Government Techonomy Events

TE Videos Set Stage for Policy Conference in DC June 9

In June we’re launching a new conference, Techonomy Policy. It will focus on the pressure and friction points created when the speed of tech butts up against the ability of government, governance, regulators, and institutions in general to keep up. We’re trying to regulate things that are completely new, be it the technology itself or the applications it enables. And by the time we start thinking about implications, it’s already too late. Can policy become less reactive and more proactive? And how do you navigate such ethically and politically complex issues with huge economic, social, and moral implications?   More

Government

The Peculiar Charms (and Perils) of Electronic Voting

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It’s remarkable that in a world where it seems everything is becoming more digitized most of the globe still elects their political leaders with pencil and paper. Only a peculiarly-diverse handful of countries—including Belgium, Brazil, India, and Venezuela—use electronic voting machines nationwide. (The U.S. and other countries use them in some areas.) What these countries have discovered is that when you have a robust system the cost of elections falls, people’s votes count more, fraud is cut, and the results are known faster. And, rather extraordinarily, replacing paper with machines can change societies in ways that save lives.   More

Learning

How Tech Fights Problems Caused by Tech

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We live in a time of increasingly obsessive worry that our lives are being worsened by the tech that surrounds us. We are sacrificing our privacy, we hear, as we dwell online. We don't spend enough time with real people and too much instead in virtual interaction. We suffer from shortening attention spans. And on and on. However, there are likely to be endless ways to employ tech to combat the effects of tech that we decide we really do not like. This article in The Chronicle of Higher Education is about tools to reduce distraction while taking online courses. It points toward what's possible. Careful research on students showed that using software to give them incentives not to stop studying really worked.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Could a Microbe Transplant Make You Thinner? (And Other Amazing Things About Bacteria and Antibiotics)

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We are in the earliest days of understanding the human microbiome—the communities of microbes that live in and on our bodies—but already scientists are getting a sense of the incredible complexity of this ecosystem and its interaction with us. These advances were made possible just in the past decade by the latest DNA sequencers and other technologies that can scan and analyze huge numbers of microbes at a time. This understanding may enable radical new techniques for weight control, among other revolutionary implications.   More

Learning

Robots for All

(Image via Leesburg Today)

“Most robotics kits are hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so we wanted to give kids who don’t have that kind of money a chance build their own robots,” Ritvik Jayakumar tells Leesburg Today. The really cool part? Jayakumar isn’t a Silicon Valley whiz (yet) or a crowd-funded entrepreneur (yet). He’s one of nine Ashburn, Virginia, middle-school students on “Team Gear UP!” competing at the FIRST Championship taking place this week in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the program’s elements tasked teams to come up with an innovative solution to improve learning around the world, and before the team knew it, the Craft-A-Bot kit was born.   More

Global Tech Learning

Educators Unite to Build Vietnam’s Tech Talent

Vietnamese student learns game design. (Photo courtesy of Everest Education, Ho Chi Minh City)

Vietnam’s tech industry is booming. For growth to continue, however, Vietnam must cultivate an increasingly skilled tech workforce and develop new capabilities in research, problem solving, and client service. But building such capabilities requires a major mindset shift at educational institutions, which typically emphasize rote learning over problem solving. Such a change will also challenge companies that opt for rigid hierarchy over the flatter structures that encourage creativity and initiative. To overcome these challenges, many Vietnamese tech companies are partnering with educators, NGOs, and government agencies. Although some companies still think of Vietnam as simply a place for cheap labor, the forward-thinking ones know the country has deeper potential.   More

Mobile

What Is MVNO Anyway? Google It …

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As anticipation grows around the impending launch of Google’s MVNO service (Mobile Virtual Network Operator, for those of us not in the traditional telecom industry), I think back to the Techonomy session "A Future Without Industries." Google was once easily defined by their core search-engine product, but with its expansion into everything from robotics to glucose-monitoring contact lenses to connected thermostats, it’s hard to put Google into any one box. This isn’t Google’s first connectivity project. Their Google Fiber initiative is looking to redefine Internet and TV in the home.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Techonomy Events Video

