tech tags

Bull Session

The Top Stories of 2015

December 17, 2015          

Episode Summary

This week, on The Digital Life we chat about the top science and technology stories of 2015.

From new net neutrality rules to evidence of flowing water on Mars, Amazon’s cut throat corporate culture to outrageous drug price increases, hacking exploits to genetically altered designer babies, we explore the biggest and most impactful news events of the year.

Resources
White House Approves Sanctions Against North Korea for Sony Hack
FCC Passes Net Neutrality Rules, Reclassifies Broadband as Utility
Working for Amazon Can Be Awful. Is It As Awful As the New York Times Says?
A Huge Overnight Increase in a Drug’s Price Raises Protests
NASA Scientists Find Evidence of Flowing Water on Mars
Chinese Experiment Which ‘Edits’ DNA of Human Embryos Ignites Ethical Controversy

Bull Session

Digital Patronage

December 10, 2015          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life podcast topic this week, we chat about philanthropy and patronage in the digital gilded age.

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife recently announced that they were giving 99% of their Facebook stock to charitable causes over the course of their lifetimes and were rewarded by the public and the media with equal parts praise and criticism.

With a select few mega donors helping to drive the agenda on everything from education to politics to climate change, is the billionaire philanthropist of today, the new patron of progress, or just another manifestation of elite control? Join us as we discuss all this and more.

Resources
Mark Zuckerberg Vows to Donate Over 99% of His Facebook Shares for Charity
Facebook’s Zuckerberg Responds to Criticism Over Donation Plans 

Bull Session

Media Decay

December 3, 2015          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about media decline in the digital age. In its current state, media has ceased to be the gold standard and alarmingly, is becoming just another kind of noise in the cacophony of the 24-hour always on news cycle.

The media appeals to the lowest common denominator. And, it’s a valid question as to whether it’s a well-designed product at all anymore. Worse still, in the Internet age, our smorgasbord of media choices perpetuates the dangerous world of self-validating viewpoints. We can’t remember things correctly. We edit our memories. Has it always been like this? Or are our minds being transformed by the age of information?

Resources
America Is Too Dumb for TV News

 

Bull Session

Cyberwar

November 26, 2015          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about Anonymous, in the wake of their declaring war on the terrorist group, ISIS.

This conflict represents something entirely new in 21st century warfare, and is strongly related to the transformation of power in the digital age. Both of these groups are new types of organizations — nimble, distributed, and asynchronous — they present their adversaries with few primary targets. They both rely heavily on digital tools to inspire others to join a movement.

Will Anonymous’ war on ISIS ultimately be harmful or helpful? While stopping the ISIS propaganda machine would be of great benefit, removing terrorists from Twitter and other social networks will make it more difficult for national intelligence agencies and security firms to track them. And, in response to the campaign by Anonymous, ISIS will no doubt change its online tactics to defend itself.

As we watch this cyberwar unfold, we can only imagine how it is a precursor to future conflicts where the boundaries blur between the digital and physical worlds.

Resources
Anonymous Takes on IS
Cyber War: What Can Anonymous Really Do to ISIS?
Is Anonymous’ War on ISIS Doing More Harm Than Good?

5 Questions

Innovation and Crowdfunding

November 12, 2015          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about crowdfunding and its place in the innovation ecosystem.

The creative class — knowledge workers in industries like biotech, design, gaming, and software — need new models and structures for collaborating and interacting. Crowdfunding’s open model means that nearly anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a good idea can start up a project and hopefully, get some money behind it. For this reason crowdfunding is great for testing markets, and launching new product categories. But for all its benefits, it also come with some high risk potential.

Recently the TechJect Robotic Dragonfly drone project — funded to the tune of $1 million in 2012 on Indiegogo — disintegrated when the company ran out of money. And it’s far from the first.

And the Glowing Plant synthetic biology project — a great example of how cutting-edge technology and innovation could receive crowdfunded backing — set off a series of events that led to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) being banned on Kickstarter.

Is crowdfunding Wild West capitalism for the digital age? The new face of funding for innovation? Or just a flash in the pan?

Resources
Kickstarter
Indiegogo
Another 1 Million Crowdfunded Gadget Company Collapses


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