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Apr 15, 2015 Host: James Phillips
This week’s episode of TZM global is hosted by James Phillips from TZM education and the UK chapter of TZM. Along with some brief news from the movement James will be reading the next two articles from the minds in the making section of www.tzmeducation.org entitled 'Building a learning environment' and 'Building a new paradigm from the inside out'.
These articles outline educational and transitional models/methods that could help to shape the mindset required for a sustainable socio-economic system to emerge.
Apr 11, 2015 Host: James Phillips
TZM Global Ep. 171 with Jim Phillips: Education as a tool for Social Change [ The Zeitgeist Movement ]
This weeks episode of TZM global is hosted by TZM Education co-ordinator and UK chapter member James Phillips.
Along with a ZDAY Berlin round up and some other news, James will be reading the next two articles from the TZME website: www.tzmeducation.org regarding the link between educational and societal structure and how we will need a radical change in both if we are to start to see a shift in our overall cultural values towards the adoption of a sustainable socio-economic system.
Apr 08, 2015 Host: Peter Joseph
TZM Global Ep. 170 with Peter Joseph, Ep 170 April 8th 2015, Zeitgeist Day 2015Lectures, Cont.
Featured talks: Brandon Kristy / Eva Omori, ZDay 2015, Berlin Germany
Apr 01, 2015 Host: Peter Joseph
TZM Global Ep. 169 with Peter Joseph, April 1st 2015
Featured ZDay Berlin 2015 talks:
1) Lee Camp
2) Jim Phillips
James Phillips, United Kingdom James Phillips is the co-coordinator of TZM Education: A global initiative to enable TZM members to go into educational institutions and deliver the movement’s train of thought to the next generation. He is a regular host of the movement’s global radio show and a regular speaker at several events in the UK pertaining to sustainability and societal structure for both TZM and 3rd party organizations. He also helps to co-ordinate the London chapter of the movement in the UK and goes into Schools on a regular basis to talk to the younger generations about various topics ranging from human behaviour to sustainable technology. Presentation: TZM Education: Launchpad Sustainability Regarding a strategic and effective approach to activism. What works, what doesn’t and what even counts as a metric when trying to measure such a thing. I will be elucidating why much of what we currently do as a movement could potentially be nowhere near as effective as what could be achieved by going into Schools and talking to kids in a joint and strategic effort. Lee Camp, United States*
Lee Camp is the head writer and host of the weekly comedy news show ‘Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp’ on RT America. He’s a former contributor to The Onion, former staff humor writer for the Huffington Post, and his web series “Moment of Clarity” has been viewed by millions. He’s toured the country and the world with his fierce brand of political stand-up comedy, and George Carlin’s daughter Kelly said he’s one of the few comics keeping her father’s torch lit. His TV show and podcast can be found at LeeCamp.net, as can his comedy albums and books.
Mar 25, 2015 Host: Peter Joseph
LIKE The Zeitgeist Movement @ https://www.facebook.com/tzmglobal FOLLOW The Zeitgeist Movement @ https://twitter.com/tzmglobal JOIN THE MAILING LIST: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/
Peter Joseph plays audio from Zeitgeist Day 2015, Berlin Germany. Ben McLeish: "The Zeitgeist WorldView" Peter Joseph: "Origins and Adaptations P3"
Conventional wisdom would have you believe that most people enter adolescence with a head full of high-minded ideals and a willingness to shake up the system. As they get older, however, they gradually begin to accept the status quo. For me, that process is reversed.
The older I get, the more skeptical I become of our current social model. Why?
Let’s start with this:
It should be of increasing concern to all Americans that there is an extreme disconnect between what Americans believe about man-made climate change, and what science tells us about it. That is to say, despite there being a clear scientific consensus, man-made climate change is more often than not framed as an ambiguous concept in the U.S. mainstream media. Consequently, climate change is generally thought to be far more esoteric than it actually is.
INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER 
The purpose of this project is to enable supporters of a natural law resource based economic model (NLRBE) to understand and appreciate the need to approach the education system in an effort to initiate the value shift required for a more peaceful and sustainable future to emerge.
Today I was reading The Zeitgeist Movement Defined: Realizing a New Train of Thought, again. I did so because I feel the need to express certain frustration on this/my social movement but haven’t found the right words. Also I didn’t want to make any false assumptions on its architecture, so I went straight to the source with a pen in my hand.
I went through the 9 pages that constitute the overview and extracted some notes I would like to post in here:
We need more films about the social, ecological and economic change!
We want to make one and you could help us.
In our Documentary "The Taste of Life" we want to show, that there are people in the whole world, already practicing this change in a great way.
From social symptom to root causes came about as a bi-product of ZDAY 2013 in London, in which all but the introductory talk featured exterior organisations and speakers. Each of whom seek to address a particular social or environmental issue closely aligned with the movement’s materials.
From social symptom to root causes came about as a bi-product of ZDAY 2013 in London, in which all but the introductory talk featured exterior organisations and speakers. Each of whom seek to address a particular social or environmental issue closely aligned with the movement’s materials.
Transcript below. Can also be viewed via PDF HERE.
Welcome to: “3 Questions - What do you propose?” This thought exercise is intended for both the average person, concerned about global problems – along with those who are still confused about - or perhaps even in opposition to The Zeitgeist Movement.
For a generation of CEOs, Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma was a guiding light on how to survive industry disruptions. His book educated business executives on where competition would emerge from and how to respond to the threats. Of late, however, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/23/the-disruption-machine ">journalists and http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-useful-is-the-theory-of-disruptive-innovation/ ">academics have questioned the accuracy of Christensen’s industry analyses and challenged his broad generalizations. His response, in a https://hbr.org/2015/12/what-is-disruptive-innovation ">new Harvard Business Review article, is that his theories have been misunderstood and their basic tenets misapplied. He posits that his prescriptions have been a victim of their own successes.
Regardless of whether the criticisms are valid, Christensen’s ideas have had a positive impact on industry. Companies such as Procter & Gamble, GE, and Salesforce credit them with having helped them stay ahead. They provided an excellent way of thinking about innovation.
But Christensen’s theories are now outdated, and there is little to be gained by arguing about the accuracy of the case studies on which they were based. The harm is in continuing to be guided by them — because they teach companies to look in the wrong places for competitive threats and encourage them to separate the innovative disruptors from the core businesses; to put them in new company divisions. We are now in an era in which technologies such as computing, networks, sensors, artificial intelligence, and robotics are advancing exponentially and converging, thereby allowing industries to encroach on and disrupt one another.
Christensen says that Uber and Tesla Motors aren’t genuinely disruptive, not fitting the tenets of his theory of disruptive innovation. In that, the competition comes from the lower end or an unserved part of a market and then migrates upward to the mainstream market. He says that Uber has gone in exactly the opposite direction by building a position in the mainstream market and then addressing historically overlooked segments. And Tesla Motors can’t be disruptive because it is tackling the high end of the car market. “If disruption theory is correct, Tesla’s future holds either acquisition by a much larger incumbent or a years-long and hard-fought battle for market significance,” say Christensen and his co-authors in the https://hbr.org/2015/12/what-is-disruptive-innovation ">paper.
Christensen’s disruption theory is not correct. The competition no longer comes from the lower end of a market; it comes from other, completely different, industries. For the taxi industry, Uber came out of nowhere. At first Uber tried competing with high-end limousines. Then it launched UberX to offer cheap taxi service. Now it wants it all. Through UberFresh, it is piloting same-day grocery delivery; through UberEats, it promises lunch in 10 minutes. Uber is challenging supermarkets, Amazon.com, and the catering industry — all at the same time. With UberHealth, it is planning to bring flu shots to people in need. When Uber finishes writing the software for its self-driving cars, it will create a genuine tsunami of disruption in every industry that depends upon transportation.
