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

E-Commerce Global Tech

The Vast Implications of the Networked Economy

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Connections are changing the world. The connectivity enabled by the Internet has huge implications for the very structure of the global economy. While estimates of the Net's contribution to economic output vary, it's generally thought that it exceeds individual industry sectors like education, agriculture, and energy. The total value of transactions occurring today online are more than all but three or four of the world's largest national economies. In the past few years, many governments have recognized that there are momentous opportunities to increase their own GDP growth through e-commerce and digital channels, despite the economically challenging times. Data, it is generally agreed, is central to everything.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Next Week’s Techonomy Bio: A Focus on Systems of Life

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At last year's Techonomy Bio, we put venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson on a panel of investors. In his enthusiasm for the unbridled potential of innovation in the life sciences to transform society, Jurvetson at one point said "we're sitting on a can of miracles." Why a can? He did not say, but his observation became a kind of touchstone for us at Techonomy for why we continue to build this event. "Sitting on a Can of Miracles" is what we're calling this year's session on investing in bio-progress. Jurvetson himself we have promoted to our opening panel, which our Director of Programs Alex Cudaback christened "You Say You Want a Revolution?" Here we ask where we'll see the most impact from life sciences innovation, and how information technology is driving bio-progress.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Startup Culture

The New Biohackers: How (and Where) They Work

Larry Melnick, left, and Andy Berks chat over lunch in the common kitchen area of Brooklyn-based community biolab Genspace. (Image via Ellen Jorgensen)

In a laboratory in New York City, molecular biologist Roy Buchanan is finishing up at the bench for the day. It is eight o’clock in the evening, and while late night work is a familiar scenario for most scientists, the presence of Buchanan’s two young sons playing a game in the common area outside the lab is not. “My wife let me work on this project only if I promised to continue sharing the child care responsibilities,” he explains. A computer programmer by day, Buchanan pursues a self-funded genome editing project in his spare time, enabled by the shared facilities and low price point of Genspace, a community biolab in Brooklyn. Buchanan is not alone. The economic downturn has resulted in a surfeit of unemployed and underemployed scientific experts itching to get back into the lab and flex their underused intellectual muscles.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

A Glowing Plant: the First Fruit of “Digitized” Genetic Engineering

(Image via Glowing Plant)

Synthetic biology is entering an exciting new phase. An ecosystem of companies is now developing services to enable faster, cheaper, and better genetic engineering. They are, in effect, "digitizing" genetic engineering through relatively inexpensive cloud-based and robotic laboratories that bring capabilities that were once the exclusive domain of large corporations to academic groups and small startups. To use an old computing analogy, this is biotech’s PC moment: Digitization allows those without technical expertise to operate at higher, more abstract levels. The digital keys to synthetic biology—reproducibility and protocol sharing—could make biological apps as easy to develop as mobile apps are today.   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

Global Tech Learning

Emerging Market Medical Education Goes Digital

HIV specialists in Vietnam use video conferencing to train local health workers. Photo courtesy of HAIVN.

A shortage of skilled health workers is an acute and ongoing problem in many emerging markets. Weak medical education systems bear a major part of the blame. But a big opportunity for rapid progress has emerged as online medical education becomes increasingly common. Doctors and nurses in even the poorest countries can now get better training.   More

Global Tech

Why the “Luxury” of Apple’s Watch Is Beside the Point

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After putting down yet another slavishly admiring profile of top Apple designer Jony Ive this weekend in the egregiously-named "How to Spend It" magazine published by the Financial Times, I had a nagging sense that something was wrong. Of course, like all the strategically placed articles about Ive in recent weeks, this one was yet another indirect attempt by Apple to create a slavishly admiring article about the incipient Apple Watch. The Watch, Apple is desperate to let us know, is imminent, and we ought to care. But what is it, exactly, that Apple is telling us we ought to care about?   More