Abundance Insider: June 2, 2017 Edition

In this week's Abundance Insider: Living clothing, robot cops in Dubai, and Fidelity’s experiments with bitcoin.

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Peter, Marissa, Cody, Kelley, Greg, Sydney and AJ

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'Living' Clothing Keeps You Cool by Breathing

3d printed ovaries

What it is: Melding biological systems and materials engineering, researchers at MIT led by Wen Wang have developed a self-ventilating workout suit by incorporating genetically engineered nonpathogenic E. coli into small ventilating flaps. Printed onto latex sheets and placed into thumbnail and fingernail sized flaps, the cells expand in response to heat and humidity, opening and closing to provide ventilation.

Why it's important: This intersection of biology and materials science enables novel biofabrication possibilities. As Weng notes, we can think of clothing that fluoresces at night to provide visibility, but by leveraging the bacteria found in extremely harsh conditions, the possibilities are much broader. Imagine self-assembling, self-repairing biological systems incorporated into existing infrastructure like buildings, landscaping or drywall. Share on Facebook 

Spotted by Gaetan Soltesz / Written by Jason Goodwin

Google's AlphaGo Defeats the World's Best Human Go Player

solar powerWhat it is: In a reboot of the match which pitted AlphaGo against Lee Sedol, one of the world's top Go players (in which AlphaGo won 4 to 1), the AI recently won again by a small margin. Competing against Ke Jie, the world's best Go player, the AI won by a half-point -- but only used one-tenth of the hardware it required last year. Google's DeepMind team plans to turn AlphaGo into a tool that the Go community can use to help players improve their games.

Why it's important: AIs are continuously getting better -- and will only continue to improve. Deep learning networks learn from their collective experiences, and improve centrally and continuously. Although news of this Go victory is important, the bigger story is the opportunity landscape that emerges as AI demonetizes and democratizes. What becomes possible when AI is 10x cheaper, better, faster and easier than it is today? Share on Facebook

Spotted by Gaetan Soltesz / Written by Sydney Fulkerson

Photograph People in 3D Through Walls Using Wifi

volta based tesla

What it is: Philipp Holl, a 23-year-old undergraduate physics student at the Technical University of Munich, has created a dual antenna and software system capable of scanning a room via its Wi-Fi transmission to create a 3D hologram. With one stationary antenna and one that moves, each recording the phase and intensity of the Wi-Fi signal, Holl’s software layers together the many 2D images into one 3D holography at a sufficiently detailed granularity to identify a person or dog sitting on a couch. While 2D images via Wi-Fi have been used for years to identify intruders through walls, this is the first system to create a 3D scan.

Why it's important: This is another example of orthogonal thinking to creatively approach problems: Holl and his advisors are using an existing technology for a different, unintended purpose. By focusing on 3D images, this system is much more valuable for a variety of applications, such as identifying injured people after natural disasters, or used in combination with drone-based antennas to map out entire buildings in as little as 30 seconds. Share on Facebook

Spotted by Aryadeep S. Acharya / Written by Jason Goodwin

The Inevitable Rise of Robocops

autonomous ship

What it is: The Dubai police force recently deployed its first fleet of robot police officers on May 24, with plans to recruit enough robots to make up 25% of its police force by 2030. Citizens of Dubai can report crimes to an adapted version of the REEM humanoid robot, which expedites real-life investigations carried out by humans. The REEM robot's facial recognition technology currently performs with 80% accuracy, and uses its camera eye to send live feeds to a command control center for further analysis. Dubai police see the robot evolving into an interactive service for citizens as more units roll out in the near future.

Why it's important: As robots begin to integrate into the human workforce, the societal, cultural, and ethical implications of the coming robotics revolution will be staggering. The Dubai police force is an excellent case study to monitor and evaluate human-technology teamwork. Share on Facebook

Spotted by Aryadeep S. Acharya / Written by Sydney Fulkerson

One of the World's Largest Financial Services Firms is Mining Bitcoins

UBI

What it is: Speaking recently at the Consensus conference in New York, Abigail Johnson -- CEO of Fidelity, the world’s largest asset management firm -- announced that she is a huge believer in bitcoin and that customers will soon be able to see balances of their bitcoin assets on Fidelity if they have an account with Coinbase. Noting the potential to fundamentally change market structures, Johnson has been encouraging Fidelity employees to experiment with bitcoin and digital currencies. In addition to using bitcoin to pay for food in the Fidelity cafeteria and accepting donations via bitcoin, the firm also started mining bitcoins for educational purposes, surprisingly making a lot of money in the process.

Why it's important: As bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology gains more and more traction, look for technology and forward-thinking business leaders to continue experimenting as Fidelity is doing here. As these experiments from large incumbent firms are made public, expect mainstream understanding of blockchain to grow – and for unanticipated use cases to emerge. Share on Facebook 

Spotted by Aryadeep S. Acharya / Written by Jason Goodwin

OSVehicle Comes Out of Stealth With a Modular Self-Driving Car Called EDIT

UBI

What it is: Y Combinator-backed OSVehicle recently launched EDIT, the first “ready to use Self Driving EV,” out of stealth mode after a year in development. EDIT’s aim is to allow automakers to whitelabel cars and customize specifications such as range, look, hardware, code, and more. In addition to bringing cars to market in half the time at one-sixth of the cost, OSVehicle could enable mass customization of vehicles tailored to the desired function versus the brand.

Why it's important: As bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology gains more and more traction, look for technology and forward-thinking business leaders to continue experimenting as Fidelity is doing here. As these experiments from large incumbent firms are made public, expect mainstream understanding of blockchain to grow -- and for unanticipated use cases to emerge.We are in the middle of the digitization, demonetization, and democratization of the auto industry and transportation system more broadly. As costs decline for autonomous vehicle hardware, and software and ride sharing services create a more functional mindset to vehicle design, look for similar experimental models to emerge. Perhaps we will see branded vehicles from the likes of DoorDash, Lyft, Uber, InstaCart, and Amazon on the road soon, each tailored for their unique payloads. Share on Facebook

Spotted by Aryadeep S. Acharya / Written by Jason Goodwin

Chinese Company Offers Free Training for US Coal Miners to Become Wind Farmers

UBI

What it is: The American arm of the Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind recently announced that the company is opening up a free training program for U.S. coal miners to retrain to become wind farm technicians. The company plans to focus on Carbon County, Wyoming -- a town named for its extensive coal deposits, which have been dwindling away over the past few years, resulting in hundreds of people losing their jobs in 2016. Goldwind believes coal mining skills -- mechanical and electrical engineering, in addition to experience working in difficult conditions -- are a natural fit for wind farming.

Why it's important: The Goldwind project is a great example of how job displacement from emerging technologies does not mean job loss for good. Wyoming's former stance of total resistence to renewable energy has evolved into one of hope -- bringing us one step closer to a future of global energy abundance. Share on Facebook

Spotted by Keith Gargiulo / Written by Sydney Fulkerson

What is Abundance Insider?

This email is a briefing of the week's most compelling, abundance-enabling tech developments, curated by Marissa Brassfield in preparation for Abundance 360. Read more about A360 below.

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