Techonomy 12 Techonomy Tucson Video

Let’s Get Started!

David Kirkpatrick welcomes Techonomists to the 2012 conference.   More

Life Science

How Graphene Could Transform DNA Sequencing and Cancer Research

3D-rendered graphene monomolecular layer (image via Shutterstock)

In 2004, two UK scientists used a piece of Scotch tape to isolate single layers of graphene from a block of graphite, or pencil lead. Ever since, physicists and materials scientists have been trying to take advantage of the nanomaterial’s unique properties to use it in the construction of transistors, capacitors, and solar cells. The UK researchers, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work, which extended well beyond the tape trick of course. In recent years, graphene has come to the attention of biomedical researchers, who think its malleability makes it ideal for biological applications, ranging from disinfecting hospitals to detecting tumors to delivering drugs to sequencing DNA.   More

Techonomy 12 Digital Techonomy Tucson Video

The Forest for the Trees: The Meanings of Data

This session from Techonomy 2012 looks at how technology allows for rapid insights into huge swaths of data, and what this means for business and society. Appearing as speakers are Qliktech’s Lars Björk, Factual’s Gil Elbaz, Vivek Ranadivé of TIBCO Software Inc., and Rick Smolan of Against All Odds Productions. Justin Fox of the Harvard Business Review moderates.   More

Digital Jobs Opinion

How Technology Has Failed Remote Workers

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A 94-second Walter Cronkite video from 1967 has been making its way around Facebook and Twitter. Cronkite stands by a desk bristling with a half-dozen computer-ish devices and talks about the “home office of the twenty-first century.” We’ll be connected by video. It will almost match being in the office. “We may not have to go to work—work will come to us,” the newsman tells us. Well—here we are, still waiting. The home office experience doesn’t replicate the actual office experience. Like flying cars and refrigerators that order more milk on their own, the technology has so far failed to meet the vision.   More

Business

Unconstrained and Undisciplined: A New Breed of Disruptors Accelerates Market Transformation

(Image via Shutterstock)

Clayton Christensen's model of business disruption posits that new players can topple industry giants by attacking the low end of a market and building towards competitiveness at the higher margin. But this once-groundbreaking model may already be obsolete. In a recent Harvard Business Review report, Larry Downes and Paul F. Nunes argue that the pace of disruption is happening much faster these days, requiring industry leaders to take more radical precautionary measures. They cite as an example the GPS equipment market, which was upended by smartphone apps before manufacturers had a chance to adapt, with Garmin losing 70% of its market capitalization in the two years after navigation apps were introduced.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech Opinion

Regulation Could Mean E-Commerce Slowdown in China

(Image via Shutterstock)

China's unruly e-commerce sector could be set for some big changes in the year ahead, with executives from both inside and outside the industry calling for moves to bring order to an unruly space that has been plagued by cutthroat competition. Perhaps most significantly, a top executive from the traditional retailing sector is calling for e-commerce firms to pay more taxes, a move that could make online purchasing more expensive and less attractive to cost-conscious consumers. Other executives are calling for tighter regulation of the sector, which has evolved into a free-for-all due too much investment and lack of government oversight.   More

Digital

BlackBerry’s New Software Does More Than You Think

(Image via Shutterstock)

What do nuclear power plants, aircraft carriers, and the new Blackberry 10 have in common? They all run on a software platform developed by a little known company from Ottawa, Canada, called QNX. In fact, Blackberry (Research in Motion at the time) bought the company back in 2010 as they looked at how to create a larger ecosystem of interconnected devices powered by a single scalable platform. QNX claims to be more stable than Linux and Windows, and is ideal for running mission critical applications with little to no maintenance. So reliable and stable that over 11 million automobiles shipped in 2011 using the QNX platform to power safety systems, telematics, and entertainment. With customers including Audi, Cisco, Honeywell, Hyundai, General Electric, GM, and Samsung, we have all been impacted by QNX and didn’t even know it.   More

Government Life Science

How the FDA’s Best Intentions Are Slowing the Genomics Revolution

(Image via Shutterstock)

