Analytics & Data Techonomy Events

Jaron Lanier Says Transparency Is the Path to a Sustainable Techonomy

“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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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