A whopping 90% of new information — that’s how much data we store in magnetic media. Most of that newly-generated data goes into none other than hard drives.

Unfortunately, hard drives are impermanent, with an average life span of three years. One study did find that 80% of drives lasted for four years, but these were in a server farm. All in all, there are about 140,000 hard drives that fail in the US every single week.

If you experience a hard drive crash, don’t panic right away — you may still be able to get it to work. The odds may also be in your favor, letting you recover some, if not most of your files in it.

This is only true, however, if you know what to do right after the crash. Don’t worry though, as that’s what exactly what we’re here to share with you.

Keep reading to learn the dos and don’ts of dealing with a hard drive failure

Do Determine If It’s a Hard Drive Issue

Some error messages, especially those involving corrupted data, can be due to malware. Especially now that more and more malware gets introduced each year. In 2019 alone, there were almost 25 million new types of malware discovered.

Malicious file detections in Macs have also risen by almost 230% from 2018 to 2019.

That said, if you’ve recently seen a “corrupted data” error message, don’t blame your hard drive right away. Run a malware test first to confirm that you don’t have harmful files in your gear. If the test doesn’t detect any, and you still see these error messages, then it could really be your hard drive.

Do Know the Symptoms of an Impending Hard Drive Crash

Noises, such as very loud humming, whirring, and clicking, are often the first signs of a hard drive crash. These sounds also usually come with numerous disk errors and repeated app crashes. An increase in error messages as you run software also indicates an impending crash.

If you notice any of these, back-up all your data before you actually experience a full-on hard disk crash. You may still be able to copy or transfer your files to an external device, such as a NAS hard drive.

You should be creating frequent back-ups even if your gear runs properly. However, it’s even more crucial now that you’re device is showing signs it’s about to die. If you can create back-ups before the actual crash happens, you’ll have a way to recover your data.

Do Shut Down Your Computer Right After It Experiences an Actual Crash

In Windows, the “Blue Screen of Death” (BSOD) is among the common signs of an actual hard drive failure. The error “file not found” (or if your computer won’t start at all) is also a typical sign that your hard drive crashed.

Macs do get the BSOD too, but they’re a rare occurrence. Blue screens in Apple devices often mean there’s an issue with the start-up drive. A peripheral (or external input-output device) connected to a Mac may also be the culprit.

The condition called “kernel panic” is usually Mac’s version of the BSOD. This occurs when your Mac experiences an issue so severe that it can no longer run. In this case, you’ll get a dark gray screen with the message “You need to restart your computer.”

In either case, these “screens of death” are the most common ways on how to tell if your hard drive crashed. You should shut down your computer completely to avoid making the damage worse.

Don’t Power On Your Computer Immediately After

If you’re like 30% of computer users who don’t have data back-ups, you’re likely itching to turn your device back on. However, if your hard drive crashed partially, powering it back on will cause even more damage.

So, before you turn your PC or Mac on, consider speaking with a data recovery specialist first. They may still be able to retrieve some of your important files in the crashed drive.

Do Think Of What Happened Prior to the Crash

If you’re lucky, your hard drive woes may only be due to a disconnected hard drive cable. This can happen if you move your CPU or if you accidentally bump it against something. In this case, your computer simply won’t be able to detect the drive while it boots up.

You can try checking the interior components of your CPU by opening its case. Be sure, however, that you do this in a very clean and sanitary environment. This way, you can prevent dust and debris from getting into the case as you check the hard drive cables.

If none of these happened before the crash, then it’s more likely that you have a damaged hard drive.

Don’t Be So Quick To Format the Drive

When your hard drive fails, your computer may recommend formatting it. You may get a message asking for your permission to format the drive. Don’t do it, unless you’re 100% sure that you have the most recent back-up of all your files.

Otherwise, you’ll lose all your files once your device has formatted the drive. You will no longer be able to recover any of these overwritten or deleted files.

Do Invest in a Longer-Lasting Drive With a Bigger Capacity

If your hard drive is dead and you’ve recovered as much as you can from it, there’s nothing else left to do except replace it. Since you’re getting a new drive, then do invest whatever you can on getting a high-capacity device.

First, consider how much storage space you need — new hard drives offer up to 4TB of storage space. Second, read reviews about hard drives that have a low failure rate. The last thing you want is to spend money on a 4TB drive that will fail in its first year.

