Bull Session

Designing Deception

March 9, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we discuss deceptive software in light of the recent revelations that Uber used its Greyball application to evade and thwart municipal officials nationwide, who were looking to regulate or otherwise monitor the service. This has a similar flavor to the Volkswagen story from last year, in which the company installed special software in its diesel powered cars to specifically reduce emissions during testing by authorities. What are the ways in which consumers now need to be aware of these deceptive practices? And how should we navigate the marketplace?

Resources

How Uber Deceives the Authorities Worldwide

Bull Session

Biomimicry

March 2, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about biomimicry and nature-inspired design. As design and science intersect, biomimicry is becoming an increasingly important method for engineering new products. Recent examples include bullet train engineers imitating the beak of the Kingfisher bird to improve the aerodynamics of the train’s nose; wind turbine designers creating fins inspired by the Humpback whale to reduced drag and improved lift; and automobile engineers at Ford developing a recycled paper honeycomb material to gives the cargo area of the new EcoSport exceptional strength. Scientists, engineers, and designers across many different industries are drawing inspiration from nature’s materials and seeking to understand and imitate them.

Resources:
The Best of Biomimicry: Here’s 7 Examples of Nature-Inspired Design
Ford Looks to AI, Biomimicry Solutions to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Bull Session

Open Source Design

February 23, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about how open source design is being brought to bear on some of the most important problems of the 21st century, including creating new tools for urban agriculture, home building, and medicine. For instance, furniture retailer Ikea recently released open source designs for a garden sphere, an urban agriculture project that can feed a neighborhood. Open source design, the Maker movement and desktop / DIY manufacturing are converging in interesting ways. Join us as we discuss.
Resources:
Ikea Lab Releases Free Designs for a Garden Sphere That Feeds a Neighborhood
Open Source Ecology
A Open Source Toolkit for Building Your Own Home
3D Design Contest for Medical Tools in Africa

Bull Session

The Autonomous Auto Industry

February 16, 2017          

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?

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

Bull Session

The Next Wave of Drone Technology

February 12, 2017          

Episode 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 archaeologists. Facebook is even preparing to deliver Internet to underserved areas using drones.

 
Resources:
Lady Gaga’s Halftime Show Drones Have a Bright Future
Facebook Takes Flight: Inside the test flight of Facebook’s first internet drone