Cities Jobs

Big Data Could Mean Big Jobs for Cleveland Area

Cleveland's harbor district at twilight (image via Shutterstock)

Last year, Techonomy held a one-day conference in Detroit to tackle the issues of jobs, urban revival, and U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. While Detroit continues its road to recovery, thanks in part to a burgeoning tech startup scene nurtured by investors like Detroit Venture Partners and entrepreneurship accelerators like Bizdom, another Midwestern city afflicted by the loss of manufacturing jobs is also mounting a tech-enabled recovery. In Cleveland, Ohio, companies like Explorys, which helps healthcare systems manage and analyze their data, are helping to put the city on the map as a locus for quality jobs in the tech sector.   More

Manufacturing

Making Robots Better Team Players

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Humans are intelligent, yet unpredictable. Robots are programmed to be predictably logical. Can they get along? These days they don't have much of a choice, as robots increasingly perform human tasks and work with human teams. As reported in SmartPlanet, researchers at MIT are examining ways to establish trustworthy and efficient relationships between humans and robots, using a cross training approach to team building. Their research shows that teams in which a robot and its human partner swap roles on different days become more efficient.   More

Business Energy & Green Tech

Is 2013 the Year of the Car in China?

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The auto industry is humming over new data that show China car sales soared 45 percent in January, marking their strongest growth since April 2010, when government incentives during the global economic crisis helped to turbocharge the sector. Industry watchers are acknowledging that seasonal factors played a major role in this latest jump, but point out that they still expect to see a return to strong growth in the upcoming Year of the Snake, as China's economy improves and consumers rediscover their love affair with cars.   More

Security & Privacy

Social Media’s New Role as a Tool for War

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We know the world is awash with new connections and that social media is transforming our social and political landscape. But did you ever think that the CIA may have ways to use social, Skype, and email accounts of officers of unfriendly governments to deliver personal messages and attempt both to track and influence them? This Daily Beast article by Eli Lake explains how the scramble to prevent Syria from using chemical weapons has led to some cutting-edge techniques for intelligence and influence.   More

Business

NYC Fashion Week Goes Tech with a Hackathon and Crowley Keynote

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Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley's new fiancee might be a fashionista, but that's not the only reason he's checking in at Fashion Week in New York City, which starts today. Crowley judged the first-ever Fashion Hackathon last weekend, and will give the tech keynote at a Decoded Fashion event next Thursday (designer Zac Posen will give the fashion keynote).   More

Bio & Life Sciences Security & Privacy

Black Box for DNA Analysis Keeps Data Off the Cloud

Despite the widely hailed plummeting price and time to get a whole-human-genome sequence, it still takes a battery of software applications and a dream team of specialists to analyze, interpret, and apply DNA data in a medically useful way. A new piece of hardware described in The New York Times this weekend is positioned to substitute for at least a few players on the team.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Energy & Green Tech

Better Living Through Bacteria

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Chances are, when you hear the word “bacteria,” your mind goes straight to the negative interpretations: nasty infections, food poisoning, tainted water. But the vast majority of bacteria on earth are harmless to humans—and some, if scientists have anything to say about it, could become downright friendly.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Medal of Science Recipient Lee Hood Says “Systems Medicine” Will Reduce Costs

Leroy Hood, who was awarded the National Medal of Science today by President Obama, shared a prediction earlier this week that the President probably wishes would come true during his final term: the convergence of genomics, diagnostics, digital technologies, and quantified self tools will send healthcare costs plummeting. Hood gives us a decade to get there.   More

Manufacturing Startup Culture

In Defense of Dustpan Innovation, Product Developers Protest

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Outraged over ergonomic gadget maker OXO’s introduction of a $25 dustpan-and-broom design that closely resembles a two-year-old, $12 Quirky model, Quirky staffers staged a street protest in New York last week.   More

Business

Dongfeng-Volvo, VW Chase Low-End Market in China

Volkswagen Polo on display at an auto expo in Guangzhou, China (image via Shutterstock)

A couple of news bits from the Chinese auto space are underscoring how competitive the sector has become, with domestic carmaker Dongfeng Motor signing a new tie-up with Swedish truck maker Volvo, as Germany's Volkswagen moves closer to entering the low-end market traditionally shunned by foreign names. Both of these cases show that big-name automakers, both domestic and foreign, will have to look for creative new ways to keep their business growing in the hyper-competitive Chinese market, and that the days where companies could simply construct a new multibillion-dollar factory to fuel additional growth may be in the past.   More

Business

Is It Wrong to Outsource Your Own Job?

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Bob was a software developer who churned out code for a critical infrastructure company. And he was a good one. So good, in fact, that he was recognized in performance reviews as the best developer in the building, a reputation enhanced by an “inoffensive and quiet” demeanor that made Bob the sort of chap “you wouldn’t look at twice in an elevator,” according to a Verizon case study. That’s what made him so effective. Late last year, Verizon’s security team was hired by Bob's company to investigate the secrets of Bob’s success in pulling off what is either an epic ethical and security breach, or a brilliant operating model that reflects the beauty of the modern economy.   More

Manufacturing

Can Robots Be Job Creators?

