Friday, April 10, 2015

This week, we hosted our very first pre-conference webex chat, led by Steven Cherry. The webex gave members a sneak peek into some of the exciting developments that we have in store for Making Stuff ( Steven did a great job of bringing the program to life — from 3-D printed houses to monumental changes in manufacturing, both large and small — Steven had us ready to rock Detroit city. Many thanks to the members who joined us. If you were not able to make it, we hope you will join us for a future webex.

We have not just been getting ready for Detroit, however. Plenty of news has kept us busy this week:

Microsoft is considering open-sourcing Windows, just as it open-sourced .NET in February, acknowledging the relevance of business models that do not rely on walled gardens. TTI/Vanguard heard about .NET at its outset from Daniel Ling (San Jose, Sep 2000) and has followed the open-source software movement since Eric Raymond first explained the concept (Miami, Feb 1999) and distinguished it from the free-software movement (Richard Stallman, Los Angeles, Apr 2001). Subsequently, we heard about its implications for business, security, efficiency, and agility (Bruce Perens, Miami, Jul 2005; Brian Behlendorf, Vancouver, Oct 2010; with many other stops along the way).

Speaking of open systems, one member of the TTI/Vanguard team, after rewatching The Internet's Own Boy, the documentary about Aaron Swartz (Rome, Jul 2008), was struck by the prominence of past presenters among those interviewed: Brewster Kahle (Seattle, Sep 2001; San Francisco, Feb 2005), Lawrence Lessig (Washington, D.C., Sep 1998; Brussels, Jul 2002), Jimmy Wales (Washington, D.C., Dec 2005; Jersey City, Oct 2013), Cory Doctorow (London, Jul 2010), Peter Eckersley (San Francisco, Feb 2010), Tim O'Reilly (Washington, D.C., Dec 2005), plus I'm-here-with-you shots of John Perry Barlow. Note also that Swartz wrote the "Guerilla Open Access Manifesto" while in Italy for our Generation Techs conference.

Hamburgers vs semiconductors: Is there a Moore's Law of Meat? A mere two years ago one of Nynke van den Akker's lab-grown hamburgers would set you back 6 figures (Meet the New Meat, Vienna, Jul 2013). Now you can happily bite down for just $12.

Of course, you'll want to cook that burger on your AI-enhanced grill from Cinder. The company's CTO once worked at TTI/V member Lockheed Martin, and claims the predictive algorithms for the grill are based on satellite positioning software. As he explained to Wired: "Airplanes can fly a bit too far east, or west, and can course correct as they go. Satellites, unlike airplanes, run off a more limited fuel supply, and therefore can't afford even slight navigational errors. A good cut of meat requires the same kind of finesse."

TTI/V member Infosys is expanding its role in the venture space. We are eager to hopefully meet some of their portfolio companies!

Over the years we've had too many AR and VR talks to list here, starting in 1992 and extending to Allan Evans and Marc Levoy at last December's [next]. Heck, we even stood inside a VR macromolecule during a field trip to former Advisory Board member Larry Smarr's Calit2 at UCSD in 2009 and tried out an early Oculus Rift at UCLA in 2013. These discussions have spanned entertainment, education, training, real-time procedure execution, and more. But have we ever definitively answered the question of Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality? We don't have a horse in this race and are happy to watch both disciplines grow and evolve.

Speaking of field trips, there is more than one benefit to being a longtime TTI/Vanguard attendee. No one who attended the field trip to CERN nearly a decade ago will ever forget the experience of being dwarfed by the still-under-construction ATLAS detector, which does the particle-stopping heavy lifting of one of the Large Hadron Collider's experiments. This week, the LHC has successfully rebooted, and in the months and years ahead will collide particles at ever higher energies in search of the elusive particles that help us understand the fundamentals of physics. Wolfgang von Ruden not only explained the ins and outs of CERN, but also the essential need — and practical implementation — of large-scale scientific collaboration for experiments that not only redefine the scope of big instrumentation, but also big data (Geneva, Sep 2005; London, Jul 2010).

We just love this video of a Rube Goldberg-like tractor that restores railroad track with only the smallest bit of on-site human supervision. It had us fondly recalling Crossrail CEO Andrew Wolstenholme's description of the project's massive tunnel-boring (London, Jul 2014).

We have a feeling that the 6th grader who bested more than 11 million other bracket holders with Duke's win on Monday night is pretty busy these days. But once the dust settles, we hope to see him pop up on Kaggle. First introduced to TTI/V by Anthony Goldbloom (San Francisco, Dec 2013), Kaggle allows data gurus to compete for prizes and jobs while helping companies tackle their trickiest and most complex problems.

Ars Gratia Pecuniae
— Stan Freberg

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.