Bull Session147 podcasts

Bull Session

Smartware: A Tribute to Dead Machines

September 14, 2017          

Episode Summary

On the podcast this week, we begin a multi-episode discussion about the evolution of software and the future of computing, looking at how a handful of advances — such as AI, the IoT, neuroscience, and additive fabrication — will come together to transform software and hardware into something new, which we’re calling “Smartware”. Smartware are computing systems that require little active user input, integrate the digital and physical worlds, and are continually learning on their own.

We’ll start our discussion with “a tribute to dead machines”. Technology and humanity are inseparable: It’s present in every facet of our civilization. We’ll take a look at the history of technology from the era of big machines to personal computing to mobile. And, we’ll discuss some early examples of Smartware including self-driving cars like Tesla’s automobiles and the AI-driven voice user interface of Amazon’s Echo.

Resources:
Tesla
Amazon Echo

Bull Session

AI and Music

September 7, 2017          

Episode Summary

On the podcast this week, we discuss artificial intelligence and music with special guest Pierre Barreau, CEO of Aiva. Aiva (Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist) is an AI composer. Aiva has created music used in the soundtracks for films, advertising, and games, and is the first virtual artist to be recognized by an author’s rights society. Join us as we explore how man and machine collaborate to create the future of music.

Resources:
Aiva
A New AI Can Write Music as Well as a Human Composer

Bull Session

Hacking Robots

August 31, 2017          

Episode Summary

On the podcast this week, we discuss the dangers of hacking robots. As you might expect, the rise of robotics in manufacturing and other industrial activities also means a rise in possible attacks. Of course, with a successful hack of industrial robots comes the potential for some dire physical outcomes. Security researchers have demonstrated unpatched vulnerabilities in a variety of industrial robot models including collaborative robots, which are designed to work together with people, in environments such as manufacturing. These industrial robots can be compromised in ways that could cause humans bodily harm. Join us as we discuss.

Resources:
Industrial Hack Can Turn Powerful Machines into Killer Robots
Exploiting Industrial Collaborative Robots

Bull Session

The Human in Tech

August 24, 2017          

Episode Summary

For our podcast topic this week, we discuss the digital life, automation, and eliminating the human in our digital interactions. In an essay in MIT Technology Review, David Byrne of Talking Heads fame postulates that “part of making something ‘frictionless’ is getting the human part out of the way.” He goes on, in his essay to reflect upon how automation is eliminating the human in areas as varied as e-commerce, digital music, online education, and even social media. Does this elimination of the human element lead to less tolerance and understanding of our differences? If cooperation is what has made us successful as a species, how do we survive if we’re only self-interested to the exclusion of others? And, is technology headed in this direction?

Resources

Eliminating the Human

Bull Session

Technology and Immortality

August 17, 2017          

Episode Summary

On the podcast this week, we discuss advances in the digital life and in biological engineering that are fueling the human search for immortality. It seems like humans have always been obsessed with living forever. The path to immortality, however, has necessarily been more fantasy than reality. Even The Fountain of Youth, one of the most famous fables of immortality, was erroneously connected to the biography of the conquistador Juan Ponce de León, perhaps to give the legend more weight.

It’s a natural human desire is to try to extend our lives as much as possible. We’re getting better at fighting off diseases, although we’re encountering new ones all the time — obesity, various cancers, and even West Nile virus are all examples of relatively new threats. Digitally, we’re finding better and better ways of preserving our perspectives in 0s and 1s. And, there’s an interesting sociological thread that’s tightly connected with such technological advances: Who gets to live the longest, and most desirable life? Whose ideas are maintained and propagated? Join us on the podcast, as we discuss.

Resources:
What are the ethical consequences of immortality technology?