Tesla has already proven the http://wadhwa.com/2013/02/21/washington-post-confessions-of-a-tesla-fanboy/ ">superiority of its electric cars. Now it is changing their economics. With its Gigafactory, which is expected to come online in 2017, it will halve the cost of batteries and increase their range. These will keep getting better — and cheaper. Tesla is talking about releasing a $35,000 car in 2017. I won’t be surprised if it delivers a version in the early 2020s that travels more than 500 miles on a single charge and costs $25,000. And it plans to use the same battery technology, in https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/05/01/teslas-powerwall-is-the-latest-step-toward-our-clean-energy-future/ ">Powerwall to provide affordable storage to solar homes so that they can be disconnected from the grid and be energy independent. This cross-industry focus will lead to economies of scale that will disrupt both the transportation and energy industries. Tesla is more likely to acquire General Motors, Ford, and Volkswagen than to have to battle them.
Apple, which has already disrupted the computing and music industries, now has its eye on health care and finance. The Apple watch functions as a medical device; its artificial intelligence will monitor us 24×7 and begin to take the role of our personal physicians. Apple’s ResearchKit has already startedhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/03/23/apple-isnt-just-satisfied-reinventing-health-care-its-targeting-clinical-trials-as-well%e2%80%8b/ ">gathering clinical-trial data and will upend the pharmaceutical industry by keeping track of the effectiveness and side effects of the medications we take. ApplePay, Apple’s first entrant into the finance industry, will start doing the job of credit-card processors and will disrupt the finance industry over the next decade as it becomes a platform on which we transact commerce.
Google, Facebook, SpaceX, and Oneweb are in a race to provide Wi-Fi Internet access everywhere through drones, microsatellites, and balloons. At first, they will provide their services through the telecom companies; then they will eat their lunch. The motivation of the technology industry is, after all, to have everyone online all the time. Their business models are to monetize data rather than to charge cell, data, or access fees. They will also end up disrupting the cable industry, entertainment, and every industry that deals with information.
Disruption is no longer a narrow field that can be handled by a new division or department of a company. It is happening wherever technology can be applied. Companies need all hands on board — with all divisions working together to find ways to reinvent themselves and defend themselves from the onslaught of new competition. This is a company-wide effort which requires bold new thinking.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock.com
The post http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/24/how-recent-tech-success-stories-are-disrupting-disruption-theory/ ">How Recent Tech Success Stories Are Disrupting Disruption Theory appeared first on http://singularityhub.com ">Singularity HUB.
Higher education, in general, fails students in three ways.
- It does not prepare students to succeed in life after college.
- The cost is significant and students often go into debt or work to put themselves through school (often, they do both).
- Many students drop out or don’t attend classes.
This isn’t news.
Today, we almost take these challenges as immutable facts, but they don’t have to be. We can shift the tide by changing how and what we teach, and by making the most of technologies that are already here. My organization, https://www.minerva.kgi.edu/ ">Minerva, is one of the few working to address these problems — here are a few solutions we hope will make higher education more effective in the 21st century.
Preparing Students for Life After College
The standard curriculum has three parts: General education, a major, and electives. The problem is, as they are typically taught, none of these is very useful for students after graduation.
General education is supposed to prepare students for life after college, but often it consists of a set of breadth requirements that are neither designed with any particular goal in mind nor are part of a coherent program. The major is typically of no use to students after graduation. (How many economics majors become economists? How many sociology majors become sociologists?) And electives are typically just whatever happens to interest the faculty, with little thought about what is useful for students.
To tackle these problems, we’ve designed our entire curriculum around the goal of imparting “practical knowledge”— knowledge students can use to achieve their goals.
Practical knowledge is broad and generative. Kurt Lewin famously said, “There is nothing as practical as a good theory.” Practical knowledge is not vocational training nor is it focused on pre-professional instruction. Practical knowledge should give students the intellectual foundations to succeed at jobs that don’t even exist yet.
We have intentionally created a general education program during the first year that provides students with a set of cognitive tools they can use in varied situations. After the first year, we’ve designed a set of majors and concentrations that allow students to expand on this knowledge and apply it in more specific, “real-world” contexts. As students progress through the curriculum, they increasingly personalize it to help them achieve their goals.
We want our students to be able to become leaders and innovators, and to adapt to a changing, increasingly global world. Given these goals, we could identify skills and attributes that are key to their success in the future.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Residence-Hall_FC-1440x960.jpg " alt="Residence Hall_FC" width="1220" height="813" />
To ensure that what we teach translates to the real world, we devised the capstone experience.
Kicking off in the first semester of junior year, the capstone challenges students to plan a novel solution to an important problem. Then, over the following three semesters, students practice all they have learned from their Minerva experience by carrying out an original capstone project in their chosen field (or fields) in preparation for the students’ transition to the real world.
In addition, in their senior year, each student works with two other students and a professor to design a seminar on a topic of their choosing—and then they take the seminar. For most majors, students take two such seminars. No other university program allows students to personalize their instruction in this way.
Lastly, Minerva students change locations every semester after their first year in San Francisco.
They live and study in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Bangalore, Istanbul, and London. We use each city as a campus, taking advantage of local resources and integrating them into the curriculum. This approach broadens the students’ perspectives and extends their learning environment into a wide range of diverse urban contexts.
Say No to In-Class Lectures: Making Learning Active
Traditionally, students read assigned materials and then attend class to hear their professor give a lecture. They take notes, go home, do an assignment, and repeat. This model is backward — that is, students should not be wasting time in the classroom being lectured at by the professor.
In a standard “flipped classroom,” homework is done in class — where the teacher and other students are available as resources — and lectures are provided before class.
This is a good start. But we’ve gone further.
At Minerva, minimal information transmission takes place in class. In our “radical flipped classroom,” we move both the homework, readings, and lectures to before class and reserve class time for active learning. Students use information acquired through lectures and homework in critical thinking, creative thinking, effective communication, and effective interaction. They take part in group problem solving, debate, role-playing exercises and other activities that engage them.
This is challenging—but in a good way.
Students often prefer a traditional lecture format to active learning because lectures are easy: The student simply writes down what the professor says, memorizes it, and then does well on a test. Moreover, there’s the illusion of learning: The more notes, the more learned. Right? No. The vast majority of what was “learned” is soon forgotten. Active learning solidifies newly acquired knowledge by requiring students actually to use it after they’ve learned it.
Active learning does have an apparent drawback: Less material can be covered than in a traditional lecture format. But this drawback is more apparent than real. If retention is tested three months later, students who took part in active learning typically retain many times as much as students who received the material in just a lecture. Moreover, because active learning focuses on using information, it is an ideal fit to Minerva’s emphasis on practical knowledge.
Minerva’s active learning approach is complemented by programs that test and deepen students’ learning through practical application with community partners.
Whether working with the mayor’s office to reimagine the public use of San Francisco’s Market Street or partnering with an entrepreneurial incubator to evaluate submissions for funding, students are applying the what they’ve learned as part of their curriculum.
Technology to Facilitate Learning, Measure Progress and Broaden Experience
All classes at Minerva are taught using a cloud-based system that was developed solely to conduct educational seminars, the Active Learning Forum (ALF).
We use ALF for two main reasons. First, it allows us to teach more effectively and helps students to learn more effectively. In particular, our use of active learning allows us to apply the science of learning systematically. For example, we know that rapid feedback is invaluable; we take advantage of this by recording all classes, which allows faculty to score students and give them feedback soon after class.
Second, ALF allows students to take classes and faculty to teach classes from anywhere in the world. This means that we can have students in the same seminar who are living in different cities and can bring their experiences into class for comparison/contrast exercises. It also means that we can recruit first-rate faculty who can teach from all over the world.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/L1007335_0337.DNG_.jpg " alt="L1007335_0337.DNG" width="933" height="624" />
Lowering the Cost and Increasing Student Engagement
Finally, it’s worth taking a step back and considering Minerva in a broader context. As noted at the outset, higher education in general fails students in three ways: First, it does not prepare students to succeed in life after college. Everything we do at Minerva is focused on this goal.
