Friday, June 5, 2020

Did you join us on Tuesday for the first segment of TTI/Vanguard's Ubiquitous AI virtual conference? If yes, you made it a vibrant experiment. Thanks to you, questions were posed, assumptions were challenged and breakout rooms lit up with conversation. There was even an impromptu after-party for those who simply did not want to leave at the end.

Videos, Highlights and speaker presentations are posted on our website now. If you need assistance accessing our site, please contact Claudia Miklas.

Next week’s Ubiquitous AI sessions will explore The Darker Side of AI and AI Ethics taking place on Tuesday, June 9, 1pm–3:30pm EDT. If you have already registered, you are confirmed for ALL sessions in the series, June 2 through June 23. Any member who has not yet registered, please visit:

Congrats to members JPL and all of NASA for the Falcon 9 launch this week. It’s so great to see U.S. astronauts launching into space again from American soil, and this next step toward commercialization is an exciting one.

Can wearables diagnose those with COVID-19 before they have any symptoms? A study by researchers at West Virginia University using data from their own app plus physiological data collected through the Oura ring claims 90% accuracy, though a press release about it doesn’t break that out into false positives and false negatives. (Ninety percent seems both impressive and not very useful in practice.)

In a recent TTI/V podcast, Georgia Tech Professor Joshua Weitz argued that we need to ramp up testing to about 10 million per day. We’re not sure how we’ll get there, but we’re happy to see that Gingko BioWorks (Reshma Shetty, San Diego, Feb 2015) is on the case. It’s raised $70 million to develop a large-scale facility that can process tens of thousands of COVID-19 tests simultaneously.

Want to know what’s slowing down your websites? Is it worth $1 billion to find out? 
Cisco is reportedly paying $1B for ThousandEyes, a startup that helps IT departments “see what’s braking or slowing down the paths that their websites, applications or services take to get to their end users” (assuming the answer isn’t just an abundance of teens down the street playing Minecraft).

It’s especially difficult to get kids to talk about being abused, and even trained interviewers make mistakes. A roboticist at Mississippi State University is researching whether robots can help.

Some people prefer to process mathematical ideas in terms of formulae, but many of us crave a visual way to understand them. A new CMU tool, to be presented at Siggraph next month, can take even complex equations and turn them into simple visualizations. (Stephen Wolfram, Washington, D.C., May 2009)

Former member VW is investing in Argos AI, which already has a relationship with Ford (K. Venkatesh Prasad, Detroit, May 2015) as its autonomous vehicle research arm. It’s part of a broader agreement between the two auto companies, announced in July 2019, to jointly  develop AVs and EVs.

They say life's a gamble so why not roll the dice? A set of loaded dice seems the opposite of a random number generator, but MIT researchers have developed a “Fast Loaded Dice Roller” that, they claim, is a faster and more efficient generator of random numbers.

Did Mars once have rings? And will it again? Purdue researchers theorize that the planet’s moons get pulled in, break apart, become rings, out of which new, smaller moons form. They think this moon–ring–moon cycle has occurred at least twice and will again. (Erika DeBenedictus, Vienna, Jul 2013)

One long-term trend we’re sure to see accelerated by the pandemic is reducing the amount of human handling of goods and packages—which essentially means a lot more automation. CVS has been testing a self-driving vehicle for prescription delivery in Houston.

Meanwhile, our June 23 meeting is devoted to this topic: Lab automation that both reduces human handling and speeds up tests (including for COVID-19); a system for farms that weeds and harvests crops with fewer field hands; and a contactless last-mile robot for delivery services. (If you registered for last week’s event you’re already registered for them all, otherwise register here.)

On a contrary note, our most recent podcast (a conversation with David Sax, author of The Revenge of Analog”) was devoted to the charm—and in many cases greater utility—of analog processes and products.

May 31
Docking confirmed! @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug officially docked to the @Space_Station at 10:16am ET.

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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