Friday, August 31, 2018

The pre-conference readings (“Reconnaissance Papers”) for next month’s Less Is More are in the TTI/V archive and available through the conference app. 
Can Volkswagen catch up in autonomous vehicles? Its offer to buy out its AV partner, Aurora, was rebuffed (Aurora also has a partnership with TTI/V member Hyundai).
Speaking of whom, Hyundai recently completed an impressive demonstration of Level 3 autonomy (Simon Tong, Brooklyn, Jun 2018). Its Xcient model truck (maximum load, 40 tons) managed a complete 40-km run without any human control.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a genetic degenerative disease caused by the absence of the protein dystrophin. And it just took a step closer toward being one of the first diseases cured by CRISPR gene editing (George Church, Boston regional meeting, Jun 2015) after a successful trial in canines.
Google and the Trump administration are squabbling this week over whether Google promoted Trump’s State-of-the-Union addresses in the same way it promoted his predecessor’s. Interestingly, both sides appear to have used the Internet Archive (Brewster Kahle, San Francisco, May 2016 and Feb 2005) to buttress their arguments.
This week, California became the first state to eliminate cash bail. Buried in most news accounts is any mention of the technology that makes this possible. For example, the NPR story waits until paragraph 7 to tell us that “local courts will decide who to keep in custody and whom to release while they await trial. Those decisions will be based on an algorithm created by the courts in each jurisdiction.” Matt Alsdorf told us about those algorithms a year ago at Risk, Security, & Privacy(Washington, D.C., Sep 2017); fellow speaker Julie Ancis raised concerns that algorithms can encode implicit bias.
Three years ago, many of us were incredulous when Behrokh Khoshnevis (Detroit, May 2015) showed that it was possible to 3-D print an entire building. Now, the nation of Dubai has mandated that one-quarter of all new buildings be 3-D printed by 2025.
Rising sea levels present two problems for Miami. The “rising Atlantic will cover much of Miami by the end of this century.” But much sooner than that, it will lose its sources of drinking water, with increased contamination of the Biscayne Aquifer. (Michael Golay, San Francisco, Dec 2017; Michael Mastrandrea and Noah Diffenbaugh, San Francisco, Dec 2014)
Can Silicon Valley and government get along? (Jini Kim and Mikey Dickerson, Michal Migurski, Washington, D.C., Sep-Oct 2014)
As the title of our upcoming meeting, Less Is More, would suggest, sometimes the low-tech solution works just fine. Ships already have textured hulls to reduce barnacle buildup, but Kiel University scientists have found that altering the texture to have a mushroom shape keeps “barnacles from getting a firm foothold.”
Check out this fascinating Twitter thread about the frustrations of being stuck behind, or at the same intersection as, Alphabet’s Waymo’s minivans in and around Phoenix. Notable problems include vans that wait forever to make an unprotected left turn, and stopping in the middle of a right turn as another car swings around, intending to get behind it. Next month, Dan Work will talk about the upside of AVs on the road, but let’s all remember to ask him about these negatives!
What goes up must come down, but it’s taken six years since the first observation of the Higgs boson to observe its decay. (Michael Miller, Washington, D.C., Apr 2013; Wolfgang Von Ruden, London, Jul 2010 and Geneva, Sep, 2005)
Fred Astaire and Patrick Swayze were trained dancers before they were actors, but Natalie Portman took ballet lessons for “Black Swan” and Channing Tatum learned to tap dance for “Hail, Caesar.” But soon, thanks to deep learning, Hollywood will be able to “deepfake” anyone dancing anything. (Irmak Sirer, Los Angeles, Mar 2018)

“If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day weekend..”
 —Doug Larson

For all our U.S. members, have a great holiday weekend!
The TTI/Vanguard Team

Author: Steven Cherry

Director of TTI/Vanguard, “a unique forum for senior-level executives that links strategic technology planning to business success. In private conferences that are part classroom, part think-tank, and part laboratory, its members—corporate and government leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, and academics—explore emerging and potentially disruptive technologies.”

Twenty years experience as a technology journalist and editor, at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Founded the award-winning podcast series, Techwise Conversations covering tech news, tech careers and education, and the engineering lifestyle. Teaches an intensive writing class as an adjunct instructor at NYU. Previously taught essay writing and creative writing at The College of New Rochelle.