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Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life we discuss cyberwarfare, propaganda, and the release of the DNC's e-mails on WikiLeaks, but what some security experts have indicated to be Russian hackers.

Small groups of technologically empowered people are shaping our digital world in new ways. We've heard about the creative class of knowledge workers who leverage digital technology to build new things. These destructive actors are, in many ways, their polar opposite.

Resources:
Clinton campaign — and some cyber experts — say Russia is behind email release


 

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Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life we chat about augmented reality's first big hit — the Pokemon Go craze. The massively popular game has some good points— it forces people to get out and walk around, and it can be part of family playtime—and some not so good—it can engender fan obsession bordering on downright e-addiction.

Pokemon Go may be augmented reality’s introduction into pop culture, but how long will it last? Other attempts at AR apps, from shopping to games, have failed to catch on. What makes Pokemon Go so different? And, all the attention being paid to the app has had some negative consequences as well. This weekend, Niantic rolled out Pokemon Go to 26 countries and the game was plagued with server issues. This may have been caused by the onslaught of new players, but hackers were likely involved also in the server outages.

Resources:
Pokemon Go down: Hacking group claims credit for taking down servers 'with DDOS attack'

Pokémon Go isn’t a fad. It’s a beginning.

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Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life we discuss the consequences of the Dallas police using a robot kill a gunman, who had shot and killed five officers, wounding many others.

For some observers, that the robot delivered the explosive that ultimately killed the sniper has been cause for alarm; this is the first time that police have used a robot like this in a deliberately lethal manner. However, unlike the famous dystopian sci-fi movies of our popular culture, such as the Terminator, this robot was not autonomous — It was remote controlled. In fact, the robot model is currently used by police and the military to dispose of bombs. It clearly wasn't designed to be a weapons system, and is not part of a greater strategy for police use, at least for now.

Unsurprisingly this incident contributes to the "killer robot" debate, held at the UN and elsewhere, where policy makers struggle to determine the ethics of battlefield robots. Does this event in Dallas become a precedent, prototyping future use? Robots are particularly good at repetitive, dirty, dangerous jobs. It remains to be seen if a police robots—coupled with ad hoc, tactical, creative problem solving in emergencies—become further involved in such lethal scenarios.

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Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week we chat about technology and the great American past time, baseball.

Just last week the Associated Press announced that it's covering Minor League Baseball games using AI software. The software from Automated Insights, draws upon supplied game data to create a written narrative. This AI is already being used by the Associated Press to create earnings stories on U.S. public companies and by corporate customers like Edmunds.com, which uses it to generate descriptions of cars for its Web site.

So, AI can cover a baseball game, parsing the data and creating a narrative, but is the writing any good? So far, it seems to generate stories that are readable, but not really compelling or interesting beyond the most mundane facts. Is this the future of sports journalism? Join us as we discuss AI and baseball.

Resources
AP Sports is Using “Robot” Reporters to Cover Minor League Baseball
AP expands Minor League Baseball coverage

 

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Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week we chat about the intersection of technology and the home, and how it's changing our lives.

Furniture maker, Ikea recently released their third annual "Life at Home" report, which has some interesting insights into how tech is altering our home lives. In particular, there are some great revelations and analysis about privacy, light and noise pollution, and "things"—because, let's face it, we're probably own way too much stuff.

Resources
The Ikea "Life at Home" Report
From Ikea, 7 Key Insights on the Future of Our Homes

 

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Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week we discuss the future of UX as envisioned in Dirk Knemeyer's article “Understanding Us: A New Frontier for User Experience” which was published in the recent UXmatters relaunch.

It seems like today is a good time to be a UX professional, but what does the landscape look like professionally, and how is it going to change in the future? In the article, Dirk considers neuroscience, in particular, as an area that UX will both influence and be influenced by, as it converges with the world of science and biotech.


Resources:
Understanding Us: A New Frontier for User Experience

 

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Episode Summary

In this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the next wave of innovation in technology and new forms of design that will come along with it. Emerging technology needs design —from the IoT to AI, virtual reality to robotics, nanotechnology to 3D printing, genomics to synthetic biology. We talk about where we've been, and where we're going next.

Resources
LiveWorx
Gigaom Change
Journal of Design and Science

 

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Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we chat about urban agriculture and its importance to the cities of the future. We’re quickly approaching 8 billion people on the planet. More than half of them live in cities, and this number will continue to grow. The agriculture industry is resource intensive, especially when it comes to water and energy usage. Around the world, as they plan for the cities of the future, people are looking at urban agriculture.

Urban agriculture has many benefits.Because food is grown locally, near where we live, it reduces the cost and environmental impact of long supply chains. Locally grown also means we always get fresh produce.

Cities benefit from the increased greenery of urban agriculture which, importantly, reduces the "heat island" effect, caused by impermeable city surfaces are and dry which make urban regions warmer than nearby rural areas. Additionally, urban farming can bring healthy food as well as jobs to underserved urban areas.

In this episode we discuss the current state of urban agriculture and its future, including vertical farms and products like the Grove Ecosystem.

Resources:
Why Chicago is Becoming the Country's Urban Farming Capital
Grove Labs

 

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Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the plan to create a complete artificial human genome. A few weeks ago, scientists, entrepreneurs, and government officials met in a closed door meeting at Harvard University at an event intended to create interest and momentum around the follow-up to the Human Genome Project — a public / private collaboration to synthesize a human genome.

Over the past decade, the technology for encoding genes has improved at a fantastic rate. Since the early 2000s, the cost has dropped from four dollars to just three cents per base pair. However, while big pharma and big agriculture currently synthesize gene sequences for products including biologic drugs and GMO plants, these strands of genetic material are usually only a few thousand letters in length. Contrast that with the 6 billion letters needed for the human genome, and we can begin to see the ambition of this new proposed endeavor. In this episode, we explore some of the arguments in favor of and against writing human code.

Resources:
Ethical Questions Loom Over Efforts to Make a Human Genome from Scratch

 

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In this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the myriad products launched at Google I/O 2016.

To begin with, this summer the latest and greatest version of Android, the master platform for much of the Google software ecosystem, will make its debut. No longer just a mobile device OS, Android supports wearables (Android Wear 2.0), virtual reality (Daydream), and even automobile interfaces. In addition to the many flavors of Android, Google also showcased Allo, its AI-powered messaging app; Duo, its FaceTime competitor; as well as Google Home, its voice-activated product for the smart home.

 

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