30 January 2020

AI for Impact ~ Spring 2020 @ MIT Media Lab

Together with colleagues Professors Alex "Sandy" Pentland and Ramesh Raskar, I'm co-teaching the AI for Impact seminar this Spring 2020 every Monday afternoon starting Feb 3rd from 2:30-4:30a in E14-633, the penthouse classroom on top of the MIT Media Lab! Our class goal is to bring computational, analytics, and AI techniques to bear on solving problems in the high impact realms of health & wellness, cities & sustainability, education & content, finance & commerce, and civics & governance across scales of action from each of us as individuals to embracing all of humanity, in both developed and emerging markets alike. We want to help students identify top AI opportunities for impact and help make progress towards building prototypes, planning action ventures, and/or better understanding the emerging technology and impact trendscape.
Also known as "Media Ventures" and formerly also known as "Imaging Ventures", “AI Ventures”, and "Digital Anthropology", this “AI for Impact” class seeks answers to the question: If you could make almost anything, what's actually most worth making, i.e. what problems are most worth picking? We believe starting with the right problem is 90% of what makes for great projects and ultimately epic, worthy solutions.

29 January 2020

Surreal Value ~ Apple's Exponential Exhuberance

The FT reports on the Apple Effect...
"When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, it was valued at $3bn, less than one-tenth of Siemens, Europe’s largest industrial group then and now. Today, Apple is worth more than Germany’s 30 leading companies."

27 January 2020

Suspended Animation ~ Cool Emergency Surgery

The Guardian's Science Editor Ian Sample wrote in Nov 2019 about Humans put into suspended animation for first time...
"The process involves rapidly cooling the brain to less than 10C by replacing the patient’s blood with ice-cold saline solution. Typically the solution is pumped directly into the aorta, the main artery that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Known formally as emergency preservation and resuscitation, or EPR, the procedure is being trialled on people who sustain such catastrophic injuries that they are in danger of bleeding to death and who suffer a heart attack shortly before they can be treated."
This seems to me to be proto-cryonics as well as learning lessons from the many accidental hypothermia cases.

23 January 2020

Democracy 2019 ~ Economist Index of World Pox

The Economist says...
"Democracy is in retreat, according to the latest edition of the Democracy Index from our sister company, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). This annual survey, which rates the state of democracy across 167 countries based on five measures -- electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, democratic political culture and civil liberties -- finds that democracy has been eroded around the world in the past year. The global score of 5.44 out of ten is the lowest recorded since the index began in 2006. Just 22 countries, home to 430m people, were deemed “full democracies” by the EIU. More than a third of the world’s population, meanwhile, still live under authoritarian rule."

15 January 2020

MIT Nuts & Bolts of New Ventures ~ IAP Jan 2020

On Tuesday night, 21 January 2020, Joe Hadzima and I kick off the latest incarnation -- the 31st year (!!) -- of our MIT Nuts & Bolts of New Ventures course over the MIT Independent Activities Period (IAP 2020). Joe starts with the essence of business planning as a process of iterative imagination and special guest speaker Bob Jones shares how to present venture essentials. My primary topic is Team & Organizational issues, our special guest speakers (mostly MIT alums, all entrepreneurs) cover the essentials everyone ought to know about new venturing, including how to identify customers, pitch a concept, raise money, model financials, deal with legalities, negotiate with people, and holistically integrate this all together.

Sessions are evenings over the next two weeks Tue, Wed, and Thurs nights 1/21-1/30 from 6-9p in 10-250 -- i.e. in our prime MIT lecture hall under the iconic Great Dome. Folks can choose whether to attend all sessions, plus doing the (useful) written homework assignment, and registering For Credit (3 Units, Pass/Fail for 15.393 online via Websis) or to come for any (or all) nights and simply participate as a Listener. All MIT affiliates and colleagues -- including students, faculty, staff, post-docs, alums, spouses, relatives, and friends -- are welcome on a space-available basis with priority for registered full-time undergrad and grad students. We also continue to welcome students from our sister schools in Boston-metro (e.g. Wellesley, Harvard, BU, Tufts, etc) as well as Members of the MIT Enterprise Forum network. Those interested, please simply join us at 6pm in our MIT 10-250 classroom.

05 January 2020

Losing Faith ~ Shifts in Religous Zeal Appeal

The Economist spotlights Arab Barometer religious trendscape...
"NO TO RELIGION or sect,” cry the protesters in Iraq. “No to Islam, no to Christianity, revolt for the nation,” echo those in Lebanon. Across the Arab world people are turning against religious political parties and the clerics who helped bring them to power. Many appear to be giving up on Islam, too. These trends are reflected in new data from Arab Barometer, a pollster that surveys Arab countries. Across the region the share of people expressing much trust in political parties, most of which have a religious tint, has fallen by well over a third since 2011, to 15%. (The share of Iraqis who say they do not trust parties at all rose from 51% to 78%.) The decline in trust for Islamist parties is similarly dramatic, falling from 35% in 2013, when the question was first widely asked, to 20% in 2018."