Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meta gets into retail and homes for disaster relief

Hi again podcast fans! This time, Nora Young looks at this story detailing Meta's experiments with a retail outlet. What's their end game?

Cathi Bond looks at Create Structure, a plan for emergency housing in natural disasters that aims to be cheap to make and ship, but more durable than tents.


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Wordle as Sign of the Times and Bot Drone Harvesters

This time, Nora and Cathi talk about the popularity of Wordle. Nora wonders if it might be a harbinger of future trends online. One thing people seem to really like about it is that it's limited to one short puzzle per day. Could there be an appetite for more limited content in an era of non-stop Feeds?

Cathi talks about this company, which uses drones to harvest fruit. Are we likely to see ever more automated farm labour? And what does this mean for farm labourers and seasonal pickers? You can read more and watch the video here.


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Facial Recognition and AI Therapists

Happy New Year all!

A little before the holidays, Cathi and Nora recorded our first ep for 2022.

This time, Cathi talks about the news, initially reported by Politico, that facial recognition company Clearview AI received patent approval for what's being dubbed a 'search engine for faces'. Read Gizmodo's account of the details here.

Nora talks about Technology Review's look at the possibility of training machine learning systems on speech data from sessions between mental health professionals and clients. The idea is to look for patterns that would help improve therapy and train more (human) therapists, but Cathi and Nora talk about the potential for actual AI therapy to address the shortage in mental health access. 


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Holiday Special: Robots…and Meat!

It's our traditional Christmas wish list ep!

Nora would like a home robot. Product Hunt's newsletter recently touted some cool examples of home robots. She wonders whether home robots are ready for prime time.

Cathi would like...lab-grown meat for Christmas. Nora doesn't eat meat and Cathi's a hard-core carnivore. What will they make of it?

Hope you have a wonderful holiday, and here's hoping things are brighter in 2022. Thanks so much for listening!

 


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Trends: Group Buying and AI Meal Kits

Hello!

This time on the podcast, Cathi Bond talks about social commerce, which has taken off in China, and is growing elsewhere in Asia (via Fast Company) Fast Company talks in particular a company called Pinduoduo, which is a sort of group buying platform. 

Nora talks about Gobble, a meal kit delivery service that uses AI to learn more about customers' tastes, and customize food. Check out the article on Venture Beat (H/T @hypervisible) 


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Digital Nomads and Transitional Housing

This time on the podcast, Cathi Bond and Nora Young talk about interesting responses to two pandemic developments.

Nora talks about this plan to attract so-called 'digital nomads' to work in small villages in Spain. After a year and half of remote work, will (former) office workers opt to work wherever they want? What's the role for the face-to-face in the future?

Cathi talks about this intriguing design for transitional housing as an alternative, temporary option for people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Toronto, like many cities, has an increase in tent encampments in the wake of the pandemic. Could this type of thing be a bridge to permanent housing?


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Futuristic Green Buildings and Virtual Walking

Hi there! On this episode, a couple of thoughts on the importance of access to nature. Cathi Bond talks about "farmscrapers": giant skyscrapers that incorporate organic-looking podlike structures and lots of trees and greenery to help with pollution. Check out the photos here. Nora Young talks about this thought-provoking article on virtual exploration through walking simulations in game environments. The author did it as a solution during the pandemic, but are there limits to simulations of the natural world? [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/21052934/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Would You Sell Your Likeness and Portable Green Generators

Woo hoo! It's been a looonnnnng time, but we launch a new season of The Sniffer! Thanks for sticking with us. 

This time, Cathi and Nora talk about the potential commercial future of deepfakes and related technologies. Could we see a future of more manufactured images take jobs formerly done by real individuals? Would you sell your image for use in deepfakes? (story via Technology Review)

Meanwhile, Cathi loves a good alternative energy story! This time, it's a tiny, lightweight and inexpensive hydrogen engine. Read more and see how it works here.


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Trends in Customization and Cool Materials

Happy summer, all!

Back in late June, Cathi and Nora connected virtually in the middle of a scorching heatwave to talk sustainable futures in retail and materials.

Cathi brings you a plan by Ralph Lauren to let shoppers customize their own clothes, which would then be created on demand. The plan is also to disburse manufacturing more broadly, so clothes would be created closer to where they're purchased. Check out the interview with Chief Innovation Officer David Lauren in Fast Company. 

Meanwhile, Nora brings you a cool story via Scientific American about 3D printing ink made from microalgae, as a sustainable material for household objects.

Cathi and Nora are taking a much needed summer break, but will be back in late August fresh and ready to rock. Have a lovely, safe, summer!


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Retro Special: Return of the Catalogue and Vintage Denim

Hey there,

Cathi Bond and Nora Young meet again virtually with a look at some intriguing retail trends. 

Cathi got a Uline catalogue delivered in the mail. It's basically a company that will ship you...shipping materials. It's got her wondering if more regular individuals will be developing their own retail side gigs, and whether she should open "Cathi's Shed".

Nora talks about Levi's Buy Better Wear Longer campaign, which encourages people to skip the fast fashion and wear jeans for longer. It follows on their move to encourage people to customize and resell their denim (via Fast Company).


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