TechKNOW Tomorrow – A Doomsday Music Vault

Think about what we turn to in hard times to distract ourselves from intense emotions: friends, movies, games, shopping, yoga, books… the list goes on and on. That said, there’s one thing many people turn to in stressful situations to actually sort through their problems, not just to distract themselves – MUSIC.

Music appears to be the predominant artform that most of us can agree on: “It is quite common to come across people who are bored by ballet, passionless about painting, or left listless by literature, but [it is] newsworthy that some people aren’t moved by music“. For example, a CBC article was written about musical anhedonia, a condition in which people can’t derive pleasure from music. It’s estimated that only about 2% of the population are affected by musical anhedonia.

Music is the one artform that’s readily accessible no matter where you are, unlike plays or art galleries. You can easily carry your entire music collection on your phone. Additionally, it requires less focus from the listener; as an auditory medium, you can listen to it while doing a variety of activities including chores, games of darts, and walking.

As a species, we seem to gravitate towards music when we choose to enjoy art of some sort. If we look back throughout history, it has clearly shaped cultures and societies worldwide. It should come as no surprise, then, that humans are trying to preserve music for the next thousand years through a doomsday music vault.

The Doomsday Music Vault

Image by Noah Grossenbacher via Unsplash.

As the world we live in becomes crazier due to tensions between world powers, an increase in temperatures thanks to climate change, and viruses that spread rapidly, the fear of extinction seems to be increasing. For example, nuclear war could be right around the corner as countries fire test rockets across the world. It’s a tumultuous time for humanity.

As a result, many groups are thinking about the future and the things we need to preserve in case a post-apocalyptic world is on the horizon. What will humans seek and cherish thousands of years from now? What sort of culture will exist? Should we start from scratch, or are there things worth preserving indefinitely?

For the Elire Management Group in Norway and the International Music Council, music is indeed worth preserving. A joint project called the Global Music Vault has started construction this year, and “is set deep inside an arctic mountain in far north Norway, on the Svalbard archipelago. Svalbard is a declared demilitarized zone by 42 nations“. For reference, Svalbard isn’t that far from the North Pole.

The vault is being constructed inside the same mountain that houses the Arctic World Archive (which preserves our heritage) and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (which preserves seeds that can develop into food crops).

The music being stored there will be digital, similar to the recordings found on Apple Music, YouTube, and Spotify. One of the issues that digital music presents is longevity – digital recordings can’t survive without frequent hardware and software upgrades, and file formats become obsolete within decades.

To combat this, the tracks are preserved with a recent technology that utilizes a “special format used to preserve tracks [that] encompasses binary and “high-density QR” codes inscribed onto a durable optical film“. The technology can supposedly protect music tracks for a thousand years, even against the “electromagnetic pulses generated by nuclear explosions”! Furthermore, “the music capsule and film technology is considered a very green solution as it can store data for hundreds of years without needing constant electricity or maintenance“. 

The primary goal of the Global Music Vault is to preserve culture, which means they are initially focusing on indigenous music, songs that have helped shape societies across the world. Of course, the scope of this project isn’t limited to specific genres or eras of music: the Global Music Vault “encourages individual nations to submit ideas as to the tracks and songs making the final cut, potentially involving a public vote“.

A major concern for some might be how this project is funded and will be maintained in the future. Thankfully, the Elire Management Group “intends to generate income from the project by charging artists and labels a fee to store tracks in the vault“.

There are also plans to make the music accessible to the public and to share the vault’s revenue with artists. The idea is to preserve music, not to become another record label or streaming service.

So what does this mean for the future of anything that can be digitized? With this new technology about to be revealed to the public, we may soon be able to keep our own precious collections of photographs, books, social media posts, home movies, and music safe for hundreds of years to come.

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At techKNOWtutors, we realize that adapting to technology isn’t easy. Although most services have closed, we remain open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with improving your digital literacy, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message.

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.

TechKNOW Tomorrow – Remote Solutions in Education and Healthcare

Remote work is on the rise: “at the beginning of 2021, 32% of Canadian employees aged 15 to 69 worked most of their hours from home, compared with 4% in 2016“. If you read our previous article, you can see how working remotely is starting to become a permanent change in our society. And while many industries are thriving with this change, the education and healthcare sectors have struggled to adapt.

These industries are ones that previously required face-to-face interactions as a result of a lack of infrastructure. Since the spread of COVID-19, the education and healthcare sectors have found creative ways to provide much needed resources worldwide. How so? Let’s take a look!

Education

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, schools across the world were forced to close their doors last year. “Globally, over 1.2 billion children [were] out of the classroom” as of April of 2020. The education sector lacked the infrastructure necessary to teach students remotely, forcing educators to find new methods through e-learning on digital platforms.

Early during worldwide lockdowns, online platforms like BYJU’s and Lark started offering free or unlimited services to aid teachers with the transition to an online learning environment. Some examples of these services include “unlimited video conferencing time, auto-translation capabilities, real-time co-editing of project work, and smart calendar scheduling“. Companies are developing large cloud servers to meet the high demands of remote learning, which means more people that have access to online services.

Image by Compare Fibre via Unsplash.

Other programs like Bitesize Daily offer “curriculum-based learning for kids across the UK” with teachers that emphasize learning in a fun environment. Here in Canada, we have many educators turning towards

Other programs like Bitesize Daily offer “curriculum-based learning for kids across the UK” with teachers that emphasize learning in a fun environment. Here in North America, we have many educators turning towards tools such as “Zoom for daily live instruction, Screencastify for asynchronous learning, Seesaw as an elementary learning platform” and Google Classroom or PowerSchool for secondary students to make up for lost time in the classroom.

