New Thinking

“Alexa: What’s the future of conversational interface?”

Inspired by the conversational system from Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise, Amazon announced the release of Alexa, alongside its Echo device, in November 2014. What at first seemed unusual and futuristic has since become accepted and commonplace. Consumers are becoming more comfortable talking to their gadgets. Instead of going to a website or downloading an app, […]

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Follow The Leader

We have a leadership bubble. It might seem invisible, but bubbles usually are. What’s more, a surplus of leadership might seem counterintuitive in a highly networked, diffuse, and uncertain economy. But trends in business—and in culture and politics, too—all seem to gravitating toward a deeper entrenchment of the executive. And in a culture increasingly premised […]

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Innovating for people with disabilities: Why companies should invest in universal design

Sensor technology, automation, artificial intelligence and the evolution of natural-language processing have made our personal electronic devices more intuitive and functional than ever. In recent years, these technologies have converged to make up the Internet of Things (IoT)—that is, a movement to make everyday items “smart” by embedding sensors and enabling network connectivity. We now […]

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How Human Do We Want Our Virtual Assistants?

Should you refer to Amazon’s Alexa as “it” or “her”? As our daily lives become more integrated with virtual assistants and conversational bots, we must ask, how “human should we design the underlying technology with which we are chatting. Conversation as a platform is positioned to disrupt how we relate to our technology, so it […]

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Could AI fight fake news? Yes—with the help of humans.

He was one of the first people to develop a self-driving car, and now he trains fish to play soccer. But it wasn’t until he began to grapple with the problem of “fake news” that Dean Pomerleau finally hit on a task that seemed to exceed the limits of plausibility. In late November of last […]

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Has human communication become botifed?

How often do you receive a message and wonder, “Did a person really write this?” When receiving a message online, it can often be difficult to discern whether it came from a human or a chatbot. Given the rapid rise in automated forms of communication, it would be foolish to assume that words attached to […]

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Designing like you’re there: What I learned using VR for architecture

In 2013, I was working on the Xiqu Centre for Chinese Opera in West Kowloon, China, with the architectural theater planning consultancy Fisher Dachs Associates alongside Bing Thom Architects. This space was curvy—curvy beyond nearly any project we had done, and changes were coming fast. Today the balcony railing swept, wave-like, seamlessly into the side […]

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How blockchain-based payment is changing the cannabis industry

Legal cannabis is a $7-billion business in the U.S.—and it’s almost all done in cash. That’s in the process of changing. The mental picture of people stuffing piles of $20 bills into their mattresses isn’t far off from the truth for some cannabis business owners. The drug may be legal in some states, but it’s still […]

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How to save your vision in a world of perpetual screen time

Ride the subway or hop on a plane, and most of the people around you will be staring at their phones. The odds are good, in fact, that you are one of them … and that your eyes hurt from too many hours on your device. Even though we’ve switched from old-fashioned CRT monitors to […]

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Should brands on Twitter talk like teenagers?

On May 28, a rogue account masquerading as the official Twitter presence of RC Cola (@OfficialRCCola) was suspended. The account joined Twitter in April of 2017, and had developed a following that surpassed the official RC Cola account. Recently, the account fooled its followers into believing that it was taking potshots at the Trump administration, […]

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Virtual Reality’s unlikely savior: How old school film festivals rescued the future

Film festivals are glamorous occasions for A-listers to walk the red carpet; places for independent filmmakers to get distribution deals; and, these days, they are one of the few venues for consumers to experience virtual reality films easily and in their best form. VR headsets have long been heralded as an impending revolution in interactive […]

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Can boutique streaming services survive alongside Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu?

Brick and mortar video stores are over, so what’s a cinephile to do on a lazy Friday night? Most of us turn to Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu, but film fans with obscure tastes are harder to please. Netflix and Amazon Prime have set their sights on prestigious original content, from stand-up to scripted series like […]

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