2020

  • TTI/Vanguard: field trip, conference, flying - oh my! July 31, 2020 Newsletter

    July 31, 2020

    To continue our series of virtual field trips (Long Now Foundation, this past May; Stanley Black & Decker, in August), TTI/Vanguard is excited to announce a virtual visit to the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Tuesday, October 27, to be hosted by friend of TTI/V David Bader (previously of Georgia Tech). At NJIT, he is the founding director of the Institute for Data Science, which serves as an umbrella for this public research university’s centers on big data, medical informatics, cybersecurity, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. The tour of will naturally focus on data and computer science, featuring work conducted on massive-scale analytics, social aspects of data science (disinformation and cyberpsychology), advances in homomorphic encryption, and human-in-the-loop optimization, while also stepping afield to explore traumatic brain injuries and biosensors to detect weaponization of the novel coronavirus. Learn more about this event and register here.

    There is a saying amidst epidemiologists, “If you’ve seen one pandemic, you’ve seen … one pandemic”. Unless you are our upcoming September speaker, Adam Kucharski who has made a career of discovering disparate patterns amidst all things contagious—from disease to information to even our own behavior. Adam will speak at our September digital meeting and our members will receive his best-selling book, “The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread—and Why They Stop.”
    www.theguardian.com/books/2020/mar/25/the-rules-of-contagion-by-adam-kucharski-review-outbreaks-of-all-kindsTo continue our series of virtual field trips (Long Now Foundation, this past May; Stanley Black & Decker, in August), TTI/Vanguard is excited to announce a virtual visit to the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Tuesday, October 27, to be hosted by friend of TTI/V David Bader (previously of Georgia Tech). At NJIT, he is the founding director of the Institute for Data Science, which serves as an umbrella for this public research university’s centers on big data, medical informatics, cybersecurity, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. The tour of will naturally focus on data and computer science, featuring work conducted on massive-scale analytics, social aspects of data science (disinformation and cyberpsychology), advances in homomorphic encryption, and human-in-the-loop optimization, while also stepping afield to explore traumatic brain injuries and biosensors to detect weaponization of the novel coronavirus. Learn more about this event and register here.

    There is a saying amidst epidemiologists, “If you’ve seen one pandemic, you’ve seen … one pandemic”. Unless you are our upcoming September speaker, Adam Kucharski who has made a career of discovering disparate patterns amidst all things contagious—from disease to information to even our own behavior. Adam will speak at our September digital meeting and our members will receive his best-selling book, “The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread—and Why They Stop.”
    www.theguardian.com/books/2020/mar/25/the-rules-of-contagion-by-adam-kucharski-review-outbreaks-of-all-kinds

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  • TTI/Vanguard: News on [next]; July 24, 2020 Newsletter

    July 24, 2020

    Like many others, we did not expect covid-19 to impact our plans for December 2020. Yet here we are. Our December [next] conference scheduled to be held physically in Scottsdale, Arizona, will be held virtually. We will resume physical meetings as soon as it is safe to do so. We are currently in the process of signing hotel contracts for four physical meetings in 2021.

    In the meantime, we are excited about an upcoming virtual field trip to Stanley Black & Decker on Wednesday, August 19, 1:00–3:30 pm, EDT. CTO and friend of TTI/V Mark Maybury will be our host as we learn that the global toolmaker is active in business incubation (with its Techstars advanced manufacturing accelerator), venture funding (with Stanley Ventures), internal innovation (with Stanley X and factory automation), and cybersecurity (both internally and for its commercial products). During this virtual outing, we will learn about each of these programs and be introduced to a selection of sector-spanning startups, variously making plant-based machine oils, nanocrystalline alloys, a fall protection system, and customized 3-D-printed face masks and enhancements.

    Registration for the virtual field trip - along with our virtual September conference - is open on the TTI/Vanguard website.

    “I am not a crook!” Oops—sorry, wrong speech. MIT released an eerily believable deepfake video of President Nixon delivering a speech that, thank goodness, never occurred. The 7-minute video depicts a grieving Nixon addressing the nation with news that the moon landing had failed and announcing the tragic deaths of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. (Chris Piehota, virtual conference, Jun 2020; Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Washington, D.C., Sep 2015)
    www.cnet.com/news/mit-releases-deepfake-video-of-nixon-announcing-nasa-apollo-11-disaster/

    If misinformation concerns you as much as it concerns us, do not miss upcoming September speaker Adam Kucharski, author of the best-selling book The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread—and Why They Stop. He will discuss the mathematical similarities between the spread of viruses, misinformation and more. (Paul Cohen, San Francisco, Dec 2014)

     

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  • TTI/Vanguard: Balloons, Robots, More!

