Bull Session

Google I/O 2016

May 25, 2016          

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Episode Summary

In this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the myriad products launched at Google I/O 2016.

To begin with, this summer the latest and greatest version of Android, the master platform for much of the Google software ecosystem, will make its debut. No longer just a mobile device OS, Android supports wearables (Android Wear 2.0), virtual reality (Daydream), and even automobile interfaces. In addition to the many flavors of Android, Google also showcased Allo, its AI-powered messaging app; Duo, its FaceTime competitor; as well as Google Home, its voice-activated product for the smart home.


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Jon Follett
@jonfollett

Dirk Knemeyer
@dknemeyer

Bull Session

The War for The Smart Home

May 19, 2016          

Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the war for the smart home. When it comes to the ongoing battle for consumer IoT dominance, there are many big players involved like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon; connectivity providers including AT&T and Verizon; and innumerable device manufacturers such as Withings, D-Link, and a host of others.

On the consumer side Amazon has some unexpected market leadership with its Echo product and rivals are beginning to take notice. For instance, Google recently open sourced its networking protocol for IoT devices, OpenThread — which is used by Nest — in the hopes that other companies will get on board.

Companies are approaching the smart home from multiple vantage points — HVAC, lighting, television (entertainment) — but Amazon seems to have the upper hand so far with Echo and its voice UI, Alexa, as the interface for the IoT goes beyond the screen.

Resources
Google’s Nest Open Sources OpenThread to Snag More IoT partners, Take on Amazon

Cover photo: “Miracle Kitchen” series by Bob Lerner for Look Magazine

Bull Session

Designing Embeddables

May 12, 2016          

Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss designing embeddables in light of the news last week that the U.S. Patent Office approved Google’s patent for electronic lens technology, which is implantable directly in the eye. Of course, the company has already developed cutting edge tech related to the eye, including smart contact lenses for detecting diabetes and Google Glass. However, unlike either of these previous efforts, once equipped with these embedded cyborg lenses, in theory you would never need glasses or contacts again. These mechanical eyes could also give you superhuman abilities — to see at great distance or view microscopic material, and document it all by capturing photos or video.

However, privacy and security would, no doubt become major issues as the transmissions from your electronic eyes could be hacked or even used by law enforcement for tracking. Social acceptability will be another issue as well. As we saw with Google Glass, the always on nature of the digital recording and transmission can be a problem, breaking current social norms related to privacy.

Resources
Google wants to inject cyborg lenses into your eyeballs

Bull Session

DNA as Data Storage

May 5, 2016          

Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life podcast we discuss how bio-inspired technology is beginning to intersect with information technology in big ways. With the exponential increase of digital data, we face an ongoing problem of information storage. Today most digital information is stored on media that will expire relatively quickly, lasting a few decades at most. Because of this, we require new methods for long-term data storage, and biotech might just have the answer. DNA could be the storage media of the future: It can last thousands, even potentially tens of thousands of years. And the tech industry has taken notice. For instance, last month Microsoft agreed to purchase millions of strands of synthetic DNA, from San Francisco based Twist Bioscience to encode digital data. Of course we may be years away from a commercial DNA storage product, but the potential for a revolutionary, even disaster proof media is there.

Resources

Twist Biosciences
DNA Storage at Microsoft Resarch
Microsoft experiments with DNA storage: 1,000,000,000 TB in a gram


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