Friday, March 6, 2015

If you joined us in San Diego last week—or tuned into our live WebEx—then you probably can’t wait to log into the Anternet on a silk-based optical fiber connection while hanging off the side of a ship with Geckoskin gloves. If not, we missed you joining us at a great meeting in a lovely venue. And if you are curious as to what the heck we are talking about, the Highlights, Citations and videos, from Biotech & Beyond are already posted in the archive.

If you are about to dive in, you might well want to start with Erica Ollmann Saphire's inspiring talk, now posted in the archive, Viruses, Virus Proteins, and Ebola. (This is not a talk to be missed. More than one member predicted a Nobel in Erica’s future.) But Ebola does more than kill. To curb its spread, Sierra Leone's schools have been closed since July. But—in a development that put us in mind of Dr. Maryanne Wolf's animated talk on bringing tablets to remote areas of the world (Jersey City, Oct 2013), which served as a follow-up to Nicholas Negroponte's introduction to the One Tablet per Child project (Washington, D.C., May 2012)—some children in Sierra Leone are still learning, thanks to public radio.

Some people come to TTI/Vanguard to encounter like-minded thinkers because, let’s be honest, innovation can be lonely. But if you ever need reminding that “it’s not the critic that counts” then join us for a stroll down memory lane when Newsweek (in a piece by former speaker Cliff Stoll! (Palm Springs, February 1995)) declared in 1995 that the Internet was “baloney,” going on to say, “Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.” Nicholas is not always right (around here, we call that “being early”), but if you’re going to risk being wrong, shouldn’t it be rooting for—instead of against—creativity, inspiration, and technology?

We have been reading two Advisory Board Members’ recently published articles. Eric Haseltine discusses ISIS as a media operator: (which is a topic that Eric will explore further with our membership down the road). And Peter Cochrane has expanded on his theme “Networks Without Infrastructure” (which he addressed in a deep dive regional meeting in London, November 2013).

Tina Sharkey, CEO of SherpaFoundry, spoke at our San Francisco regional meeting last year, joining Advisory Board Members Z Holly, Ellen Levy, and others to speak on entrepreneurs engaging with the “outside”—specifically large corporates. Here Tina discusses innovation from within:

You know we are huge fans of the IEEE. They are a valued member and Steven Cherry is an alum of their award-winning magazine, Spectrum. So we delighted in this article and we were equally happy to recall when we received an early education on the utility of tensegrity robots by Vytas Sunspiral (Atlanta, Feb 2013) and an even bigger jump-start on NASA's intentions from Pamela Clark (Santa Monica, Dec 2007).]

Mary Lou Jepsen spoke very appropriately on Display Futures (Geneva, Sep 2005) and it seems that she is shaping her own future in the display world at Oculus Rift (now owned by Facebook). We wish her well in her incredible trajectory and can’t wait to see what she develops next.

Speaking of Facebook, we felt a little conspicuous in our absence there and we didn’t want to be left out of all the enthusiastic posts generated from our community at meetings. So we’ve created a page of our own. It is a closed group, so please ask to join and share whatever inspires you:

More than a year after its publication, The Second Machine Age, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (Jersey City, October 2013), is still getting the attention of the literati, this time in an interesting think-piece in the London Review of Books.

Back in May, 2010, we devoted an entire conference to Cyberinsecurity (with speakers like Joel Brenner and Michael Hayden providing U.S. government-side perspectives) and five years later, it seems that many themes we predicted are coming to fruition:

How many of us break rules in favor of productivity? Apparently everyone, including just about every Secretary of State. We’ll soon be discussing (at September’s Collaboration and the Workplace of the Future in Washington, DC) how tools like Chatter and Slack give structure and order to electronic conversations—and hopefully discourage such rule skirting.

Our local ultra-marathoner Nancy Kleinrock got a giggle out of the devices being featured at the Tokyo Marathon. Clearly intended for a laugh rather than functionality, check out the on-the-run robotic tomato dispenser and the wearable banana.

And speaking of marathons, Advisory Board member Michael Hawley ran the 1998 Boston Marathon festooned with technology: MEMs accelerometers in the shoes to calculate time of flight of feet and gait; pulse oximeters for blood O2 and heart-rate; GPS for position; ingestible radio thermometer pill; etc. It was the first real field test of bodies online, with an interesting range of sensors. Mike and his students were, in other words, the first "wired" runners. Their thesis is here:

We're almost done bragging about our San Diego meeting last week, but we need to mention one more thing about it. For those who weren't there—and those who were—we've posted a video of Carver Mead's remarkable dinner talk. It’s a provocative attack on today's physics, and a sketch of the potentially ground-breaking alternative he's come up with. With Carver's kind permission, we've made it publicly available, so feel free to share it.

If we amplify everything, we hear nothing. Jon Stewart

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.