    July 17, 2020

    We originally called the September conference Game-Changers and planned to focus exclusively on CRISPR, energy and other, well, game-changers. But we’ve changed the name to “The Game Has Changed,” because it has. We all need to think very urgently about the present. We’ll still address nascent technology, but we’ll examine it through the prism of 2020. The dates are September 1, 15, 22, 29; all at 1 pm EST/5 pm GMT, with a virtual field trip to Stanley Black & Decker, hosted by friend-of-TTI/V Mark Maybury, on August 19. Stay tuned for a preliminary agenda next week.

    Let’s start with the good news. Google Loon, which we first heard about from Mike Cassidy (San Francisco, Dec 2016), is now bringing connectivity to Kenya. Now let’s see those floating spheres do the same to remote-learning students in developed countries who lack connectivity.
    www.nytimes.com/2020/07/07/world/africa/google-loon-balloon-kenya.html

    And good news for non-U.S. students attending American institutions of higher ed: The Harvard–MIT lawsuit led ICE to rescind the Administration’s order, such that students will be able to enter or remain in the United States, even if their school uses only online instruction.
    www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/07/14/891125619/ice-agrees-to-rescind-policy-barring-foreign-students-from-online-study-in-the-u

     

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  • TTI/Vanguard: Science Sizzles this Summer

    July 10, 2020

    In 1931, “A Hundred Authors Against Einstein” was published to refute Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. When asked about the book, Einstein retorted by saying “Why 100 authors? If I were wrong, then one would have been enough.”

    “CEO” might soon have a second meaning as an increasing range of firms consult with and bring on epidemiologists to guide their reopenings.
    www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/companies-epidemiologists-coronavirus

    On his Twitter page, Mark Maybury (Washington, D.C., Oct 2014; MITRE field trip, McLean, Sep 2015) shows off the face mask he 3-D printed using the personally fitted, open-source design from MyMask Movement. (Jon Schull, San Francisco, Dec 2014; Bre Pettis, Salt Lake City, Dec 2009)

    Follow the money and see where it goes … Sequoia Capital is sending $1.35B in venture funds to India and Southeast Asia. This move seems contrarian amidst a contraction of international money flows, but the mammoth investor has long been one of the region's largest funders.
    www.techcrunch.com/2020/07/06/sequoia-announces-1-35-billion-venture-and-growth-funds-for-india-and-southeast-asia/

     

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  • Steven Cherry Tributes

    June 26, 2020

    In the midst of covid-19, we can’t quite get together in-person to toast Steven on his retirement. We’ve collected some of our thoughts here, only as a temporary placeholder until we can have a proper send-off.

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  • TTI/Vanguard: Newsletter

    June 26, 2020

    Note from Lisa Yao: I am in the difficult position of announcing both the death of beloved former Advisory Board member Michael Hawley and the retirement of beloved current Director of TTI/V Steven Cherry. Neither event was unexpected, but our community is lesser for both losses. Mike’s life has been well-celebrated in many online tributes and in his New York Times obituary. Steven penned a poignant goodbye yesterday. And the team had a few things to add. Standing on the shoulders of these two giants, we look toward the future of TTI/V. We are a futuristic organization after all. But we also keep a nod to the past, to all who have served and shaped TTI/Vanguard over the years. 
     
    The early digital cell phones were open to eavesdropping and attacks. The early Wi-Fi routers were open to attack. You would think we’d learn something, but millions of smart home devices are open to attack. (Jason Hong, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017)
    www.tomsguide.com/news/billions-of-smart-home-devices-open-to-attack-what-to-do
     
    The image of a delivery drone waiting for a bus seems crazy, but researchers at Stanford note that it could save a lot of energy. (Peter Calthorpe, Berkeley, Mar 2019)
    venturebeat.com/2020/06/03/stanford-lab-envisions-delivery-drones-that-save-energy-by-taking-the-bus//

     

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  • TTI/Vanguard's Steven Cherry Retirement

    June 25, 2020

    I don’t know that there’s ever a good time to retire from one’s dream job, and even if there is, it’s probably not in the middle of a global pandemic that upends your company’s business model almost more than any other—even space flight can resume easier than our in-person meetings, so don’t let anyone tell you this isn’t as hard as rocket science.

