Why this AI engineer is using sci-fi to unpack tech’s biggest problems

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Data scientist S.B. Divya explains how her work influenced her new novel, and offers her thoughts on where technology is headed and why she remains optimistic. S.B. Divya’s new science fiction thriller, Machinehood , is set in a not-too-distant future when people have access to tabletop biotech labs that churn out everything from cures for new diseases to performance-enhancing drugs. But they find that taking such drugs is all but mandatory as they compete for paying gig work in an economy where more and more jobs can be done by artificial intelligence. Read Full Story

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Combining AI and biology could solve drug discovery’s biggest problems

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Machine learning can speed up the creation of new drugs and unlock the mysteries of major diseases, says Insitro CEO Daphne Koller. Daphne Koller is best known as the cofounder of Coursera , the open database for online learning that launched in 2012. But before her work on Coursera, she was doing something much different. In 2000, Koller started working on applying machine learning to biomedical datasets to understand gene activity across cancer types. She put that work on hold to nurture Coursera, which took many more years than she initially thought it would. She didn’t return to biology until 2016 when she joined Alphabet’s life science research and development arm Calico. Read Full Story

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The ‘Deep Cover’ podcast tells the story behind one of the most absurd undercover drug busts ever

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The new Pushkin podcast sets Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jake Halpern off on a journey that goes from a biker gang in Detroit all the way to the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama. On December 20, 1989, more than 20,000 American troops invaded Panama as part of Operation Just Cause . The cause was to apprehend General Manuel Noriega, who was facing U.S. drug trafficking charges, among others. More than 500 Panamanian soldiers and civilians were killed, as well as 23 American soldiers. Noriega hid in the Vatican Embassy while U.S. troops tried to flush him out by blaring The Clash, U2, and Van Halen at all hours. After 11 days, Noriega surrendered and was taken to Miami, where he was tried and found guilty of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering. Read Full Story

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Why giving back is my most valuable tool in weathering a crisis

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The managing director of HP, North America discusses the impact giving back brings to her life, and the positive effects of empathy to turbulent times. We are entering a new world right now, where how we work, connect, and live will most likely change forever. Turbulence is bringing on a natural human tendency to focus on ourselves and our closest friends and family’s immediate needs. The dramatic consequences of the pandemic underscore what an extraordinary time period this is. Read Full Story

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How to tidy your to-do list like Marie Kondo

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In Kondo’s new book, ‘Joy at Work,’ she applies her method to your job description. This is an excerpt from Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life , by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein. The book has a unique format, where the two authors have explicitly divvied up the book and the chapters each writes, but each then comments on the other’s work. Here, Sonenshein, a professor of organizational behavior at Rice University’s business school, writes about how to tidy your to-do list and Kondo shares her perspective. Read our cover profile of Kondo and her business, Konmari, here . Read Full Story

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How TB Alliance’s Mel Spigelman created a promising new anti-tuberculosis drug

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For demonstrating how a nonprofit can develop drugs as well as Big Pharma can, Mel Spigelman is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2020 In August 2019, TB Alliance’s pretomanid became one of three new anti-tuberculosis drugs approved by the FDA, and the first developed and registered by a nonprofit. When internist Mel Spigelman joined the organization (a product-development partnership, or PDP) as its head of R&D, in 2003, drug-resistant TB was an emerging public health priority, with an estimated 300,000 new cases per year worldwide. TB Alliance had recently licensed rights to develop a promising new drug from the biotech company Chiron. Spigelman jump-started its development, hiring a team with “expertise from early discovery through registration,” he says. “I wanted to be on a basis of equals with drug-development partners” such as Mylan and GlaxoSmithKline, which would enable the organization to move projects forward more …

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See Jane Goodall’s new kids’ decor line with Crate & Barrel

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Jane Goodall launches a collection with Crate & Barrel to get kids thinking about the environment as early as possible. Here, she talks to us about the collection, why capitalism is broken, and how children can help save the planet. When I talk to Dr. Jane Goodall, she’s sitting in her childhood home in Bournemouth, on the south coast of England, where four generations of her family have lived. The 86-year-old primatologist is wearing a Patagonia jacket and sitting in front of a bookshelf displaying black-and-white pictures of her mother. Read Full Story

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Why we’re entering the golden age of email

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The decades-old technology had stagnated for many years—until the coronavirus pandemic pushed startups to try new things. We all know that email is where your work happens. But given your inbox’s role as the central hub of your professional life, email has largely failed to become a more effective communication tool—until recently. Read Full Story

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More people will watch March Madness while they pretend to WFH. Bosses probably shouldn’t fight it

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March Madness viewing is expected to cost businesses more than usual in productivity, but after a year of remote work, employees could use the diversion. Jess Lampi has her March Madness viewing plan all ready: She’s going to watch the college basketball tournament on her main TV and then bring out a second TV to be able to keep track of analytics and sports reporters’ tertiary comments. The annual spring tradition will unfold this year in the living room of her Houston home, where she’ll remain glued to the games, while doing her work as a tanker broker for an oil and gas company. Read Full Story

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