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Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about Ford's recent billion dollar investment in self-driving cars and what that might mean for the future of the auto industry. Ford Motor recently announced their $1B investment in Argo AI, a start-up developing autonomous vehicle tech in Pittsburg with former Google and Uber experts at the helm.

Ford is a the latest major American automaker to throw their hat in the autonomous vehicle ring. The field is already a crowded one: GM, Chrysler, Uber, Google, Tesla, and Apple all want a piece of that market. But, as the race heats up, the industry will need to consider questions of infrastructure, regulation, insurance, and policy. What will the government’s role and investment be in this burgeoning industry? How will the laws governing self-driving cars shape up?

Ford to Invest $1 Billion in Artificial Intelligence Start-Up

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Episode Summary

AI Goes Mainstream

Summary:
On this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the next wave of drone technology. Most of the country saw the massive swarming drone light display that was part of Lady Gaga's Super Bowl halftime show. The Intel Shooting Star drone system created effects not unlike sophisticated fireworks.

Have we entered the age of the drone? The possibilities seem endless: search-and-rescue missions to assist emergency crews after natural disasters, crop inspection and fertilizer / pesticide distribution for agricultural producers, delivering humanitarian supplies and medicine for NGOs, or even land surveys using heat-sensing cameras for scientists and archeologists. Facebook is even preparing to deliver Internet to underserved areas using drones.

Lady Gaga's Halftime Show Drones Have a Bright Future

Facebook Takes Flight: Inside the test flight of Facebook’s first internet drone

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Episode Summary

AI Goes Mainstream

Summary:
On this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the high-powered Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, an initiative whose founding members include Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Apple. Apple was just recently added as a founding member.

The mission of the group is to educate the public about AI, study its potential impact on the world, and develop standards and ethics around its implementation. Interestingly, the group also includes organizations with expertise in economics, civil rights, economics, and research, who are concerned with the impacts of technology on modern society. These include: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the MacArthur Foundation, OpenAI, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Arizona State University and University of California, Berkeley.

Will AI build upon our society's biases and disparities and make them worse? Or does it have the potential to create something more egalitarian? Join us as we discuss all this and more.

Apple joins Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft in AI initiative

Partnership on AI

A massive AI partnership is tapping civil rights and economic experts to keep AI safe

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Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss workplace automation and the technologies that will make it happen — from robotics to artificial intelligence (AI) to machine learning. The McKinsey Global Institute released a new study on the topic this month, "A Future that Works: Automation, Employment and Productivity", which contains some interesting insights.For instance, almost every occupation has the potential to be at least partially automated, and it's likely that more occupations will be transformed than automated away. However, people will need to work in conjunction with machines as a part of their day-to-day activities, and in this new age of automation, learning new skills will be critical.Add to this the fact that working-age population is actually decreasing in many countries, and we can see how the story of automation is multi-faceted. The path to automating the workplace is a complex one that could raise productivity growth on a global scale.

Amazon Go is just one of a host of ideas for retail store formats that re-define that experience: product curation, showrooms (a la the Apple Store), immersive environments, etc. Join us as we discuss the evolution of the retail store.


Report - McKinsey Global Institute: Harnessing automation for a future that works

  


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Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss Amazon Go and the future of retail. As e-commerce continues to rise in popularity, retail stores are taking a huge hit, losing billions of dollars in transactions which have migrated online. What should physical retail look like then, in the 21st century? Ironically, Amazon, the e-commerce giant, might have the answer.

Amazon Go, the company's new retail offering being beta tested in Seattle, is a IoT-enabled grocery store which forgoes the checkout line. Customers can walk in, grab what they like from the shelves, and just walk out again — no waiting in line required. How does Amazon Go work? When customers walk in, they tap their mobile phones on a turnstile, which logs them into the store's system. It connects them to their Amazon account via an app. Amazon Go uses machine learning, sensors, and AI to track the food items that a customer selects and adds them to the app's virtual cart. If the customer picks up an item and puts it down again, the item is likewise removed from their cart.

Amazon Go is just one of a host of ideas for retail store formats that re-define that experience: product curation, showrooms (a la the Apple Store), immersive environments, etc. Join us as we discuss the evolution of the retail store.


Resources:
Amazon just opened a grocery store without a checkout line

  


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Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss how data on human behavior has become an increasingly important asset in the 21st century. We start with an examination of Uber Movement, which offers access to the company’s data on traffic flow — meant for use by city planners and researchers looking for ways to improve urban mobility. This is a global data trove with information from cities all over the world, and it reflects the growing use of data assets by tech companies to influence local and national policy and law. Data on human behavior will be come an increasingly important asset in the years ahead. We can already see how Amazon, Netflix and Uber are using the data at their disposal as leverage. The big question is: what comes next?


Resources:
Uber Movement
Uber Debuts Movement, a New Website Offering Access to Its Traffic Data
  


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Episode Summary

To start off the new year on The Digital Life, we discuss cyber rights including the "right to disconnect" law that took effect in France on January 1. It looks like the enlightened humanists in France are now staking out new territory for human rights in the digital age. After hours, the French no longer need to pay attention to work e-mail for reasons of health and well being. What should digital human rights or cyber rights include? A right to our data? A right to not be harassed? A right to privacy? Maybe even a right to vote? Join us as well discuss all this and more.


