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Food Forests and Prosperity without Growth

Via NPR's Food Blog comes word of an urban foraging project in Seattle called the Beacon Food Forest. The concept is simple: Populate vacant space with fruit trees, vegetables and other healthy foods so that nearby residents can simply go out and pick fresh fruits and vegetables as needed.

Video Game as Design Fiction

Design fiction is a powerful tool for helping us think about the future. Often times, the goal in creating a design fiction is to explore what a future technology looks like, how it feels, and how we might interact with it. Noah Radford recently wrote two blog posts about design fiction. On Glass and Mud criticizes corporate design fictions being short-sighted and for disregarding the human element.

The Future of Medical Microwork

My lates Fast Coexist piece is available here. In it, I argue that medical microwork is emerging as a means to improve global health-as well as an innovative development strategy. It begins:

Three EduSocial Bots

Online communities and social sharing platforms like Twitter have helped make one particular community more visible – robots. You are most likely see and experience them tweeting and retweeting spam, or perhaps instead they give an impolite ring on your phone at 7am (especially if you are on the West coast) to ask you a series of questions.  These little algorithms have some simple and not-so-simple logic architectures that allow them to read your messages and respond somewhat intelligently.

A New Tone for Health Authority?

The Chinese government is taking a softer, more cuddly approach to marketing its one child policy, according to an article in yesterday's Gaurdian. The shift is definitely a sign of changing times for that country, but I think it has an interesting parallel here in the U.S.

From the article: 

What’s in a Name? Strategic "Medicalization"

I recently read an interesting article in the Atlantic about the history of how we came to see alcoholism as a medical disease.

Environmental Health Drones

Via Make Magazine comes word of an aerial drone that inadvertently happened upon a meat packing plant in Dallas that was polluting a nearby river with pig blood.

What if Your Doctor Prescribed a Chatbot for You?

A couple weeks ago during a research meeting for our upcoming year, our colleague Lyn Jeffery challenged us to imagine a future where, at some point in the next decade, doctors start prescribing chatbots, robots and other forms of artificial intelligence as a relatively routine matter of medical practice.

Does Talking About The Future Make It Less Likely?

A manuscript has been floating around the interweb which describes an experimental test of the hypothesis that languages which grammatically distinguish between present and future events (what linguists call strong future-tense reference languages) lead their speakers to take fewer future-oriented actions. 

 

Technology is Society's Catalytic Converter

 

The Adam Curtis documentary series, All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace, begins each of three BBC-broadcast episodes with the title card, "THIS IS A STORY ABOUT THE RISE OF THE MACHINES".

 

 

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