    But, to quote one of my favorite proverbs of unknown origin, “tide nor time tarrieth no man” and to quote a favorite song of known origin—my mother’s favorite songwriter, in fact—“To everything, there is a season.” And the season for me to step down from my role as director is the summer of 2020.

    The first TTI/Vanguard meeting I attended was in the summer of 2013, in Vienna, Austria. Robin, with her usual thoroughness and probably in hopes of making a good impression on the new guy, sent an airport limo for me. My first official function was an advisory board meeting. (For many of the board, this was the conference highlight, not surprising, if you can imagine the dynamic between Len, Eric, John Perry, Gordon, Maria, Doug, Nicholas, and all the rest.) Even as the discussion progressed, I got into a heated backchannel email exchange with Alan Kay over the relative merits of Aristotle versus Isaac Newton. (I don’t mean to brag, but you want to be holding the Aristotle ticket on that ride.)

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  • TTI/Vanguard Notes & News: Sensors, AI & More; June 20, 2020

    June 20, 2020

    Geofencing (Marco Della Torre, Berkeley, Mar 2019) is another case of ubiquitous technology, e.g., helping Walmart know that you’ve pulled into its parking lot to pick up your curbside delivery. But it’s also being used in some pretty creepy ways, such as by political marketers, capturing data from the cellphones of churchgoers, and then purchasing ads targeting those devices, and to “harvest data on potential voters” at the recent political protests that followed the death of George Floyd.

    If you attended our sessions this week, you were struckpossibly overwhelmedby the heartbreaking video from a recreation of the famous Clark Doll experiments, run by psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark in the 1940s, in which not only white children, but black children as well, associated positive adjectives with white dolls and negative ones with black dolls. The full four-minute video is of course in our archive as part of Dan Gould and Michele Ruiz’s talk, but if you want to share a one-minute version, here’s a YouTube link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZryE2bqwdk

     

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  • TTI/Vanguard: September conference goes digital & more

    June 13, 2020

    We are in the middle of our Ubiquitous AI conference—five consecutive Tuesdays, three down (including our May 26 field trip) and two sessions to go. The archive has videos, highlights, presentations and everything else you need—Claudia Miklas is ready to help you access.

    Our September conference Game Changers, originally scheduled to be held in Washington, DC will be a virtual-only meeting. We are just a few months into our temporary pandemic-pivot from in-person to digital meetings. Thanks to our community’s endless support and curiosity, much of the TTIV experience has transcended physical space. We’ve already had one only-at-TTIV moment: our virtual visit to The Long Now, which no less of an observer than Gordon Bell said was as good as any field trip he can recall. But another holy grail of TTIV—the spontaneous, magical conversations and connections at a coffee break, dinner, or even on a bus—remains elusive. We’ll continue to experiment until we find a way to virtually bring those additional only-at-TTIV moments to our beloved community of “extroverted introverts".

    Congrats to member organization JPL for finding an exoplanet using a tiny satellite—a CubeSat (Jordi Puig-Suari, Boston, Apr 2017), of course.
    www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7670

    And congrats to TidalScale (Ike Nassi, Washington, D.C., Sep 2014) for its inclusion in CRN’s list of The 50 Hottest Software-Defined Data Center Vendors Of 2020.
    www.crn.com/slide-shows/data-center/the-50-hottest-software-defined-data-center-vendors-of-2020

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  • TTI/Vanguard Notes & News: BYOB (Bring Your Own Background)

    June 05, 2020

    Congrats to members JPL and all of NASA for the Falcon 9 launch this week. It’s so great to see U.S. astronauts launching into space again from American soil, and this next step toward commercialization is an exciting one.

    Can wearables diagnose those with COVID-19 before they have any symptoms? A study by researchers at West Virginia University using data from their own app plus physiological data collected through the Oura ring claims 90% accuracy, though a press release about it doesn’t break that out into false positives and false negatives. (Ninety percent seems both impressive and not very useful in practice.)
    www.engadget.com/west-virginia-university-oura-ring-covid-19-symptoms-003239603.html

    In a recent TTI/V podcast, Georgia Tech Professor Joshua Weitz argued that we need to ramp up testing to about 10 million per day. We’re not sure how we’ll get there, but we’re happy to see that Gingko BioWorks (Reshma Shetty, San Diego, Feb 2015) is on the case. It’s raised $70 million to develop a large-scale facility that can process tens of thousands of COVID-19 tests simultaneously.
    www.builtinboston.com/2020/05/29/ginkgo-bioworks-raises-70m-covid-19-testing

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