Second, our peer institutions typically charge about four times what we do for tuition.
Because we don’t own buildings, have sports teams (or even a climbing wall!), and so on, we have far fewer expenses and can actually provide a much more intimate, substantially higher quality educational experience at a fraction of the cost.
And, finally, many students drop out, either never completing college or not attending classes (and instead just showing up for the test). We hope to motivate students to continue their journey toward mastery by restricting our classes to small, intimate seminars, by requiring engagement and participation from our students, by raising expectations as opposed to lowering them, and by having students live and travel together all over the world.
Combining rigorous academics, small seminars, and four years of immersive global study, we have built Minerva for the 21st century. We have not only changed what students learn, but how they learn. However, the only measure of our success will be the success of our students, not simply doing well in school but also doing well in life after graduation — professionally and personally.
To get updates on Future of Learning posts, http://eepurl.com/bEiH51 ">sign up here.
Image Credit: http://shutterstock.com " target="_blank">Shutterstock.com; Minerva
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A few weeks ago, I wrote about http://singularityhub.com/2015/10/12/ray-kurzweils-wildest-prediction-nanobots-will-plug-our-brains-into-the-web-by-the-2030s/ ">Ray Kurzweil's wild prediction that in the 2030s, nanobots will connect our brains to the cloud, merging biology with the digital world.
Let's talk about what's happening today.
Over the past few decades, billions of dollars have been poured into three areas of research: neuroprosthetics, brain-computer interfaces and optogenetics.
All three areas of research are already transforming humanity and solving many of the problems that seem to have stumped our natural evolutionary processes.
This post is about the latest developments in these fields — from the most exciting applications today to the most game-changing applications of the future.
Neuroprosthetics, Brain-Computer Interfaces, and Optogenetics
Your brain is composed of 100 billion cells called neurons.
These cells make you who you are and control everything you do, think and feel.
In combination with your sensory organs (i.e., eyes, ears), these systems shape how you perceive the world.
And sometimes, they can fail.
That's where neuroprosthetics come into the picture.
The term "neuroprosthetics" describes the use of electronic devices to replace the function of impaired nervous systems or sensory organs.
They've been around for a while — the first cochlear implant was implanted in 1957 to help deaf individuals hear — and since then, over 350,000 have been implanted around the world, restoring hearing and dramatically improving quality of life for those individuals.
But such a cochlear implant only hints at a very exciting field that researchers call the brain-computer interface, or BCI: the direct communication pathway between the brain (central nervous system, or CNS) and an external computing device.
The vision for BCI involves interfacing the digital world with the CNS for the purpose of augmenting or repairing human cognition.
And how we interface with the CNS is where it becomes interesting.
There are two approaches. The first is physically connecting wires and neurons with microscopic arrays of metallic pins that stick into the brain and electrically stimulate neurons and/or measure the neuron's electric potential when they fire.
The second, and far more interesting, approach is the arena of "optogenetics" — controlling neurons with light. Using this mechanism, a light-sensitive molecule is inserted into the cell surface of a neuron (usually through a virus vector). The light-sensitive molecule can then allow an outside user to trigger or inhibit the neuron's firing by pulsing a specific frequency of light.
The entire BCI and neuroprosthetics field is just at its infancy today.
To get you thinking about the possibilities, here are a few of my favorite applications illustrating what we can do today.
- Seeing: About 70 blind people have undergone the 3-hour surgery for what’s called a “retinal implant.” As described, “a spectacle-mounted camera captures image data; that data is then processed by a mini-computer carried on a strap and sent to a neuron-stimulating array of 60 electrodes implanted on the retina.” While still a long way from completely restoring vision, the notion that we can use cameras to augment or replace lost photoreceptors is promising.
- Hearing: As I mentioned earlier, around 350,000 cochlear implants have been implanted in hard-of-hearing individuals over the last 60 years. A microphone picks up sound from the environment, sends it to a speech processor, and then a transmitter converts it into electric impulses. An electrode array sends these impulses to different regions of the auditory nerve, allowing us to bypass the malfunctioning parts of the ear all together.
- Feeling Pain: Various companies and research groups (including Stanford University) are exploring how to use optogenetics to “turn off” the perception of chronic pain simply by pressing a bright flashlight to a patient’s skin. Pain is the primary reason people see doctors, accounting for $635 billion per year.
- Movement/Intention: Fifteen to 20 paralyzed patients have received implants into the motor cortex (the area of the brain that controls movement) that allow them to control external robotic arms or, even more amazingly, reanimate paralyzed limbs by stimulating electrodes implanted in the limb.
- Hunger: Like pain, hunger is a sensation. Stanford researchers are exploring how to use optogenetics to curb the sensation of hunger by regulating stimuli from the vagus nerve.
- Memory: A researcher out of the University of Southern California is developing a way to restore memory encoding and accessing in people with epilepsy using an implanted computer chip in the hippocampus.
- Anxiety: Karl Deisseroth and collaborators at Stanford University “identified a specific circuit in the amygdala, a part of the brain that is central to fear, aggression, and other basic emotions, that appears to regulate anxiety in rodents.” With optogenetics, we could soon be able to turn this circuit off…
Where we go in the future is really just mind-blowing.
The Future — Where Brain Research Is Going
As neuroscientist David Eagleman recently pointed out at TED, our experience of reality is constrained by our biology.
This doesn't have to be the case anymore as we develop new ways to send novel inputs or computational capabilities into the brain.
We could add new senses. (Imagine being able to "plug in" to the stock market, to sense how the market was doing.) We could develop wireless, brain-to-brain communication, something called synthetic telepathy, and send messages to each other by thinking them.
Our brains are a platform and the opportunities for new applications are almost endless.
These applications will challenge what it means to be human. And once we, as Ray Kurzweil predicts, connect our neocortices to the cloud, perhaps we'll become something far more than "human" altogether.
Image Credit:http://www.shutterstock.com "> Shutterstock.com
The post http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/23/hacking-the-brain-restoring-lost-abilities-with-the-latest-neurotechnologies/ ">Hacking the Brain — Restoring Lost Abilities With the Latest Neurotechnologies appeared first on http://singularityhub.com ">Singularity HUB.
Our body is, in essence, more ecosystem than organism.
The human body http://www.fastcompany.com/3039891/gut-check ">teems with trillions of microbes — bacteria, viruses and fungi — and at any moment, we may be carrying between one and three pounds of these micro-hitchhikers in colonies on our skin, groin, mouths, and sinuses. By far, however, the gut microbiome ecosystem — the largest and most complex — is the one that has both academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies hooked.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/bugs-as-drugs-4.jpg " alt="bugs-as-drugs-4" width="300" height="200" />The reason? Our gut bugs may be the new frontier of a billion-dollar bioceutical industry.
Manipulating the microbiome for health is nothing new. The growing probiotics industry earns some http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/73/2/476s.full ">$30 billion globally each year selling supplements and foods and drinks like yogurt or kombucha. The health claims are: improved intestinal health, buzzing energy, weight loss and “all natural” mood enhancement.
“It’s unregulated, unsupported,” http://www.fastcompany.com/3039891/gut-check ">says Dr. Martin Blaser, a pioneer of human microbiome studies at NYU and advisor to http://www.secondgenome.com/ ">Second Genome, a startup based in the Bay Area.
But that’s set to change. For years, the boom in over-the-counter probiotics was more hype than science; now, mounting evidence is beginning to link conditions ranging from the physical — irritable bowel syndrome, Type 2 diabetes — to the mental — autism, Parkinson’s, depression — to the gut’s resident microbugs.
