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Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss business model innovation in places you might not expect. Bill Taylor, the founder of Fast Company magazine, spoke at the Business Innovation Factory Summit last week about his new book "Simply Brilliant". We use his examples of companies experimenting and succeeding with unique business models and practices — from Lincoln Electric to Megabus — as a jumping off point for our discussion about progressive firms.

Resources:
Business Innovation Factory Summit
Simply Brilliant by Bill Taylor



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Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we discuss the gig economy and labor disputes. What are the new labor disputes? In many ways, they're the same as the old ones — unemployment insurance, workers comp, minimum wage, snf the right to organize — but for a new kind of worker. If the future of many kinds of work is found in their Uber-ization, what does this mean for fair labor practices? Does distributed, just-in-time work, mean that the protections for workers are gone forever? Or are there new models that we could use to fairly compensate people? We discuss regulation and the design of new labor policy in the age of Uber.

Resources:
App Based Services Spark a New Age of Labor Disputes

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Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we discuss the strange and exciting world of quantum computing. Quantum computers operate on an atomic level, harnessing the power of quantum mechanics to perform processing tasks much more rapidly than computers designed using classical physics. They have the potential to perform calculations much, much faster than any of our silicon-based super computers today — up to 100 million times faster, in fact.

Research in quantum computing has up until recently, been largely theoretical, with the practical technology needed to achieve it beyond reach. But now both Google and D-Wave, a Canadian company, have made some significant progress. Will there be a coming revolution in computing power? Will quantum computers one day replace our silicon chip based computing devices?


Resources:
Google's Quantum Dream Machine 
Revealed: Google's plan for quantum computer supremacy
 

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Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we discuss the quickly progressing evolutionary cycle from wearable devices to electronic clothing to embeddables. We're in a time of design experimentation combined with rapid technological advancement. A great example of this experimentation comes from design student Lucie Davis, who embedded the RFID chip for a subway pass into her high tech nails for a university project.

Technology, like attachable computers from
Cambridge, Massachusetts company MC10, will provide computing power that can be placed almost anywhere on the body, in the form ofsmall, rectangular stickers. And the MIT Media Lab working with Microsoft Research has created DuoSkin, a smart tattoo that can act like a smart device or connected interface.


Resources:
Student embeds subway card in her fingernails

MIT and Microsoft Research creates DuoSkin smart tattoo that turns skin into touchpad
 

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Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we discuss human-animal chimeras and bioethics. If you know your Greek mythology, you might be familiar with the chimera — a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature, part lion, part goat, with a tail that ends in a snake’s head. Today, the term chimera is used in embryology to describe a hybrid organism that has tissues from multiple species. And there’s interest in producing chimeras for studying disease pathology, testing drugs, and eventually organ transplantation.

Last year, however, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said it wouldn’t support this research and banned funding for it, due to bioethical and animal welfare concerns. Now, the NIH is requesting public comment on a proposal to amend sections of their guidelines for human stem cell research on the proposed scope of certain human-animal chimera research.


Resources:
You Can Soon Grow Human-Animal Hybrids, But You Can’t Breed ‘Em

Strange Beasts: Why Human-Animal Chimeras Might Be Coming

NIH consideration of certain research proposals involving human-animal chimera models

 

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Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life is the third in our special series of episodes put together in conjunction with our friends at the GET Conference, on the cutting edge of research science and technology.

In this week’s episode we explore the topic of genomics and life extension, with interviews by Dirk Knemeyer with James Crowe of the Human Immunome Project and George Church of the Personal Genome Project.

Genomics and the science of life extension are inexorably tied together, whether we’re talking about slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend the human lifespan or future breakthroughs in gene therapy and organ replacement, which might eventually enable humans to have indefinite lifespans.

Resources:
GET Conference
Personal Genome Project
Full Interview with George Church
Vanderbilt Vaccine Center
Full Interview with James Crowe

 

 

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Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life is the second in our special series of episodes put together in conjunction with our friends at the GET Conference, on the cutting edge of research science and technology. In this week’s episode we explore the topic of the microbiome, with interviews with Embriette Hyde and Justine Dubilias of American Gut Project and Brian Klein of the Forsyth Institute.  

We’re only just beginning to understand the microorganisms that resides in, on, and around us. In the past it was estimated that we have 10x more non-human cells than human cells. More recent estimates lower that number to equal amounts of cells for both human and microorganisms. And, while we have a mutually beneficial relationship with some of the microbiota that colonize us, for some we just don’t understand what the relationship is, yet.


Resources:
GET Conference
American Gut Project
Forsyth Institute


 

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Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we embark on the first in a special series of episodes put together in conjunction with our friends at the GET Conference, on the cutting edge of research science and technology.

The GET Conference is on the front lines of the open science movement, seeking to make scientific research and data accessible to both professionals and citizens.

In this episode we explore the topic of open science through interviews with Brian Bot and Jon Wilbanks of Sage Bionetworks, Alexander Wait Zaranek from the Personal Genome Project and Curoverse, and Tim Errington from the Center of Open Science.

Resources:
GET Conference
Sage Bionetworks
Center for Open Science
Personal Genome Project
Curoverse


 

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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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