Biobotics: The Automation of Life

This article was written in 2014 for MISC magazine, but not that much has changed yet. When most people hear the term “robot,” they picture a mass of lumbering metal powered by batteries, motors, electrical wires, and circuit boards. However, recent advancements have forced me to rethink my own definition of a field I’ve been…

Parlor Games and Asian Rooms: The AI Debate

Today I want to write a bit about the two sides of the artificial intelligence debate. The bulk of this piece – save some fun thoughts at the end – is going to be nothing new to those in the know, but there’s a lot of important prerequisite here that, since most of you aren’t…

Sexbots and Terminators: Exploring Gender in AI

Article written with Victoria Scrubb and originally appeared in MISC magazine. We’re playing God again. Every day it seems that videos, articles, or images emerge of humanity’s latest triumph in the robotics world and, with each subsequent release, we inch closer and closer to looking at ourselves through a digital mirror. Our ability to push…

Internet of Weapons: Connecting to Save Lives

Munich, Orlando, Paris, Fort Myers, Hesston, Dallas, San Bernardino, Newtown, Oslo… the list reads like a failure of modern society. And at the center of all of these tragedies lies a single, simple word: guns. Few topics raise such controversy or debate and, while I definitely have my opinions on the matter, I also accept…

Robicide: The Inevitability of Robots Killing People

In the past month, three individuals have been killed by robots in drastically different circumstances. While the loss of human life is always tragic, I don’t decry these moments with fear mongering about the dangers of robotics, or the folly of man’s experiments with playing God. I look at all of these situations as news…

Artificial Desire: Love & Lust in Robotics

I wrote this article about a year ago for MISC Magazine and really want more people to read it… just don’t tell my mom about it. A cursory search of the mighty internet will reveal that I am far from the first person to write about this topic. In fact, in addition to countless books,…

Electronic Persons: The Humanization of Robots

Article originally appeared on ideacouture.com While everyone’s eyes were on the Brexit vote and staggering economic implications this week, my mind was drifting to another crucial development within the EU. A draft European Parliament motion was recently put forward to begin to classify robots as “electronic persons.” In a response to the proliferation of robotics…

Why Big Data has Yet to Revolutionize Healthcare

Article originally appeared in MISC Magazine. Everyone is claiming that we stand at the precipice of one of the greatest shifts the health world has ever seen. Big data is going to change everything: How we diagnose, how we treat, how we monitor, how we live, and how we die. Yet while optimism abounds within…

Let’s Get Phygital: IoT = IRL + URL

Around two years ago, I worked on a project on the future of play for a toy company (yes, this is my actual job). Leading into that project, I recall really pushing a hypothesis I had been playing with about the concept of “phygital.” At the time, I was reading a lot of Sterling (and…

The Internet of Flesh

I recently reposted an article I wrote a couple of years back about the concept of Biobotics: biologically-based automated machines. At the time of writing, I was thinking a lot about the denial of metal and electronics as the only building blocks for the robotic world. The concept made perfect sense; so many of our…

Valley Groupthink and the Tech Bubble v2.0

Another week and another round of layoffs in the Valley. Yahoo drops nearly 300 people. Toshiba says goodbye to about 50. 70 disappeared from the ranks of Autodesk. These all add to the growing number of over 3000 layoffs in the first four months of 2016 in the Valley – and that doesn’t even include…

Death to Process

This article originally appeared in MISC Magazine. I feel like I’ve written this article countless times. Still, apparently people keep being entertained and who knows – maybe I’m delusional and feel like I’m stuck in a perpetual loop but am actually evolving my thinking a little bit each time. Alas, as always, I digress. Here we…

Artificial Innovation: Teaching Computers to Speculate

When most people discuss robotics and artificial intelligence, the discussion of tasks and capabilities tends to lean towards the mundane. How can we teach robots to assemble parts? What kind of a recommendation engine can we build for movie watchers? How can we automate basic household tasks? However, as our understanding of deep learning algorithms…

The Internet of Paperweights: Keeping IoT Alive

Alphabet, Google’s parent holding company, recently announced that one of the smart thermostat companies they acquired, Revolv (not Nest), would be closing up shop and shutting down their servers on May 15, effectively rendering the Revolv to be nothing more than an ugly, overpriced piece of technologized wall-art. Though this news broke at the start…

Nymphomaniac Bigot Bots and Your Artificial Brand

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock or in a Faraday cage for the past week, Microsoft recently created and launched Tay, a chatbot modeled after the conversation of teenage girls, in an attempt to improve on their own customer service AI. Tay was designed to interact with other users on Twitter and a…

Securing Things

As the promise and scale of IoT continues to be fulfilled, interesting implications – and business opportunities – creep out of the woodwork. Any proposition to create exponential growth in the number of active IP addresses in the world will also give rise to a new potential security disaster. Since a requirement of these Things…

Creating Smart Assholes

Just because you made a machine “smart” doesn’t mean you made it intelligent. Smart homes, IoT, AI, ubicomp, robotics, ambient media, pervasive computing – all are words that in one form or another describe our attempt to embed digital intelligence into the otherwise dumb, lifeless devices around us. However, as we engineers so often do,…

Dr. Me

Let’s start by taking the following as givens: •            As the growing elderly population floods the healthcare system, it will introduce a strain that our current methods of care will not be able to properly handle •            The desire for patient empowerment will continue to shift greater care responsibilities away from traditional providers and towards…

Hacking the Body

Ryan O’Shea runs the business side of Grindhouse Wetware, a Pittsburgh collective of programmers, engineers, and enthusiasts working towards body augmentation using safe, affordable, and open-source technologies. Started in 2012 by a group of colleagues through the biohack.me forums, Grindhouse has rapidly grown into a key figure in the biohacking movement and gained a great…

Health’s Elusive Holy Grail

Everyone is claiming that we stand at the precipice of one of the greatest shifts the health world has ever seen. Big data is going to change everything; how we diagnose, how we treat, how we monitor, how we live, and how we die. Yet while optimism abounds among the tech community, many who have…

Everything I Know, I Learned from My Nintendo

Lessons learned from a generation raised with one finger on the reset button. If you’re like me (read: grew up in the 80s, kind of nerdy, liked technology, found friends exhausting), then odds are you had one or more of a Nintendo, Sega, Atari, ColecoVision, or PC around the house as a kid. For many…

I remember…

I remember not being connected. I remember not hearing a ping every 30 seconds, conversations without distractions and paying attention to those in my physical presence. I remember silence.  I remember getting lost and being found, making plans to have friends around. I remember trivial arguments that lasted hours and learning – not through Google,…

Artificial Speculation

Introduction Scanning is a tool used in the foresight practice to uncover weak signals that herald shifts within different industries, behavioural changes, and other emerging movements that will shape the future. While this tool nets fruitful inspiration for organizations around the world, typically these exercises are limited to a few years out and within fairly…

Be Yourselves: Balancing Your Business Style

I’ve never been much of a salesman. Raised on a farm, my father instilled me with fairly humble values and a penchant for letting my work speak for itself. But my father never raised a boy intent on operating in an office environment and whether I’m pitching to a prospective client or trying to persuade…