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Ali Parsa on affordable healthcare, machine learning and the future of data-driven wellness - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Oct 31, 2016 | Comments Off

Ali Parsa, founder of Babylon Health, has created an extraordinary platform — an app-based service that cost-effectively connects top GPs with patients via their smartphones, and is the UK’s leading digital healthcare service. Babylon allows its users to book a video consultation with a GP in minutes, or message with a photo to receive an answer for simpler questions. The true aim of the service is to leverage realtime data, adaptive health monitoring and clinically curated machine learning to detect diseases more quickly and ultimately prevent them before they happen. Visiting him at his head office in London, we spoke about the future impact of AI on the provision of healthcare services, how data changes the way we think about wellness and why the digital delivery of medical advice will transform the lives of millions in the developing world. Ali is a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. He previously created Circle, a multi-million pound business running private hospitals across Britain. He was named by the Times among the 100 global people to watch in 2012, and by HSJ among the 50 most influential people in UK healthcare.

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The Mobile Skinner Box - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Oct 27, 2016 | Comments Off

unnamedThe first time I visited South Korea in the early 2000s was like stepping off a subway into the future. Long before the iPhone arrived, I saw kids with sleek mobile devices equipped with live TV feeds, darkly lit Internet cafes packed with state of the art online gaming rigs, and a country obsessed with Cyworld, an online social network that had a 90% penetration rate among people in their 20s. Most of that innovation was the result of a government policy to invest heavily in broadband infrastructure. So it was no surprise that South Korea was also the first country in the world to experience the darker sides of hyper-connectivity .

In 2010, a South Korean couple was arrested over the death of their 2-month-old daughter, who starved after her parents left her at home on several occasions for six or more hours at a time. They apparently were busy feeding their virtual baby in an online game. In another incident, a 22-year-old South Korean died of heart failure after playing StarCraft for 50 hours nonstop.

Recognizing the serious risk to mental health, psychologists in South Korea created the ‘K-Scale’ for Internet addiction. The diagnostic survey includes questions on a range of topics, including length of daily use and interference with school work or work, whether the individual has fantasies about being online when not logged in or has tried to restrict their usage and failed, and whether being unable to access the Internet causes depression, anger, or unusual changes in mood. The risk is a real one. It is estimated that over 680,000 children aged between 10 and 19 now addicted to online gaming in South Korea.

Digital addiction may have started with gaming, but it has moved firmly into the domain of smartphones. As the BBC points out, Asia and its 2.5bn smartphone users provides a reliable stream of smartphone disaster stories, such as the Taiwanese tourist who walked off a pier while checking Facebook or a Sichuan woman who needed to rescued by fire fighters after falling into a drain while looking at her phone.

Not that smartphone users in the West are any better. A new study from Deloitte found that one in three people checks their smartphones in the middle of the night. And for youth aged 18–24, that number rose to 50%.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed Natasha Schull, a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, who believes that the addictive nature of devices is no accident. Smartphones are, in her view, a kind of ‘Skinner Box’, that provides users with intermittent cognitive rewards that keep us hooked.

South Korea, in the end, sought to deal with its online gaming problem by regulating games as if they a form of alcohol or cigarettes. But in an age of exponentially increasing interactions, it is almost impossible to go ‘cold turkey’ on the digital world, without removing oneself from the actual world.

The problem may be just generational. It is too late for the millennials, no doubt. But maybe the 8-year-olds, for whom the digital world is about as mysterious as electricity and running water, will figure out their own delicate balance.

More from Mike!

Be an Optimist - Ty Bennett

By cmiadmin | Oct 26, 2016 | Comments Off

10-26-300x200As I have studied successful people, one of the common traits I find is optimism. Not naive or overdone – just a positive approach to life, leadership, challenges, and what is possible. Those who believe in positive results think the world looks bright.  They see the good in things and not just the bad. They carry a smile on their face instead of a frown. Author John Maxwell said, “A pessimist is a person who regardless of the present is disappointed in the future.” An optimist then is a person who regardless of the present is excited about the future.

The world is full of pessimists. We are conditioned to be negative and cynical. I find it interesting that very few people would admit to being negative. They use the excuse that they are “realists” not “pessimists”. The problem with that is reality is based on perception. We create our world and our experiences. Optimists just tends to create better worlds.

