Bio & Life Sciences Learning

Microsoft’s Mundie: Governments Impede Progress in Health and Education

With technology making transformative strides in business, communications, transportation, space, and beyond, why do two of society's most important sectors, healthcare and education, continue to lag so far behind? According to Microsoft's Craig Mundie—who as senior advisor to the CEO has spent years speaking with global leaders on the company's behalf—government may be the root of the problem. "The reason these two sectors have been resistant to change is because in almost every country [they] are controlled by the government," Mundie said in an interview at our Techonomy 2013 conference.   More

Government Learning Partner Insights

Will All Schools Have Nanotechnology Labs?

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gets a lesson in nanotechnology from Wheeling High School student Drakkari Lott. (Photo: Ed.gov)

Setting up high school students with atomic-force microscopes and optical profilers so they can study nanotechnology may seem like a science teacher’s dream, but it’s already happening in at least one school in the United States. And the amount of outside financial support received by Wheeling High School in Illinois to make the lab a reality, coupled with efforts to encourage teachers to emphasize the field, suggests that more labs may soon be cropping up. The focus on nanotech in Wheeling and elsewhere speaks to its potential.   More

Business Security & Privacy

Kirkpatrick: Privacy Lawsuit Won’t Slow Facebook’s Momentum

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 10.24.28 AM

Two California Facebook users have sued the social network for violating their right to privacy—and profiting from it. Plaintiffs argue Facebook is secretly intercepting users’ private messages and scanning them for links to third-party websites, then selling that data to advertisers and marketers seeking to better target consumers. Facebook denied the allegations, saying they are “without merit.” David Kirkpatrick, Techonomy CEO and Bloomberg contributing editor, appeared on Bloomberg West last Thursday to talk about the privacy lawsuit and what ramifications it could have for the popular social media platform.   More

Business

Could We Lose Control of Killer Robots?

(Image via Shutterstock)

The belief that humanoid robots are dangerous on the battlefield and need to be slowed before weapons systems become autonomous is at the heart of a debate raging in the robotic engineering community. On one side, there are people who believe that the use of unmanned robots must be stopped before war becomes an automated process. "Giving machines the power to decide who lives and dies on the battlefield would take technology too far,” Steve Goose, Arms Division director at Human Rights Watch, said in a November 2012 statement announcing the release of a study, “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots."   More

Business

Kirkpatrick: Apple Could Shake Up Wearable Tech in 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 11.29.29 AM

What’s in store for Apple in 2014? Will Apple shake up wearable technology and traditional television, or will it struggle to innovate? Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick speculated about Apple’s year ahead on Bloomberg Surveillance last week, predicting good things for the tech giant. Even in China, where Apple’s market share is relatively low, Apple has a “great opportunity,” said Kirkpatrick, who is a Bloomberg contributing editor. “It’s a very high-quality, well-respected product in China,” he explained, pointing to Apple’s standing as a higher-status, luxury brand. “In China, status matters very much.”   More

Business

Should CEOs Tweet?

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 11.15.50 AM

Multi-millionaire investor Marc Andreessen is tweeting up a storm. Since rejoining Twitter Jan. 1, Andreessen has issued close to 200 Tweets (prior to that, he had tweeted just twice in more than five years)—commenting on everything from poverty to philanthropy, pregnancy rates to Ashton Kutcher. Andreessen’s Twitter rampage has raised some eyebrows in the tech community, with one headline calling it “nutso.” But in today’s social-centric world, it may be good strategy.   More

Startup Culture

Why Do People Still Come to Silicon Valley?

The traffic is terrible, the real-estate ridiculously expensive, the public schools aren’t that great and the gulf between rich and poor is increasingly pronounced. So why do people still come to Silicon Valley? That’s the question we asked participants at a recent Ericsson and AT&T Foundry hosted FutureCast event that focused on innovation in Silicon Valley. The answers from our international audience were varied, instructive and entertaining.   More

Startup Culture

Can Silicon Valley Survive?

Silicon Valley hasn’t had one of its best years. There are more and more complaints about inequality, discrimination against women and minorities, lack of innovation and a focus on short-term economic gain. The Valley, veterans say, isn’t what it used to be. And, they go on, if Silicon Valley is to survive, it has to reinvent itself in an increasingly competitive global economy where most of the rest of the world is trying to emulate the Valley. So, I asked David Kirkpatrick, when I interviewed him at an Ericsson and AT&T Foundry hosted FutureCast event that focused on the future of innovation, how exactly can Silicon Valley reinvent itself?   More

Security & Privacy

Ray Kelly’s Tech-Centric War on NY Crime

12a645b

In the waning days of Bloomberg's New York, I threaded my way past multiple checkpoints and up a private elevator in Police headquarters to visit Ray Kelly, who leaves office December 31 along with the mayor. I wanted to understand how he'd used tech during his 12 years as Commissioner of Police, during which city crime dropped 40%. "When the administration came in, this department was the world's largest user of carbon paper and whiteout," is the first thing Kelly said. His apocryphal claim foreshadowed the rest of the interview.   More

Startup Culture

Are the Best and Brightest Still Coming to Silicon Valley?

Are the smartest entrepreneurs and technologists still attracted to Silicon Valley? Does the Valley still pull in the best and brightest from around the world? According to David Kirkpatrick, who I interviewed at an Ericsson and AT&T Foundry hosted FutureCast event, the answer may well be no. Kirkpatrick tells the story of a remarkably talented Chinese guy he met in Beijing recently who had read his book, “The Facebook Effect,” five times. “I was just amazed I stumbled across that in Beijing,” he told me. This guy, Kirkpatrick explained, was running a 20-person Beijing startup just focused on making Facebook games.   More

Startup Culture

Is Silicon Valley the Center of the Innovation Universe?