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In their recent comments on "60 Minutes," and at the Techonomy 2012 conference, MIT economists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfssonn may have given the impression that robots are poised to swipe the jobs of U.S. workers. As reported in The New York Times, robotics experts assembled at the Automate 2013 trade show in Chicago offered a different outlook. Henrik I. Christensen, Chair of Robotics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said that while he agrees that automation could make certain types of jobs obsolete, it will also create new, higher-paying jobs. The International Federation of Robotics reinforced this argument with the release of findings from a report that predicts the robotics industry will help create 1.9 million to 3.5 million jobs by 2020.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Why Memorize Shakespeare’s Sonnets When You Can Encode Them on a Speck of DNA?

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Technology has enabled us to collect and analyze unprecedented amounts of data. As Ray Kurzweil commented at the Techonomy 2012 conference, "The kid in Africa with a smartphone has access to more intelligently searchable information than the President of the United States did 15 years ago." But how do we go about storing all of this data? Hard drives and the Cloud require an electricity supply, while other storage devices such as disks or magnetic tape deteriorate over time. The answer to this archiving conundrum may lie in our DNA. As reported on NPR, scientists at the European Bioinformatics Institute have successfully stored all of Shakespeare's sonnets on tiny particles of DNA.   More

Business Manufacturing

From Persecution to 3D Printing Pioneer: The Rise of Geomagic CEO Ping Fu

Geomagic CEO Ping Fu at Techonomy 2012 in Tucson, Ariz. (photo by Asa Mathat)

Removed from her family and forced to live as an orphan when she was just eight, Techonomy participant and Geomagic CEO Ping Fu endured the brunt of China's Cultural Revolution before ascending to the heights of American tech entrepreneurship. When she isn't blazing trails in the field of 3D printing and advanced manufacturing, or serving on President Obama's National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, she apparently finds time to write books. Her new memoir, "Bend, Not Break," chronicles her youth in China, her improbable immigration to the U.S., and her rise as an inspiring voice for pioneering women in tech.   More

Business

Apple Invests in China—Finally

Apple store in Beijing (image via Shutterstock)

For a company of its size, Apple has been surprisingly conservative about its investments in China, opening just a few of its trademark stores in a country that is already one of its top global markets but otherwise making few major investments. But that could soon change with talk that the world's biggest tech company is aiming to open a research and development center in China, which has become an unspoken prerequisite for any company that hopes to successfully do big business in the country.   More

Media & Marketing

Tapiture Bets Men Will Say, “Hey Dude Check This Out”

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Young men are not a priority target for most e-marketers, but Leo and John Resig believe they have created a captive male audience that is eager to spend. The two brothers recently founded Tapiture, a “Pinterest for males,” that has quietly attracted over 1.5 million unique visitors in just a couple of months. Much like Pinterest, Tapiture allows users to browse through a mosaic of photos uploaded by other users and “tap” the ones they like (the equivalent of “pinning”).   More

Energy & Green Tech

Can Chinese Investment in Clean Tech Cut Through Record-breaking Smog?

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With Beijing suffering its worst levels of air pollution on record, news that China was the world's biggest investor in clean energy in 2012 may offer a ray of hope—hopefully one that can cut through the thickening smog. As reported at SmartPlanet, a year-end study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that Chinese investment in clean energy reached $67.7 billion in 2012, up 20 percent from 2011.   More

Manufacturing

Why Robots Might Boost Industry While Killing Jobs

Globalization is an easy culprit for the recent wave of U.S. unemployment, with domestic jobs shipped overseas to be replaced by cheap labor, often without adverse impact on the quality of a company's products or services. Apple is just one high-profile example of this trend. But automation and robotics may be contributing even more to our stubborn unemployment figures. Paradoxically, robots could also help bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. The Jan. 13 broadcast of 60 Minutes featured several Techonomists to help explain how this might happen.   More

Business

Online Brain Games Combat Web Fatigue

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Diving down Google search rabbit holes and mindlessly scrolling through Web pages may be dulling our brains without our even realizing it. If we’re going to spend so much of our lives online, is there a way to transform some of that time into brain-building activity? Companies like Lumosity and BrainHQ are now offering antidotes to the affliction of Internet-induced brain drain. They've developed challenging and entertaining online brain exercises, games with hundreds of levels, along with personalized training programs to help people improve memory, problem solving abilities, people skills, attention span, and overall mental wellness.   More

Business

Techonomy SuperSession at CES Explores Networked Society

Techonomy hosted the SuperSession "New Network Effect Changes Everything" at CES yesterday, featuring Rodney Brooks of Rethink Robotics, Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas, and Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg. Techonomy founder David Kirkpatrick moderated the discussion, which explored the impact of a networked society on consumers, businesses, and industries ranging from farming to manufacturing, to automotive.   More