Manufacturing

Dutch Firm Plans 3D-Printed Canal Boat

(Image via Shutterstock)

In a talk last January at Learning Without Frontiers, Ray Kurzweil speculated that one day 3D printers will be able to self-replicate by printing parts to make other 3D printers. Kurzweil, now Director of Engineering at Google and a speaker at last year's Techonomy conference, thinks 3D printing could have a paradigm-shifting impact on how we manufacture all kinds of things—from automobiles to the highways that they drive on. Fueled by this vision, students at the Singularity University, which Kurzweil founded, are working on creating 3D-printable buildings. Now, the Dutch firm DUS Architects plans to use a mobile printing facility called the KamerMaker to build the first 3D-printed canal boat.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

How to Look at Your Genome: Close-Up or Wide-Angle?

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There’s growing debate in the biomedical community about the most valuable view of the human genome: a wide panoramic snapshot showing the whole thing, or a zoomed-in image of just where the action is. This is not just an academic discussion: the outcome will have significant implications in how patients are treated for a range of medical conditions.   More

Business

Why Summly Matters: Software Will Become Your Research Assistant

When a company like Yahoo buys a web widget company for a few tens of millions, nobody usually pays much attention. This week, however, Yahoo’s purchase of Summly is making international headlines, but for all the wrong reasons—reasons that entirely miss why Summly is exciting. Most of the stories focus on the fact that Summly’s CEO, Nick D'Aloisio, is 17 years old, and sold the company for as much as $30 million. Other than stirring feelings of tremendous inadequacy in most of us, that story will get boring in a few days.   More

Business Finance Government

What’s Next in the Techonomy?

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In the last few decades, we have witnessed exponential technological growth and change. However, as we enter the second half of the metaphorical chessboard, it remains unclear how that technology will reshape our economy, political systems, and collective future. One thing is clear: in the hands of existing institutions—firms, schools, non-profits, civic institutions and governments—this awesome technology will achieve only a fraction of its potential.   More

Business

MakeLoveNotPorn.tv Aims to Crowdsource Online Sex

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Could crowdsourcing transform the porn industry the same way it's shaken up product development, photography, and venture capitalism through online platforms like Quirky, Shutterstock, and Kickstarter? Cindy Gallop, a former ad executive and 2003 Advertising Woman of the Year, certainly hopes so. Last August, Gallop launched the website MakeLoveNotPorn.tv in an effort to subvert the way people consume sex online. Her crusade started with a 2009 TED talk in which she described her frustrations dating younger men, who she said tended to mimic hard core pornography during sex rather than seeking genuine physical connection. Gallop wants to dispel the stigma and embarrassment attached to frank sexual expression, and offer an antidote to the impersonal fetishization rampant in the most widely-consumed pornography.   More

Cities

Venture for America Cultivates Detroit’s Innovation Greenfield

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Following our first Techonomy Detroit conference last fall, we profiled Venture for America, a program that places young tech entrepreneurs at start-ups throughout the country, targeting cities like Detroit, New Orleans, and Las Vegas that are still grappling with economic recovery. We also profiled an innovative Detroit startup called Are You a Human, which offers a secure and entertaining alternative to CAPTCHA authentication technology, designed to verify that someone using a website is a real persona and not a robot with bad intentions. Max Nussenbaum, a Venture for America fellow who was placed by the program at Are You a Human, was among several VfA fellows who attended Techonomy Detroit. In his Huffington Post blog about his experiences in Detroit, Nussenbaum argues that the city is a greenfield for innovation and experimentation.   More

Energy & Green Tech Global Tech

China’s Suntech Insolvent, Yingli Links With GLC

(Image via Suntech)

The inevitable has finally happened at tanking former solar star Suntech, which has been forced into bankruptcy, ending a months-long battle between the company's founder Shi Zhengrong and just about all the company's other stakeholders. In the meantime, I would be remiss not to mention another solar news tidbit that has panel maker Yingli forming a new strategic tie-up with GLC-Poly Energy, in what could eventually become the first mega-merger in the struggling solar panel sector.   More

Jobs

A High-Altitude Hack to Bridge the Skills Gap

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Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union, spoke at Techonomy 2011 about why broadband access should be a universal human right. Now, Touré's United Nations agency is partnering with British Airways to look for ways to match emerging talent with new jobs in tech. The two organizations have formed the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and launched an initiative, called "UnGrounded," that aims to identify the engineering, science, and tech skills most needed for today's job market, and create opportunities for training and talent discovery. The project will literally take off this summer when a group of CEOs, founders, and investors use an 11-hour transcontinental flight as a high-altitude hackathon, taking them from San Francisco to London, where they will present their ideas at ISD's Decide Now Act (DNA) Summit.   More

Cities Opinion

Shanghai Street View: Garbage Disposal

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What started as local news of hundreds of dead pigs found floating in Shanghai's Huangpu River has suddenly morphed into a major story, captivating global audiences with its graphic images and air of mystery about where the corpses came from. The news has now traveled to much of the world, including the U.S. city of Denver, prompting even my brother to take notice and send me an email warning not to drink the Shanghai tap water.   More