Even as life-science companies pound out DNA sequencing improvements fast enough to make the computing industry look downright sedentary, the industry has been hindered in implementing its many advances so they can help patients in clinical settings. One major cause is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has asserted it will regulate these next-generation sequencing tools—but has not yet decided what will be regulated, how evaluations will take place, or when this oversight might kick in. With widespread uncertainty about the regulatory environment, companies developing genomic products for clinical use have been in limbo, and the venture capitalists who haven’t fled the space are tightening their belts.   More

Life Science

Online Gamers Could Play Their Way to Breakthrough Science

Neurons traced by MIT's Daniel Berger using EyeWire (via eyewire.org)

Can untrained gamers help solve tough scientific puzzles? Some scientists and researchers are starting to think so. In fact, there are problems that professional scientists admit they are helpless to solve without the help of the "crowd." EyeWire is a game designed by a team at MIT's Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department to help chart nerve connections in the brain. "We need an army of people to go out and explore that jungle," said neuroscientist Sebastian Seung, the team's leader, in an NPR report. "Why not engage the public? It's a great adventure. What could be more exciting than exploring the brain? [It's] much more exciting than any artificial video game." About 35,000 players have already registered at eyewire.org to look at images of neurons in the eye and figure out how they're connected.   More

Life Science

Startup’s Data Helps Women Succeed With In Vitro Fertilization

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In vitro fertilization (IVF), a last recourse for women who want to get pregnant, is expensive, and its outcome is uncertain. Now a Silicon Valley data-mining startup is significantly improving predictions about whether a woman's IVF will succeed. Reproductive health scientist Dr. Mylene Yao and Stanford statistics professor Wing Wong, founders of Univfy, compare detailed personal health information with large data sets taken from past efforts with thousands of women to predict the likely results of IVF treatment. It’s easy to see why it might be in demand.   More

Digital Management Opinion

Working at Home: Mayer May Be Right

Marissa Mayer at Techonomy 2011

Does proximity matter for innovation? Marissa Mayer thinks it does, and has been getting chastised for it. The Yahoo CEO recently ordered her fellow Yahooligans to stop working from home and come into the office. She believes that proximity creates a better atmosphere for innovation. Yahoo’s human resources chief Jackie Reses explained in a memo: “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.” But that’s not where we’re supposed to be heading in the age of the Internet.   More

Energy & Green Tech Manufacturing

Will the Car of the Future Be Printable?

The Urbee at the EuroMold trade show in Germany (photo via urbeecar.blogspot.com)

We've already seen 3D-printed guitars, motorcycles, and even stem cells. Is 3D printing ready to disrupt the auto industry? It could happen sooner than you think. The Urbee 2, a lightweight three-wheeled, two-passenger vehicle designed to be constructed from 3D-printed materials, is the brainchild of engineer Jim Kor. Using ABS plastic and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)—an automated, additive process that prints all of the car's parts in about 2,500 hours—Kor and his team have created a prototype at the on-demand 3D-printing facility RedEye.   More

Digital Life Science

NASA Asks the “Crowd” to Help Track What Astronauts Eat

STS-110 crew eating on board the International Space Station

NASA has put a man on the moon, but it hasn’t yet come up with an efficient and accurate way for the International Space Station (ISS) crew to track their diets. Living in a zero-gravity environment poses the risk of nutrient deficiency and bone loss, so keeping close tabs on food intake in space is crucial. But the ISS crew complain that their meal monitoring methods are unreliable and tedious. Imagine having to recount everything you ate in a week while orbiting the Earth. That’s what astronauts do in a weekly “food frequency questionnaire.” But diet logging isn’t rocket science, so NASA is turning to “the crowd” for help.   More

Cities

A SimCity for Analyzing Urban Efficiency

(Image via Shutterstock)

New York University's new Center for Urban Science and Progress is launching an initiative to develop sensor and data-crunching technologies aimed at creating a smarter, more efficient city. With partners including I.B.M., Cisco, Xerox, and the New York City government, the center will research and deploy the kind of smart-city technologies already being implemented in cities like Stockhom and Singapore to better manage urban infrastructure, with an emphasis on quality-of-life improvements like noise reduction and traffic abatement.   More

