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

Business Techonomy Events

Jaron Lanier on Why Wealth Concentration Among the Few Is Unsustainable

Technologist and author Jaron Lanier wants to reframe the debate about income inequality, starting with semantics. He takes exception to the notion that income equality would ever be a good thing. “To really make incomes equal, there would have to be some sort of force that would pound people down and say, We will all be equal!” said Lanier during a talk at Techonomy 2014 in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Rather, Lanier sees inequality as an inherent dimension of a market economy, noting that “any world of freedom is going to create variation of outcomes.” The problem, however, lies in how these outcomes are spread across society.   More

Business Keen On Startup Culture

KeenON: SAP’s Bill McDermott Seeks Startup Mentality in the Corner Office

As the CEO of the business software giant SAP, Bill McDermott is self-evidently a winner. But it wasn’t also that way. Born into a humble Long Island family, McDermott is a self-made man whose journey from corner store to corner office is chronicled in his new book "Winners Dream." So is that journey from underdog to top dog still possible in today’s world? Yes, McDermott says.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Are 23andMe Customers Suckers or Empowered Consumers?

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Direct-to-consumer genomics company 23andMe announced two research partnerships with pharmaceutical companies earlier this month. Since then, a lot of pundits have sounded positively appalled by the development. It reminds me of that great scene in "Casablanca" when Captain Renault says, “I’m shocked—shocked—to find that gambling is going on in here!” as he collects his own winnings.   More

Analytics & Data

Did Crummy Weather Tech Force the Politicians’ Blizzard Error?

(Image via Shutterstock)

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

Internet of Things Techonomy Events

Ford’s Ken Washington on the Evolution of Mobility

Young people aren’t the only ones who are starting to think in new ways about car ownership and how they get around. According to Ken Washington, VP of research and advanced engineering at Ford, “the population boom that is happening in mega-cities is leading us to think about mobility differently.” Moving from point A to point B depends increasingly on context, Washington explained during a Techonomy 2014 discussion entitled “Man, Machine, and How the Future Works.”   More

Global Tech

Apple’s New Security Concessions to Beijing

The Apple store in Beijing (image via Shutterstock)

Apple is deepening its uneasy embrace of Beijing security officials, with word that it has agreed to allow security audits for products that it sells in China. This latest development comes less than a year after Apple took the unusual step of moving some of the user information it collects to China-based servers, which was also aimed at placating security-conscious regulators in Beijing.   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

E-Commerce Finance

In Pursuit of Crypto 2.0: The Coming Era of the Blockchain

(Image via Shutterstock)

What should we make of Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies these days? The world’s preeminent cryptocurrency ended 2013 riding high, with supporters proclaiming that it was destined to revolutionize the global financial system. But 2014 turned into a roller coaster ride, prompting some watchers to question both BTC’s market maturity and overall potential. Last year, BTC experienced a 67 percent drop in value ($951.39 to $309.87). That prompted many articles that reflected poorly on the industry, such as by focusing on the Mt. Gox collapse. But despite the setbacks, many cryptocurrency advocates remain bullish about BTC’s future, and their optimism should not be quickly dismissed.   More

Davos 2015

Davos 2015: Physicist Lawrence Krauss on the Future of Space Exploration

Author and Arizona State University physicist Lawrence Krauss visits Hub Culture at the World Economic Forum Davos 2015. Krauss shares his thoughts on the future of space exploration and the role of robots.   More

Techonomy Events

Ford’s Ken Washington: Autonomous Vehicles Aren’t About to Drive Off Without Us

Do intelligent machines threaten to not only to steal our jobs, but to rob us of the pleasure of driving? Ford VP of Research and Advanced Engineering Ken Washington says that while “technologies are maturing at an unprecedented pace,” robots won’t be coming for our jobs, or for our steering wheels, any time soon. With the emergence of the Internet of Things and sensor technology, “autonomous capabilities are no longer just things of science fiction,” says Washington. However, he adds, “this notion that one day your’e going to wake up and go the dealer and buy an autonomous car is flawed.”   More

Davos 2015

Davos 2015: Harvard’s Joseph Nye on China Relations

Professor Joseph Nye shares his thoughts on China with Hub Culture at the World Economic Forum Davos 2015. Externally, Chinese relations with its neighbors have improved, says Nye. Internally, the atmosphere is still tense, with citizens being mindful of what they say.   More

