Bio & Life Sciences

Biomimicry Enters Academic Mainstream with ASU Center

Scientists and inventors have long turned to nature for inspiration.

Arizona State University will launch a new Biomimicry Center devoted to the research and development of initiatives that use nature’s own time-tested strategies to tackle our biggest sustainability challenges. A joint venture of ASU and Biomimicry 3.8, the Biomimicry Center will kick off March 3 with an interactive symposium of lectures, discussion, and hands-on activities at ASU’s Tempe campus. The center’s aim is to bring together the expertise of a wide range of disciplines—including biology, chemistry, engineering, business, material science, psychology, design, and architecture—to create a new multipronged approach to sustainability.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Opinion

Why It’s So Hard for Americans to Talk About Science

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Talking about science is a lot harder than it should be. We talk all the time about things we don’t fully understand: the polar vortex, how footballs can get underinflated during games, why the Kardashians still get so much attention. We’re not experts in these areas, but we’re happy to weigh in with theories and opinions. But when it comes to scientific topics, both scientists and lay people hide behind the excuse that the general public in this country simply doesn’t have the education to process such complex information.   More

Energy & Green Tech Global Tech

Geoengineering: Smart Science or Hail Mary?

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In a recent report, a committee appointed by the National Research Council issued a recommendation that the federal government fund research on geoengineering as a means to address global warming. Geongineering, sometimes known as “Plan B,” encompasses technologies that seek to counteract climate change. During a session at Techonomy in 2012, Harvard physicist David Keith said, “If you want to actually reduce the risks to many of the people who will suffer real climate impacts in the next decades, including some of the poorest people in the world, this is essentially the only thing you could do.”   More

Global Tech

Tesla Looks for New China Formula

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After roaring into China last year on a wave of hugely positive publicity, electric car superstar Tesla has rapidly lost momentum and now appears on the cusp of a major overhaul in a bid to jump-start its prospects. This kind of development isn’t hard to understand, as Tesla’s charismatic CEO Elon Musk set the bar incredibly high when he sold his company’s first electric vehicle (EV) in China last April.   More

Jobs Media & Marketing

LinkedIn’s Hoffman: Impact of Social Networks Will Only Grow

Entrepreneur and investor Reid Hoffman has backed or helped build over 50 ventures, including groundbreaking companies like PayPal, Facebook, Groupon, Flickr, and of course professional networking juggernaut LinkedIn, which he co-founded. So what does one of the country’s most prolific investors think about the future of social networking, a phenomenon some say is already dying? “We are in the first inning,” Hoffman says. “People are still learning what does it mean to have these networks be a fundamental part of their life.”   More

Security & Privacy

Making Data Storage Safer: The MaidSafe Network

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As our personal and business data migrates online, lack of online security is increasingly a source of worry for both businesses and individuals worldwide. Risks, including malicious hacking, vandalism, and data theft, are numerous. Today's Internet is vulnerable in part because data typically resides on networks managed and controlled entirely by individual companies. MaidSafe, a startup based in Troon, Scotland, has what it believes is a way to eliminate that kind of reliance and improve the safety of data.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare Opinion

Obama’s Not-So-Daring Precision Medicine Plan

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For all the attention that President Obama’s precision medicine initiative has garnered in the weeks since he first mentioned it in his State of the Union address, you’d think the program was the next version of the Human Genome Project. But unlike that effort, which was a wildly audacious push to revolutionize biology and medicine, the modest new initiative—and its $215 million price tag—seems downright underwhelming.   More

Government

Can Open-Source Voting Tech Fix the U.S. Elections System?

(Image via OSET Foundation)

American voting technology is trapped in the last millennium. This lifeline to democracy is kept secret—closed off from public inspection and controlled by large businesses. It is decades old to boot. Our voting methods ought to be at least as cutting edge as our selfie apps, but they’re not. Open-source technology could offer a solution that upends the entire elections technology market, dislodging incumbent voting machine companies and putting the electorate at the helm.   More

Global Tech

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé: The Internet Is a Tool for Solidarity

Where is the Internet taking us, and how do we keep it secure? There’s no shortage of people ready to offer up opinions on such questions, but few who are truly qualified to answer them. Fortunately we asked someone who is—Fadi Chehadé, CEO of ICANN, the public-benefit corporation tasked with keeping the Internet stable. Chehadé calls the Internet a “platform for human solidarity” that enables us to form networks with “people we’ve never met” to share ideas, concepts, and resources—and ultimately build consensus.   More

Global Tech Security & Privacy

Rhetoric Eases, but Troubles Remain in Alibaba Piracy Spat

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After reaching a fever pitch last week, rhetoric in the high-profile spat over piracy between e-commerce giant Alibaba and one of China’s main business regulators appears to be softening as the two sides move towards a compromise. The latest headlines say Alibaba and the State Administration For Industry And Commerce (SAIC) have joined hands to fight piracy, marking a sharp toning down of the angry rhetoric that was flying for much of last week.   More

Healthcare Internet of Things

How the Internet of Things Can Enhance Human Relationships

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Technology for capturing patient visits promises to free doctors from the burden of data entry and updating medical records, which consumes more than two hours of the average professional’s workday, according to digital health startup Augmedix. Meanwhile, information fed into a doctor's Google Glass screen could allow physicians to remain present and undistracted during limited patient face time. As digital health options proliferate, technology will free physicians from back-office burdens and reduce inefficiencies.   More

Global Tech

The Mixed Reality of Increasing Global Equity

HoloLens image via Microsoft; Mumbai image via Shutterstock

In late January both Microsoft and the Gates Foundation, two entities founded by the same guy, announced major new directions that have a weird and provocative parallelism. One is a new product category from Microsoft, and the other a new vision for global economic progress from the Gates Foundation. Both merit our attention, not only as organizational initiatives but as powerful visions for the world's future.   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

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?

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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

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