Friday, April 3, 2020

We will not be hosting an in-person conference in July.  Our conference, scheduled to be held in Brooklyn will be delivered electronically. We are still working on the format and how to recreate the magic of TTIV remotely.

You’ll see plenty of digital content from TTIV over the next few months. Our first webinar, starring angel investor and advisor (and TTV Board Member) Ellen Levy and Phil Levy, Chief Economist at Flexport, a freight forwarder, kicked off on April 3rd and was a resounding success. If you missed the session, we’ve made the presentation and the slides available below:

Look for Steven Cherry’s first TTI/V podcast, an interview with Martin Reeves of member firm Boston Consulting Group, to be released next week.

The world’s researchers are engaging in a cooperative effort to defeat the virus’s hold on society. (Erica Ollmann Saphire, San Diego, Feb 2015)

Meanwhile, the U.K.’s National Health System is building a new, unified database for all things Covid-19.

And some of that data will come from mobile devices (Jon Callas, Julian Ranger, London, Jul 2014). A new law would allow the U.K. government to use location data to track millions of citizens. The government claims it can do so without violating the GDPR. (If you want to see the sort of spread mobile virus tracking is looking at, check out this video showing students on one Florida beach and their dispersion after spring break ends.)

Are supermarket shortages due to a handful of hoarders, or is the average shopper buying a little bit more? You guessed it, it’s the long tail growing a little bit fatter, according to a study of 100,000 U.K. shoppers.

By the way, are the British still getting their news from radio (Ethan Zuckerman, Seattle, Mar 2020)? And if so, would they rather hear a national broadcast in a single (literal) voice, or in a variety of synthetically generated regional accents? The BBC is beginning a grand experiment to see. The regional broadcasts are generated using text-to-speech on closed captioning after filtering through a deep convolutional network. (Sirer Irmak, Los Angeles, Mar 2018; Alex Kendall, San Francisco, May 2016; Yann LeCun, Pittsburgh, Oct 2012)

Some vendors are trying to make life a bit easier for the 90% of the world’s schoolchildren who are homebound. Microsoft has made its Office 365 (now dubbed “Microsoft 365”) free. Charter Communications is offering free broadband to households with students in the areas it serves. And Comcast has generously opened its nationwide network of Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots to free use for customers and noncustomers alike.

If you’re like us, your entire work life has moved to Zoom, a company that is raising the ire of both privacy and cybersecurity experts. In fact, Arvind Narayanan (Washington, DC 2017) flat-out calls it “malware.

But Zoom has apparently heard and taken note. It’s putting a 90-day freeze on new features in order to address security and privacy issues.

One silver lining to our current situation has been lower carbon emissions and cleaner air. But none of that is helping the Great Barrier Reef, which has suffered its third—and worst of the three—mass coral bleaching event in a five year span. (Sampriti Bhattacharyya, San Francisco, Dec 2018)

Should everyone in the U.S. wear a mask? In an interview with Science magazine, the head of China’s CDC gives an emphatic yes.

Might the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt what has been considered an inevitable trend toward urbanization? (Geoffrey West, San Francisco, May 2016; Richard Saul Wurman, Washington, D.C., May 2007)

Which U.S. states have the most residents over the age of 65? You might be surprised to know that Florida isn’t #1. (Sonia Arrison, Atlanta, Feb 2014)

Last week, the Internet Archive (Brewster Kahle, San Francisco, May 2016; Feb 2005; Field Trip, Jun 2016) launched a National Emergency Library, a version of its book repository that has new—relaxed—rules, for the duration of the U.S. national emergency. Previously, if someone had already checked out a book you want, you went on a waiting list. Under the new rules, though, there’s no waiting, even for copyrighted works. Needless to say, organizations like the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild (which used the word “appalled”) are not fans of the policy, even as a temporary measure. If you want to steer clear of the whole issue, the U.S. Library of Congress, in conjunction with the U.N., has its own digital library of thousands of free books.

Less controversially, the Internet Archive has declared Saturday, April 4th (4/04/20) “404 Day”—named for the webpage errors that are the bane of its existence.

If you love books, you probably already know that Winnie-the-Pooh won Literary March Madness, beating out Crazy Rich Asians (which had its own improbable streak, defeating Bridget Jones, Baby-Sitters Club, and Sisterhood in its run to the final).

The Proto Lab over at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering (field trip, Brooklyn, Jun 2018) is just one of the many schools to post detailed instructions for making both fabric and 3-D masks. Cornell University, which has its own engineering and medical schools in New York City, has gone a step further, refashioning a basketball court on its main Ithaca campus as a sewing center for masks fashioned from surgical wrap material. Nancy Kleinrock, who lives in Ithaca, has been participating in her community’s mask-making effort for the benefit of healthcare providers. The distributed production of 3-D-printed face shields, coordinated between Cornell and the local makerspace, are being transported to NYC on the university’s campus-to-campus bus.

“We all need social connection—the key is physical distancing. — Dr. Mark Smith, chief innovation officer at MedStar Health


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.

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