My great-grandfather, Donald Bowman, was an optimist. My dad and his brothers helped my great-grandfather build a cabin in Idaho before he died. They worked over a couple of summers and by the end Grandpa Bowman had gone blind due to diabetes. Joking around with him one day, one of the boys asked what he would do if a bear came. Grandpa Bowman smiled and said, “I would run and climb the first tree I ran into.”

People who are optimistic view problems in life as a crossroad and not as a cliff. They see the opportunity for growth not the peril of death.  Cultivating an optimistic outlook on life will serve you well.

More from Ty Bennett!

Ron Tite on creativity, comedy and why everyone is an artist, or at least should be - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Oct 24, 2016 | Comments Off

Ron Tite is a very funny guy - not to mention, a very creative one. Named one of the 'Top 10 Creative Canadians' by Marketing Magazine, he’s been an award-winning advertising writer and creative director for some of the world’s most respected brands, including Air France, Evian, Hershey, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Intel, Microsoft, and Volvo. Once a professional comedian, he now helps brands develop their content and storytelling strategy. Executive Producer & Host of the Canadian Comedy Award-winning show Monkey Toast, Ron is also a featured marketing expert on the new Mark Burnett-produced business reality show, Dream Funded. His latest book, ‘Everyone’s An Artist (Or At Least They Should Be)’ explores why the most successful executives and entrepreneurs have learned to think like artists. We caught up in Toronto to talk about the power of reinvention, counterintuitive thinking and how comedy teaches you to rebel and break the rules.

More from Mike Walsh!


By cmiadmin | Oct 21, 2016 | Comments Off

nanoMoore’s Law, a prediction from 1965 that the number of transistors crammed into circuit would double every two years, has an expiry date. The problem is scale. The latest chips from Intel have silicon transistors with features as small as 14 nanometers. Theoretically you can have a feature as small as a single atom, but before you reach that point – at about 7 nanometers, things get weird. You leave the conventional world of classical physics and open a portal into the trippy reality of quantum physics. That’s bad news because by 2020, in order to keep up with Moore’s Law, the industry will need to be down to five nanometers.

An alternate idea is whether we can ditch silicon, and build computers using transistors made of carbon nanotubes. A carbon nanotube computer is a system built using carbon nanotubes rather than silicon transistors. In 2013, a team of researchers at Stanford University built the world’s first computer prototype based entirely on carbon nanotubes. They named it Cedric.

Prof. Subhasish Mitra, one of the project’s co-leaders, compared the capabilities of their carbon nanotube processor to the original Intel 4004 released in 1971. Slow, with just a single bit of information, Cedric could only count to 32. But what made the project interesting was how the team overcame many of the challenges of growing carbon nanotubes straight enough to fit on a wafer.

Sidestepping Moore’s Law is not the only advantage of carbon nanotubes. It is believed that these next generation computers may be far more energy efficient than traditional silicon-based systems. With a greater ability to dissipate heat, they may avoid the problem of today’s computers that are effectively speed-limited by their design.

Things get even more interesting when you consider the broader application of carbon nanotubes in device design. On a hunch, scientists at Tsinghua University in China recently fed silkworms with a solution that contained both carbon nanotubes and graphene. To everyone’s surprise, the worms produced a super-silk that was not only incredibly strong, but was also capable of conducting electricity. According to the researchers, the discovery could lead to very durable protective fabrics, biodegradable medical implants, and ecofriendly wearable electronics.

Your iPhone 7 today has vastly more computing power than all NASA had when it put a man on the moon in 1969. Makes you wonder - what might a regular consumer device built with carbon nanotubes be capable of by 2020?

More from Mike Walsh!

The most important person to believe in your dream...is you - Vinh Giang

By cmiadmin | Oct 19, 2016 | Comments Off

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Eric Schoenberg on tech bubbles, status anxiety and the dynamics of wealthy families - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Oct 19, 2016 | Comments Off

I had an interesting coffee with Eric Schoenberg in New York recently. He is an adjunct professor who teaches about family wealth at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and also a member of a group known as the Patriotic Millionaires, who believe counter-intuitively, that he and other wealthy people, should be made to pay more tax. Facts like that twenty Americans own more wealth than half the population bother him, and are a reason why he believes that the US system is in need of reform. Eric saw first hand the effects of greed and wealth on human decision making. Having been involved in the first dotcom boom during the nineties at Broadview International, and the experience had led him to conducting research on the psychology of money and asset market bubbles. Since then he has taught behavioural economics and leadership at Columbia Business School, NYU's Stern School of Business, and the Haas Business School of the University of California at Berkeley. We reminisced about the strange digital tulip-mania of the late 90s, and why in the midst of a bubble people seem want to take on more risk even though they feel like they are making a lot of money.

