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Bull Session

Robot World

March 1, 2016          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we discuss a world filled with robots and what this could mean for humanity as we adjust to another type of “being” in our midst. It’s coming sooner than we might think.

For instance, last week, Boston Dynamics, a Google company, released a video of their next generation Atlas robot, that shows it walking through the snowy woods, recovering from slips, and picking up a 10-pound box.

To demonstrate the robot’s resilience, a Boston Dynamics employee wielding a hockey stick pushes the robot backwards, knocks a box out of its hands, and even shoves it to the ground. The robot is able to recover each time and go back to work, but the unease of watching a near humanoid manage these abusive trials is palpable. The phenomenon, known as the Uncanny Valley, has long-term implications for collaborative robotics.

Bull Session

Clothing and Technology

February 19, 2016          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, as a part of our trendspotting series, we discuss the intersection of high tech and clothing.

Clothing is one of humanity’s original technologies — it has protected our bodies for thousands of years. Today, clothing designers are working with multi-disciplinary teams, integrating input from engineers and synthetic biologists into their work. From 3D-printed couture to scarves dyed with bacteria to textiles grown in the lab, emerging tech is creating rapid innovation in the fashion industry. How do people interact with their clothing? How does clothing respond to the environment? And what is the next step? Join us as we discuss all this and more.

Boston MFA Exhibition: #techstyle
15 of the Best Designs Merging Fashion and Technology
Chameleon Clothing Adapts to Its Environment

Bull Session

Hacking Power

January 21, 2016          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we chat about hacking power grids, the IoT, and the escalation of cyber warfare.

Power grids are becoming increasingly subject to cyber attacks and now, at least one has been successful. In December, an attack on a utility in Western Ukraine caused a blackout for 80,000 customers, which was the first known power outage caused by a cyber attack. The malware used in the attack, called BlackEnergy, infected systems via a corrupted Microsoft Word attachment. In January, Kiev’s main airport went dark after a power outage, once again linked to BlackEnergy. As cyber attacks begin causing life and death situations in the real world, the concern over security and the IoT grows.

Resources
First Known Hacker Caused Power Outage Signals Troubling Escalation
Malware Clearly Behind Ukraine Power Outage, SANS Utility Expert Says
Hackers caused power cut in western Ukraine – US

Bull Session

Digital Healthcare Services in 2016 (and Beyond)

January 14, 2016          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about digital healthcare services in 2016 (and beyond). From sensor technology for medication adherence to conversational UI, health analytics to digital care planning, we cover the top industry trends to watch. If you like what we have to say on this topic, we encourage you to check out our piece on MobiHealthNews.

Bull Session

The Need for Speed: Mobile vs. Broadband

January 7, 2016          

Episode Summary

This week on the podcast, we discuss accessing the digital life in 2016. How do you get online? A recent Pew Research Center study indicates that fewer Americans have high-speed Internet at home in 2015 than they did two years ago in 2013 — a drop from 70% to 67%. And while broadband use is declining (ever so slightly), people who access digital services solely via smartphones is actually up 5%. The competition between wireless high speed internet and broadband has clearly begun to heat up.

Is there an upper limit to high speed mobile internet growth?
Network saturation — too many consumers using too few towers — is one bounding constraint. And signal quality can be variable based on the weather. But high speed mobile access is less costly to roll out than broadband.

In this episode, we chat about the ever growing need for online speed and the battle between broadband and mobile.

Resources
Pew Research Center: Home Broadband 2015 Study
Broadband Use is on the Way Down