Great Short “Bio” Videos from Techonomy’s Chief Program Officer

As we wrapped our second Techonomy Bio conference a couple of weeks ago, it got me thinking about how many interesting “bio” related 180s we've produced in recent years. Our “180° Talks” are three-minute presentations in which the speaker aims to change the audience’s mind about a generally accepted paradigm, or tells us about something they’ve reversed their thinking about. My all time favourite is from Techonomy 2011. Andrew Hessel, then at Singularity University and now at Autodesk, spoke about biotech, procreation, computer-assisted genetic design, and his decision to get a vasectomy.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Your Next Prescription Could Be a Genome Sequence

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At Advances in Genome Biology and Technology, a conference for genomic scientists held earlier this year, one speaker told attendees that the use of genome sequencing to improve patient care is no longer a far-off goal—it’s happening today. While you won’t encounter genome sequencing on an average visit to the ER, there are certain clinical areas where this technology has indeed become routine: cancer, pediatric care, the diagnosis and treatment of ultra rare diseases, and a few others.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare Techonomy Events

How Techonomy Bio Inspired My Southeast Asian Healthcare Journey

A sign for a Thai pharmacy. (Photo by Will Greene)

Last year, I watched the inaugural Techonomy Bio conference from a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. At the time, I was working on my first healthcare consulting project—a market research study for German medical device manufacturers interested in Vietnam. I spent my days interviewing suppliers, distributors, purchasers, regulators, and other stakeholders, trying to make sense of the snarled Vietnamese healthcare system. Due to the time difference between Vietnam and America, I couldn’t catch the live webcast of the conference, but in the week after the event, I ended each day by kicking up my feet and watching video footage of the 2014 conference sessions on my laptop. Watching those videos hammered home the fact that in both developed and developing countries, much of modern healthcare is fundamentally broken.   More

Jobs Learning

Augmented Reality: Enabling Learning Through Rich Context

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In his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” Neal Stephenson envisioned the Metaverse: a three-dimensional manifestation of the Internet in which people interact and collaborate via digitally-constructed avatars. In the decades since, technology has advanced to the point where such a place no longer seems like science fiction. Stephenson’s Metaverse is a virtual reality space, a completely immersive computer-generated experience whose users have minimal ability to interact with the real world. In contrast to this fictional vision is today’s burgeoning field of augmented reality (AR), a technology that superimposes visual information or other data in front of one’s view of the real world.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Beijing Cracks Down on Video and E-Commerce

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It seems like I write about the latest Internet crackdown far too often these days, as Beijing focuses on a wide range of industries where it wants to clean up what it sees as unhealthy business practices. Another two such crackdowns are in the headlines as we head into spring, one in the scandal-wracked e-commerce space and the other in online video. Both crackdowns actually began earlier, and these latest moves just show the regulators don’t feel that their job is finished yet.   More

Business

Why Starbucks Should Be Talking About Race

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Starbucks is in the crosshairs. How dare it ask its employees, customers, and America to discuss the role of race and racism in American society? The company recently began a project it calls "Race Together," in partnership with USA Today, aiming to begin a lengthy process of discussion and reflection on the inequities and distortions in American society, and even in the minds of all of us. What right does it have to do that? Hypocrisy! cry the critics. The pushback has been brutal, especially on Twitter, where extended and respectful discussion is almost impossible. Starbucks is being wrongly vilified. Why is it so hard for all these cavilers to accept the possibility that the company realizes its employment numbers are unequal and inappropriate, by any impartial moral standard?   More

Bio & Life Sciences Techonomy Events

Meat Without Animals and Sequencing the Planet at Techonomy Bio

(Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

The over 200 people who descended on the Computer History Museum in the heart of Silicon Valley last week for the second annual Techonomy Bio event learned we were heading toward growing meat, cell phones, and houses. They learned as well that we are in a renaissance of progress in human health. But they also heard thoughts on why we have more allergies and worries about how the public thinks about science. The daylong program ranged from stem cells and bio-architecture to venture capital and public opinion about science, but the common thread was the intersection of progress in the dual realms of life science and information technology. As speakers noted throughout the day, the intersection of big data and biology has helped create a field ripe for breakthroughs.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Partner Insights Techonomy Events