Resources:
French Law Giving Workers 'The Right To Disconnect' Goes Into Effect


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Episode Summary

For our final podcast of 2016, we chat about the big themes on the show and our favorite episodes over the past year. We had conversations on design and tech with some wonderful guests including ground breaking geneticist George Church and open science advocate and researcher, John Wilbanks. From AI to genomics to cybersecurity, we covered a wide range topics on The Digital Life in 2016. So what did we learn from a year talking tech?


AI is too smart for its own good.

Artificial intelligence is evolving rapidly, with both high profile public failure and success by a number of tech giants this year. For instance, Microsoft had to terminate Tay, its teenage chatbot, after the bot started tweeting neo-Nazi propaganda and other abusive language at people. Meanwhile, Google's DeepMind created an AI capable of beating some of the very best human players in the world at Go, the Asian strategy board game. And, we were introduced to a brand new "Rembrandt", which was 3D-printed with eerie accuracy by an artificial intelligence algorithm, trained by analyzing the artist's paintings.

Episode 149: Artificial Intelligence 149: Artificial Intelligence
Episode 151: AI Goes to Art School 151: AI Goes to Art School
Episode 163: AI Goes to the Ballpark 163: AI Goes to the Ballpark



DNA replaces silicon as the new material for innovation.

The fields of genomics and synthetic biology continue to press forward in astonishing ways. In Seoul, Korea, a controversial lab revealed plans to clone endangered animals in order to save them from extinction. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston University (BU) synthetic biologists created software that automates the design of DNA circuits for living cells.

Episode 148: On Cloning
Episode 150: Engineering Synthetic Biology
Episode 154: DNA as Data Storage
Episode 158: Writing Human Code
Episode 168: The Microbiome168: The Microbiome
Episode 169: Genomics and Life Extension 169: Genomics and Life Extension
Episode 170: Chimeras and Bioethics 170: Chimeras and Bioethics
Episode 176: Three Parents and a Baby 176: Three Parents and a Baby

Hacking and cybersecurity are front and center as online and offline worlds collide.
In 2016, cybersecurity became a primary issue in a host of critical areas including communication, energy, and politics. Power grids, airports, and other infrastructure were increasingly subject to cyber attacks and an increasing number were successful. The debate over privacy and security was reinvigorated by the hubbub around the FBI request of Apple to unlock an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters. And, Wikileaks distributed e-mails obtained by sources who hacked the DNC and individuals associated with the Clinton campaign during the U.S. presidential elections.

Episode 139: Hacking Power
Episode 144: Apple vs. FBI
Episode 166: Hacking the DNC
Episode 179: Internet Takedown

The automation of work is coming.
We got another startling look at what the future of work could become as software, robots, and the IoT continued to automate activities previously completed by humans. According to preliminary findings of a recent McKinsey report, 45 percent of all work activities could be automated today using technology already demonstrated. From fulfilling warehouse orders to suggesting medical treatments for ailments, the coming wave of automation will redefine jobs and business processes for factory workers and CEOs alike.

Episode 140: Automating Work 140: Automating Work
Episode 141: Future Transportation 141: Future Transportation
Episode 145: Robot World 145: Robot World
Episode 153: Smart Cities and Sidewalk Labs 153: Smart Cities and Sidewalk Labs
Episode 173: Labor and the Gig Economy 173: Labor and the Gig Economy

Design and science are intersecting in new and significant ways.
Whether it’s in the creation of high tech clothing, embeddables, or materials, design and science are coming together in new and significant ways. Clothing designers are working with multi-disciplinary teams, integrating input from engineers and synthetic biologists into their work. From 3D-printed couture to scarves dyed with bacteria to textiles grown in the lab, emerging tech is creating rapid innovation in the fashion industry. And this year, in the burgeoning world of designing embeddables, the U.S. Patent Office approved Google’s patent for electronic lens technology, which implantable directly in the eye. These mechanical eyes might  give you superhuman abilities — to see at great distance or view microscopic material, and document it all by capturing photos or video.

Episode 143: Clothing and Technology
Episode 155: Designing Embeddables
Episode 161: The Future of UX
Episode 171: Embeddables
Episode 172: Quantum Computing



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Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about our tech predictions for 2017 — from AI to custom manufacturing — and look back at how well we managed with our predictions for 2016. 


Resources:
Tech Predictions 2016


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Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about the top tech stories of this year. From Twitter's acquisition woes to exploding batteries in the Galaxy Note7, Apple vs. the FBI to the Wikileaks influence on the US presidential election, it's been an eventful and notable year with plenty of surprises.


Resources:
Theranos Debacle Triggers an Avalanche of Lawsuits by Investors Who Should Have Known Better

Who will buy Twitter? We ranked all the possible buyers.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 users’ phones are blowing up, literally

Verizon is buying Yahoo for $4.8 billion

WikiLeaks grilled on Trump, Assange in rowdy Reddit AMA

Apple vs FBI: All you need to know



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