Cities Community Insights

The Designer as an Evolutionary Mutagen

Future Food District project, made last year for Expo Milano 2015.

MoMA's Paola Antonelli spoke in her Techonomy interview about seeking "a theory of everything for design," so I wanted to share my two cents. As designers we might consider ourselves as mutagens of the artificial world, whose aim is to accelerate the transformation of the present into how it “ought to be."   More

Community Insights Transportation

An Automotive Expert’s Excitement–and Worry–About Self-Driving Vehicles

This sculpture by Rodin, at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, embodies the frustrations of the first industrial revolution. The era of self-driving cars may lead to even more anxieties for workers. (photo by John Suh)

Self-driving technology is going to make cars and mobility safer, more exciting, more accessible, and more eco-friendly. But for a huge number of people, driving is a job, often a good middle-class one. I worry that time is not on humanity’s side when it comes to helping those displaced from jobs by self-driving technologies.   More

Techonomy Events

Reflections from Ross…On Techonomy 2016!

One of the first things we’ll do at TE16 this year is have a conversation about what just happened in this epochal American election. That will kick off two solid days of amazing presentations and discussions. The conference theme is “Toward A Sentient Ecosystem,” or how the Internet of Things knits together signals and data from an increasingly vast connected intelligent network that can span from the depths of our bodies to outer space, and what that means for people.   More

Analytics & Data Healthcare

Cloud Software Fights Zika in Florida, Zip Code by Zip Code

The Zika virus is spreading in the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami, shown here. A new effort uses cloud software to identify potential victims and alert them to preventive measures. (photo Shutterstock)

As the Zika virus begins a worrisome spread in Florida, cloud-based healthcare services company athenahealth is using big data to seek out those in danger and then reach out. Working with local healthcare providers and a rich database of individuals, it has winnowed out 1850 people at serious risk and provided preventive information.   More

Business Transportation

Space: The Next Fiscal Frontier?

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NASA has increasingly taken a backseat in the world of manned space exploration. While that trend may not be great for America's role in space, it has opened the door for a revolution in private sector space projects. From Elon Musk's Space X project to the rise of nanosatellites, outer space has never been so open for investment and innovation. This piece was originally published in the 2014 edition of Techonomy magazine.   More

Community Insights Internet of Things Security & Privacy

Terrorists Want Control of Your Car

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The risks of terrorism are growing, as we all know. But with the rise of the Internet of Things comes an entirely new range of threats. After a brutal attack in Nice using a truck, it becomes obvious that many of the "things" around us in society can be weaponized. It's already been shown that hackers can take over connected vehicles remotely, and new developments make it even scarier. Venture capitalist and security expert Yoav Lietersdorf explains just how bad this could become, and some of the ways we might fight the risks.   More

Business Global Tech Startup Culture

Visiting a Bustling Tech Incubator in Dubai

Louis Lebbos and Muhammed Mekki brought a Silicon Valley-vibe to their Dubai incubator, AstroLabs (Photo courtesy of AstroLabs).

As Dubai continues its epic transformation into a global commerce hub, two entrepreneurs have set up a small piece of Silicon Valley in the UAE. Louis Lebbos and Muhammed Mekki 's AstroLabs incubator now hosts 77 different startups in an open, modern coworking office space that would be right at home on the streets of San Francisco. Its members, from places as distant as Vietnam and Kansas City, all want a piece of the emerging Middle East market.   More

Arts & Culture Society

The Bleak Emotional and Social Premise of Pokemon Go

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The original Pokémon television show stressed friendship and loyalty. So why does Pokémon Go feel more like digital dogfighting? Pumping Pokémon full of "stardust," caging them in pokeballs and only bringing them out again for combat: Pokémon GO offers a far bleaker narrative than previous iterations of the franchise. What does it mean when our technology starts to cast aside the standards of decency and morality we hold dear?   More

Analytics & Data Community Insights Jobs

Inflated Expectations: Artificial Intelligence Still Depends on Humans

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The media is latching onto AI as the next big technology trend. But the hype around AI has led to misguided expectations about what’s actually possible. While we are steadily making progress in various sorts of machine learning, the reality is that today’s AI solutions are still critically dependent on humans.   More

