Analytics & Data Healthcare

Self-Tracked Consumers Can Steer Health Decisions with Data

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

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

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

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

Analytics & Data Global Tech

In Future, Data May Help Predict Even Wars

Amazon predicts what you want to buy, political pundits predict who you'll vote for, search engines predict what you're looking for. And now researchers and social scientists are looking to similar techniques to predict mass violence and atrocities like war, civil unrest, and genocide. The "GDELT" Project (Global Database of Events, Language and Tone), created at Georgetown University, is updated every morning and catalogs more than a quarter billion event records from across the globe since 1979. The hope is that by mapping and tracking human societal-scale behaviors and beliefs we can learn from the past and better forecast the future.   More

Analytics & Data

Nate Silver Is Not the Only Useful Pundit

Data is nothing new. We at Techonomy get excited because there is now more of it, in more massageable forms, which will likely assist society in adding efficiency to all sorts of processes and systems that have heretofore been sloppy or unfair. However, we don't worship at the foot of data, especially not at the cost of deprecating other forms of analysis and interpretation. Which is why we found this essay by the redoubtable Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic gratifying. We admire Nate Silver's election work as much as the next citizen, but I and we agree with Wieseltier that thinking and arguing based on experience and values can be equally, and sometimes more, valuable.   More

Analytics & Data Bio & Life Sciences

How IBM’s Watson Will Advise Oncologists on Patient Care

Scientists at the New York Genome Center announced Wednesday that they would collaborate with IBM to test "a unique Watson prototype designed specifically for genomic research" that has been under development for the past decade in IBM’s Computational Biology Center at IBM Research. Will oncologists trust IBM Watson's cognitive abilities enough to rely on it as an advisor? It's likely they will if the supercomputer proves it can produce in seconds actionable information about an individual's cancer that would take a dozen doctors weeks or months to discover.   More

Analytics & Data

Tableau Applies Gaming Power to Big Data

Tableau Software might be the biggest big data company you’ve never heard of. The lovechild of a Pixar founder and a Stanford University-Department of Defense project, the 10-year-old Seattle-based company applies the computational tools of the gaming and movie industries to presenting business analytics in beautiful, accessible graphic images. Now worth more than $6 billion in market capitalization, Tableau competes with the likes of Oracle and IBM, serves a hefty share of Fortune 500s, and nearly doubled sales in 2013, the year it went public.   More

Analytics & Data Cities

“Blexts” Enable a Quantified Blight Movement in Detroit

When Dan Gilbert told the Techonomy Detroit audience last September that the wrecking ball was the next step to reviving the Motor City, we quipped that demolition didn't seem like such a techonomic concept. It turns out technology will even expedite the process of razing some 80,000 dilapidated buildings. NPR reports this week that an army of "blexters," enabled by tablet computers and "blight texting" tools, is creating digital maps and a database of every structure across Detroit's 139 square miles.   More

Analytics & Data Partner Insights

How Do Consumers Want to Be Persuaded?

Persuasion has been a cornerstone of education and business since ancient Egypt. Through the centuries, those who skillfully brought audiences to their own position were seen as wise scholars and merchants. Usually, they were well rewarded. But global access to the Internet has created a virtual landscape where persuasion is open-sourced and citizens and consumers are overloaded with information.   More

Analytics & Data Business

How Data Will Drive Business Strategy in 2014

Among all the recent year-end roundups and summaries was a surprising piece of business news. Blockbuster, the last surviving sentinel of the video rental industry announced that it would close its remaining 300 or so company owned stores across the United States. Many have been quick to credit Netflix with the decline of the once formidable Blockbuster. The case of Netflix versus Blockbuster shows that disrupting an entrenched industry requires much more than competitive pricing and improved service: it requires a complete reorientation of business strategy based on a more thoughtful use and understanding of data.   More

Analytics & Data Internet of Things

The Internet of Infants

The convergence of faster and less expensive bandwidth, cheaper storage, data and analytics, and advancements in sensor technology has enabled rapid growth of the Internet of Everything. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show it seemed that every booth featured some type of wearable or connected device. One company, SensibleParent, is building a sensor that attaches to your sleeping newborn via a customized onesie that monitors and reports ambient temperature, movement, and even your baby’s position (face up or down) to your network-connected smartphone or tablet.   More

Analytics & Data E-Commerce Partner Insights

How Businesses Get ROI from Social Sharing

Social-media-savvy businesses are turning their best customers into direct sales forces online. By leveraging the social networks of their biggest brand advocates, retailers can extend the reach of their product promotions. It’s word-of-mouth advertising at a massive scale. Some companies have been using this “social sharing” approach for several years to build brand awareness and drive sales. Until lately, though, such initiatives were hampered by unsophisticated methods for managing and engaging customers as well as tracking return on investment. Now, new tools and apps are available to develop a smart social sharing strategy that enhances customer experience while providing true ROI data based on sales conversions.   More

Analytics & Data Bio & Life Sciences Business

23andMe’s FDA Battle Provokes Furious Debate

Medical researchers, genomics experts, and industry pundits took wildly divergent points of view in a media storm that erupted last week over FDA’s stern letter ordering 23andMe to stop marketing its Personal Genome Service. The agency cited concerns about “the public health consequences of inaccurate results.” Others say public access to genomic information is just the beginning of ongoing disruption in healthcare.   More