"The microbiome field has produced some of the most exciting science discoveries of the last five years, and its potential impact on human health is just too big to ignore," http://www.economistinsights.com/healthcare/analysis/microbial-medicine/tab/1 ">says Bernat Olle, chief operating officer at http://www.vedantabio.com/ ">Vedanta Biosciences, a Boston startup that looks to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases by modulating the microbiome.
Dr. Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford University, agrees. “Undoubtedly, the microbiome is a little drug factory in our intestine,” he says.
One with many unresolved mysteries, and a hell of a lot to offer.
Beyond the vanguard
The tantalizing links between gut microbes and health have only recently begun to be accepted by mainstream science.
The main roadblock is proving causality. “It's very difficult to tell if microbial differences you see associated with diseases are causes or consequences,” Rob Knight, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Diego.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/bugs-as-drugs-5.jpg " alt="bugs-as-drugs-5" width="300" height="200" />So far, the question’s been hard to answer. Most sophisticated, tightly controlled experiments were done in mice raised in completely sterile environments — hardly the best model, given that most humans are colonized at birth by resident microbes in our mothers’ vaginal canal.
Data in humans are far more limited and often correlational in nature. In varying degrees, our microbiome connects to a slew of metabolic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. It also, crucially, acts as a communication channel between our immune and digestive systems.
The link to brain disorders is perhaps the most tantalizing. Children with autism, for example, often also suffer from gastrointestinal problems. As do patients with anxiety, depression, schizophrenic and neurodegenerative disorders, suggesting malfunctioning gut microbes. But is it just a connected fact, or is it a cause for their illness?
Without figuring out causal relationships, there’s little use in pursuing a drug. But bioceutical companies like Second Genome have a workaround. The goal is not to target every disease, says CEO Peter DiLaura, it’s to take aim at just a few.
In particular, ones with large unmet therapeutics need and evidence showing a large microbiome-driven causation, explains DiLaura. Obesity, Type 2 diabetes and Crohn’s disease all fit the bill, and Second Genome is tackling each with laser focus.
If successful, Second Genome could relieve millions of people of their chronic disease. The key to unlocking the gut-health secret, said DiLaura, is tapping into the ancient language that connects host with microbe.
“We’re code breakers,” says DiLaura. For eons, we have only focused on the host side of things; with advances in genomic profiling and big data, we can finally tap into the conversation within and surrounding the microbiome.
Preliminary results hint at complex answers. The composition of the gut microbiome — the balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria — can influence health by regulating inflammation in the body.
We can easily change the microbiome composition with diet and antibiotics, sometimes in less than a week, http://www.nature.com/news/microbiome-therapy-gains-market-traction-1.15210 ">says Sonnenburg. This works well in our favor. His team is currently working on a molecule called sialic acid, which prevents harmful bacterial from taking over the gut after heavy antibiotic use.
Other companies are taking “bugs as drugs” quite literally.
http://www.openbiome.org/ ">OpenBiome, a company based in Cambridge, Mass, is providing frozen stool samples from healthy, pre-screened individuals to hospitals. There, the samples are put into the colons of people suffering from the deadly — and otherwise untreatable — gut infection Clostridium difficile, which kills 14,000 Americans each year.
Early results have been nothing short of remarkable so far: in http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/53/10/994.long ">a 2011 review of 317 patients, fecal transplants cleared up the infection in 92% of cases. To facilitate long-term maintenance treatment, the team is working on capsules that patients can take orally.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/bugs-as-drugs-6.jpg " alt="bugs-as-drugs-6" width="300" height="200" />You might be thinking eww: after all, it’s hard not to give a crap about swallowing poop pills. Researchers agree. The next step is to try to isolate and culture healthful strains of bacteria that bear the brunt of the therapeutic work in fecal matter, and make them into probiotics to stop recurrent infections or prevent one from happening altogether. So far, the effects http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23728658?dopt=Abstract&holding=npg ">are there but moderate, and scientists are tweaking the probiotic composition to further optimize treatment.
Arguably, however, the most pragmatic approach is looking at gutbug bioactives — that is, proteins and metabolites secreted by the microbiome that impact health.
Second Genome is striding down this path. In close collaboration with academic advisors, the company is striving to find bioactives that are secreted by a healthy microbiome. So far, research is homing in on a class of chemicals called short-chain fatty acids. These molecules are constantly produced as gut microbes break down starchy foods, which — in ways yet uncovered — regulate our immune system, the integrity of our brain cells and an array of metabolic pathways.
http://symbiotix-bio.com/ ">Other molecules may combat the deadly effects of multiple sclerosis, a devastating degenerative brain disease currently without cure. Yet http://www.nature.com/news/vaginal-microbe-yields-novel-antibiotic-1.15900 ">others may prove to be a new source of antibiotics, to amp up our rapidly dwindling antibiotic arsenal.
We’ve uncovered only the tip of the bioactive iceberg, and it’s a field ripe for discovery.
“People are eager to learn what exactly helpful bacteria are doing,” http://www.nature.com/news/vaginal-microbe-yields-novel-antibiotic-1.15900 ">says Dr. Michael Fischbach, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who uses machine learning to hunt down drug-making genes in the human microbiome.
“Nobody had anticipated that they have the capability to make so many different kinds of drugs,” says Fischbach. “We used to think that drugs were discovered by drug companies and prescribed by a physician and then they get to you.”
Forget that. The future of drug making may be right on — and inside — your body.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock.com
The post http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/22/bugs-as-drugs-seeking-microbial-cures-inside-body/ ">Bugs as Drugs: Seeking the Microbial Secret to Health appeared first on http://singularityhub.com ">Singularity HUB.
ROBOTICS: http://www.businessinsider.com/whats-going-on-with-google-robotics-2015-11 ">Google’s robot group struggles to fill leadership vacuum as it shoots for ambitious launch before 2020http://www.technologyreview.com/news/542821/robots-can-now-teach-each-other-new-tricks/ ">
Jillian D'Onfro | Business Insider
"Nearly two years ago, Google announced a new robotics division that had secretly snapped up almost ten companies. The state of those efforts is now in flux, and the group is in a difficult position as it tries to meet a goal of creating consumer robot technology by 2020. "
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/11/how_zombies_could_be_the_future_of_artificial_intelligence.single.html ">The Emotional Uncanny Valley — How zombies could be the future of artificial intelligencehttp://www.technologyreview.com/news/542821/robots-can-now-teach-each-other-new-tricks/ ">
Adam Elkus | Slate
"Imagine a situation in which we encounter a human-like entity (let us call it Robo-Shylock) that is the most realistic replication of a human science has ever encountered....while Robo-Shylock shows what we might regard as outward signs of pain and appropriate behavioral reactions to being pricked, internally it has no concept of pain or being pricked. It does not experience a sensation of pain the way we would, despite bleeding and reacting as if it has been pricked. If such a scenario like the plot of a bad 1950s science fiction movie to you, then you are not alone. Robo-Shylock is what philosophers of mind dub a 'philosophical zombie' or 'p-zombie' for short."
ETHICS: https://aeon.co/opinions/we-have-greater-moral-obligations-to-robots-than-to-humans ">We have greater moral obligations to robots than to humans
Eric Schwitzgebel | Aeon
"If we someday create robots with human-like cognitive and emotional capacities, we owe them more moral consideration than we would normally owe to otherwise similar human beings. Here’s why: we will have been their creators and designers."
INTERNET: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/so-this-is-how-net-neutrality-dies ">So This Is How Net Neutrality Dies
Jason Koebler | Motherboard
"Over the last, say, 18 months or so, telecom companies have been ravenously snatching up and partnering with content creators. At first, it was easy to look at these acquisitions...merely as cable and telecom companies attempting to diversify in response to the potential economic crisis presented by cord cutters and people who never subscribed to cable networks in the first place. But that’s too simple an interpretation. Instead, telecom is attempting to control the content, the means of getting it to you, and the advertising networks that support them."
