From hot soup in Tokyo to hotter temperatures in Singapore; from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge; from the city that begs you to suspend your disbelief (Los Angeles) to the one that forces you to do so (Washington, DC), we dove deep in the art of the possible. And we could never have done it without you. Thank you to each member of the TTIV community for a wonderful 2018.
The Highlights, Citations, and videos for [next] 2018 are now in the archive.
Kroger has been testing autonomously driven deliveries for a while, but with backup drivers. Now, using a vehicle designed specifically for deliveries, the Nuro R1, there’s no one behind the wheel—in fact, there’s no wheel. (This is how Skynet started, we’re pretty sure.)
(Longtime TTIV member Kroger seems to come up with one innovation after another. Watch this space as we are planning a regional meeting in Cincinnati to visit their Store of the Future.)
We recently speculated that Amazon’s choice of New York City for half of its second headquarters (“HQ2/4”?) and specifically its choice of Long Island City was influenced by the proximity to Cornell Tech (Deborah Estrin, Jersey City, Sep 2013, and San Jose, Sep 2000), just one F-train stop (or ferry ride) away. Turns out there’s a deeper connection: Cornell Tech dean and vice provost, Daniel Huttenlocher, sits on Amazon’s board of directors. NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering (field trip, Brooklyn, Jun 2018) is also on the F line, in the other direction.
Jeff Jonas (San Francisco, Dec 2014) once noted that mistakes can be important data (it’s how Google Search can see past a typo to discern what you meant to ask for, for example). Maybe that’s the justification for the otherwise creepy practice by Facebook and others to save draft text that you delete or otherwise never post.
TechRepublic has a lovely profile of the Raspberry Pi and its creator, Eben Upton (Detroit, May 2015, and Vienna, Jul 2013), by a writer named Heath (only our older readers will get the irony of that).
Advisory board member David Reed says “chemistry, biology, and physics are all about quantum theory calculations” and therefore better done with quantum computers—as demonstrated recently by a team of researchers at WV, which used a DWave computer to solve a chemistry problem more efficiently than a traditional computer.
It’s not enough that anime can replace actors, now AI can replace the artists who colorize anime.
A Singapore startup wants to be the Airbnb of computer databases, renting out unused data storage.
Every two years the Milken Institute ranks U.S. states on their overall “capabilities and competitiveness in a tech-focused economy.” The 2018 top-10 is: Massachusetts, Colorado, Maryland, California, Utah, Washington, Delaware, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Oregon. (Amazon, note the absence of New York and Virginia!) Back in 2015, Francesca Spidalieri(Washington, D.C., Sep 2016) and the Pell Center at Salve Regina University ranked the states specifically on cybersecurity readiness. California, led that list, followed by Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
Donald Knuth, of all people, is “worried that algorithms are getting too prominent in the world.” (Tim Kraska, San Francisco, Dec 2018; Ellen Ullman, San Francisco, Dec 2017; Saket Navlakha, San Diego, Feb 2015)
What are the funniest words in English?
A NIST study has found that facial recognition algorithms have dramatically improved in the past five years. (Andrew Bud, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017; Larry Zitnick, Philadelphia, Jul 2015; Michael Miller, Atlanta, Feb 2008)
It took nine years and the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy to get approval to allow wind farms off the coast of Massachusetts (Feargal Brennan, Salt Lake City, Dec 2009). That was back in 2010. Now, a mere eight years later, an auction for those off-shore leases has netted $405 million. And of course it could take another decade to build wind farms there. But when they do, they could generate as much as 4.1 gigawatts.
What’s the top university for computer science, and engineering and technology—MIT? Stanford? How about, the University of Oxford?
Do you remember the nano-ship that scientists rode through a human body in the movie Fantastic Voyage? Well, researchers at MIT haven’t shrunk themselves down, but they did come up with a drug delivery capsule that can move through the body and can be controlled via Bluetooth. (Chih-Ming Ho, San Francisco, May 2016; Jackie Ying, Singapore, Jul 2009)
… And Swiss researchers have come up with a foldable drone, for getting through narrow spaces. It folds autonomously, “with onboard perception and control systems.”
The Washington Post has a nice writeup of Alex Reben’s (San Francisco, Dec 2018; Boston, Apr 2014) algorithmic word-inspired paintings, which he described for us last month at (next).
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering 'it will be happier'…
—Alfred Lord Tennyson
The TTI/Vanguard Team