Media & Marketing Techonomy Events

KeenON: Coca-Cola’s CTO on How Social Drives Customer Service

So is Coca-Cola a tech company? Of course not, most people would say. But as the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer Guy Wollaert confessed, the future will be shaped by today’s new technologies, especially digital technology. That’s why Wollaert both attended and spoke at the Techonomy 2014 conference in Half Moon Bay. And that’s why Coca-Cola has invested in a series of innovation initatives called the Co-Founder Network, in which the company makes investments in promising start-ups.   More

Internet of Things

Manufacturing Intelligent Devices That Could Save Your Life

With 200,000 employees across 30 countries, Flextronics is probably the biggest company you’ve never heard of. The American electronics-manufacturing giant is the second largest manufacturer of any kind in the world, after only Taiwan’s Foxconn. At CES 2015 in Las Vegas, Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick spoke with Flextronics President Mike Dennison about the next phase for manufacturing—it isn’t just for making things, but for driving systemic change in society. As the Internet of Things evolves into a set of systems that will create a new landscape for both business and consumers, the real challenge will be to integrate innovation, networks, and software development. Flextronics partners with its customers not just to build things, but to design and build the systems that those “things” fit into.   More

Healthcare

My BRCA Journey: Why Fear of Information Imperils Genetic Testing

Meredith Salisbury 2015

The world breaks down into two camps, my genetic counselor said: people who want information, and people who don’t. I’ve been writing about gene testing and genomics for a long time, but as I navigated my own recent journey in genetic testing, I learned why that divide will probably remain the biggest hurdle to achieving the promise of genomics. Despite the enthusiasm I hear regularly from genomics experts I talk to about the clinical power of genetic tests, getting my own medical professionals to order the genetic test for BRCA, the mutation linked to breast cancer, was a challenge.   More

Learning

The Markle Foundation’s Philip Zelikow on Reconfiguring Education for the Digital Age

“Imagine an education system that’s built around unleashing the power of the individual,” says Philip Zelikow, professor of history at the University of Virginia and visiting managing director at the Markle Foundation. Zelikow envisions a new paradigm where someone can get the training and education they need even if it means starting classes in the middle of a traditional semester. Does that mean students will just pop online to get the credits they need? Not necessarily. “The future may be more likely a mixture of online plus people,” says Zelikow, with “navigators” helping to guide students through online options and pair them with real-world tutors.   More

Global Tech Healthcare

Three NGOs Fighting Tuberculosis with Mobile Tech

Community health workers in Myanmar use the DOTsync app. (Photo courtesy FHI360’s CAP-TB program)

Tuberculosis kills over a million people each year, mostly in developing countries, where poor public health systems hamper efforts to diagnose and treat it. But NGOs are now embracing new mobile health technologies that could help fight the disease more efficiently and cost-effectively. Further progress will require expensive efforts in low-resource settings where administering drugs and monitoring compliance can be a logistical nightmare.   More

Startup Culture

Idealab’s Bill Gross Taps the Crowd to Create Companies

Crowdsourcing predates the Internet, but Web platforms like Wikipedia supercharged the concept, giving it global currency and making it an increasingly indispensable business strategy. “Using the intelligence and wisdom and ideas from everybody anywhere on the planet—that’s really exciting to me,” says Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Idealab, a tech incubator that bills itself as a “company factory.” Gross sees crowdsourcing as a driving force in competitive new companies, and a powerful tool for established ones. He points to Amazon as a company that harnesses value from the feedback of its millions of users.   More

Startup Culture

Reid Hoffman to Entrepreneurs: Balance Optimism and Caution

Reid Hoffman knows a thing or two about combining entrepreneurial audacity with savvy risk-assessment. He co-founded LinkedIn in 2003, and his venture and angel investments with Greylock Partners include Airbnb, Facebook, Flickr, Mozilla, and Zynga. "One of the key things is maintaining a sense of youthful optimism in terms of the fact that you can make a difference," Hoffman counsels. But he adds that young entrepreneurs also have to "think crisply about how you navigate risk."   More

Global Tech

Techonomy’s Most-Read Articles of 2014

(Photo courtesy Tigercub Digital)

As 2014 winds down, we look back on a productive and impactful year at Techonomy. Our events and publishing projects continued the dialogue about the centrality of technology in modern life and its potential to make the world better. Our editorial content is a growing channel. Our community of writers and videographers includes over 100 published contributors, including both professional journalists and thought leaders of industry, politics, and public service. Here's a look back at our five most-read Techonomy exclusives of the past twelve months.   More