Business Jobs

Employees Losing Faith With Companies That Don’t Get Digital

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The digital future has taken the corporate world by storm, but many employees are jumping ship. A new study by MIT Sloan Management Review, in collaboration with Deloitte, finds that fully half of employees who feel their company is not digitally developing fast enough plan to leave within a year. Corporations worldwide need to get on board the digital wave or risk a massive talent drain.   More

Healthcare Internet of Things Society

Watch Healthcare Improve as Runners Embrace Tech

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I joke sometimes with my running friends that we don’t take our watches on runs; our watches take us on runs. In June Facebook launched Moves, its own activity-tracking app. Facebook is just one of many companies that wants to know when you’re active. People who run are obsessed with statistics, and watches and wearables are becoming almost a must-have for runners. This technology may drive a revolution in healthcare.   More

Community Insights Government Internet of Things

Grow Civic Tech––But Respect Today’s Systems

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People have always relied on tech to make civil society more efficient and accessible. Now, the rapid evolution of the net and standards-based protocols are already enriching a variety of civic activities, such as voting. It will get better. A great example of what's possible is a simple system we at Microsoft developed to support the 2016 Iowa Caucuses for both parties.   More

Healthcare Society

Thanks to Social Media, Rare Progress on Rare Diseases

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Progress in rare diseases has always been painfully slow, partly because so few are affected that study is challenging. Now, with social media, patients are able to band together, giving critical mass to efforts like fundraising and clinical trial enrollment that might otherwise wither away.   More

Global Tech Government Society

A Zimbabwean Pastor Built an Anti-Corruption Movement with Facebook

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With his country falling apart around him, straining under the weight of corruption and oppression, Evan Mawarire took to Facebook Live to vent his frustration. What has emerged is a nationwide movement of Zimbabweans, united under the hashtag #ThisFlag, who are eager to restore Zimbabwe to its former glory and end the scourge of corruption.   More

Government Society

Why Can’t We Register to Vote Online? (and Other Ways Tech Could Improve Democracy)

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American democracy is out of date, in large part because we have failed to take advantage of voting technology. Turnout is now low and the experience of voting and registering inconvenient. Most Americans must still go to the DMV to register. The infrastructure is old and creaky. But an influx of new tech could bring American democracy out of the stone age, and possibly reinvigorate the entire system.   More

Business Global Tech

Billion Dollar Shave Club

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A company that first gained fame with its goofy YouTube ads has now been bought for close to $1 billion, as a European consumer good giant tries to catch up with Amazon and other titans of the digital world. Dollar Shave Club's big money buyout from Unilever means good things for digital commerce startups looking to turn a nice profit.   More

Arts & Culture Global Tech

Building a Universe in a Video Game

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A tiny video game studio in England has reinvented the cosmos. The game No Man's Sky, set to be released this summer, uses procedural generation to create an entire explorable universe. Complete with 18 quintillion planets and all the geography and biodiversity to go with them, No Man's Sky pushes the limits of what a video game can be and what virtual simulation can achieve.   More

Government Society

UPDATE: What You Should Know about Mike Pence and Tech

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After weeks of conjecture, we finally know who Trump's running mate will be as he enters the final months of the presidential race: Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. His tax cuts have helped turn Indiana into the Silicon Prairie (or so he claims), but he also lost a fight with tech executives like Marc Benioff over LGBT discrimination. Here's what you should know about Mike Pence and tech.   More

Arts & Culture Society

Reflections from Ross: Go Pokémon!

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In under a week, Pokémon Go has taken over phones - and lives - everywhere. As the world scrambles to catch Doduos and Bulbasaurs, our program director gives the game a try on the streets of New York City. It may be buggy, and it's certainly distracting, but could Pokémon Go be ushering in a new era of mass consumption for augmented reality? And just why, exactly, has the nostalgia-driven remake of a Gameboy classic taken over the mobile world?   More

Business Global Tech

China’s Empty Incubators are a Sign of Development Run Amok

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For years, the Chinese state has managed to strong arm the country’s economy through global crises by making huge investments into sectors like real estate and infrastructure. That top-down capital strategy is hitting a wall when it comes to China’s new dream: growing start-ups. Across the country, brand new innovation centers sit empty as education levels fail to meet China's demand for entrepreneurs.   More