Killer Innovations with Phil McKinney
An award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated radio show that looks at the innovations that are changing our lives and how their innovators used creativity and design to take their raw idea and create game-changing products or services. Phil McKinney, retired CTO of HP and the creator, and host of Killer Innovations has been credited with forming and leading multiple teams that FastCompany and BusinessWeek list as one of the “50 Most Innovative”. His recognition includes Vanity Fair naming him the “The Innovation Guru”, MSNBC and Fox Business calling him "The Gadget Guy" and the San Jose Mercury News dubbing him the "chief seer".

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we witnessed a notable trend occurring. Government agencies from all over the nation, as well as foreign government agencies, were seen at the show. This week, Dimitri Kusnezov, the Deputy Under Secretary for AI and Technology at the U.S Dept of Energy, joins us on The Killer Innovations Show. We will discuss what the future of AI looks like from the Department of Energy’s side of things.

The Dept of Energy’s Mission

Typically, people don’t notice much of the DOE’s activity in their everyday lives. In reality, the Department of Energy continuously operates from the shadows fixing our nation’s toughest problems. It works in areas that range from the health industry to electrical grids. At its core, the Dept of Energy exists to fix a wide variety of issues by leveraging its innovative capabilities. Dimitri Kusnezov, says that the DOE is the biggest funder of physical sciences in the U.S. They focus on public-private partnerships to accomplish their many goals. The DOE uses connections, as well as advanced innovative technologies, to keep our nation running efficiently.

 

CES and the Dept of Energy

How does the U.S Department of Energy approach attending a show like CES? Dimitri Kusnezov says that innovation is global. It’s almost anywhere you look, from small and large companies to academia. The DOE needs to identify where the innovation trends are and ask important questions. Who should we talk to? Where should we draw ideas? With the recent “overhype of AI,” the name has been thrown around loosely everywhere. I asked Dimitri where the DOE stands on AI. Due to the recent birth of Artificial Intelligence, the DOE has kept its feelings of AI open. Dimitri says when it comes to the future of AI, only time will tell. The Dept of Energy looks at specific problems and asks what it will take to best solve them. Something like AI can pose other problems if not approached correctly. AI touches areas such as privacy, civil rights, etc., and can sometimes hint at unintended biases. Who is to blame in touchy situations like these? Is it the guy writing the code? Is it the guy collecting the data? The problem with AI is that no one owns it explicitly. Data confidentiality is a big issue in the technology world today. With the growing potential and use of AI, innovators need to explore what the tech is all about thoroughly.

 

The Role of AI at the Dept of Energy

What is the role of AI at the Department of Energy? Dimitri Kusnezov says that Washington D.C has recognized the importance and value of AI increasingly over the past couple of years. The DOE has 17 labs and a workforce of around 90,000 people. They have surfaced more than 600 projects in the areas of nuclear weapons, smart cities, cybersecurity, transportation, farming, cancer research, etc. You’ll be able to see the core of learning and AI technology in many different areas throughout the U.S Department of Energy. With such a large cache of info available, how does the DOE extract actionable data? Dimitri says the DOE focuses on catastrophic events. They use AI and partnering to understand when to make decisions in those high-consequence situations. With such a big organization,  how does the Dept of Energy leverage its tools? Dimitri Kusnezov says that the DOE workforce has many different skillsets and a good knowledge of their assets. The DOE has a unique advantage with the ability to simulate very realistic situations. Dimitri says their ability to handle data is unmatched by anyone else.

 

Advice on AI

What information can you give to other organizations looking into AI? Don’t overthink it, Dimitri says. Currently, AI is in a fragile stage. It is very limited in what it can do. The answer isn’t, “where can I plug in AI?” but rather, “what are the problems you’re trying to solve?”. Which AI methods apply to your problems? Identify what is essential for you and how AI can help you.

 

When it comes to the government, many innovators either avoid working with them or don’t know where to go to get involved. Where can those who are looking to help find you guys? Dimitri Kusnezov says that the Dept of Energy’s doors are always open. Many companies are stopping by our D.C headquarters and talk to us about various things. We have a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) office as well as other resources for innovators to get involved with us. I encourage innovators to get involved in a public-private partnership to solve government problems, advancing their products along the way. If you are working on something that might be useful to a government agency, I encourage you to reach out.

 

About our Guest: Dimitri Kusnezov

Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov currently serves as Deputy Under Secretary for A.I. and Technology. Dimitri received A.B. degrees in Physics and Pure Mathematics with highest honors from UC Berkeley. Following a year of research at the Institut fur Kernphysik, KFA-Julich, in Germany, he attended Princeton University earning his MS in Physics and Ph.D. in Theoretical Nuclear Physics. At Michigan State University, Dimitri conducted postdoctoral research and then became an instructor. In 1991, he joined the faculty of Yale University as an assistant professor in physics, becoming an associate professor in 1996. He has served as a visiting professor at numerous universities around the world. Dr. Kusnezov has published over 100 articles and a book. He joined federal service at the National Nuclear Security Administration in late 2001 and is a member of the Senior Executive Service and is also a Visiting Researcher at Yale.

