SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. May 3, 2017/ Troy Media/ – Surfing the web over the course of the week, for either business or pleasure, leads you to acquire an unusual vocabulary without even realizing it. While you have probably figured out the meaning many words based on the context they are used in, others are only vaguely familiar.
For instance, you probably know what a 404 means. It’s a technical code for “Not Found 404”, an error message you stumble upon when you land on a URL that was not found on a server, either because you typed in the wrong URL or the website is having problems.
Moreover, you probably even recognize its use in popular jargon when you see it used in text messages or online chats and instant messaging as a figure of speech. Here’s an example: “I wouldn’t bother asking customer support for help with your technical issues, dude. They’re 404!” In this context, it means that customer service can’t help because they are clueless.
However, there are many other tech buzzwords and phrases we see in the news and online that are rarely explained in context because everyone who talks about them considers them self-evident.
Here are three big futuristic ideas lurking behind geeky words to help you bridge the gap between you and the geeks from Silicon Valley who have evolved a language of their own.
- Bitcoin Mining.
This may sound like it’s a feature of a video game, but it actually refers to a digital currency. Its origins are something of a mystery. Started in 2009, it’s credited to Satoshi Nakamoto. However, nobody has met this person and the name may even be a pseudonym. The idea, however, was so ingenious that it acquired a life of its own because it bypassed the need for Central Banks to issue the money. Since encryption methods are used to generate its units and verify the correct transfer of funds, it is often referred to as cryptocurrency. Programmers and engineers working at a cryptocurrency program like Genesis Mining are called miners because they help create Bitcoins.
At this point, you’re probably wondering if this is some kind of play money. No, it’s as real as a yen or a yuan. Merchants who accept it will let you buy their stuff. You can use it for a wide range of things, like a manicure or a pizza or a webhosting account. The reason you may not be aware of a vibrant Bitcoin exchange going on around you is because its value keeps on increasing. Unlike other currencies that are subject to hyperinflationary trends, Bitcoins are unlikely to drop in value, which means that you need more to buy the same quantity of goods. As a result, Bitcoins have become a favourite of investors.
Behavioral psychologists came to an interesting observation. They noticed that people love to play games but are often bored by work tasks. You might, for example, be more thrilled by winning a game of Monopoly than selling a piece of merchandise to a customer for a commission. Although playing Monopoly will only give you play money while a real commercial transaction will give you real money, you find the game more emotionally rewarding.
Rather than try to figure out how to buck this trend, these clever psychologists decided to make work more game-like. Consequently, they introduced emotional reward systems for work like point scores, competition with other people, and playing rules. Now people were able to enjoy mundane work with the same enthusiasm they showed for playing games.
Gamification today is used in a variety of industries, like business, marketing, and education. When you get a rewards card punched at your local coffee shop and win a free cup of coffee for buying a cappuccino for the fifth day in a row that’s gamification theory at work.
- The Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the idea of the interconnection of things through an Internet of computing devices. These devices, embedded in everyday objects – like cellphones, washing machines, headphones, and wearable devices – can then send and receive data. According to a Forbes article on the IoT, this is going to be the next big thing: “The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices … That’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion). The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people). The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.”
In conclusion, it’s interesting how, by understanding a simple one or two word phrase, you are being introduced to futuristic business models and societal trends.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by all Troy Media columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Troy Media.
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