More from Mike!

Spartan Race with Cancer Survivor Christina Xiao Whitt - Robyn Benincasa

By cmiadmin | Oct 19, 2016 | Comments Off

Written by Christina Xiao Whitt, Spartan Guest Writer13627257_10210131256101463_4810919979796847860_n-e1476819708650

I always wanted to run a Spartan Race, but I was always intimidated. So, instead, I would listen to the Spartan Up Podcast and to hear the stories of amazing, accomplished people sharing their journeys and successes. One day, Joe De Sena interviewed Robyn Benincasa, an ultra-endurance athlete and founder of Project Athena Foundation. This nonprofit helps women who have endured a medical setback to achieve an adventurous dream. Robyn herself had endured medical setbacks and found that placing an adventure on her calendar helped her to recover. Her message resonated with me.

Read the full article on spartan.com

Investments Lead To Stories - Ty Bennett

By cmiadmin | Oct 19, 2016 | Comments Off

10-19-300x277Investments in people lead to stories. And the stories that are told invariably build the influence and reputation of the one doing the investing.

Think about it:

-When you have exceptional service at a restaurant, what do you do?

You tell the story.

-When your boss does something extra special for you, what do you do? You tell the story.

-When a friend goes out of their way to help you, what do you do? You tell the story.

We love it when someone invests in us by providing exceptional attention and service, and because it is so unexpected or unusual, we almost always share.

One of my clients is Subway. I speak to their franchisees and managers quite often and when I do I always share a simple experience to illustrate this point. I was eating in a subway once in the middle of the afternoon and the store was empty. The teenager who was working behind the counter at one point came over to my table and asked, “Would you like me to get you a refill?” It was a simple gesture but one that stuck out to me because he didn’t need to do it and it took a little extra effort. I tell the franchisees and managers my story because I want them to recognize that their customers tell stories too, and when they learn to invest in their customers by going above and beyond, those stories will help to bring them more business. It’s really true that the best form of advertising is a happy customer telling your story.

Learn more about Ty!

The Rise of the Nanofactory - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Oct 13, 2016 | Comments Off

unnamedThe 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to a group of scientists for the creation of molecular machines with potential application from drug delivery to smart materials and even artificial life. By linking molecules together to design everything from miniature motors to tiny muscles, they opened the way to an even bigger idea — building structures one atom at a time.

Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa, the scientists who won the 2016 prize, essentially mastered motion control at the molecular scale. The next step is to scale up the control of these tiny cogs, into a fully fledged nanofactory. A nanofactory is a molecular assembly machine designed to manufacture products with atomic precision.

Some years ago, I attended some a lecture by Ralph Merkle at the Singularity University. I was excited, having read about his pioneering role in creating public key cryptography. But from my perspective, his real claim to fame was when science fiction writer Neal Stephenson described him in one of my favorite books, The Diamond Age, as a founding hero of a future civilization ruled by nanotech.

In writing his book, Stephenson had been inspired by Merkle’s research on nanotech, and in particular the nanofactory. In some ways, nanotechnology itself is not as dangerous and disruptive an idea as is the concept of a factory precise enough to build at the nano scale. Since the dawn of time, we have made things by casting, milling, grinding, and chipping materials. As Merkle points out, this is the equivalent of manipulating atoms in “great thundering statistical herds”. A nanofactory, on the other hand, works very differently. It allows us to make products at a single atom level of perfection.

A nanofactory need not be very big. It could be small enough to sit on a desktop, and build a variety of atomically precise diamondoid products. Diamondoid is so named because of the structures you could build, which would resemble diamond in a broad sense, being strong, stiff and containing a dense network of bonds. The products themselves might range from incredibly powerful nanocomputers to medical nanorobots.