FUTURE OF WORK: http://www.citylab.com/work/2015/11/should-computers-decide-who-gets-hired/417015/ ">Should Computers Decide Who Gets Hired?
Gillian B. White | CityLab
"Humans can certainly exert bias and illogical preferences, which can color hiring practices when managers use personal discretion to sift through applicants....But on the other hand, relegating people—and the firms they work for—to data points focuses only on the success of firms in terms of productivity and tenure, and that might be a shallow way of interpreting what makes a company successful."
ROBOCARS: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/magazine/the-dream-life-of-driverless-cars.html ">The Dream Life of Driverless Carshttp://www.technologyreview.com/news/542821/robots-can-now-teach-each-other-new-tricks/ ">
Geoff Manaugh | The New York Times
"One of the most significant uses of 3-D scanning in the years to come will not be by humans at all but by autonomous vehicles. Cars are already learning to drive themselves, by way of scanner-assisted braking, pedestrian-detection sensors, parallel-parking support, lane-departure warnings and other complex driver-assistance systems, and full autonomy is on the horizon."
VIRTUAL REALITY: http://www.fastcompany.com/3052125/innovation-agents/welcome-to-brain-sciences-next-frontier-virtual-reality ">Welcome To Brain Science's Next Frontier: Virtual Realityhttp://www.technologyreview.com/news/542821/robots-can-now-teach-each-other-new-tricks/ ">
Tina Amirtha | Fast Company
"Neuroscience is a field for limitless exploration and new discovery. The biggest technical revolutions of the last century—nuclear energy, computing power, and space exploration—all started with basic science research that had no immediate industrial use, but evolved into important industries with rewarding applications. Now, science advocates say neuroscience is the next revolution. By exploring the mysteries of the brain, budding technologies could benefit. These technologies will, likewise, enhance basic research."
LEARNING is the http://startup.singularityu.org/ggc/ ">Global Grand Challenge
for the Month of November
"Access to skills and information for all people at all stages of their lives for personal fulfillment and benefit to society."
from http://singularityu.org/impact/ ">Singularity University's 2015 Impact Report
Check out our http://singularityhub.com/tag/future-of-learning/ ">Future of Learning series running all month on Singularity Hub!
CURRICULUM: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2015/11/texas-school-board-rejects-push-to-enlist-academics-to-check-textbooks-for-factual-errors.html/ ">Texas school board rejects push to enlist academics to check textbooks for factual errorshttp://www.wired.com/2015/09/cyberwar-global-guide-nation-state-digital-attacks/ ">
Robert T. Garrett | Dallas News
"The push for more experts to be involved came after more than a year of controversy over board-sanctioned books’ coverage of global warming, descriptions of Islamic history and terrorism and handling of the Civil War and the importance of Moses and the Ten Commandments to the founding fathers."
COST OF EDUCATION: http://www.fastcompany.com/3053305/the-future-of-work/could-nanodegrees-be-the-solution-to-the-student-debt-crisis ">Could "Nanodegrees" Be The Solution To The Student Debt Crisis?
George Lorenzo | Fast Company
"'By the end of next year, we are going to have more than 50 [nanodegree programs],' Thrun says. 'We have a meticulous plan that we are working through, and it covers areas such as big data, cybersecurity, and tech entrepreneurship with things such as project management and design.'"
EMPLOYMENT: http://www.wsj.com/articles/online-skills-are-hot-but-will-they-land-you-a-job-1447806460 ">Online Skills Are Hot, But Will They Land You a Job?http://www.fastcompany.com/3053305/the-future-of-work/could-nanodegrees-be-the-solution-to-the-student-debt-crisis ">
Lauren Weber | Wall Street Journal
"The recognition of specialized skills could go in two directions, employers and labor market experts say. Independent groups could step in to develop standards for credentials, or employers could test more applicants’ skills during hiring, which could make some laurels—be it a bachelor’s degree or boot-camp diploma—superfluous."
[image courtesy of Shutterstock]
The post http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/21/this-weeks-awesome-stories-from-around-the-web-through-nov-21-2/ ">This Week’s Awesome Stories from Around the Web (Through Nov 21) appeared first on http://singularityhub.com ">Singularity HUB.
Ali M. Ismail, Entrepreneur
http://singularityu.org/graduate-studies-program/?__hstc=256984660.c7304a9f8a41c6b68762b0f3fc51ff5a.1438895066128.1447871758734.1447884514877.248&__hssc=256984660.7.1447884514877&__hsfp=1708081357 " target="_blank">Graduate Studies Program 2015 Graduate
Ali Ismail had been patiently waiting in Baghdad for the arrival of a visa the US embassy was mailing him. However, as the first week of Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program began, Ali was still in Baghdad. And he was done waiting.
He found the number of the DHL manager in Iraq, went to their warehouse, and got to the source of the delay. A few days, three flights, and over 36 hours of travel later, Ali arrived in San Francisco and made his way to Singularity University only one week late.
“The post-war era in Iraq creates a lot of challenges, and a lot of opportunity.” –Ali
A self-taught developer, Ali studied materials engineering in college. Though he began his career in media, he quickly realized he was on the wrong path. His ultimate passion was entrepreneurship—something he had already begun to explore in college.
In 2012, Ali cofounded the first maker space in Iraq (http://fikra.space./ " target="_blank">Fikraspace). Now, the largest maker community in the country, Fikraspace has hosted three events for entrepreneurs (called Startup Weekends) in Baghdad and two in Basra in the south.
Ali’s central motivation—to give young, aspiring Iraqi entrepreneurs opportunities for training, mentorship, and investment—has also been largely fueled by his own efforts pursuing those very things for himself.
Alison: What is the entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem like in Baghdad?
Ali: I think Iraqis are very entrepreneurial. In the ‘90s, Iraq was under many UN sanctions. If you worked for the government, you couldn’t make much money, so most Iraqis started their own businesses. The culture is there, but it's not the entrepreneurial ecosystem that’s here in Silicon Valley. It’s not as industrialized like it is here, and most of the businesses are different. Most are not in tech.
The tech ecosystem in Iraq really started about three years ago, as we were starting the maker space. Through the maker space, we organized large events such as Startup Weekends. We've organized three in Baghdad and two in Basra in the south. We got a lot of traction with young people because they like the idea of being their own bosses. We are one of the youngest nations in the world. Most of the population is 16 to 25 years old.
There are a lot of things that entrepreneurs can build, and there are a lot of untapped opportunities, even in the infrastructure. Almost nothing in Iraq is automated.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_0732-1440x957.jpg " alt="DSC_0732" width="1220" height="811" />
Alison: What have been some of the challenges of bringing Startup Weekend to Baghdad?
Ali: There’s a gap before Startup Weekend and a gap after—before Startup Weekend it’s the skills, and after Startup Weekend it’s the investments.
So, we are giving free workshops before Startup Weekend in mobile programming, web programming, and design for young people. And after Startup Weekend, we are trying to set up mentorships and investment. We are planning to expand the maker space into a coworking space and eventually an accelerator in Iraq.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_0737-1440x957.jpg " alt="DSC_0737" width="1220" height="811" />
Alison: Beyond cofounding the first maker space in Iraq and continuing to nurture the maker community, what is your source of inspiration?
Ali: When I was a kid, I wanted a place where I could learn from other people and also share what I’ve learned. This was the most difficult thing in Baghdad, in part because I didn’t have much access to the internet. Having a maker space would have been so great for me—so I started it at first to meet other people who shared my interests.
There are a lot of boot camps here in the US that provide skilled training for developers and designers, or that just provide human capital for startups. I really want to do that with our maker space. And we are doing it, but not at that large of a scale.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_0760-1440x957.jpg " alt="DSC_0760" width="1220" height="811" />
Alison: How would you like entrepreneurship in Baghdad to evolve and improve?
