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  • TTI/Vanguard: Deepfake Diagnostics

    May 07, 2021

    Members - please remember to register for TTI/V’s upcoming virtual conference, AI: Today and Tomorrow. Join us for 4 Tuesdays: June 22, June 29, July 13, and July 20. Register today! 

    First, deepfake people (Chris Piehota, virtual conference, Jun 2020; Dan Brahmy and Yossef Daar, Israel Virtual Startup Forum, Jan 2021); now, deepfake geography. But why wouldn’t hoax protagonists fabricate satellite imagery depicting whatever might bolster their false claims? In fact, inserting fake features into maps is an age-old falsification ruse. University of Washington researcher Bo Zhao says the current challenge is to educate the public on how to spot realistic-yet-bogus geographic pics. 

    Caregiving is a multifaceted endeavor, encompassing feeding, washing, dressing, and being social with the subject of that care. For instance, Karen Liu (Boston, Apr 2017) discussed her dress-the-patient robot not long ago. A team of Boston-area researchers, including MIT CSAIL’s Daniella Rus (Boston, Apr 2014), are extending the scope of robotic tasks to include hair brushing—a challenge that furthermore provides insights into mathematical models and control systems for manipulating all manner of soft fibers. Although the project purposefully considers how best to tame straight, wavy, and curly hair, the RoboWig demos do not appear to extend to the detangling of Black hair, further exacerbating the unintentional bias of far too many machine-learning systems. (Julie Ancis, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017)


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  • TTI/Vanguard: Register for June AI Conference

    April 30, 2021

    It is time to register for TTI/V’s upcoming virtual conference, AI: Today and Tomorrow. Join us for 4 Tuesdays: June 22, June 29, July 13, and July 20. Register today! 

    Congratulations to Michael Franz (Washington, D.C., Sep 2014), the winner of the 2020 Charles Thacker (San Diego, Nov 2002) Breakthrough in Computing Award for his work on just-in-time compilation—a body of work that includes the Rosette programming language, which makes it easy to create and implement domain-specific languages. www.// 

    The U.S. Digital Service is seeking the services of people like you—or people you have fostered professionally. As the soon-to-be-outgoing USDS administrator puts it, “Serving at USDS offers incredible potential for impact at scale. As [the Biden] administration takes off, we need the help of even more folks who are passionate about how technology can make government more equitable and accessible. If you’re an engineer, designer, product manager, acquisition strategist, or policy expert who cares about making government work better for real people. Moreover, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers seeks to create the Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve, an by-invitation-only, National Guard-like corps that can be called upon to address cybersecurity threats as they arise. (Tom Kalil, San Francisco, Dec 2017) 


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  • TTI/Vanguard: Earth Day

    April 22, 2021

    Congratulations to long-time friend of TTI/Vanguard Jordan Giddings on his new position as Chief Scientist at Improbable’s defence department, where he will be charged with leveraging the potential of multiparticipant simulations and synthetic environments for real-world applications. (Gilman Louis, Chicago, May 2011; Institute of Creative Technologies, field trip, Los Angeles, Mar 2018; William Swartout, Washington, D.C., May 2009; Richard LIndheim and William Swartout, Pasadena, Feb 2002) 

    Rutgers psychologist Randy Gallistel has a big idea, backed up by experiments conducted in ferrets: neurons (specifically, Purkinje cells) chemically store numerical memories (specifically, temporal durations). He describes the process as “performing the same function as the memory-registers in a conventional computer” and therefore underpinning a computational theory of mind. (Marvin Minsky, Atlanta, Feb 2008)  www://

    The biomimicking spiking neural network developed by researchers at KAUST in Saudia Arabia performs more quickly and energy efficiently than more conventional artificial neural nets. (Allan Jones, Seattle, Dec 2006; Henry Markram, Geneva, Sep 2005; James Gimzewski, Boston, Apr 2014) Enabling a combination of bottom-up and top-down 3-D design capabilities, new software from Ohio State researchers is poised to accelerate the process of creating DNA-based nanoscale machines. (Andrew Hessel, San Diego, Feb 2015) 


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  • Ethics concerns amidst AI

    March 19, 2021

    There is only one Tuesday left for The Power of Networks, do not miss the much anticipated trio of Vassilis Zikas on blockchain, Jeannette Wing on Date for Good and Mark Seiden on Ratings and Reputations Online - all on March 23rd. 

    People with a penchant for ingenious design using mechanical gearing (Alexander Rose, virtual field trip, Long Now Foundation, Jun 2020) or technoarchology (Dennis Wngo, San Francisco, Dec 2014; Dave Hughes, London, Jul 2014) will be excited to learn that new research has advanced Michael Wright’s (London, Jul 2014) puzzling apart of the Antikythera mechanism. 

