Cities Techonomy Events

Reflections from Ross: I Love Cities, and Our Upcoming Techonomy Detroit

The Detroit skyline. (Image via Shutterstock)

I spent the long weekend in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by a bunch of very smart people, from many walks of life. It was a bit of a schlep to get to, but perhaps there’s something about the mountain air that clarifies one's thoughts. It certainly gave me ideas for our remaining Techonomy programs this year. The mountains also reinforced my affinity for cities and anything related to them. I appreciate the great outdoors, which in turn makes me appreciate cities even more. There’s little that beats seeing the Manhattan skyline after a few days away. Speaking of cities ... our FOURTH Techonomy Detroit is coming up September 15.   More

E-Commerce Mobile

My Independence Day: No Wallet, No Cash, No Credit, No Lunch

(Image via Shutterstock)

It was one of those days. ... Monday morning after a long weekend and I was rushing to get out the door to make a 9 am meeting. I got in my car, drove to the train station, and realized I had left my wallet at home. I paused for a second and decided I would attempt to brave the day with no ID, no cash, and no credit cards. Although it's not as ambitious as living for a day on Bitcoin, I figured I could take advantage of the investments made by Apple, Google, PayPal, and others into the mobile payments ecosystem. Armed with my Android phone, I set out to see how easy it would be to have independence from my wallet. Fortunately for my experiment, I switched a few weeks ago from Windows Mobile, where my options would have been even more limited.   More

Business Healthcare

Vitals Aims to Be the Priceline of American Healthcare

(Image via Vitals)

Entrepreneur Mitch Rothschild says he has always followed a simple philosophy: Determine where a gap exists and launch a business to fill it. He thought information was seriously lacking in healthcare, for both patients and service providers. So he founded Vitals in 2007 to offer a suite of information and analytics tools to help consumers, providers, and health plans better track healthcare prices and quality. Today he serves as the company's executive chairman. Each month, some of Vitals' 10 million users perform 250,000 searches at Vitals.com, seeking information about the U.S. healthcare system, where they can browse 5 million user reviews of about 890,000 medical practitioners. In simple terms, Vitals hopes to be a Priceline of sorts for an industry in which costs can be opaque and consumers often feel powerless.   More

Government

Government Infecting Itself with Entrepreneurial Spirit

(Image via HHS Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program)

One of the many phrases with which we’ve all become familiar, certainly if we live or spend any time around Washington, is that government needs to operate more like a business. And while that’s an overly simplistic aphorism that doesn’t take into account any number of things (are you familiar with the failure rate for most new businesses?!), most of the people who attended our first Techonomy Policy event last month in DC would agree that there are certainly any number of lessons government can learn from its corporate brethren. Enter the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program. Started in 2012 by then-CTO of HHS, Todd Park, the program recruits external talent to partner with internal HHS teams on high-priority projects for about a year.   More

Internet of Things

Preparing Ourselves for a Fully-Automated Future

As technology forges ahead, more of our world is becoming automated, increasingly resembling the futuristic settings that were once only the domain of science fiction. This means a significant change in the way tomorrow’s innovators will design new products: it won’t just be a matter of human users interacting with objects, but also of objects interacting with their users. Moreover, many people have anxieties about robots and other “smart” objects—usually that they’ll gain sentience, turn evil, and try to exterminate the human race.   More

Global Tech Opinion

Google’s Fail of a Ramadan App

(Image via Google Arabia)

Earlier this month Google launched a “Ramadan Companion App.” As a Muslim who works in marketing strategy and social media, who has consulted on a number of Muslim-focused marketing projects, this seemed to me like it could be an exciting development. As far as I know, Google has not previously reached out specifically to the global Muslim community. I love apps and I’m always excited to see what’s new and hot and cool. Plus Ramadan was starting. Initial response to Google's app on Facebook was positive and there was a bunch of “attaboy’ing” on community posts saying, "Oh look, Google’s finally paying attention to Muslims." Sad to say, this euphoria was short lived.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Will Even a Cholesterol Test Help Identify Cancer?