Some progress is being made in the field. Researchers at ETH Zurich, in Switzerland, recently created a ‘molecular assembly line’ that works like an automated factory for building complex chemical substances. Just like a production line, their lab-on-a-chip system has a mobile assembly carrier that moves each product between a number of assembly stations in the form of microscopic canals, through which a solution is pumped.

Initially, some of the most useful products that we will nano-assemble with be sensors. Using synthetic biology, scientists are already working to create simple biocomputers that recognize specific chemical targets, store a few bits of information, and then report their status by changing color. Forget the Internet of Things, this will be the Internet of Everything.

Where there is reward, there is also risk. An emerging threat to this new technology is nanopollutants, particles small enough to enter your lungs or be absorbed by your skin. Nanoparticles exist in consumer products today like cosmetics and sunscreen, but in the future they may pose a significant health risk for workers handling nanofactories.

More than almost any other emerging technology, nano-engineering has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the basis of our industrial society in ways that are hard to predict. After all, even the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize would not have anticipated that one of the potential applications of their work would be a whisky machine capable of producing atomically precise libations.

More from Mike!

Why Winners Win – lessons from a real Super Woman! - Robyn Benincasa

By cmiadmin | Oct 13, 2016 | Comments Off

win-winWinners win because they have a recipe for success.

We had the privilege of hearing Robyn Benincasa speak at the AHRMM conference in San Diego in August.  Not only is Robyn a World Champion Adventure Racer, she is also an award-winning motivational speaker, three time Guinness World Record kayaker, San Diego firefighter, Ironman triathlete, New York Times bestselling author and the Founder of Project Athena Foundation, which helps other survivors live an adventurous life as part of their recovery. She is a real life Super Woman!

Read the full article here on TRX Talent!

Core Values Make You Valuable - Ty Bennett

By cmiadmin | Oct 12, 2016 | Comments Off

deltaLast week I spoke for Delta Airlines. I am a frequent flier of DELTA and so maybe I am biased but they truly are one of the most admired companies in the world. I spoke to 1000 of their leaders and the average tenure of the leaders in the room was 20 years – they must be doing something right.

As I dove into the culture of the company to prepare for my speech I was impressed with their core values – what they call the Rules of The Road.

Delta’s Core Values (Rules of the Road)

  • Always tell the truth HONESTY
  • Always keep your deals INTEGRITY
  • Don’t hurt anyone RESPECT
  • Try harder than all our competitors—never give up PERSEVERANCE
  • Care for our customers, our community and each other SERVANT LEADERSHIP

The thing that impressed me is how well these values have permeated the organization and it struck me how few of the companies out there are clear on the values that drive their business – not only companies, but organizations, families and individuals too. What do you stand for? Are you clear on what drives your behaviour?

Why is it important? Because when your values are clear to you then making decisions becomes easy.

Simply put – your values make you valuable.

Learn more about Ty Bennett!

Memory hacking, algorithmic cruelty and why AI systems are better with imperfection - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Oct 11, 2016 | Comments Off

Memory has also fascinated me - from the stories of the memory palaces of famous classical orators and artists, to the vast armada of 21st century tools that allow us to capture, process and share moments in our lives. In London for a few days, I met up with Dr Julia Shaw, who is a senior lecturer and researcher in the Department of Law and Social Sciences at London South Bank University. Author of "The Memory Illusion”, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences including a tedX event at Burning Man this year - she is more curiously known as a ‘memory hacker’. Julia’s research focuses on false memories, and in 2015 she published a study with Stephen Porter in which she succeeded to get 70% of the participants to falsely remember a crime from their past. Over a cup of tea in the lobby of the Edition Hotel, she explained the art of manipulating memory, how the way we remember things is shaped by modern technology and algorithms, and why AI designers are so interested in the imperfect nature of human cognition.

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People First - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Oct 07, 2016 | Comments Off

Oculus Rift, Augmented VR and the future of digital presence

1-wy0sa80fxp9be4pzqwx6bwI hadn’t planned on watching the Oculus Connect 3 keynote — but half way through my lunch, when the live stream turned up on Facebook, I was hooked.

Until now, VR has been mainly about games. Whether a Rift, Vive or a Playstation — VR devices were basically just immersive gaming consoles for your head. Mark Zuckerberg’s demo today at OC3, however, revealed an important shift in the future of the platform. Namely, the first emergence of digital human beings.