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  • March comes in like a lion

    February 26, 2021

    Register today! The Power of Networks commences March 2, with Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld and Barbara Mittleman, cofounders of WayMark Analytics, each speaking about networks of people working together, as well as Princeton’s Daniel Cohen revealing his research on cell networks - and its vast applications from from biological to urban planning. Learn more from the Preconference Readings; see the full agenda and register here for the four Tuesdays in March. (Operational note: Once you register and are logged into the website, the “Register” button will thereafter be absent from the event webpage.)

    Chinese American nuclear physicist Chien-Shiung Wu earned the moniker “first lady of physics” for her varied work that encompassed parity symmetry—as reflected in the radioactive decay of 60Co for which her male collaborators won the Nobel Prize—uranium enrichment during the Manhattan Project, and understanding sickle cell disease. Now she can be found on a U.S. postage stamp to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. (Erin Dolan, Austin, Feb 2016)


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  • Love to the Lone Star State

    February 19, 2021

    Our collective hearts are with those suffering in Texas. We wish you a quick return to normalcy and safety.

    Tuesday, Feb 23, TTI/Vanguard will be visiting Dresden, where Chrisoph Kögler of T-Systems Multimedia Solutions will serve as host for an IoT-focused event that will be part Germany startup forum, part TTI/V field trip, reminiscent of the before times. We’ll kick off with a bespoke virtual tour of the GlobalFoundries fab before spending time with a collection of firms that share an affiliation with the Smart Systems Hub Germany center of excellence. These startups span IoT sensor modules, associated machine learning, and municipal/industrial implementation support, as well as a blockchain transaction firm and one that democratizes the training of industrial robotics. Register here, and join us next week.

    All of this is just a prelude to “The Power of Networks,” a series-of-Tuesdays conference (March 2, 9, 16, and 23) featuring networks of all sorts: physical mapping, social/informational, telecom, and security. Register here.


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  • Faking out the Deepfake

    February 12, 2021

    We have some exciting upcoming events!

    Germany Startup Forum - Feb 23rd 2021
    The Power of Networks - Mar 2nd - Mar 23rd 2021

    Thank you to all who joined us to meet with New Zealand start-ups on Tuesday. And special thanks to Mark Bregman and Nancy Kleinrock for putting the event together.

    By inserting adversarial examples of faces into every frame of a deepfake video, researchers at UCSD (field trip to Calit2, San Diego, Feb 2009) can successfully deceive machine learning-based systems designed to detect counterfeit material (Sirer Irmak, Los Angeles, Mar 2018). The attack is even robust to compression and decompression. The arms race continues (Doug Emlen, Washington, D.C., Sep 2016).

    Although hardly as sophisticated or successful as Stuxnet (Carey Nachenberg, San Jose, Feb 2012), the as-yet-unattributed cyberattack on the water system of a small Florida community demonstrates that critical infrastructure is vulnerable. (Steve Grobman, San Francisco, May 2016)

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  • G'day Mate

    February 05, 2021

    Continuing with the 2021 series of international startup forums, friend-of-TTI/Vanguard Mark Bregman will host a virtual visit to New Zealand on Tuesday, Feb 9. This event will cover a broad array of application areas. We’ll hear from

    • Aider, a digital assistant for SMEs that communicates through natural language (with a Kiwi accent?) and integrates information across dozens of business apps.
    • The founder of agritech firm BioLumic will then explain how the company exploits ultraviolet photomorphogenesis to accelerate the growth rate of seedlings and improve agricultural yields.
    • Dawn Aerospace is setting its sights high by building space planes to take off and land at conventional airports, transporting payloads to and from near-Earth orbit.
    • Mint Innovation, which relies on microbes to extract metals like copper, iron, tin, and gold from electronic waste—a win–win.

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  • Does your mask need a wearable?

    January 29, 2021

    We enjoyed our virtual visit to Israel this week. Next up is New Zealand, mate! Register today and join us on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.

    Mike Cassidy showed us X’s Project Loon back in San Francisco, Dec 2016. Sadly, the romantic and ambitious high-flying Internet-providing experiment is no more, despite giving Kenya broadband connectivity for a period, but one aspect of it lives on. The new initiative, Project Taara, will take a stab at furnishing multigigabit optical terrestrial connections across Kenya’s rural expanse.  (Astro Teller, Phoenix, Dec 2003; Atlanta, Nov 2000)


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  • Notes & News: 46 heads to 1600

    January 22, 2021

    Don’t forget to join us as we (virtually) travel to Israel on January 26th. Register today!

    All eyes were on Washington, DC this week as President Biden took the oath of office and officially became the United States of America’s 46th President. TTIV is proud of our many civil-servant, federal employee and government contractor members. We wish a smooth transition to all.

    In one of new Administration's first moves, 46 elevated the role of science advisor to cabinet-level status and nominated Eric Lander, founding director of MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute, to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy. (Cyrus Wadia, Detroit, May 2015)


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