hamburger.svg

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

 

170_chimeras_and_bioethics.png

Subscribe to The Digital Life on iTunes and never miss an episode.

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

 

 

169_GENOMICS_AND_LIFE_EXTENSION.png

Subscribe to The Digital Life on iTunes and never miss an episode.

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


 

168A_microbiome.png

Subscribe to The Digital Life on iTunes and never miss an episode.

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


 

167_OPEN_SCIENCE.png

Subscribe to The Digital Life on iTunes and never miss an episode.

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


 

166A_hacking_the_dnc.png

Subscribe to The Digital Life on iTunes and never miss an episode.

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.

165_pokemon_go_crazy_a.png

Subscribe to The Digital Life on iTunes and never miss an episode.

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.

164B.png

Subscribe to The Digital Life on iTunes and never miss an episode.

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

 

template11.png

Subscribe to The Digital Life on iTunes and never miss an episode.

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

 

episode162.png

Subscribe to The Digital Life on iTunes and never miss an episode.

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

 

futureofux-socialmedia.jpg

Subscribe to The Digital Life on iTunes and never miss an episode.

Click here for more blog posts!