Ali: I hope to have more people from outside the country come to Iraq—like investors, thought leaders, mentors—and also to send more people from Iraq to Silicon Valley.
I also hope the mindsets of some investors in Iraq will change. Many of them are mostly investing in established business models like restaurants, malls, or entertainment. They are not taking the risk to invest in innovation. I want this to change, to have more money invested in young people.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_0719-1440x957.jpg " alt="DSC_0719" width="1220" height="811" />
This interview has been edited and condensed
Connect with me on twitter https://twitter.com/DigitAlison ">@DigitAlison or https://twitter.com/singularityhub ">@SingularityHub, and tell me what inspired your work.
You can http://singularityhub.com/singularity-university/exponential-entrepreneurs/ ">follow the full series here or learn more about Singularity University's http://singularityu.org/graduate-studies-program/?__hstc=256984660.c7304a9f8a41c6b68762b0f3fc51ff5a.1438895066128.1447871758734.1447884514877.248&__hssc=256984660.7.1447884514877&__hsfp=1708081357 " data-href="http://singularityu.org/graduate-studies-program/ ">Graduate Studies Program.
http://singularityu.us4.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=cf8d60100fb6d439c559221f0&id=9c706260a1&group=true&group=true&group=true&group=true&group=true&group=true&group[17179869184 ]">Subscribe to Exponential Thinkers weekly newsletter to receive each new story and additional curated content.
Photography shot by: Alison Berman
The post http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/20/building-the-maker-movement-in-baghdad/ ">Building the Maker Movement in Baghdad appeared first on http://singularityhub.com ">Singularity HUB.
If you’d asked farmers a few hundred years ago what skills their kids would need to thrive, it wouldn’t have taken long to answer. They’d need to know how to milk a cow or plant a field. General skills for a single profession that only changed slowly—and this is how it was for most humans through history.
But in the last few centuries? Not so much.
Each generation, and even within generations, we see some jobs largely disappear, while other ones pop up. Machines have automated much of manufacturing, for example, and they’ll automate even more soon. But as manufacturing jobs decline, they’ve been replaced by other once unimaginable professions like bloggers, coders, dog walkers, or http://singularityhub.com/2015/10/28/this-is-esports-where-pro-gamers-are-youtube-heroes-and-entertainments-new-rock-stars/ ">pro gamers.
In a world where these labor cycles are accelerating, the question is: http://widgets.weforum.org/nve-2015/ " target="_blank">What skills do we teach the next generation so they can keep pace?
More and more research shows that current curriculums, which teach siloed subject matter and specific vocational training, are not preparing students to succeed in the 21st century; http://singularityhub.com/2015/10/06/these-technologies-will-shift-the-global-balance-of-power-in-the-next-20-years/ " target="_blank">a time of technological acceleration, market volatility, and uncertainty.
To address this, some schools have started teaching coding and other skills relevant to the technologies of today. But technology is changing so quickly that http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/06/why-technology-alone-wont-fix-schools/394727/ " target="_blank">these new skills may not be relevant by the time students enter the job market.
In fact, in Cathy Davidson's book, Now You See It, Davidson estimates that,
“65 percent of children entering grade school this year (2011) will end up working in careers that haven't even been invented yet."
Not only is it difficult to predict what careers will exist in the future, it is equally uncertain which technology-based skills will be viable 5 or 10 years from now, as Brett Schilke, director of impact and youth engagement at Singularity University, noted in a recent interview.
So, what do we teach?
http://singularityhub.com/2015/04/04/finlands-latest-educational-move-will-produce-a-generation-of-entrepreneurs/ ">Finland recently shifted its national curriculum to a new model called the “phenomenon-based" approach. By 2020, the country will replace traditional classroom subjects with a topical approach http://blog.entrepreneurthearts.com/2010/05/06/the-four-cs-of-21st-century-education/ ">highlighting the four Cs—communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. These four skills “are central to working in teams, and a reflection of the 'hyperconnected' world we live in today,” Singularity Hub Editor-in-Chief David Hill http://singularityhub.com/2015/04/04/finlands-latest-educational-move-will-produce-a-generation-of-entrepreneurs/ ">recently wrote.
Hill notes the four Cs directly correspond to the skills needed to be a successful 21st century entrepreneur—when accelerating change means the jobs we’re educating for today may not exist tomorrow. Finland’s approach reflects an important transition away from the antiquated model used in most US institutions—a model created for a slower, more stable labor market and economy that no longer exists.
In addition to the four Cs, successful entrepreneurs across the globe are demonstrating three additional soft skills that can be integrated into the classroom—adaptability, resiliency and grit, and a mindset of continuous learning.
These skills can http://hackeducation.com/2015/10/22/robot-tutors/#pq=PXEtHr ">equip students to be problem-solvers, inventive thinkers, and adaptive to the fast-paced change they are bound to encounter. In a world of uncertainty, the only constant is the ability to adapt, pivot, and get back on your feet.
Like Finland, the city of Buenos Aires is embracing change.
Select high school curriculums in the city of Buenos Aires now require technological education in the first two years and entrepreneurship in the last three years. Esteban Bullrich, Buenos Aires’ minister of education, told Singularity University in a recent interview, “I want kids to get out of school and be able to create whatever future they want to create—to be able to change the world with the capabilities they earn and receive through formal schooling.”
The idea is to teach students to be adaptive and equip them with skills that will be highly transferable in whatever reality they may face once out of school, Bullrich explains. http://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/we-need-to-teach-young-people-more-entrepreneurial-skills ">Embedding these entrepreneurial skills in education will enable future leaders to move smoothly with the pace of technology. In fact, Mariano Mayer, director of entrepreneurship for the city of Buenos Aires, believes these soft skills will be valued most highly in future labor markets.
This message is consistent with research highlighted in a World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group report titled, http://widgets.weforum.org/nve-2015/ ">New Vision for Education: Unlocking the Potential of Technology. The report breaks out the http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/13/3-ways-exponential-technologies-are-impacting-the-future-of-learning/ ">core 21st-century skills into three key categories—foundational literacies, competencies, and character qualities—with lifelong learning as a proficiency encompassing these categories.
http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/futurelearningdeck_copy-2-dragged-3-copy-1440x810.jpg " alt="futurelearningdeck_copy 2 (dragged) 3 copy" width="1220" height="686" />
From degree gathering to continuous learning
This http://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/deloitte-shifts/the-lifetime-learner/256/ ">continuous learning approach, in contrast to degree-oriented education, represents an important shift that is desperately needed in education. It also reflects the demands of the labor market—where lifelong learning and skill development are what keep an individual competitive, agile, and valued.
Singularity University CEO Rob Nail explains, “The current setup does not match the way the world has and will continue to evolve. You get your certificate or degree and then supposedly you're done. In the world that we've living in today, that doesn't work.”
Transitioning the focus of education from degree-oriented to continuous learning holds obvious benefits for students. This shift in focus, however, will also support academic institutions sustain their value as education, at large, becomes increasingly democratized and decentralized.
Any large change requires we overcome barriers. And in education, there are many—but one challenge, in particular, is fear of change.
“The fear of change has made us fall behind in terms of advancement in innovation and human activities,” Bullrich says.
“We are discussing upgrades to our car instead of building a spaceship. We need to build a spaceship, but we don't want to leave the car behind. Some changes appear large, but the truth is, it's still a car. It doesn't fly. That's why education policy is not flying.”
Education and learning are ready to be reinvented. It’s time we get to work.
To get updates on Future of Learning posts, http://eepurl.com/bEiH51 ">sign up here.
