Podcast4 podcasts

Bull Session, Podcast

Designing Voice User Interfaces

March 2, 2018          

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Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we talk about designing voice user interfaces with engineer Claire Sun, who just returned from the Conversational Interaction Conference. Today, the voice UI market is primarily focused on performing tasks and controlling devices related to the smart home. Voice recognition technology isn’t robust enough yet to function smoothly in noisy environments or tell the difference between multiple speakers. Additionally, the software that powers VUIs is still at the early stages of being able to understand language in context, as opposed to more simple, transactional phrases. Join us as we discuss approaches to designing VUIs, and the difficulties that designers and engineers encounter in their quest to create software that’s both personal and conversational.

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Jon Follett

Dirk Knemeyer

Bull Session, Podcast

Water: Scarcity and Conservation

February 1, 2018          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about water scarcity, natural resources, and design.

In Cape Town, South Africa, the current water shortage has reached crisis level. Residents are cutting water usage in every way possible— using water collected from showers to water plants and flush toilets. The authorities warn that Cape Town is just a few months away from having to shut off its taps: “Day Zero”. To prevent this from happening, starting Feb. 1, residents will be required to use no more than 13.2 gallons of drinking water a day. By way of comparison, the average American uses about 100 gallons of water per day.

If climate change is causing extreme weather events, like droughts, to become more common, humanity will have to adjust to using less of that most important resource, water. Design of water conservation products and services, along with technological solutions for obtaining more potable water, like desalination, will become increasingly important. Join us as we discuss.
Water crisis grips Cape Town, South Africa, after drought stretching years

Bull Session, Podcast

Cyber Policy and Cyber War

January 18, 2018          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we chat about international law and cyber war. According to a World Economic Forum article, over 30 governments have acknowledged that they have offensive cyber capabilities including: espionage and spying; sabotage including denial-of-service attacks and attacks on the power grid; and, perhaps the most talked about recently, propaganda.

The difficulties of developing policy to regulate and respond to emerging technology like these cyber war capabilities highlights the problems of working within interlocking, complex systems of governmental and political process, meant for a previous era, that are now subject to rapid changes.

And managing policy within the areas of fast moving emerging technologies—from software to genomics to robotics—will only get more difficult. What is the right way, or is there even a right way for governments and societies to respond to this need for laws and regs? Join us as we discuss.
Why we urgently need a Digital Geneva Convention


Bull Session, Podcast

Emerging Tech at CES 2018

January 12, 2018          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we chat about all the new technology fun as CES 2018, the de facto emerging tech showcase, gets going in Las Vegas.

The smart home battleground is heating up as AI virtual assistants, like Google and Amazon Alexa, are being built into everyday household items and appliances. For instance, the bathroom is fast becoming a smartroom with Alexa incorporated into products like Kohler’s new mirror, which can personalize light levels for different tasks, and Moen’s digital shower technology, that enables users to set a specific water temperature. Connecting the digital to the physical is a big theme for CES this year, as AI is rolled out for a bevy of products and services. Join us as we discuss all this and more.

CES 2018

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