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The Digital Life

Bull Session

Smart Cities and Sidewalk Labs

April 28, 2016          

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Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life we discuss Google’s Sidewalk Labs and its radical plans to design a smart city from scratch. Sidewalk Labs wants to work with cities to build applications that solve big urban problems and accelerate innovation around the world. However, in their pursuit of these solutions, the company is seeking autonomy from many city regulations, so it can build free of the many constraints that come with the design of streets, parking, and utilities.

Sidewalk Labs already has two solutions in progress: Flow, a transportation coordination platform in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation; and LinkNYC, kiosks with gigabit fiber connections delivering WiFi, USB charging, free voice calls, and a tablet for access to the Internet.


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Jon Follett
@jonfollett

Dirk Knemeyer
@dknemeyer

Bull Session

Putting the E in Sports

April 21, 2016          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life podcast this week, we chat about the ever changing world of eSports and how it’s evolving.

Esports are becoming increasingly important and varied. For instance, at the collegiate level, the Big 10 Network is broadcasting the League of Legends invitational event at PAX East, the major gaming conference.

And new, virtual sport platforms are gaining in prominence as well. ESPN recently signed a multi-year deal with the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA to bring races to a mainstream audience, beginning with the US National Drone Racing Championships in New York City. In drone races, operators see a first-person view of the action, via goggles streaming video from a camera positioned on the front of the drone.

Resources
Big Ten Enters Esports: Spartans Buckeyes Set to Clash in BTN Invitational
Drone Races Are Coming to ESPN Thanks to “Unprecedented” Popularity

Bull Session

AI Goes to Art School

April 14, 2016          

Episode Summary

Can an AI create art? This week on The Digital Life we chat about the brand new “Rembrandt”, which was 3D-printed by an artificial intelligence algorithm, trained by analyzing the artist’s catalog of 346 paintings. The Next Rembrandt project, recently unveiled in Amsterdam, is, of course, not exactly the work of the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, but rather a portrait that replicates both the subject matter and the style of the artist with eerie accuracy. If art is an expression of humanity, a reaction to the world and the events around us, what does this latest AI advancement mean? We discuss all this and more.

Resources
The Next Rembrandt
A New Rembrandt: Can a machine capture an artist’s essential style?

 

Bull Session

Engineering Synthetic Biology

April 7, 2016          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about the intersection of computer science / engineering and synthetic biology and Cello, a programming language for living cells.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston University (BU) synthetic biologists have created software that automates the design of DNA circuits for living cells. This software, called Cello, has the potential to help people, who are not necessarily skilled biologists, to quickly begin designing useful, working biological systems. Using Cello, oil companies, for example, could develop smart bacteria that could clean up oil spills. Cello, which is open source, can be downloaded from the online repository GitHub or accessed via a Web interface.

Resources
A Programming Language for Living Cells


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