Image credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock.com
The post http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/19/automation-is-eating-jobs-but-these-skills-will-always-be-valued-in-the-workplace/ ">Automation Is Eating Jobs, But These Skills Will Always Be Valued In the Workplace appeared first on http://singularityhub.com ">Singularity HUB.
Our bodies are extremely complex, interrelated, and ever-evolving patterns of information—from DNA to physiology to vital signs. But until modern times, most of that information was hidden from view. We didn’t know there was a glitch in the Matrix until something obvious tipped us off, and by then it was probably too late.
The http://singularityhub.com/2014/11/16/exponential-medicine-data-deluge-to-disrupt-healthcare-this-decade/ ">theme of information has been front and center at https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/ ">Singularity University's Exponential Medicine conference in recent years. Whether it was a talk about the declining cost and increasing quality of DNA sequencing or improving wearable sensors. The central quest was gathering and recording the information that describes our health top to bottom.
And these efforts are ongoing.
Examples include comprehensive handheld health sensors (Scanadu), http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/16/exponential-medicine-the-future-of-the-quantified-brain/ ">wearables to measure brain activity, and http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/11/exponential-medicine-this-virtual-assistant-tells-you-when-to-put-down-the-bacon/ ">virtual assistants to pull it all together and suggest healthy behaviors (Lark). Human Longevity Inc’s http://www.humanlongevity.com/human-longevity-inc-launches-the-health-nucleus-a-comprehensive-and-personalized-health-platform-for-individuals/ ">Health Nucleus combines your genome, metabolome, microbiome, clinical imaging, and health history into a single comprehensive snapshot.
While giving a nod to continued data gathering efforts, however, http://singularityhub.com/singularity-university/exponential-medicine/ ">this year’s Exponential Medicine also emphasized next steps. How can we make all this information useful? Health Nucleus, for example, isn’t making diagnoses yet—which is why Longevity Inc has a machine learning office in Silicon Valley and a stable of software engineers in Singapore.
Last year, I spoke to https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/raymond-mccauley/ ">Raymond McCauley, SU's biotech track chair, about Illumina’s latest genomic sequencer. The firm claimed that the sequencer, when cranking at full capacity, could transcribe a high-quality human genome for $1,000—a mark long awaited. McCauley said the cost would go lower still, but the cutting edge would now shift to figuring out how to make sense of all that information. Data science, as they say, would be sexy.
And he was right. At one point during the conference, https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/daniel-kraft/ ">Daniel Kraft, founding executive director and chair of Exponential Medicine, asked the audience how things were going—anything that popped into their heads.
Someone stood up and said, “https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/jeremy-howard/ ">Jeremy Howard is a rockstar.”
Howard, a data scientist and previously president and chief science officer at Kaggle, spent the last year with his newly founded company, Enlitic, training deep learning software to diagnose cancer from medical images of the lungs. http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/11/exponential-medicine-deep-learning-ai-better-than-your-doctor-at-finding-cancer/ ">Howard says it’s now better than a panel of top radiologists at the task.
Deep learning may play a key role in analysis beyond medical images because it thrives on data. The more you feed it, the better it gets at finding patterns. We’ll need all the help we can get if we’re to begin making more practical connections between our genes and disease—and then doing something about it—because manually analyzing and comparing millions of three-billion-base-pair genomes isn’t remotely realistic.
But useful health data isn’t necessarily all new. There’s lots of free information few are mining. https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/atul-butte/ ">Atul Butte, for example, has long said there’s a wealth of untapped data in public health databases. And for relatively little money you can go online and order experiments—you can even order more than one and compare them—to check your hypotheses.
He’s already used that data to create businesses (some of which he’s sold) and says there’s more than enough to go around.
“The data’s sitting there, just waiting for you," Butte said.
As we digitize intimate information, it isn't just about analysis; it's also about how we access, store, and share it. If we can't see our own information or feel uncomfortable giving it to doctors or that powerful deep learning algorithm in the cloud—what's the point?
Opposed but related: Information freedom and security are critical challenges.
MIT Media Lab's https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/steven-keating/ ">Steven Keating gave a particularly stirring talk about his experience with brain cancer. He’d never have known about his brain tumor if he hadn’t volunteered to participate in a medical imaging study. A few years on, when he discovered the tumor had grown to the size of a tennis ball, he underwent brain surgery.
A medical selfie, he said, saved his life.
But he discovered something else too—getting healthcare providers to give you your own medical information is really hard. And that needs to change.
MIT’s https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/chelsea-barabas/ ">Chelsea Barabas suggested that, although it’s early days, http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/12/exponential-medicine-health-data-discomfort-blockchain-is-the-cure/ ">blockchain may offer a potential solution for securely sharing intimate data. In the future we might all have a digital health record (perhaps like Health Nucleus) and use blockchain to securely share our health data with only those trusted doctors we designate. Or we might use the tech to make it anonymous—without sacrificing quality—for health studies of unprecedented scale.
Other conference highlights included https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/jamie-metzl/ ">Jamie Metzl’s talk on designer babies, and http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/12/exponential-medicine-what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-designer-babies/ ">how it’s time we get realistic about the pros and cons and make policy. Eric Rasmussen, meanwhile, grounded the conference in the urgent and profoundly human matter of disaster response, http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/18/exponential-medicine-from-drones-to-heartbeat-detecting-devices-tech-can-aid-disaster-response/ ">showing how emerging tech can have an impact now. https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/katie-weimer/ ">Katie Weimer and https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/scott-summit/ ">Scott Summit gave updates on how 3D printing is bringing more affordable, personalized care—from stylish and customizable casts and prosthetics to more accurate surgical guides and implants.
https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/alice-phoebe-lou/ ">Alice Phoebe Lou, a talented singer-songwriter, performed for the second year running. And https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/november-2015-faculty/alexandra-drane/ ">Alexandra Drane—founder, chief visionary officer and chair of the board of Eliza Corp—paused her talk on the too-often ignored social determinants of health ("life sucks disease" she calls it) to open the shades on a stunning San Diego sunset.
Exponential Medicine is wide ranging and difficult to sum up in a single article. The elevator pitch? We’re piecing together the most detailed snapshot of human health in history, tools to understand what we’re looking at are advancing, and in the future, healthcare will be more proactive, personalized, and hopefully, more effective as a result.
We look forward to next year’s conference to find out how all that’s coming along.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock.com
The post http://singularityhub.com/2015/11/18/exponential-medicine-what-will-save-us-from-drowning-in-health-data/ ">Exponential Medicine: The Most Detailed Snapshot of Human Health in History appeared first on http://singularityhub.com ">Singularity HUB.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” –Martin Luther King Jr.
In 2013, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/06/20/323952215/number-of-displaced-people-hits-a-high-last-seen-in-world-war-ii ">51.2 million refugees were forced to flee their homes due to persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations, a number not seen since WWII. A year later, the number http://unhcr.org/556725e69.html#_ga=1.36079584.1726059692.1447632764 ">had grown to 59.5 million worldwide, and 13.9 million of those individuals were newly displaced due to conflict or persecution alone.
But these numbers are only part of the picture.
Natural disasters displaced an average http://www.internal-displacement.org/assets/publications/2014/201409-global-estimates2.pdf ">27 million people a year from 2008 to 2013. And following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015, an estimated https://www.usaid.gov/nepal-earthquake/fy15/fs04 ">2.8 million people were displaced countrywide.
Displaced populations are more susceptible to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD), yet are often living in the countries with the fewest available health resources. And urgent needs, like finding people stuck in rubble or providing essentials like clean drinking water, remain difficult challenges to solve.
Whether it's conflict or natural disaster, empowering humanitarian workers on the ground with new technologies is no silver bullet—but it can help the cause.
