Analytics & Data Global Tech

How Tech Is Helping Relief Efforts in Nepal

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As Nepal faces the aftermath of April’s devastating earthquake that claimed over 7,500 lives, technologies like drones, people finders, and crowdsourcing platforms are playing a role in disaster relief. Drones, so often associated with the violence of military warfare, are contributing to emergency-response efforts in Nepal by videoing and mapping the disaster zone. Using thermal sensors and ultra-zoom lenses, camera-equipped drones scan the wreckage and identify survivors. And soon, unmanned aerial vehicles might also be able to deliver critical medical supplies, food, and water to hard-to-reach areas.   More

Analytics & Data Bio & Life Sciences

How to Get and Protect Your Genetic Data

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Maybe it was the Jolie effect. Or you want to find out if you’re carrying a silent genetic mutation that could be passed on to a child. Or perhaps you’re just really hoping you can blame your DNA for how awful cilantro tastes. Whatever the reason, you’re interested in finding out something about your genome. Now what? Though consumer genetic testing and personal genome sequencing are still nascent fields, every indication suggests that the public will have a virtually insatiable appetite for genetic data. And as scientists get better at establishing links between DNA and diseases or specific traits, that demand will only increase. But are we ready for this data?   More

Analytics & Data

How Smart Data Can Develop Socially Conscious Brands

A collaboration between Intel and Not Impossible Labs has brought 3-D printed prosthetics to war-torn South Sudan. (Image: Not Impossible Labs)

“Big Data” and “Social Good” may be the yin and yang of tomorrow’s most successful brands. Both are recognized as important components of contemporary marketing strategy, yet they are not typically thought of as bedmates. That is changing. The growing expectation that brands make meaningful contributions to the world pressures marketers to find profitable ways to do good.   More

Analytics & Data

Did Crummy Weather Tech Force the Politicians’ Blizzard Error?

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Could better technology have prevented today's shocking decision-making blunder by Governor Andrew Cuomo and other political officials about winter storm Juno that led to a total economic shutdown across the Northeast United States? Weather prediction technology in the United States is dangerously antiquated. And overly-timid U.S. governmental spending and political considerations are preventing the system from remaining state-of-the-art.   More

Analytics & Data Davos 2015

Davos 2015: GRI’s Michael Meehan on Why Data Disclosure Is Good for Business and Society

Global Reporting Initiative CEO Michael Meehan visits Hub Culture at the World Economic Forum Davos 2015. Meehan discusses how organizations view their obligation to collect and report data, and how they "communicate their commitment to important sustainability issues," such as human rights, labor conditions, and climate change.   More

Analytics & Data Partner Insights

How Tech Is Transforming Customer Experience

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Business is being reshaped by mobile, social, cloud, and big data, and so are customer expectations. Retailing, financial services, communications, travel, and customer service and technical support are feeling the effects most. They are all industries with particularly high customer engagement. Everything from client devices and applications to IT infrastructure and applications have altered how people learn about, evaluate, and buy things.   More

Analytics & Data Techonomy Events

Jaron Lanier Says Transparency Is the Path to a Sustainable Techonomy

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“Automation should not be an enemy of employment. It never was before. The only difference between now and the past is that now we’re pretending that people who do the real work are actually not,” said Jaron Lanier, explaining why he is concerned that the current high-tech economy is not on a sustainable path. In a talk at Techonomy 2014 in Half Moon Bay last week, the author, virtual reality guru, and tech consultant advocated for building a democratic and sustainable technologized economy.   More

Analytics & Data Global Tech

How the People Are Taking Over the World

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The tool that we most use is data itself. We start to think of ourselves as data vessels. We are data. A new philosophy (dataism) is emerging that says people become the data they use and the companies that make filters also become part of one big, non-linear, complex adaptive dataset. One day it will be self-organizing thanks to new mathematical approaches we will pluck out of machine learning.   More

Analytics & Data Media & Marketing

How Data Is Failing Marketers

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For decades, data has promised to revolutionize business, allowing marketers to become more customer-centric, develop more personal campaigns, and create more efficient processes. In the early 1990s, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers predicted the impact of data and the Internet, outlining the end of mass marketing and the dawning of a “one-to-one” age. But this glorious future remains a fantasy. Instead, companies spend less time than ever interacting directly with customers. Rather than offering an easy means of communicating with customers, data has encouraged us to chase quick wins and marginal gains in revenue.   More

Analytics & Data Manufacturing

Manufacturers Struggle to Turn Data Into Insight

While many types of factory equipment produce real-time production data, the data is short-lived and little-used. (Image from Sight Machine client site.)

