design tags

Bull Session

Automating Scientific Discovery

May 11, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week we’ll look at automating knowledge work, and scientific discovery, in particular. There’s no doubt that knowledge work will change significantly in the coming decades due to massive computing power coupled with AI. It’s fascinating to consider the aspects of science, technology, and design that might be easily automated. AI and deep learning are rapidly changing areas of activity that were previously thought to be the exclusive arena of human cognition. For instance, in the pharmaceutical industry, AI might automate aspects of drug discovery and development, by helping to characterize drug candidates according to likely efficacy and safety. Additionally, the number of scientific papers published each year far exceeds any scientist’s ability to read and analyze them. It’s reasonable to assume that AI and deep learning could assist scientists in navigating this data.

Resources:
Science has outgrown the human mind and its limited capacities
The BGRF is helping develop AI to accelerate drug discovery for aging and age-associated diseases

Bull Session

Celebrating 200

March 30, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we celebrate our 200th episode with a look back at some of the themes and guests that shaped the show over the past 7 years, including those at the top of their game in design, science, and technology like Kelly Goto, Phillip Hunter, and George Church. From episode 24, Kelly Goto talks about her pioneering research on emotional design. From episode 51, Phillip Hunter delves into “making things people want, not making people want things”. And from episode 169, geneticist and molecular engineer George Church discusses brain augmentation to fight cognitive decline.

Resources:
Episode 24: Emotion and Design
Episode 51: Making Things People Want, Not Making People Want Things
Episode 169: Genomics and Life Extension
An Interview with George Church of the Personal Genome Project

Bull Session

Biomimicry

March 2, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about biomimicry and nature-inspired design. As design and science intersect, biomimicry is becoming an increasingly important method for engineering new products. Recent examples include bullet train engineers imitating the beak of the Kingfisher bird to improve the aerodynamics of the train’s nose; wind turbine designers creating fins inspired by the Humpback whale to reduced drag and improved lift; and automobile engineers at Ford developing a recycled paper honeycomb material to gives the cargo area of the new EcoSport exceptional strength. Scientists, engineers, and designers across many different industries are drawing inspiration from nature’s materials and seeking to understand and imitate them.

Resources:
The Best of Biomimicry: Here’s 7 Examples of Nature-Inspired Design
Ford Looks to AI, Biomimicry Solutions to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Bull Session

Open Source Design

February 23, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about how open source design is being brought to bear on some of the most important problems of the 21st century, including creating new tools for urban agriculture, home building, and medicine. For instance, furniture retailer Ikea recently released open source designs for a garden sphere, an urban agriculture project that can feed a neighborhood. Open source design, the Maker movement and desktop / DIY manufacturing are converging in interesting ways. Join us as we discuss.
Resources:
Ikea Lab Releases Free Designs for a Garden Sphere That Feeds a Neighborhood
Open Source Ecology
A Open Source Toolkit for Building Your Own Home
3D Design Contest for Medical Tools in Africa

Bull Session

A Year Talking Tech

December 22, 2016          

Episode Summary

For our final podcast of 2016, we chat about the big themes on the show and our favorite episodes over the past year. We had conversations on design and tech with some wonderful guests including ground breaking geneticist George Church and open science advocate and researcher, John Wilbanks. From AI to genomics to cybersecurity, we covered a wide range topics on The Digital Life in 2016. So what did we learn from a year talking tech?

AI is too smart for its own good.
Artificial intelligence is evolving rapidly, with both high profile public failure and success by a number of tech giants this year. For instance, Microsoft had to terminate Tay, its teenage chatbot, after the bot started tweeting neo-Nazi propaganda and other abusive language at people. Meanwhile, Google’s DeepMind created an AI capable of beating some of the very best human players in the world at Go, the Asian strategy board game. And, we were introduced to a brand new “Rembrandt”, which was 3D-printed with eerie accuracy by an artificial intelligence algorithm, trained by analyzing the artist’s paintings.

Episode 149: Artificial Intelligence
Episode 151: AI Goes to Art School
Episode 163: AI Goes to the Ballpark

DNA replaces silicon as the new material for innovation.
The fields of genomics and synthetic biology continue to press forward in astonishing ways. In Seoul, Korea, a controversial lab revealed plans to clone endangered animals in order to save them from extinction. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston University (BU) synthetic biologists created software that automates the design of DNA circuits for living cells.

Episode 148: On Cloning
Episode 150: Engineering Synthetic Biology
Episode 154: DNA as Data Storage
Episode 158: Writing Human Code
Episode 168: The Microbiome
Episode 169: Genomics and Life Extension
Episode 170: Chimeras and Bioethics
Episode 176: Three Parents and a Baby

Hacking and cybersecurity are front and center as online and offline worlds collide.
In 2016, cybersecurity became a primary issue in a host of critical areas including communication, energy, and politics. Power grids, airports, and other infrastructure were increasingly subject to cyber attacks and an increasing number were successful. The debate over privacy and security was reinvigorated by the hubbub around the FBI request of Apple to unlock an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters. And, Wikileaks distributed e-mails obtained by sources who hacked the DNC and individuals associated with the Clinton campaign during the U.S. presidential elections.

Episode 139: Hacking Power
Episode 144: Apple vs. FBI
Episode 166: Hacking the DNC
Episode 179: Internet Takedown

The automation of work is coming.
We got another startling look at what the future of work could become as software, robots, and the IoT continued to automate activities previously completed by humans. According to preliminary findings of a recent McKinsey report, 45 percent of all work activities could be automated today using technology already demonstrated. From fulfilling warehouse orders to suggesting medical treatments for ailments, the coming wave of automation will redefine jobs and business processes for factory workers and CEOs alike.

Episode 140: Automating Work
Episode 141: Future Transportation
Episode 145: Robot World
Episode 153: Smart Cities and Sidewalk Labs
Episode 173: Labor and the Gig Economy

Design and science are intersecting in new and significant ways.
Whether it’s in the creation of high tech clothing, embeddables, or materials, design and science are coming together in new and significant ways. 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. And this year, in the burgeoning world of designing embeddables, the U.S. Patent Office approved Google’s patent for electronic lens technology, which implantable directly in the eye. These mechanical eyes might give you superhuman abilities — to see at great distance or view microscopic material, and document it all by capturing photos or video.

Episode 143: Clothing and Technology
Episode 155: Designing Embeddables
Episode 161: The Future of UX
Episode 171: Embeddables
Episode 172: Quantum Computing