Media & Marketing

Spoiler Alert: Mobile Moviegoers Are the Biggest Movie Enthusiasts

(Image via Shutterstock)

Today, with the help of their smartphones and tablets, moviegoers can stay on top of the latest movie trends in real time, purchase tickets on the go and even post their own reviews on social networks before the closing credits roll. Overall, mobile-connected moviegoers are bigger movie enthusiasts than the average U.S. moviegoer, according to Nielsen NRG’s 2012 American Moviegoing report. They spend more, consume more content and are more actively engaged in the moviegoing process. Smartphone and tablet owners are heavier moviegoers than average, attending 9 percent and 20 percent more movies overall in the past year, respectively. In terms of size, 69% of moviegoers own a smartphone and 29% own a tablet, with 23% owning both devices.   More

Digital Government

North Korea Relaxes its Internet Grip, but Not Much

Korea on map

Last November, Techonomy contributor Gabriel Mizrahi wrote about how North Korea's strict prohibition of Internet access effectively quashes any hopes there for the kind of popular uprising seen in the Arab Spring. "This is the golden age of grassroots regime change," wrote Mizrahi. "Unless, of course, you [live] in North Korea." Until now, only a select group of government officials in Pyongyang could access the Web. Meanwhile, the mobile network Koryolink, which was developed by the Egyptian firm Orascom, has over 1 million North Korean subscribers, none of whom can pick up foreign networks or call outside the country. But in March North Korea will begin allowing Internet searches from laptops and mobile devices, as reported in the New York Times IHT Rendezvous blog. There's just one hitch. Only foreigners will have the privilege of accessing the 3G mobile Internet service to be offered by Koryolink.   More

Techonomy Detroit

7.2 Square Miles: The Data Behind Detroit’s Resurgence

Image from the report

A new report produced by a consortium of Detroit-based organizations uses a wide range of analytics to document the revitalization of the 7.2 square miles that comprise the city's Greater Downtown area. Drawn from local surveys and data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, among other sources, the report details population and tourism figures, business distribution, and demographics on income, housing, ethnicity, and education. Some of the findings hint at the dynamics behind Detroit's resurgence.   More

Learning Partner Insights Security & Privacy

Educating IT Security Soldiers for a Virtual Cold War

(Image via Shutterstock)

On a new global battlefield, countries, criminals, and commercial competitors can effectively leverage technology to steal from or attack target organizations. Corporate intellectual property is at risk of breach as most everyone seeks to gain advantage in the innovation race. Military and government information faces the same risks with consequences for national security, digitized assets, and international affairs. The most dangerous hackers are no longer solitary, discontented teenagers working from their basement bedrooms, but instead are highly skilled professionals employed by corporate offices or military bases.   More

Government

Green Card Policy Could Blunt U.S. Edge in Startup Innovation

At last year's Techonomy Detroit conference, salesforce.com's Vivek Kundra, who from 2009 to 2011 was the first U.S. Chief Information Officer, lamented the disconnect between an education system that attracts the world's best and brightest and an immigration system that prevents them from working here legally. "It is broken," said Kundra. "It makes absolutely no sense when we educate some of the smartest people in the world with advanced degrees and then ask them to leave the country and go start up companies elsewhere." A recent article by Kevin Sullivan in The Washington Post highlights this conundrum with a profile of two MIT inventors, Anurag Bajpayee and Prakash Narayan, whose water-decontamination technology has attracted serious interest from investors, but whose visas both expire soon.   More

Startup Culture

City Supports Tech Startups “Made in NY”

SubPlat_Kickstarter_9

The "Made in NY" advertising campaign has been touting the city's efforts to grow and energize local film and television production. Now, Mayor Bloomberg has launched a "We Are Made in NY" initiative that supports the city's burgeoning tech scene by offering online resources that help nurture startups and match employers with qualified applicants. The program is also asking local tech startups to submit 60-second introductory videos to give a behind-the-scene look at what they do. Along with initiatives like the Code for America partnership and the planned Cornell NYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, this new campaign bolsters the mayor's strategic reinvention of New York as "New Tech City."   More