Take Better Care of Your New Hard Drive

After you suffer a complete hard drive crash, you should take better care of your new one. Avoid overloading it by moving some of your files to an external hard drive. Use your external hard drive and the cloud to store your data back-ups too.

This way, once you start having hard drive problems again, you don’t have to worry about losing data.

Ready to for more techy, geeky guides like this? Then feel free to check out the other posts under the Editorials and Platform sections!

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The Near Future of Artificial Intelligence (The Road to Super Intelligent Apps and Machines)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay. The AI revolution is changing lives but scaring millions. AIs are already everywhere, supporting the human mind in the pursuit to make the world better and our way of life even easier.

They’re in your phones and favorite apps, helping you stay connected and do what you do best in the shortest possible time. And they’re doing a better job than anything else could.

The opportunities are endless and uncertain. Human development cannot be stopped. The future can only be better but with lots of questions.

I am no expert in artificial intelligence. But the rise of super intelligent machine and software is upon us and I am just as curious as you are about what AI can (and will ultimately) do. The future of AI is bright but frightening.

Technology giants are cashing in on the next big thing. Mark Zuckerberg made a $2 billion bet on Oculus Rift (a virtual-reality headset) in 2014. And Facebook has over 50-person AI lab. Google wants a breakthrough in AI that could change history, hence the acquisition of the DeepMind team last year. Google’s DeepMind defeated legendary Go (an ancient Chinese board game that has long been considered one of the great challenges faced by AI) player Lee Se-dol in historic victory earlier this month. IBM has bet billions on the success of Watson, its Jeopardy question-answering supercomputer.

Meanwhile, a russian millionaire is exploring ways to upload the human brain to a computer. “The ultimate goal of my plan is to transfer someone’s personality into a completely new body,” he says.

“Within the next 30 years,” promises Dmitry Itskov, “I am going to make sure that we can all live forever.”

Elsewhere, Elon Musk wants to start selling self-driving cars next year. His company, Tesla and other car manufacturers like Honda, Nissan, Ford and more are testing semi-autonomous cars. Even Uber is seeking to buy self-driving cars.

Musk’s Tesla Motors assembly plant is powered by lots of intelligent machines. Tesla is reinventing the American auto industry. And don’t forget Musk has been sending rockets to space for sometime now. His SpaceX company has partnered with NASA to explore reusable rockets.

Richard Branson has not given up on getting millionaires to other planets as tourists after that fatal accident. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is also exploring spaceflight technology. Billionaires are now counting on super machines to do things humans could only think of as of the seventeenth century.

It’s Musk, again. He wants to build Hyperloops that will make it possible to work at the far east of the US and still be able to live at the far west. He is already considering designs.

MIT student engineers won a competition to transform Musk’s idea into a design for a Hyperloop to move pods of people at high speed.

The Hyperloop is a high-speed ground transport concept proposed by Musk to transport “pods” of 20 to 30 people through a 12-foot diameter tube at speeds of roughly 700mph (1,127km/h). How cool is that?

In other news, Google has fallen out of love with robots. Alphabet, the parent company is trying to sell Boston Dynamics, the high-profile robotics startup it bought in late 2013.

With all the hype, AI is still in infancy. There is still a lot to explore and experiment. But the rate of technological impact in recent times means that humans are closer to getting machines to do our current jobs.

Employees in big companies don’t like that. Actually, nobody is secured about their jobs. Robots are eating jobs. But most businesses value profits more than anything. And they will do everything in their power to reduce their reliance on humans to do routine jobs.

Robots are now becoming supremely capable in medical diagnosis, manufacturing, assembly, packing and packaging, surgery, weaponry, research and more. Are we headed into a jobless future?

What AI apps are already doing

You are probably using a lot of AI apps. Facebook uses AI to make sure your newsfeed is exactly what you want. Apple’s Siri uses AI to learn your voice and to translate your vocal requests into search, search them, and provide you an answer.

Google’s search function enables you to find what you’re looking for. Microsoft’s Cortana helps you get things done by letting your PC and smartphone work together.

Apps like GetYana, Tempo, Microsoft Fetch, Blippar, Bernie, Virtual Talk, Snips, Alice and a lot more are using artificial intelligence in one way or the other to help people get the right information and service they want.

What will AI apps do in the future?

