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On this episode of The Digital Life, we chat about artificial intelligence (AI) and Juvet Agenda. In September of this year, a group of designers, innovators, and futurists gathered at the Juvet nature retreat in Norway to discuss AI, its trajectory and potential outcomes. The group explored making AI human centric, the big and small problems to solve using AI, and dealing with unintended consequences of the technology. The Juvet Agenda, an online publication that came out of the conference, highlights four major areas of discussion, including: power and control; bias, transparency, and authenticity; human and societal well-being; and perspectives for action. How do we understand and prepare for the opportunities brought about by AI? How do we consider AI within the toolset of emerging technologies? Join us as we discuss.

Resources
The Juvet Agenda
Clearleft

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On this episode of The Digital Life, we chat with special guest Karen Kaushansky about designing new user experiences and interfaces for emerging technologies. Karen is an Experience Designer and Futurist, who works on products 5-10 years before they are on most people’s radars — designing new experiences from speech recognition to biometrics to autonomous vehicles. We discuss new technologies that should be on a designer’s radar now and how both the design field and the designer’s job is evolving. For instance, the design process for creating new experiences, like autonomous vehicles, needs to include ways of managing the unforeseen consequences of emerging technologies — a much different approach from design for more established product categories. Creating these new experiences requires understanding how a broad array of design factors intersect, from industrial design to interaction design to service design.

Resources

From Speech Recognition to Autonomous Vehicles
Evolving To Car 3.0
Microsoft and Amazon have decided to let Alexa and Cortana work together to control your smart home
Kuri


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For our podcast topic this week, we chat about new developments in additive fabrication / 3D printing and the implications for the future of manufacturing. In the past, additive fabrication systems have used powered metal materials, which are both dangerous to inhale and have a risk of exploding. However new 3D printing machines from Markforged and Desktop Metal are impressive on many fronts — faster, safer and much less expensive than previous technologies. These 3D printers use plastic-encapsulated powders and extrusion systems, which can produce parts at 1/10th of the cost. They can currently handle copper and steel. Soon even aluminum and titanium will be coming. Designers need to pay attention to the overlap of digital and physical design advanced by these technologies. Join us as we discuss.

Resources:
DEVELOP3D LIVE
Markforged
Desktop Metal

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For our podcast topic this week, we discuss the design proposal by Sidewalk Labs—a smart city technologies firm, owned by Alphabet, Google parent’s company—for the City of Toronto. Sidewalk Labs will be partnering with the city to create a mixed-use community on Toronto’s waterfront. The aim of the pilot project is to build a smart city from the ground up, drawing on recent technological innovations in software analytics, the IoT, and self-driving cars, as well as improvements in methods of construction, waste disposal, and energy systems. Concerns about privacy abound, however. A recent Toronto Star editorial voiced some skepticism that promises of security and privacy protection would actually be built into the new infrastructure of the smart city. Join us as we discuss.

Resources:
Alphabet is Trying to Reinvent the City, Starting with Toronto
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to turn Toronto area into a model smart city
Don’t lose sight of personal privacy in futuristic city: Editorial


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For our podcast topic this week, we discuss the changing public perceptions of tech giants — Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon — and their power in and over our lives. Once seen as the facilitators of a potential techno-utopia, they’re now seen as … threats? Technology is no longer seen as neutral; It is, after all, created by people. And, the user is less and less seen as being in control; rather, we are being controlled. For instance, recently, Facebook’s tools have been used to undermine the US democratic process. But, where are we headed next? Join us as we discuss.

Resources:
Tech Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now Viewed as Threats

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For our podcast topic this week, we discuss product innovation for the smart home and whether Amazon is overtaking Apple when it comes to creating category disruption. Of course, Apple has a long history of disrupting categories — from the personal computer with the Apple II and again with the iMac; to music with the iPod; to mobile with the iPhone; to the tablet with the iPad. But it looks like Amazon is well positioned to be a dominant player when it comes to the smart home, with their television, music, ecommerce, and other systems all driven by the Alexa voice UI. Amazon’s new hardware products, announced at the end of September, extend the Echo line in significant ways, with industrial design reminiscent of Apple’s groundbreaking work on the personal computer. Is designing hardware and software for a complex ecosystem like the home, fundamentally different from other kinds of consumer product design? Join us as we discuss.

Resources:
Amazon announced a bunch of new hardware products today — here’s a rundown
Amazon’s New Devices Take On Apple in the Fight to Run Our Homes


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On the podcast this week, we’ll discuss some of the areas where human intelligence may outperform AI and vice versa. AI is good at processing and discovering certain kinds of information — from data mining to predictive forecasting to optimization — while humans can add a layer of expertise, judgment, and insight. Join us as we talk about about how humans might work separately from as well as in conjunction with machines in an AI-driven future.

Resources:

Where human intelligence outperforms AI


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On the podcast this week, we conclude our multi-episode discussion about the evolution of software and the future of computing, looking at how a handful of advances will come together to transform software and hardware into something new, which we’re calling “Smartware”. Smartware are computing systems that require little active user input, integrate the digital and physical worlds, and are continually learning on their own.

This week we’ll look at five ways in which Smartware will manifest in the design and functionality of future computing: Machines will do more of the “mechanical” work, interfaces will become invisible, environments will become customized to the individual user, physical presence will be optional, and apps, while fewer in number, will create a greater, networked ecosystem

Resources:
Smartware: A Tribute to Dead Machines
Smartware: Transformative Technologies

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On the podcast this week, we continue our multi-episode discussion about the evolution of software and the future of computing, looking at how a handful of advances will come together to transform software and hardware into something new, which we’re calling “Smartware”. Smartware are computing systems that require little active user input, integrate the digital and physical worlds, and are continually learning on their own. Join us as we discuss the major advances in science and technology that are driving Smartware — from artificial intelligence (AI), neuroscience, and genomics to the Internet of Things (IoT) and additive fabrication / 3D printing.

Resources:
Smartware: A Tribute to Dead Machines


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On the podcast this week, we begin a multi-episode discussion about the evolution of software and the future of computing, looking at how a handful of advances — such as AI, the IoT, neuroscience, and additive fabrication — will come together to transform software and hardware into something new, which we’re calling “Smartware”. Smartware are computing systems that require little active user input, integrate the digital and physical worlds, and are continually learning on their own.

We’ll start our discussion with “a tribute to dead machines”. Technology and humanity are inseparable: It’s present in every facet of our civilization. We’ll take a look at the history of technology from the era of big machines to personal computing to mobile. And, we’ll discuss some early examples of Smartware including self-driving cars like Tesla’s automobiles and the AI-driven voice user interface of Amazon’s Echo.

Resources:
Tesla
Amazon Echo


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