The Wonder, May 18 - Always Boring, Chef BoyaRobot, and can we predict getting sick?

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A Weekly Snapshot of Life-Changing Technology

Our favorite thing about technology is that it offers game-changing potential to solve the toughest problems facing humanity.

Just last week, at our six-year anniversary, SF AppWorks committed itself to being a mission-driven company that uses emerging technologies to help people live better, happier lives. Watch the Speech>>

This newsletter is an effort to highlight notable examples of like-minded people and organizations, inspired by new technology and eager to help people with it.

Enjoy!

Always Boring

Elon Musk pulled the cover off of his Boring Company plan to connect Downtown Los Angeles with LAX, offering $1 Loop rides that will travel 150-mph and can make the trip in just eight minutes.
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Andrew’s Take: There’s a big gap between 1-hour trips from SFO to NYC and a test track outside of Las Vegas. A practical case study like this shows Musk is moving the ball.

Darius’s Take: There is nothing ‘Boring” about Elon Musk’s will to connect the world (and space). This time he is bringing faster travel closer to our home by connecting downtown LA to the airport, making a city escape that much easier. While the train’s top speed of 150MPH is fast for the US, it shies away from the 260MPH that Chinese trains can reach. Still, the Hyperloop’s potential of 760MPH is mind-blowing, and it is coming our way.

Chef BoyaRobot

A group of MIT robotics engineers partnered with a Michelin-starred chef to open a restaurant in Boston. Human chefs have been replaced by seven automated cooking pots that churn out delicious meals in three minutes or less.
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Andrew’s Take: At first glance, this looks like another “Robots Stealing Jobs” story, but think of the broader implications. If the technology becomes ubiquitous, we could one day see personal robot chefs in every home, cooking delicious, HEALTHY food for all.

Darius’s Take: Robots in the kitchen sound exciting, but let’s not forget that many people enjoy spending time coming up with their own creations and tweaks on recipes. Are we moving to a monotone cooking/eating experience where food is just fuel?

Can We Predict Getting Sick?

Researchers from Waterloo found that by applying AI to data from wearables, they may be able to assess changes in aerobic responses that could predict whether a person is experiencing the onset of respiratory or cardiovascular disease.
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Andrew’s Take: A few years ago, Microsoft reverse engineered the Bing search terms of pancreatic cancer patients and found that in 5-15% of cases, they could have diagnosed them sooner. When you add AI and wearables into the mix, the idea of truly predictive healthcare doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

Darius’s Take: Feed enough relevant data into a Machine Learning algorithm and you can come up with accurate predictions. I’m not sure if wearables can provide enough relevant data on their own to produce meaningful health predictions, but as wearables become more invasive (imagine sensors implanted into the body), this becomes a real possibility.

One Feel Good Thing

“Life gets more interesting when you turn 60”, says 80-year-old Masako Wakayima, who learned to code in her 60s then created an iPhone app to motivate older people to get rid of negativity and help them find information to help them keep up with everyday life.

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Thanks for reading! We’ll see you next week.

-Andrew and Darius

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