Smartphones are still not very helpful at getting us information or data based on what we are already doing. We still have to touch a lot of apps and buttons to access exactly what we want. With all the power in our hands, we should be doing better.

AI apps of the near future will practically blow your mind. Based on what innovators are experimenting and exploring, your smartphone promises to be the best mobile super computer you can ever own.

You will be able to download advanced AI apps like other apps int the future. And they will possibly spread out into other devices and computers you permit them to. Even your walls, clothes, office, car, luggage. Internet of Things (IoT) will be a lot more beneficial and interesting tomorrow or the next decade.

AI apps will be able to not only read your email and write responses but they could go through them, find you what matters and what doesn’t, monitor which ones were read and report back to you.They will log on to all your apps, using your passwords, check updates, respond to them.

They will even change your passwords if they are compromised without your knowledge. And if you are worried about big brother watching you, you AI apps will handle your encryptions and keep your data private.

Reading news and summarising them for you will be basic. You won’t even have to flip through all those news apps you have installed.

Investing will solely be done by intelligent apps that will be made public. You won’t have to study the stock market and trends. You will be able to assign research tasks to machines whiles your AI apps take care of where to invest your money.

AI investment apps will know when to exactly pull out of a deal and when to cash in. They will give you reasons why those stock options are best for you based on your age and interests.  Technology-driven brokerage will operate with significantly less overhead.

AI apps will soon file your tax returns like humans. Your accountants will be very worried, but you will choose machines over them.

The combination of super intelligent computers, intelligent software, and APIs will open up new opportunities for even smarter apps that will be able to do a lot more than we will be able to imagine.

As impressive as the AI powered suggestions for replies to your emails are, they’re just not very useful yet. The likes of Siri, Google Voice, Cortana and Robin have a lot to learn.

What will you do with all the free time on your hands when machines are busy at work?

But there are downsides to a utopian world where machines and intelligent software rule and make lives better, faster and more efficient.

The big question is: why, then are humans interested in building machines whose intelligence will overwhelm us and even scare the hell out of us?

Humans evolve. That’s how we have come this far. The people of the fourteenth century will be amazed at what we have been able to accomplish today. It’s human nature to learn as much as we can and to build the best machines and tools we can.

And we will stop at nothing to do what we think it’s possible. Technologists, engineers and innovators are in business to build the most potent machines they can, not to worry about consequences, at the moment.

The basics of life like awesome cars, fast trains and aeroplanes, super computers, smartphones etc are all innovations that have changed how we work. But we want more than that. We are not impressed. Every generation expects more. We thrive on improved technology.

Are we there wet?

AI today is nowhere near understanding the human mind, yet. There is still a lot to do and comprehend. But the good and scary news is that corporate giants are investing billions of dollars into super computers, robotics, Internet of Things etc.

It’s a race of the giants. The more we learn, the more carefully, critically and intelligently we can observe what AI can do and the limits we need to overcome.

Geoffrey Hinton, an artificial intelligence (AI) expert and Google AI ‘godfather’ believes machines could match human abilities in five years.

On whether people should fear AI, he said in an interview with Macleans off the back of Google DeepMind’s victory against AlphaGo:

“Any new technology, if it’s used by evil people, bad things can happen,” said Hinton. “But that’s more a question of the politics of the technology.”

He continued: “The main thing shouldn’t be, how do we cripple this technology so it can’t be harmful, it should be, how do we improve our political system so people can’t use it for bad purposes?”

The risks of AI are real. Can we handle it?

Dr. Joscha Bach of the MIT Media Lab and Harvard Program for Evolutionary Dynamics says:

“The risks brought about by near-term AI may turn out to be the same risks that are already inherent in our society. Automation through AI will increase productivity, but won’t improve our living conditions if we don’t move away from a labor/wage based economy.

It may also speed up pollution and resource exhaustion, if we don’t manage to install meaningful regulations. Even in the long run, making AI safe for humanity may turn out to be the same as making our society safe for humanity.”

Technologists, innovators and engineers will continue to do everything they can to get machines as intelligent as possible. But no artificial mind will ever come close to the human mind. No computer will ever feel anything like we do. Software can only simulate feeling.

The human mind is no static, rational machine. Feeling and consciousness can only happen (so far as we know now) to organic beings and animals. It can’t be produced, no matter what, by mere software on a computer.

Our machines are here to serve us but will they take over our lives? Will our robots outthink us and even harm us?

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