Let’s tone down the hype about the Industrial Internet of Things. While the concept shows promise—building smart machines that use sensors and Internet connectivity to improve performance and catch problems—the far more pressing opportunity is learning to make better use of the mountains of data that factories already generate each year, data that manufacturers today often discard after a production run or store unexamined.   More

Analytics & Data Cities Techonomy Events

The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance

What is citizenship in the digital age? Policy experts Susan Crawford of Harvard University and Jennifer Bradley of the Brookings Institution discuss themes from Crawford’s new book about civic engagement, innovation, and the role of tech and the Internet for Detroit and other major cities.   More

Analytics & Data Cities Government

How Open Data Is Transforming City Life

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Start a business. Manage your power use. Find cheap rents, or avoid crime-ridden neighborhoods. Cities and their citizens worldwide are discovering the power of “open data”—public data and information available from government and other sources that can help solve civic problems and create new business opportunities. By opening up data about transportation, education, health care, and more, municipal governments are helping app developers, civil society organizations, and others to find innovative ways to tackle urban problems.   More

Analytics & Data Cities

Wisely Harnesses Spending for a Local Business Guide

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Like most people, you probably read online product and service reviews with a healthy grain of salt. But if users doubt the credibility of online recommendations, how can sites that curate them earn consumers’ trust and loyalty? Michigan-based Wisely set out to do precisely that when it created a new kind of local discovery app that gathers real transaction data from customers, such as how much they spend at a restaurant, instead of subjective information like customer reviews. We spoke with Wisely co-founder and CEO Mike Vichich about what Wisely does for small businesses, and why building an “awesome” Michigan starts in Detroit.   More

Analytics & Data Security & Privacy

Is Fighting Evil with Google a Good Thing?

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Google's code of conduct famously instructs its staff, board members, and contractors, "Don't be evil." Those who fail to follow the code are subject to disciplinary action and termination. Can the company extend the code to Gmail users? It already has. CBS News reports this week that Google informed the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a Gmail account holder in Texas "was allegedly sending explicit images of a young girl to a friend."   More

Analytics & Data Healthcare

Why Quantified Self Gear Will Go to Your Head

The iriverON headset monitors heart rate through the ears.

With your FitBit on your waistband and your smartwatch on your wrist, you might be wondering where else you can attach your quantified-self tools. Your ear is being considered as a worthy candidate. Steven LeBoeuf, president of Valencell, a wearable biometrics company, tells Technology Review that the ear is the next frontier for tracking heart rate, temperature, respiration rate, energy expenditure, oxygen consumption, calories burned, and other biological and physiological signals.   More

Analytics & Data Bio & Life Sciences

Who Owns Your Genetic Data? Hint: It’s Probably Not You

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As we move closer to an era when a sequence of every human genome is the norm, an important question looms: who will own this data? It seems intuitive to many of us that each person owns his or her genetic data and therefore should control access. But the reality is more complex. The concept of data ownership is so contentious in part because of its nature. Data moves, it morphs, and most of us can’t even say where it lives. (“The cloud” is not an answer.) For people who grew up thinking that possession is nine-tenths of the law, data is too slippery to fit into the usual framework.   More

Analytics & Data Healthcare

Self-Tracked Consumers Can Steer Health Decisions with Data

Shutterstock/Hasloo Group Production Studio

Most people want to control certain kinds of data. Consider banking information: you may share account access with a spouse, but beyond that, you won’t hand those reins to anybody. It’s not just high-security data, either. Who doesn’t know married couples who insist on separate Netflix accounts, so one person’s movie choices don’t mess up the other’s queue? But when it comes to our health information, it’s a different story. Why is it that with this data—the closest we are likely to come to having life-or-death information—we throw our hands in the air and hope medical professionals make the right choices?   More

Analytics & Data Internet of Things

The Quantified Farm: How Fields Yield Big Data

photo: The United Soybean Board

U.S. farmers working with a Minnesota company called Farm Intelligence have been harvesting more than corn and soybeans lately. Their fields, comprising about 1 million acres, have yielded close to a petabyte of data that they hope will inform smarter decisions throughout the growing season. Farm Intelligence CTO Steve Kickert tells Gigaom this week that his company "analyzes sensor data, data from other precision agriculture tools, aerial images, government data, and weather data to try and figure out what’s going on in the field." The tools provide early warnings of disease, pests, or other troubling crop conditions that farmers can act quickly on.   More

Analytics & Data Bio & Life Sciences

Forensics’ Next Frontier: Translating DNA into a Mug Shot

Claes P, Liberton DK, Daniels K, Rosana KM, Quillen EE, et al. (2014) Modeling 3D Facial Shape from DNA. PLoS Genet 10(3): e1004224. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004224

Anthropological genomics researcher Mark Shriver at Penn State has teamed up with scientists in the university's forensics department to leverage big data, DNA, and 3D imaging to translate a drop of blood into a facial recognition tool. Shriver's lab conducts various studies using a method known as "admixture mapping," which helps them identify ancestral genes linked to facial traits, combined with population genomics to understand those genes' evolutionary histories.   More

Analytics & Data Internet of Things Manufacturing

Techonomic Top 5: Predicting War with Data, Biological Manufacturing, the IOE Economy, and more

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Every week we spotlight techonomic happenings on the Web and beyond, picking people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech’s ever-growing role in business and society. Here’s what’s got our attention.   More