In a talk at https://exponential.singularityu.org/medicine/ " target="_blank">Exponential Medicine, Eric Rasmussen, CEO of http://www.ihs-i.com/ " target="_blank">Infinitum Humanitarian Systems, said that although it is tempting to focus the application of emerging technologies on future-focused, upstream solutions, applying emerging technologies to current humanitarian needs is equally important. Rasmussen specializes in modern medicine and tools for global disaster response, and previously served as principal investigator in humanitarian informatics at http://motherboard.vice.com/read/darpa-is-building-an-autonomous-submarine-hunting-drone-boat " target="_blank">DARPA for nine years.
During his talk, Rasmussen described current challenges in disaster preparedness and response and gave examples of solutions that take a blended approach by uniting technology, humanitarian, and local partners around a shared pursuit.
http://kathmandulivinglabs.org/ ">Kathmandu Living Labs: UAVs for 3D mapping devastated cities
After the 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal and killed over 9,000 people earlier this year, a group of technologists, including Dr. Patrick Meier, founder of http://uaviators.org/ ">Humanitarian UAV Network, partnered with Kathmandu University to help rebuild the region.
The group taught students from Kathmandu University how to fly UAVs and turn the collected data into http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/11/photos-from-nepal-drones-and-image-mapping-for-next-generation-disaster-response/ ">3D maps using PIX4D software. The maps help reconstruct communities faster by giving them greater awareness of the areas in the greatest need, and using UAVs for the work means putting fewer people in danger.
This is just one example of Kathmandu Living Labs’ many projects focused on developing and implementing mobile and internet-based technology solutions to increase civic engagement in Nepal and resiliency of the city at large.
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/12/light-work-getting-clean-water-with-nanotech.html ">Puralytics: Light-activated nanotechnology to clean drinking water
It’s estimated that, on any given day, individuals suffering a waterborne disease occupy 70% of all hospital beds in the world. Rasmussen says, “After the immediate strike of the disaster, secondary ones arise, like the lack of clean drinking water.”
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One solution may be http://www.puralytics.com/html/solarBag.php ">SolarBag by Puralytics. The three-liter water-cleaning pouch uses nanotechnology activated by sunlight or LEDs to purify drinking water. How? When exposed to light, the bag automatically activates five photochemical processes that kill pathogens and remove organic chemicals and heavy metals in water.
The company has been sending SolarBags to areas in need of disaster relief, and earlier this year brought the product to communities in Nepal after the earthquake.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/nasa-uses-microwave-technology-to-detect-heartbeats-of-people-stuck-under-nepal-earthquake-rubble-10235188.html ">Using technology for life detection in rubble
Multiple efforts are underway to use new technology for detecting humans trapped in rubble. MIT Media Labs Camera Culture group is working on using edu:time-of-flight-microwave-camera ">microwave cameras to look through rubble for life signs. Imagine this technology paired with a next-generation version of the winner of http://singularityhub.com/2015/06/11/when-it-comes-to-robots-slow-and-clumsy-can-be-captivating/ ">DARPA Robotics Challenge.
The efforts of MIT’s Camera Culture are not alone—just last week IntelliNet Sensors announced the launch of the Lynx6-A robot-mountable breathing detector system, which will be given to first responders. Lynx6-A http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/intellinet-sensors-inc-announced-the-global-launch-of-the-lynx6-a-robot-mountable-breathing-detector-system-for-first-responders-and-law-enforcement-300173112.html ">detects breathing in people trapped under rubble using ultra-light advanced sensors. In May, http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4578 ">NASA’s device FINDER successfully located men trapped in debris in Nepal by detecting their heartbeats.
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com ">Shutterstock.com and NASA
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What happens when you gather 14 of the world’s brightest teenagers at Singularity University and ask them to design the future of education? During last summer’s Exponential Youth Camp (XYC) pilot here at SU, we found out. Here are the teens' six tips for entrepreneurs and educators building future of education.
1. Make it about ME
The first thing that became very clear during our conversation was that our group of “Generation Me” millennials expect their learning to be highly personalized. It should be “my choice” to pursue “my interests” at “my pace,” they argued. Although this may at first sound childish, these demands are far from selfish. Why? Because personalization is necessary to compete in today’s intricately specialized world.
The “factory model” system used in many schools was first introduced in America in 1852. At that time, most people encountered 50 books in a lifetime. With limited access to information, it made sense that a narrow set of generalized skills could sufficiently educate a population.
Even by 1910, less than 30% of Americans pursued advanced professional degrees; the remaining 70% worked as laborers. The degree of specialization that was once considered a privilege has become essential to succeed in the modern economy.
Personalized learning enables members of the “Me” generation to prioritize interests and explore identities that lead to those eventual career specializations.
2. Let’s DO things
As Peter Diamandis likes to remind us, “a Masai warrior on a cellphone in the middle of Kenya has better mobile communications than President Reagan did 25 years ago.” Memorization matters, but it’s far less important when http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/ ">73% of American teens have access to smartphones.
With 4.7 billion pages of information available on the web, the biggest challenge to students today is in developing the skills to navigate, assess and synthesize information.
Many great teachers use methods like project-based learning (PBL) to help students build 21st century skills like creative problem solving and team collaboration. As defined by the http://bie.org/about/what_pbl ">Buck Institute of Education, “Project-based learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.”
The idea isn’t new, but it’s gaining popularity.
Nonetheless, our XYC teens told us they are looking for more than hands-on practice in the classroom; they want opportunities to work on projects in the real world as well. For them, contributing to the local community sparked engagement and motivation in a way that classroom work couldn’t match.
Furthermore, the teens told us that most tests “just don’t make sense.”
They were aware that testing fails to cater to different learning styles, and they’ll likely forget what they’re memorizing. According to The Council of Great City Schools, “The average student in America’s big-city public schools will take roughly 112 mandatory standardized tests between pre-kindergarten and high school graduation.”
The council further concluded that many of these tests are http://www.cgcs.org/cms/lib/DC00001581/Centricity/Domain/4/Testing%20Report.pdf ">filled with redundancies. Across the board, our teens wanted opportunities to demonstrate knowledge through real-world application, not scantrons.
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3. Don’t ditch me in an online course
We expected excitement when we asked the group about online learning. Instead we heard this: “online Learning is NOT the answer.” The teens told us online courses are “great for educated specialists” but don’t cater to beginners. They cited a lack of time to complete online coursework and internet connectivity issues faced by many schools as additional issues.
Mostly, the teens didn’t like the idea of “going it alone.” The problem wasn’t that online learning content was bad, the students simply desired guidance in navigating the material. Which brings us to Tip #4...
4. Be my coach
Students still want great teachers.
The role of the educator, however, is shifting from an individual who delivers facts to that of a guide who can help learners navigate a vast maze of information. Our teens wanted to interact with adults who are relatable, knowledgeable and inspiring. Their favorite teachers were those who asked questions, not those who gave answers.
5. Teach me relevant skills
The teens told us they value traditional subject matter, but opportunities to build more practical skills were lacking. Interest in learning more about money management and soft skill development — like teamwork, problem solving and conflict resolution — was mentioned multiple times.
6. Foster a growth mindset
Finally, we landed on our biggest question: What is the purpose of all this learning, anyway? Their answer: education should “make people confident in their ability to learn anything.”
Stanford psychologist https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve?language=en ">Carol Dweck calls this a “growth mindset.” In her words, this is “the idea that we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and to solve problems.” A student with a growth mindset understands her intelligence is only partially determined by genetics—there are always actions she can take to build new proficiencies that contribute to a rich intellectual life.
In a world of exponential change, standing still is not an option. People once held one job per lifetime, but today many researchers expect millennials to hold as many as http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/08/14/job-hopping-is-the-new-normal-for-millennials-three-ways-to-prevent-a-human-resource-nightmare/ ">twenty jobs throughout a single career. We must all be prepared to constantly learn new skills and ideas.
Building the confidence to do so is the number one goal in the future of education.
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