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The Digital Life

Bull Session

Bio Threat Games

June 29, 2018          

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Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we discuss “gaming” techniques and design fiction for the purposes of imagining possible scenarios around emerging technologies and their effects and consequences.

Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security recently sponsored an exercise in Washington DC, CladeX, to evaluate governmental response to potential future pandemics. This exercise introduced a scenario—using realistic virology and epidemiological models—in which a man-made virus was released as part of a terrorist attack. This CladeX exercise is similar to the type of envisioning practice that’s used in design fiction to work through the implications of a new technology, imagine it within a human context, and look at elements related to its misuse. As a part of the event, the Center for Health Security also presented strategic policy recommendations for preventing or reducing the worst possible outcomes in future pandemics. Join us as we discuss.

Resources:
It’s fiction, but America just got wiped out by a man-made terror germ


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Jon Follett
@jonfollett

Dirk Knemeyer
@dknemeyer

Bull Session

Super Technologies

June 22, 2018          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we discuss the idea of “super technologies”—the combination and subsequent amplification of emerging technologies like AI, robotics, and the IoT.

The recently released MIT Sloan executive guide “Seven Technologies Remaking the World” highlights pervasive computing, wireless mesh networks, biotechnology, 3D printing, machine learning, nanotechnology, and robotics as “the starting line of a universal technological revolution”. Further, the report continues, “beyond their individual impact, an intriguing and powerful aspect of the seven technologies lies in their potential as combinations.”

On The Digital Life, we’ve previously discussed the concept of super technologies under the moniker of Smartware. Together, these technologies promise to create a radical inflection point at the same scale as personal computers in the 1970s, the Internet in the 1990s, and mobile computing in the 2000s. Join us as we discuss!

Resources:
Seven Technologies Remaking the World

Bull Session

The Future of Food

June 14, 2018          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we take another look at the future of food, in particular, meat. Because the agriculture industry is the source of about 15% of greenhouse gas emissions, there are serious environmental concerns about the consequences of producing meat for a growing global population. The UN predicts that the number of people on the planet will grow to 9.8 billion by 2050, from 7.6 billion today. Compared to vegetable protein, raising animals for food is highly inefficient, using more land, water, fertilizer, and pesticides. This won’t work for a population of nearly 10 billion people.

While replicating meat in a convincing way is difficult, companies like Impossible Foods are now selling well-reviewed substitutes for ground beef. To see what the future of food might hold, we try out some meatball sandwiches made of Impossible Foods’ product for lunch. Join us as we discuss the results of our experiment, and the evolution of food tech in general.

Resources:
The Race to Make a Great Fake Steak

Bull Session

Creative Jobs of the Future

June 8, 2018          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we discuss the creative jobs of the future with special guest, Daniel Harvey, Head of Product Design and Brand at The Dots. With current technology trends in mind, from AI to robotics, and their effects on design practice and ethics, we look forward a decade and speculate how a variety of the jobs of today—software engineer, UX designer, digital composer, and onward—will change, and correspondingly what the job titles and needs within that time frame might look like.

Resources:
The Dots

Bull Session

AI Plays Poker

June 1, 2018          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, our special guest is Noam Brown, a PhD student in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, who with his advisor, Professor Sandholm, created Libratus, an AI which decisively defeated four of the world’s best human poker professionals in a Man vs. Machine competition. The breakthrough was published in Science, received widespread mainstream news coverage, and continues to be cited as one of the milestone achievements of AI. Join us as we discuss poker, the application of AI to imperfect information games, and the possibilities for this kind of artificial intelligence to be used in negotiation and other real world scenarios.

Resources:
Noam Brown

Superhuman AI for heads-up no-limit poker: Libratus beats top professionals

How computers were finally able to best poker pros

Inside Libratus, the Poker AI That Out-Bluffed the Best Humans


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