Tag Archives: social media

Is Progress Outpacing Precaution? Experts Weigh In

Illustration by An Arres.

No one expects the machinery of progress to roll backwards, but sometimes it seems that no one is watching the speedometer (or manning the brakes, assuming any exist).  Is this a fair assessment? If so, should we be worried — and what can we do about it?

In this feature, experts on technology, risk, science, policy and neuroscience discuss risk, innovation and how our values affect our conceptions of both.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
ASU Experts Weigh the Risks of Innovation

eSports: So Maybe You Can Make a Living at That

League of Legends Championship Series. Photo by Gabriel Gagne.
League of Legends Championship Series. Photo by Gabriel Gagne.

Yep, after decades of false starts, it is now possible – for the few, the young and the obsessive – to make  a living playing video games. Sprung from LAN party tournaments played for beer money stakes, eSports has today evolved into full-blown sporting franchise, complete with teams, groupies, college athletic programs, dedicated media, arena-filling crowds and tournament prize pools ballooning into the tens of millions of dollars.

For many, this development raises a number of questions. Are these really athletes? (Hint: the U.S. government thinks so.) Why was Amazon willing to pay almost a billion dollars for Twitch.tv? And, well, just how does professional gaming work?

How Professional Gaming Works

The Topsy-Turvy World of Trendspotting

Poster of Alexander Trend forecasters project everything from staffing and hiring needs to next year’s “it” color. Through a combination of instinct, experience, statistical modeling and not a little bit of finger-crossing, they tell clients where best to place their billion-dollar bets. Even granting the occasional self-fulfilling prophecy, it’s never been an easy gig, and the consequences of failure can be ruinous.

Today, big data is changing the field, providing unprecedented amounts of information even as it churns out predictive algorithms no one quite understands. In this article, I take a look at the past and future of this prognosticative trade and examine …

How Trend Forecasters Work

The Internet of Things…that Go Bump in the Night

An artist's rendering of the Internet of Things.
Drawing by wilgengebroed.

As sci-fi and techno-horror flicks are fond pointing out, the future is chock-full of things that want to kill us. Yep, our own technological progeny want to consign us to the great bit-bucket in the sky but, hey, at least we were warned, right?

Well, sure, if we had any intention of heeding these cinematic Cassandras. Think about it: The Terminator warns us about Skynet, so what do we do? We set to work on autonomous drones. Christine  frightens us with a possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury, so we get busy designing self-driving cars. It’s like we want to die.

And then there’s the Internet of Things: Trillions of everyday objects exchanging data, everywhere, all the time, with only the most basic human oversight. Can’t wait to see how that one turns out.

10 Nightmare Scenarios From the Internet of Things

Watch-ing your weight

Basis bands
Image courtesy BASIS Science, Inc.

Times are tight. Many of us feel trapped between the food we can afford and the medical bills that we can’t. As obesity and its related illnesses – including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes – grow more prevalent, ballooning healthcare costs threaten to shrink our wallets.

Most of us know that we need to take charge of our own health, but how? And where will we find the time? We’re busy, frazzled, mired in bad habits and assailed by late-night ads for fad diets, pills and gimmicky workout machines. Meanwhile, most of us have no idea how our caloric intake stacks up to our daily burn.

Surely, this is a job for a gadget.

Can a watch help you lose weight?