(Image via Shutterstock)

Early detection is one of the most effective ways to beat cancer. That’s why some recent studies, in which scientists detected it in people long before symptoms began, have cancer researchers so excited. The coolest part? These scientists weren’t even looking for signs of cancer. DNA-based detection tools have gotten sensitive enough that it now appears possible to identify precancerous cells. This ability to spot precancerous cells could become pivotal in oncology. It could also be problematic.   More

E-Commerce Finance Techonomy Events

Why Everybody Cares About the Blockchain

(Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

The blockchain is a key part of the system that underlies recordkeeping and transactions for Bitcoin, the virtual currency. But there are much bigger opportunities ahead for this decentralized recordkeeping system. In a session called “Why Everybody Cares About the Blockchain” at the inaugural Techonomy Policy conference earlier this month, panelists emphasized repeatedly that the database holds tremendous promise for an array of uses in banking, conflict tracking, and voting, among other things. It was a wide-ranging discussion, reflecting the vast possibilities proponents see for this contemporary technology. "Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had one universal ledger that we could use for everything and that was accessible to everybody?" said Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center. "Well, that is what the blockchain is. It’s a decentralized and open ledger."   More

Government Techonomy Events

Reflections from Ross on Techonomy Policy 2015

Simone Ross onstage at Techonomy Policy 2015. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

“What is it we want to borrow from the tech world? The tech itself? Or a fundamentally different way of approaching problems?” Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, asked in a presentation last week in San Francisco. Her question mirrored one that came up at a number of sessions at our recent Techonomy Policy in Washington, D.C. Techonomy Policy was created to probe ideas at the confluence of tech and policy. We were well aware that there are many events and demands for people’s time in the Beltway, but we wanted to bring something a little different and a little more broad in its approach. The feedback we've gotten from participants suggests we succeeded. People told us it felt like a different kind of conversation for Washington.   More

Security & Privacy Techonomy Events

Government Lacks Strategy for Cyber Attack Response, Say Techonomy Policy Panelists

From left, Michael Cote, Alan Marcus, Craig Mundie, Shane Harris, and Cory Bennett. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

As the Internet spreads its tentacles into every nook of society, attacks are rapidly increasing against individuals, companies, governments, and the very Net infrastructure upon which they all rely. The attackers range from cyber criminals to non-state actors like ISIS and nation-states. But law enforcement, government regulation, and an established military response are not even close to keeping up, said a group of experts at the Techonomy Policy conference in Washington on June 9. Before the advent of the Internet, there were four accepted domains of warfare: land, water, air, and space. Cyber is the fifth, and newest, domain, and by the far the hardest one to patrol, the panelists on a session devoted to "The Militarization of the Internet" agreed.   More

Government Techonomy Events

Slowly, Tech Innovation Makes Inroads in Government

An attendee asks a question at the "How Tech Is Making Government Work Better" session at Techonomy Policy 2015. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

Is tech making government work better? That was the question tackled by an expert panel at the Techonomy Policy conference in Washington in early June. The summary answer: a little bit, but not nearly as much as it could. There's no question technology can make government more effective, deliver more efficient government services to citizens, and help officials make better policy decisions. But there are two primary impediments to fulfilling that potential--bureaucracy (no surprise), and a general fear of the new. The U.S. government spends in excess of $80 billion annually on technology, and states spend $50 billion more. Yet numerous audits and studies have shown that 20 to 25 percent of this money is being wasted, said panelist Aamer Baig, a senior partner at McKinsey & Co. And citizens appear to realize it.   More

Analytics & Data Security & Privacy

Say It Ain’t So, Joe: Has Hacking Come to the Nation’s Pastime?

(Image via Shutterstock)

On Tuesday, The New York Times first reported that the FBI and the Justice Department are involved in a formal investigation of the St. Louis Cardinals’ front office, members of whom had been accused of hacking a Houston Astros’ internal database. The Cardinals (with 11 World Series titles, second only to the New York Yankees) are by most considered a model MLB franchise. The notion that they’d be involved in something as nefarious as cyberhacking an opponent to gain a competitive advantage seems unsavory to many; the notion they’d be hacking an opponent with as downtrodden a history as the Houston Astros seems ironic to many others. But times, as they say, are a-changing and baseball teams (and individuals) have long balanced the tightrope between bending the rules and breaking them.   More

Government Techonomy Events

Onstage at TE Policy, a Bipartisan Call for Policies that Don’t Screw Up Innovation

At left, Sean Parker, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Deb Fischer, and David Kirkpatrick. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

Tech policy development may help strange bedfellows get better acquainted. At Techonomy Policy 2015 in Washington last week, tech billionaire Sean Parker joined Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer, a Republican cattle rancher, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, a vegan Democrat, for a conversation with Techonomy CEO David Kirkpatrick about “Technology, Innovation, and American Progress.” Parker, whose teen hacking escapades were sufficiently sophisticated that they were investigated by the FBI, joked that he was appearing as “Senator from the Internet.” The to-some-infamous cofounder of Napster, past president of Facebook, and investor in Spotify is fast becoming known as a bipartisan political contributor and policy wonk. His new venture, Brigade, aims to put the voter back at “the center of our democracy.” He also recently launched a Washington think tank devoted to bipartisan strategies for economic growth, called the Economic Innovation Group (EIG).   More

