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Episode Summary

Today, the field of UX is evolving faster than ever before. There’s never been a greater need for digital design — from mobile to desktop to every device in between. Add to that the tremendous need for design for emerging technologies — including the Internet of Things, wearables, genomics, and robotics — and you have all the right factors that should point to an industry on the rise. However, at the same time, the UX industry is maturing: There's a strong trend to bring work in house at tech companies of all shapes and sizes, which has made the design landscape, at least for independent consulting agencies, tentative at best. Since the sale of Adaptive Path to Capital One almost a year ago, we’ve heard the rumors of the demise of the design firm. For our podcast topic this week, we’re going to explore the current state of affairs and the necessary re-invention of the UX design agency.

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Episode Summary

In this episode of The Digital Life, we explore Google’s corporate transformation to holding company Alphabet, what that means for unleashing innovation in the company, and how that effects the firm's chief technology rivals, Amazon and Apple. So far, Wall Street has loved the move and the company has increased its worth by $20B.

Alphabet is well-positioned to be the dominant emerging tech company of the 21st century, with fingers in the IoT, wearables, self-driving cars, robotics, and genomics. But what does that dominance mean for our data, when innovation is reliant on advertising revenue for financial fuel?

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Episode Summary

In the science fiction film "Minority Report", a PreCrime police division hunts down potential criminals and arrests them before they commit their crimes. While we are far from being able to predict crimes before they happen, we are using risk assessments — statistical tools that aim to quantify whether or not a criminal will re-offend — in the American justice system, a solution that is particularly controversial, especially when it comes to sentencing.

Using big data and statistical analysis, risk assessments promise fewer incarcerations as individuals suitable for rehabilitation are steered in that direction, and less crime as truly dangerous criminals are kept off the streets. As states struggle with the burden of increased spending on their prison systems, this potential solution appeals to policymakers on both sides of the aisle: Conservatives see fewer tax dollars spent, while liberals see a fairer system, arbitrated by big data.

But for the individuals effected, many questions remain. Can statistical data analysis accurately assess how people might behave in the future, and give us insight into whether or not criminals might re-offend? And, is it fair to decide their fate, at least in part, based on that data? This week on The Digital Life, we'll explore the design and use of risk assessments in our criminal justice system.

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This week on The Digital Life, we explore the future of food. There are few things more personal, more intimate, more important than what we put in our bodies every day. We'll touch on a few areas at the intersections of food, science, and technology — from food as fuel where optimizing nutrition is key, to new food delivery technology like 3D printing, to the molecular gastronomy movement.

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In this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the Jeep auto hack in which cybersecurity researchers were able to remotely take control of a car's critical systems, the subsequent 1.4M vehicle recall by Chrysler, and the new bill introduced by Senators Ed Markey (Dem - Massachusetts) and Richard Blumenthal (Dem - Connecticut) to protect automobiles from cyberattacks. Are security and privacy the defining issues for the Internet of Things? Unfortunately, it seems like this incident may be the first of many examples of hacking the IoT and connected environments.

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In this episode of The Digital Life podcast, we chat with special guest Suzanne Livingston, senior product manager for IBM’s enterprise social software platform, about the "consumerization" of enterprise software and the bring-your-own-device trend.

This is a unique time for the enterprise, as software eats the world. Product managers need to keep in mind a variety of factors as they consider the ongoing “consumerization” of enterprise software from user experience to security to productivity. How are enterprise software vendors responding to the trend of employees bringing their own mobile devices into the work environment? Has the time come when enterprise software needs to be “mobile first” in its UX strategy? Are successful upstarts like Trello, Box, Slack indicative of the way enterprise software needs to go? We examine all of these questions and more as we consider the the migration of enterprise software to a “consumerized” paradigm.

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In this episode of The Digital Life podcast, we chat about about digital automation, innovation, and its effects on the economics of the American middle class.

Is the growing contractor economy, as typified by Uber, another signal that the middle class is in real trouble? As a part of her campaign rhetoric, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, is making some hay of the topic. But the concern is very much a real one. The need for meaningful work is an essential one for humanity, and one that increasingly is falling prey to technological change.

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In this episode of The Digital Life podcast, we chat about streaming television, cord cutting, and the future of the medium. 2015 has been a big year for streaming TV, with HBO NOW making its debut, Sling TV (from Dish) launching, and Netflix stock roaring. In fact, next week Netflix stock — currently trading around $650 — will split 7 times.

Technology and increasing bandwidth has acted as the facilitator to streaming TV's rise, which is now effectively built into the infrastructure of our lives. Users can access their shows anywhere, consuming them on any device containing a screen — from mobile phone to tablet, to computer, to smart television.

And the audience has an even greater stake in determining what shows survive and thrive; Netflix and Amazon are using in-depth customer data to make decisions about what original shows they make. The end result of all this is (mostly) high-quality new television series and a golden age of storytelling. But ongoing audience splintering is a real concern, and while ordering just what you want may be perfect for some, for others the paradox of choice is getting even harder to manage.

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In this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss rapid prototyping, the coming hardware renaissance and the Internet of Things with Technical Machine co-founder, Jon McKay.

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Our big institutions, both corporate and government, are not able to keep up with security in the digital age. As our communications, commerce, and even our health data continue to move online, what is the individual to do?

From the recent breach of US government systems exposing valuable personal data, including Social Security numbers, for millions of Federal employees; to the Sony hack revealing private corporate communications to embarrassing effect; to the intrusions on computer networks at major health insurance companies Anthem and Blue Cross, the list of concerning events goes on and on.

Do we need a cultural shift in our understanding of cyber-privacy? And what would that be? In this episode of the Digital Life, we discuss the consequences of online privacy devolution.

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