning/existence obscure to most) they are rarely discussed in financial news reporting. The media more actively observes the myopic daily DOW and NASDAQ market closings and ignores the long time constant required for more accurate quarterly data collection and reporting (such as M1, M2 velocity).

In celebrating President Trump’s recent economic success (confirmed by velocity data forecasting and current GDP reporting) it occurred to me the same velocity data provides a glaring illustration of the complete failure of Barack Obama’s economic policy. In the years preceding Barack Obama the excursions of M1 and M2 velocity tracked (and often anticipated) the rise and fall of the US economy. Note that during Obama’s presidency, both M1 and M2 velocities began a steep sustained decline (for eight consecutive years) until the election of President Trump. Upward movement in Obama era economic and stock market performance (along with its approximated < 1.9% GDP) is more attributable to the acumen of the major Wall Street investment firms, corporate America and their leadership. Wall Street firms utilizing programmed trading and investment in global markets outside the US played all segments of the market to optimize returns for their investors. Unfortunately the average consumer/homeowner didn’t share in this financial market success and experienced the larger downturn in the US economy. In my opinion, during his presidency Mr. Obama hijacked prevailing Wall Street successes and labeled them as his own.

In a separate observation Mr. Obama’s economic policies doubled our national debt during his presidency. An accurate illustration of this might be to assemble previous US Presidents 1 through 43 on one side of a number line with Obama positioned on the opposite side. During his eight year term of office Mr. Obama singularly doubled the national debt over the previous 43 presidents combined. Not an easy task.

President Trump’s critics claim his recent tax cuts and increased military spending have boosted the deficit further, but the current and projected increase in GDP (well above 4.1%) should soon offset this concern and ultimately lower our national debt. President Trump’s strategy for economic recovery and prosperity have been enormously successful. The continued support of his policies and allied candidates during the mid term elections will assure the continued recovery and future success of the US.


Background on Economic Velocity

As an important economic indicator, M1 and M2 velocity of the money supply requires your attention. I’ll again review the fundamentals of economic velocity for your reference and further study.
 

As defined by FRED (the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis):

“The velocity of money is the frequency at which one unit of currency is used to purchase domestically produced goods and services within a given time period. In other words, it is the number of times one dollar is spent to buy goods and services per unit of time. If the velocity of money is increasing, then more transactions are occurring between individuals in an economy. The frequency of currency exchange can be used to determine the velocity of a given component of the money supply, providing some insight into whether consumers and businesses are saving or spending their money. There are several components of the money supply,: M1, M2, and MZM (M3 is no longer tracked by the Federal Reserve); these components are arranged on a spectrum of narrowest to broadest. Consider M1, the narrowest component. M1 is the money supply of currency in circulation (notes and coins, traveler’s checks [non-bank issuers], demand deposits, and checkable deposits). A decreasing velocity of M1 might indicate fewer short term consumption transactions are taking place. We can think of shorter term transactions as consumption we might make on an everyday basis. The broader M2 component includes M1 in addition to saving deposits, certificates of deposit (less than $100,000), and money market deposits for individuals. Comparing the velocities of M1 and M2 provides some insight into how quickly the economy is spending and how quickly it is saving.”

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Velocity of M2 Money Stock [M2V], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series


In addition President Trump has recently taken many additional steps to boost our economy further.

1.  Tax cuts which increase individual income.

2.  Eliminating the Obama health care penalty mandate.

3. Eliminated many Obama imposed regulations on businesses and new construction, encouraging new investment.

4. Eliminated many environmental regulations which inhibit business expansion (new oil pipeline construction).

5. Restored the coal industry inclusive of the clean coal initiative.

6. Challenging unfair excessive tariffs on US goods shipped overseas.

7. Repatriated US investments from overseas markets to the US. (Apple, Microsoft and others)

8. Protected strategic industries with tariffs to encourage domestic development (steel, agriculture, etc.)

9. Challenged unfair tariffs on US exports to China.

10. Signed an agreement with the European Union to establish free trade/no tariff markets.

11. Signed agreements encouraging Asian based manufacturers to invest in the US (Foxconn and others ).

12. Encouraging the Federal Reserve to temper interest rate increases to encourage investment and business expansion.

13. Eliminating regulations and encouraging investment in LNG distribution (Liquefied Natural Gas) making the US an energy exporter to Europe and the world.

14.  Invoking penalties on IP (Intellectual Property) theft and unfair tariffs imposed on US companies.

15. President Trump has proposed a second round of tax cuts for consumers soon to be proposed to congress.

16.  Larger scale defense funding now provides a more efficient economy of scale on volume purchases effectively reducing military costs as growth continues.

17. President Trump's insistence that NATO member nations meet their own commitment to 2% investment of their GDP will ultimately reduce US costs over time.

18. In addition to reducing prescription drug costs a new health care plan is being drafted to make better, less expensive health care available to all.    

Given time President Trump believes these initiatives (and others) have real potential to boost our GDP above and beyond current 4.1% levels to 8 or 9%.  Given the short term success in raising our GDP in record time it would seem President Trump's projected growth forecast for the economy is achievable.

Please join me in congratulating President Trump and his administration for this record economic achievement.  Let's ensure this success story continues as the mid term elections approach.

Best regards,
Thomas D. Jay

Semiconductor Industry Consultant
Thomas.Dale.Jay@gmail.com
https://ThomasDaleJay.blogspot.com
Thomas D. Jay YouTube Channel

Thomas D. Jay is a member of the IEEE.





Corporate, private entities or publications referenced or linked in this article are the respective owners of their logos, trademarks, service marks, media content and intellectual property. Unless otherwise disclosed, Thomas D. Jay has no financial interest in companies referenced in blog articles or other published media communications. Thomas D. Jay is not a registered financial advisor. No representation is made to either buy or sell securities. Opinions expressed by Thomas D. Jay are his own. Thomas D. Jay does not employ or otherwise utilize/authorize third party agents to express his opinions, represent his interests or conduct business on his behalf except where formally contractually designated. By default Thomas D. Jay opts out of requests to share personal information or incidentally collected unidentifiable user data. Thomas D. Jay does not agree to indemnify or hold harmless vendors, clients or third parties to related contractual agreements and reserves the right to applicable legal remedies in lieu of arbitration. Contractual agreements are to be written and interpreted in the English language and are subject to the laws of the United States. Clients, vendors and concerned parties should check my blog site at www.thomasdalejay.blogspot.com for periodic updates or changes to theses terms.



References and acknowledgements:

[1] Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Velocity of M2 Money Stock [M2V], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series

[2] whitehouse.gov