Remote learning allows teachers to reach “students more efficiently and effectively through chat groups, video meetings, voting and also document sharing“. Combined with the flexibility of working or learning from home at virtually any time, we may see these changes as a permanent solution to the issues created by COVID-19 in the education sector.

Healthcare

The healthcare sector is also undergoing rapid changes in response to COVID-19. In many places across the world – particularly in rural communities – access to physicians such as family doctors or psychiatrists can be either incredibly difficult or outright impossible. Part of the reason for this is the high costs involved in travel, insurance, or the service itself.

Remote healthcare is changing this for the better. For example, thanks to online support groups, the availability of health information on the internet, and virtual sessions with physicians, people across the world have access to healthcare that they otherwise wouldn’t have. Additionally, we can get prescriptions with a simple phone call and register for services such as an MCP card online.

Telepathology example by Remote Medical Technologies.

Other examples of telehealth efforts include ECGs that “can send real-time updates via [a] patient’s smartphone” to be analyzed later, or microscopic sensors attached to artificial hips or pacemakers that can monitor blood pressure.

So what does this mean for after the COVID-19 pandemic ends?

Today, we’re starting to see a return to physical classrooms and doctor’s offices with certain regulations in place, but that doesn’t mean that remote working and learning are disappearing. Particularly in rural communities where there are less physical locations for schools or physicians, we will likely see a mixture of in-person and online services.

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At techKNOWtutors, we realize that adapting to technology isn’t easy. Although most services have closed, we remain open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with improving your digital literacy, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message.

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.

TechKNOW Tomorrow – The Future of Remote Work

Image by LinkedIn Sales Solutions via Unsplash.

While remote work isn’t exactly a novel concept, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated just how unprepared for it we were. As most of us were forced to immediately start working from home, many difficulties arose in how we could adapt to performing the same duties in an environment that’s both familiar and foreign. Remote work has provided numerous challenges, particularly in rural areas where internet speeds are consistently slow or where access to the internet is outright impossible.

Over a year later, some of us are still struggling to adapt to working remotely. Like it or not, this is now the future we face – one in which the internet is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for survival. That said, the internet is but one of many factors that dictates whether remote work is possible: productivity, accountability, and collaboration are all equally important to the continued success of any business or organization.

Remote work is not just going to disappear alongside COVID-19; it has become a permanent change to the nature of many industries. Thankfully, there are several new technologies to help your team transition easily to working from home.

Satellite and 5G Technology

One of the most important tools for remote work is the internet. It’s what makes coordination and collaboration possible when a team is working in multiple different locations. Companies like SpaceX are currently launching satellites that can provide internet access worldwide, though the thousands of satellites required to ensure top internet speeds will take quite some time to get off of the ground.

If you’re working on a mobile phone throughout the day, the new 5G network could provide “speeds that are up to 100 times faster than 4G . . . the network may make it practical to work from anywhere you can get a signal“. Both satellite internet and a 5G network could be just what the world needs for ideal working conditions from home.

Cloud Storage and Computing

Image by Kristin Wilson via Unsplash.

You may have heard of the cloud, a virtual space where your files are safely stored in the event that anything happens to them. Cloud storage solutions like Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, and Dropbox all allow you to store your files for free (up to a limited amount of space) on servers in a different location.

A lot of companies like Google and Microsoft are now offering cloud computing services that allow you to collaborate on things such as documents, spreadsheets/workbooks, and image design with other members of your team. What’s excellent about cloud storage and computing services is that they allow users the flexibility to work on their own time and the ability to work on a file simultaneously.

Instant Messaging Communication and Virtual Reality

Most of us are likely already familiar with Zoom, a video conferencing tool that allows you to have a video meeting with hundreds of people at once, but there are plenty of other tools that are great for promoting teamwork in a remote environment.

For example, there are instant messaging tools such as the chat feature in Workplace for Facebook, Microsoft Teams, Twist, Google Chat, and Slack. These tools allow you to communicate with your team via text, audio, or video.

Also of note is the progression of VR (virtual reality) in recent years. While VR is commonly associated with video games, a lot of workplaces seek to introduce this technology to their completely remote teams in order to better immerse them in team meetings or projects. A digital version of yourself can look around a conference table at colleagues, helping you feel like you’re actually together in a digital environment.

Time Management and Productivity Apps

When we’re working from home, distractions are bound to come up in many different forms: children, pets, television, social media, the lack of a dedicated office room… All of these things can prevent us from staying focused. Thankfully, there are many new helpful apps designed to prevent distractions and manage our time better.

For example, Freedom can block internet access altogether for a period of time, though the choice “to block out all social platforms or apps, or leave one or two unblocked” is still there. Once ‘Locked Mode’ is on, it can’t be turned off until the session you’ve created is over.

Other helpful tools for productivity include FocusMe and LeechBlock, both of which allow you to block specific websites and apps entirely or set time limits on them. For the supervisors and managers out there, Timely can be a great tool that allows automation to track the time of an entire team, meaning they can focus entirely on productive work tasks instead of worrying about micromanaging.

The Digital Toolbox

With so many options on the market, choosing one for your business or organization might seem like a monumental task. That’s where techKNOWtutors can help.

Image by Bobbi Vasher via Canva.

Our Digital Toolbox strategizes with your organization or small business to create a personalized digital action plan. We teach you how to plan for your organization’s digital transformation, maximize team collaboration, get started with social media and website creation, access a variety of free tools for organizations, and much more.

If you’d like to apply for this FREE service that we’re offering, click here!

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At techKNOWtutors, we realize that adapting to technology isn’t easy. Although most services have closed, we remain open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with improving your digital literacy, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message.

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.