Five Points to Improve Public Discourse on Science

At Techonomy Bio 2015, attendees watch panelists (from left) Theral Timpson, Erika Check Hayden, Kristen Bole, Ryan Bethencourt, and Ellen Jorgensen speak at a session entitled "Science, Fear, and the Communication Game." (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

Innovation in science and technology is moving at an unprecedented pace. Five years ago, how many of us had conceived of bones that grow themselves, self-driving cars, or "mental prosthetics"? These advancements bring tremendous promise, but many also bring daunting potential threats. Questions about unethical use, accidents, privacy/security breaches, and safety all rightly raise concern. But clear, open-minded public debate around technological and scientific topics is sorely lacking. Large gaps in knowledge and unchecked emotions are keeping us from rational conversations about merits and risks.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Techonomy Events

As Consumers Access Health Data, a New Market Emerges

From left, Stephanie Lee, Jennifer Tye, Walter De Brouwer, Ajay Royyuru, and Steve Axelrod. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

Whether by gathering data from your gut, your womb, or your head, new digital devices are designed to track wellness in ways that could transform how individuals manage their own health. Four leaders of the emerging “Internet of Bio Things” market joined Buzzfeed News reporter Stephanie Lee on stage at Techonomy Bio 2015 for a discussion about how they aim to improve consumer access to health data, and what will render that data more than just a curiosity, and truly useful.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Techonomy Events

Marc Benioff and Gates Foundation’s Desmond-Hellmann Agree: Digital Health So Far Is Pitiful

Marc Benioff and Sue Desmond-Hellman appear onstage together at Techonomy Bio 2015. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

For an onstage conversation at Techonomy Bio 2015 about how science is advancing human progress around the world and where the greatest challenges still remain, Susan Desmond-Hellmann and Marc Benioff might seem an unlikely pair. She’s an oncologist accomplished in biotech, academia, and, now, the nonprofit sector as CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Benioff is chairman of the customer relationship management software company Salesforce.com. But, as the two agreed here on Wednesday, more crossover between his sector—information technology—and hers—healthcare—are exactly what’s needed for great leaps forward in life sciences.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Techonomy Events

Predicting a Future Where Products Are Parented

From left, David Kirkpatrick, Chris Waller, David Glazer, Steve Jurvetson, and Drew Endy. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

Waving his smartphone at the audience, Stanford bioengineer Drew Endy said, “I’m trying to grow one of these.” Let the day of mindblowing conversations about the future of biology begin. Endy joined Google Director of Engineering David Glazer, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, and Merck Director of Scientific Modeling Platforms Chris Waller for the TE Bio 15 opening panel, “You Say You Want a Revolution.” Techonomy CEO David Kirkpatrick moderated the discussion about how innovations at the intersection of IT and biology will transform industries and products beyond life sciences.   More

Techonomy Events

Techonomy Bio 2015 Live Webcast

Techonomy Bio is a big-picture exploration of the transformative global social and economic benefits driven by the rapid advances being made in the biological and life sciences. Powered by IT developments and spurred on by new collaborative and open-source thinking, these advances affect everything from manufacturing to medicine, food to fuel and business to buildings. We […]   More

Global Tech

Smart Car Race Speeds Up in China

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China is quickly living up to its copycat reputation in the smart car space, with the latest word that Tencent will enter the business in a tie-up with Taiwanese contract manufacturing giant Foxconn. That pair are following Google into the area, but they certainly aren’t the first Chinese to mimic the world’s largest Internet company. That distinction would probably go to Chinese Internet search leader Baidu, which last year announced its own smart car initiative that was also back in the headlines this week as CEO Robin Li discussed the plan. Yet another similar initiative is also in the headlines today, as online video sensation LeTV discussed its own plans to show off its first smart car at the Shanghai auto show next month. This kind of copycatting and bandwagon mentality has become all too common among China’s Internet companies, who all worry about getting left behind by the competition.   More