Bull Session

Let’s (Pokemon) Go Crazy

July 21, 2016          

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.

Bull Session

Policing with Robots

July 14, 2016          

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.

 
Resources:
Police used a robot to kill — The key questions
Scientists Debate Killer Robots at U.N. Conference

Bull Session

AI Goes to the Ballpark

July 7, 2016          

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

Bull Session

Technology and Home

June 30, 2016          

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

Bull Session

The Future of UX

June 23, 2016          

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