‘People First’ was Zuckerberg’s keynote theme. And it was not the first time he has used the phrase, either. Last year at the F8 conference he referenced it as a plea for developers to help Facebook create a safer place for users, giving people more control over their experiences. This time, however, he wanted to use it as a focus for the design of those experiences. ‘We’re here to make virtual reality the next major computing platform,’ he said. ‘We really want our software to be built with people at the center of it.’

Generally, when people talk about customer centricity, they just mean making customers happy. For Zuckerberg, ’people first’, means something different. In his view, it is understanding how humans think and do things, that will make VR actually compelling.

Watch the demo for yourself.

When Mark and his colleagues start interacting in VR, it is not only the rendering of real time facial expressions, head and hand movements that is impressive — what stands out are the seamless transitions between collaboration modes and virtual environments. This seamlessness is core to Zuckerberg’s vision of how we will interact in the future.

Think about it. At present, if you want to work on something with a group of people, you need to toggle between a variety of apps and devices — whether it be a chat platform, a video call or your document screen. The interface is the focus, not the activity.

In Zuckerberg’s view, virtual reality is the perfect platform to put people first because of presence. You can do more things together virtually, than you would if every experience was its own app that you had to access separately. It was an understated but significant moment when Mark took a video call during the demo from his wife Priscilla, simply by looking down and tapping at a virtual wrist device, tied to the positional location of the Touch controllers.

The mobile of the future will not be a physical device, but simply a virtual construct.

The potential of mixed reality was something explored at further length by Oculus Chief Scientist, Michael Abrash. Discussing the future of VR in 2021, he outlined his vision of ’Augmented VR’, which would accurately render not only real world environments in virtuality, but digital humans too.

In Abrash’s view, the ability to truly work and collaborate in ‘Augmented VR’ was still about five years out — and would require significant advancements in pixel density, field of view and depth of focus. And further, in order to manage all of this with a wireless headset, we would also need what he called ‘foveated rendering’ — more accurate tracking that could efficiently target high resolution information at the fovea in the eye.

Back in 2007 when I was writing my first book, ‘Futuretainment’, I interviewed Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life. One of the things he said to me at the time always stuck with me. Never underestimate toys, he said. At some point, toys become tools.

Games are interesting, but as the VR wars heat up, those toys will also transform. And when they do, it will be Facebook’s mastery of the social graph that may enable it to re-invent not just the way we entertain ourselves, but the platforms on which we communicate, collaborate and co-ordinate as well.

Learn More about Mike Walsh!

Elephant Mindset - Ty Bennett

By cmiadmin | Oct 05, 2016 | Comments Off

10-5-300x300When I was 19 years old I had a mentor who taught me a lot about the importance of correct thinking. He told me that anything was possible if we had the right thinking. What Henry Ford said is true: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!”

One way my mentor helped me to understand the power of your thoughts was through the example of elephants. He said, “When a baby elephant is born in captivity, the captors will use a large, heavy chain to tie the elephant’s leg to a solid post, driven deep into the ground. The baby elephant will pull and pull with all its might, but will not be able to break the grip of the chain. After enough pulling, the elephant learns that it can’t escape and begins to think, “What is the use in trying. I’ll never break free.” As the elephant grows in size and strength, it develops enough strength to break free, but the captors can replace the chain with a simple string that will keep the elephant tied to the stake. The grown elephant is not limited at all by his captors, but by his thinking.

Learn more about Ty Bennett!

Natasha Schull on addiction, ludic loops and why smartphones are mobile ‘Skinner boxes’ - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Oct 03, 2016 | Comments Off

With every new connected device, messaging application or digital service that enters our lives - it becomes increasingly difficult to resist the seductive lure of technology on our attention. For Natasha Schull, a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, the addictive nature of devices, whether slot machines or smart phones, is no accident. In her recent book, ADDICTION BY DESIGN: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, she explored the relationship between technology design and the experience of addiction. Her next book, KEEPING TRACK: Personal Informatics, Self-Regulation, and the Data-Driven Life concerns the rise of digital self-tracking technologies and the new modes of introspection and self-governance they engender. Meeting up in Soho, New York - we spoke about the nature of addiction and what makes the design of a particular technology so enthralling, the strange trance-like states that gamblers experience, the quantification of work and life, and why smartphones are a kind of ‘Skinner box’.

More From Mike Walsh