Analytics & Data Techonomy Events

Data, Data Everywhere, But Not a Bit You Own

From left, Horacio Gutiérrez, Brad Burnham, Robert Quinn, and Julie Brill. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

Who owns data? How should data privacy be defined and protected? And what is the potential for regulation to support or impede the growth of digital data businesses? Those were among the tough questions panelists at the Techonomy Policy 2015 event in Washington last week grappled with during a session headlined “Privacy Collides with Data in a Transparent World.” Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill offered a contrasting perspective to those of AT&Ts federal regulatory and chief privacy officer Robert Quinn and Microsoft’s deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez. And Brad Burnham, managing partner at Union Square Ventures, shared an investor’s point of view on data, which he said many view as “the asset that fuels the digital economy,” but fail to see what a huge liability it can be.   More

Business Techonomy Events

Tech Leaders: Cooperation with Government Can Move U.S. Forward

From left, Steve Case, R. David Edelman, Vint Cerf, and David Kirkpatrick. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

From a founding father of the Internet who is now at the fore of interplanetary connectivity comes an evolved view: Competition need not be a zero sum game; collaboration can produce positive sum outcomes. Internet pioneer Vint Cerf made what he called a “bigger pie argument” at Techonomy Policy 2015 in Washington yesterday. To open the event, Cerf joined Techonomy CEO David Kirkpatrick for a discussion with AOL co-founder Steve Case and White House senior advisor for Internet, Innovation, and Privacy Policy R. David Edelman for a discussion about “Keeping America Innovative in the Age of Data Exhaust.” Cerf implored fellow panelists to drop the “competitive rhetoric” because “a rising tide raises all boats.”   More

Business Government Techonomy Events

Watch the Video from Techonomy Policy 2015

The Techonomy Policy conference in June 2015 focused on the relationship between tech innovation and government. The tech industry and Washington need to better understand and work together, for our national good. (Videos play in reverse order, beginning with the Sean Parker and senators closing session. Click the arrow to scroll through earlier sessions.)   More

Business

What to Expect from Oculus’ Big Event Today

(Image via Oculus)

The Oculus event marks a milestone for the company and for its owner Facebook. While its Oculus Samsung Gear VR viewer for Samsung smartphones has been on the market awhile, it has been limited to people who have a couple specific models of smartphone and also to very limited amounts of VR content, generally of a much lower quality than will soon be possible. Today's 1:00 pm ET event marks the first time Oculus has told the world exactly what kind of experience to expect from its flagship PC-connected device, which we hope will emerge later this year.   More

Government Techonomy Events

Reflections from Ross: Techonomy Policy Next Tuesday

Our first Techonomy Policy conference takes place in Washington, DC, next week. This is our third focused new conference we've launched since the first wide-ranging Techonomy event in 2010. In 2012, we added Techonomy Detroit, and in 2013, we began our Techonomy Bio series. So why Techonomy Policy? There are many reasons. One is that in order for tech leaders and innovators to create the impact and benefit they envision, they must understand the complex ecosystem of government well enough to become valued partners and to create responsive relationships. The role of government, governance, and policy cannot simply be ignored. In addition, in a time when tech is changing everything around us at a rapidly accelerating pace, leaders of the institutions that serve us need close relationships with the techies who are changing the world.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Government

For Genome Editing, Self-Regulation Beats a Government Ban

(Image via Shutterstock)

A breakthrough method that makes editing the genes of living beings relatively easy, called CRISPR, is much in the news these days. So are the many implications—both terrifying and promising—associated with it. The seemingly endless possibilities of genome editing have even the scientific community on edge, and it’s stirring up heated debate about where the ethical limits are. At the moment, most of the calls for restraint in the use of CRISPR are coming directly from scientists, but it won’t be long before government officials or candidates hoping to be elected start airing their opinions about how this field should be regulated. It’s worth taking a moment to consider how different modes of oversight could affect the opportunities afforded us by genome editing.   More

Analytics & Data Government Partner Insights

Washington Is Changing. Companies Have to Change with It

(Image via Shutterstock)

Digital technology transformed business models for the media, manufacturing, and sports industries. Now shifts in how Washington works require that companies adopt new, technology-driven government affairs strategies. Here are some of the signs of the transformation underway in Washington: a decrease in Congressional action; increased complexity in regulations; the growing relevance of social media; and the proliferation of information services and access to new information. For businesses of all sizes in all industries, there has never been a more critical moment to recognize these changes and act on them.   More