Silicon Valley takes it for granted that it’s the center of the innovation universe. But that, of course, is a weakness—which points to the often parochial and inward looking nature of many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors. So is Silicon Valley really the center of the innovation universe? That’s the question we asked an invitation-only crowd who came to the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto to hear me interview David Kirkpatrick at the Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event.   More

Finance

Cyberthreats to Bank Accounts on the Rise

(Image via Shutterstock)

On the same day that news broke that 40 million customer account records were stolen from retail giant Target, the regulator of the nation’s largest financial institutions warned that customers’ financial information is increasingly under assault in their banks as well. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Thursday, in its Semiannual Risk Perspective, warned that “Cyberthreats continue to increase in sophistication and frequency.” The agency noted, “Known impacts include … identity theft, fraud, and theft of intellectual property.”   More

Cities E-Commerce

Brookings’s Bradley: A Sharing Economy That Serves All

We know the sharing economy as an efficient and convenient resource, and launchpad for trendy startups like Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit. But the sharing economy could help address needs for a much wider swath of society, instead of just enabling better options for the already-privileged. At Techonomy 2013, Brookings Institution fellow Jennifer Bradley discussed the sharing economy's opportunity for inclusion, such as creating an Uber-like system to help low-income people get to work, and enabling the sharing of essential "means of production" like 3D printers and power tools.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Business Internet of Things Security & Privacy

People, Companies, and Trends: Techonomy’s 2013 Top Ten

Eri Gentry at Techonomy 2013. (Photo: Asa Mathat)

As 2013 winds down, Techonomy takes a moment to look back on highlights from the year, especially those that portend—we think—the future. Our Top Ten list recognizes the people, companies, and ideas that embodied how technology is catalyzing change in business and society. Some of the individuals and organizations here were represented at our 2013 conferences, labs, and dinners, where we convene leaders to explore the biggest tech-driven challenges and opportunities. Some were featured in our expanding online editorial content.   More

Learning

Foreign-Language Software Goes to the Library

Mango co-founders and brothers Jason (l) and Mike Teshuba.

Technology has done much to build bridges globally, but it could do a lot more. Helping us speak other languages is one promising arena, expanding global business through cultural awareness. Mango Languages aims to teach the grammar, culture, and intuitiveness of languages in a fun, interesting, and engaging way. The company’s conversation-based learning products employ a technique it calls intuitive language construction. More than 2,700 libraries across the U.S. offer Mango Languages to expose learners to new languages, cultures, and opportunities. And corporate and government adopters are showing how bilingual training is good for business.   More

Learning Partner Insights

Lawmakers: Colleges Need Free Digital Textbooks

Undergrads on average spend more than $1,200 annually on books and supplies. (Photo credit: Lightpoet)

Lawmakers in Washington are considering a proposal that would help colleges produce and share free digital textbooks, a move proponents say would help make college more affordable. The Affordable College Textbook Act would create a grant program for colleges interested in establishing pilot programs that use “open educational resources” to reduce textbook costs. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a supporter of the legislation, has defined these resources as free, online academic materials that everyone can use, adapt, and share.   More

Energy & Green Tech Startup Culture

Microsoft’s Craig Mundie on Why He’s a Techno-Optimist

Take a monolithic problem like climate change and consider its solutions. Many would say the only answer is to get all of us to alter our lifestyles so we can cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. But a "techno-optimist" like Microsoft's Craig Mundie would urge us to approach the problem from a different, more novel angle: Instead of hinging Earth's health on changing all of society, what about engineering a method of reflecting heat out of the atmosphere? At our Techonomy 2013 conference in November, Mundie spoke with us about how creative traits like "risk tolerance" and "novelty seeking" will help us confront big challenges like climate change. "If you give us a big problem, we'll invent a big answer," he says. "We're [not] bound to live within the constraints of the capabilities we only know today."   More

Partner Insights

Your Car Will Take Your Blood Pressure

Heart Rate Monitoring Seat

Customer research and societal trends suggest that there’s a strong business case for automakers to explore opportunities in health and wellness. Here’s what we at Ford have learned: While chronic illnesses are on the rise, the number of healthcare providers has remained relatively flat, which effectively limits patient access. For this reason and others, people of all ages and from all income groups are taking a more hands-on approach to their own health and wellness. More people now visit online health sites than go to the doctor’s office. Paralleling the increasing interest in health websites is an explosion of interest in mobile health solutions. These trends create a natural role for the automobile in the emerging digital health and wellness field.   More

Global Tech

Chinese Moguls Place Actual Bets on New Economy

(Image via Shutterstock)

And now for a lighter look at an emerging trend in the China corporate world, which has seen some of the nation’s biggest tech personalities make high-profile bets with their equally successful peers from more traditional sectors. The latest in these high-tech wagers has seen Lei Jun, the charismatic founder of fast-growing smartphone maker Xiaomi, make a bet with Dong Mingzhu, often considered China’s most successful businesswoman as the chairman of appliance giant Gree. These bets are mostly for entertainment and publicity on the one hand; but they do also represent the very real challenge that traditional industries are feeling from e-commerce and other emerging high-tech business models.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Techonomy Events

Aetna CEO Embraces Alternative Healthcare

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini surprised many Techonomists at our conference in Tucson last month with his frank talk about alternative therapies and the need for the current health system to be “creatively destroyed.” Who would have thought the top man at one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies would be an advocate for craniosacral therapy and meditative chanting? Bertolini’s onstage interview with David Kirkpatrick focused mostly on his innovative approaches to apps and technology at the company. But in a later on-camera conversation, Bertolini described how his progressive personal health practices jibe with his company’s mission.   More