Business

Has the Sharing Economy Already Left Zipcar Behind?

relayrides-logo

Zipcar was a harbinger of the new sharing economy, but according to Arun Sundararajan of The Harvard Business Review, because the company has to maintain a fleet of vehicles, its business model is really no different from an old-fashioned rental car company. Sundararajan points to two upstarts, RelayRides and GetAround, that mobilize a true peer-to-peer marketplace, with fleets of cars owned and operated (and parked) by a community of users. Their reputation-based approach can be traced to Airbnb and other resource-pooling companies like SnapGoods and TaskRabbit.   More

Business

The Techonomy Spring 2013 Report

Techonomy is pleased to announce the publication of its Spring 2013 Report, a full-color 60-page booklet that surveys our activities over the last year, and points to our plans for 2013. The book includes transcripts from our conferences in Detroit and Tucson, original articles by journalists and industry leaders, and a look at our online publishing. With this publication, we affirm our belief that print is not dead. But we've also made the contents available digitally. For a link to the flipbook and PDF download, click on the "more" button.   More

Business

The Industrial Internet Will Rewrite the Rules of Business

(Source: General Electric)

The world is on the threshold of the next frontier of innovation with the rise of the Industrial Internet. Brilliant machines are converging with the power of advanced analytics, low-cost sensing and new levels of Internet connectivity. The next decade will bring a software and services-driven movement that will be nothing short of breathtaking: analytics that learn from experience and constantly improve machine intelligence that blends digital output and human insight to deliver better outcomes. It will help eliminate waste across every major industry.   More

Business

Google Unveils Voice Recognition With Silent Film Demo

As part of the roll-out for its newly developed voice-recognition tool, Google has unveiled a nifty little feature that allows users to add subtitles to silent film clips. Open PeanutGalleryFilms.com in Chrome (it won't work in other browsers) and play around with it, with that caveat that the functionality is still a work in progress. Users have to verbalize punctuation, and proper nouns can yield comical results akin to texting auto-fill gaffes. Google's voice recognition is an important step toward making our computers actually listen to us when we scream at them. Speech control is also likely to be integrated into Google Glass, so you can now look forward to talking to your eyewear.   More

Techonomy 12 Business Startup Culture Techonomy Events Video

Cloudpreneurs

In this talk, Bertil Chappuis, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, explores how cloud technology is helping to boost entrepreneurship. Read the full transcript below. Kirkpatrick: So now I’m going to bring up Bertil Chappuis from McKinsey who’s talking about some very interesting issues surrounding cloud and how to think about that. McKinsey is going […]   More

Business Startup Culture

Welcome to Little Big Inc.

On’s three founders (from left) David Allemann, Caspar Coppetti and Olivier Bernhard. (Photo: Braschler/Fischer)

You’ve got a great idea. You’ve assembled a team of four or five people, all enthusiastic, all raring to go. That’s it. You’re ready to take on the giants. This is not the familiar story of online start-ups and one-app wonders, where the business model is a quick sell-out to Facebook, Google, or Apple. Instead it’s the story of companies like Jimdo, a small German business that makes it easy to build and run websites—whether you want to run a blog, create a personal site to show off your fly-fishing prowess, or create an online presence for your small business. Jimdo started as the side project of an online marketing team that didn’t like the software available at the time to build websites. So they built their own easy-to-use, browser-based tools.   More

Techonomy 12 Business Global Tech Jobs Techonomy Events Video

Can the U.S. Stay Competitive?

Slow trains; second class cell service; inferior infrastructure; third-tallest buildings; fourth-rate education; 34th in infant mortality. What are we still best at? As innovation flourishes around the world, can the U.S. stay strong? How? This session seeks some answers. Read the full transcript below. Kirkpatrick: Could the next panel come up? I want to introduce […]   More

Techonomy 12 Techonomy Events Video

180° Shift: The Role of Tech in a Shifting Electoral Map

Dan Bartlett, President and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, speaks at Techonomy 2012 in Tucson, Ariz.   More

Techonomy 12 Techonomy Events Video

Social Is an Enterprise Feature

Hugo Sarrazin, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, discusses the emerging role of social media in business at Techonomy 2012 in Tucson, Ariz.   More

Government

Will Effective Gun Control Come from The Hill or The Valley?

While Washington legislators try to figure out how to enact policy to reduce the growing number of mass shootings, technologists are looking for alternative solutions. A group of investors led by Ron Conway has formed the Technical Committee to Reduce Gun Violence, aimed at applying technology to reduce gun violence. "Smart guns" that can only be fired by their owners could be one option. While the concept makes sense, its reliability has been questioned.   More

Detroit 12 Manufacturing Video

Manufacturing’s Future and the Impact on Jobs

Daniel Howes, associate business editor of The Detroit News, moderates this session from Techonomy Detroit about how the technologization of manufacturing can create new jobs instead of killing them. Speakers include Amar Hanspal of Autodesk, PARC CEO Stephen Hoover, and Lou Rassey of McKinsey & Company.   More