Saturday, June 13, 2020

We are in the middle of our Ubiquitous AI conference—five consecutive Tuesdays, three down (including our May 26 field trip) and two sessions to go. The archive has videos, highlights, presentations and everything else you need—Claudia Miklas is ready to help you access.

Our September conference Game Changers, originally scheduled to be held in Washington, DC will be a virtual-only meeting. We are just a few months into our temporary pandemic-pivot from in-person to digital meetings. Thanks to our community’s endless support and curiosity, much of the TTIV experience has transcended physical space. We’ve already had one only-at-TTIV moment: our virtual visit to The Long Now, which no less of an observer than Gordon Bell said was as good as any field trip he can recall. But another holy grail of TTIV—the spontaneous, magical conversations and connections at a coffee break, dinner, or even on a bus—remains elusive. We’ll continue to experiment until we find a way to virtually bring those additional only-at-TTIV moments to our beloved community of “extroverted introverts".

Congrats to member organization JPL for finding an exoplanet using a tiny satellite—a CubeSat (Jordi Puig-Suari, Boston, Apr 2017), of course.

And congrats to TidalScale (Ike Nassi, Washington, D.C., Sep 2014) for its inclusion in CRN’s list of The 50 Hottest Software-Defined Data Center Vendors Of 2020.
Congrats of a different sort to Rich DeMillo (Seattle, Mar 2020; Atlanta, Feb 2008; Austin, Feb 2004), for unfortunately being right. Georgia’s primary elections on Tuesday did not go smoothly. In fact, they exhibited many of the problems that Rich warned of in his talk just a few months ago in March.

Georgia probably won’t be alone. NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice has been studying ways the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the prospects for U.S. elections this fall, which were already vulnerable to “cyberattacks from foreign state and nonstate actors alike.” New threats include attempts to target election officials working on unsecured networks at home, recovering from voter registration system outages, and securing online ballot request systems.

Will Ligado Networks’s recently approved application for an L-Band 5G network interfere with civil and military GPS systems, as Department of Defense officials have warned Congress? The House Armed Services Committee seems convinced. Last week it sent a letter expressing “deep concern” to the FCC. (David Reed, San Francisco, May 2016)

Elsewhere in Congress, an IBM executive told legislators that “now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.” The company recently announced it would no longer sell facial recognition or analysis software. And Amazon and Microsoft have put moratoriums on police use of their face recognition software. (Andrew Bud, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017; Alex Vasilescu, Phoenix, Dec 2003)

Can superworms eat our way out of the world’s plastics pollution problem? Or at least the polystyrene part of it? (Heidi Kujawa, San Francisco, Dec 2016; Ellen Prager, Miami, Dec 2011)

Supercolliders need extremely low temperatures and deep vacuums. So why not build one on the Moon? (To be sure, it would be a tougher field trip to organize than the one to CERN (Geneva, Sep 2005) but we’re confident Nancy Kleinrock would be able to work it out.)

There’s still a shortage of masks, but there’s already a surfeit of mask waste. Researchers at the University of British Columbia have designed a fully compostable and biodegradable N95 mask.

Fitbit’s low-cost, low-training emergency ventilator, based on an open-source MIT design, has been approved for use by the FDA.

For many years we’ve been hearing that U.S. transportation infrastructure is deteriorating. What if it isn’t? A National Bureau of Economic Research report disagrees with well-known studies by the American Society of Civil Engineers. (Huw Thomas, Vienna, Jul 2013; Brian Collins, London, Jul 2010)

If you were at our “Ubiquitous AI” virtual conference this week, you might recall Z Holly (Detroit, May 2015; San Francisco, Feb 2010) mentioning that a group of teenagers had created a single joint account on Instagram with such diverse interests that the social network can’t properly recommend posts and select tailored ads. Here’s the link (thanks Z!).

Apple is the first U.S. company to reach a $1.5 trillion market cap, just two years after it was the first to hit the $1 trillion milestone.

Tesla hit a milestone of its own: TSLA stock passed the $1k mark. This achievement could never have been accomplished without the company’s enthusiastic super-fans, like our own @TeslaJoy.

A comparison between science and policing is tenuous in most respects, but certainly STEM suffers from a lack of diversity, in industry, research, and academe. So it was perhaps inevitable that there would be a #ShutDownSTEM movement. (Julie Ancis, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017; Erin Dolan, Austin, Feb 2016)

Since everyone seems to be recommending consciousness-raising books and movies these days, we’re going to put in a pitch for “13th,” Ava DuVernay’s powerful 2016 look at Jim Crow, the wars on crime and drugs, and the prison-industrial complex.

See you Tuesday in the Zoom!

Hope needs to be work. You just can’t say hope. — Artist Lonnie Holley

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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