If you’re interested in learning more about the U.S Dept of Energy and what they are currently up to, check out their website here. For small businesses interested in working with the DOE, check out their SBIR program here.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

 

 

Direct download: Dept_of_Energy_on_AI_and_its_Impact_CES2020.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

This week on Killer Innovations, we are joined by two guests here at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Scott Kim, CEO of NEOFECT USA, an innovative health tech company, and Sarah Brown, the Director of Event Communications for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). On this show, we will be discussing technology in the health industry, as well as what the future of CES looks like.

NEOFECT

NEOFECT has been focused on aiding people in stroke rehabilitation by providing them with top tier health technology. Their products, such as the Smart Glove, run solely on AI technology. This provides a more independent therapy option for users while tracking their progress over time. Scott Kim's passion and vision for the company come from hard life experiences. Scott was born with Spinal Bifida, making him very familiar with the rehabilitation process at a young age. Scott worked through his adversities and created something successful and meaningful. While NEOFECT has established itself as a high-end health tech company, it wasn’t an easy journey. Scott Kim started with a team of eight founders, and only three currently remain with the company. The company started small with limited funding and worked for four years to launch its first product. Today, the company has multiple products to aid stroke patients, as well as products to aid children in dealing with motor challenges.

What’s New

Going forward, NEOFECT is launching an app called NEOFECT Connect. This app will give its users live rehab solutions to aid in recovering from a stroke. It will act similarly to Skype and will provide users with the human relationship aspect of therapy that is desired. To keep up with NEOFECT and what they are currently doing, check out their Facebook page here.

Trends at CES

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the world’s largest and most influential tech event. Sarah Brown, the Director of Event Communications for CTA, the host of CES, joined us to discuss the growth and future of the event. A new trend is visibly starting up, as non-tech centered companies are attending CES. New industries such as travel and tourism, have been promoting products and services at CES as well. Smart Cities, aimed at making communities better prepared for natural disasters, have been popping up at the event. An array of different companies joined CES to show off their products to the world. CES become the "go-to" show not only for innovators but for policymakers as well. Representatives from the government, such as the Department of Energy, as well as international representatives from the EU, were in attendance.

Growth and Expansion

With all the different companies at CES, there is a magical competition between companies large and small. Startups are trying to gain the attention of investors and larger companies with their products. Hotels are filled up, and more and more companies are attending each year. With this continual growth, some questions come to mind. How much bigger can CES become? Sarah says that if companies want to be at CES, we want them here. Space is running out, but the facilities are being expanded significantly, so even the smallest companies can attend. What is one thing at CES 2020 that wows you? Sarah says flying cars are the coolest. Companies like Hyundai are partnering with Uber to bring flying cars to the people.

About Our Guest: Scott Kim

Scott Kim is the CEO of NEOFECT USA (San Francisco, CA), and Co-founder of NEOFECT, its parent company based in South Korea. The company is a rehabilitation technology company focused on providing vital rehab equipment to those recovering from strokes and suffering from motor challenges. Scott was born with Spinal Bifida, which gave him a unique understanding of the rehabilitation process. His prior work experience includes working in the gaming industry for GREE, Z2Live, and 505 Games.  He received a bachelor’s of Business Administration from Korea University, as well as a master’s in Business Administration from the University of Virginia.

About our Guest: Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown is the Director of Event Communications for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Sarah serves as a spokesperson for CES and leads the media relations strategy for the show. Previously, Brown led the global media strategy for leisure, innovation, and food & beverage for Hilton Worldwide. Before her time at Hilton Worldwide, Brown worked for Ketchum, a global public relations firm. Sarah Brown earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Arizona and a master's in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University. 

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

Direct download: Impact_From_Innovation_Personal_and_Global_CES2020.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Today’s guest is one of the top technology industry analysts, well known in Silicon Valley and globally. When he talks about your company or products, you hope it is more positive than negative as his word moves the markets. Our guest is here with us at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is his 50th. This week on Killer Innovations, Tim Bajarin joins us to discuss what is real and becoming a future innovation platform.

How’s it Shaping Up

CES has evolved over the years from a heavy focus on video and audio to every product category that touches technology. From cosmetics, toilets to autonomous cars, and smart televisions. We have seen it all say's Phil, who is in his twenty-fifth year at CES. The evolution over these years has generated innovation and technology in our everyday lives that was once a fantasy you saw in movies. Now turned into reality. One area is in transportation and the progression of the vehicle becoming, as one Fortune 500 CEO told Phil, a “Cell Phone on Wheels.”  The smart vehicle today is now turning into your entertainment room and productivity station – Transportation As A Platform (TAAP).

The glass on vehicles and your house is transforming into the smart visual platform that keeps you communicating wherever you are. These glass displays today are amazingly more connected, but just now tipping the iceberg of potential. Companies like Corning are doing amazing things by focusing on the smart glass and its unlimited possibilities.

AI Everything —What’s Real? How about Ethics?

Catch all term?? When it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is everywhere, but used as a loose term – for most a feature I need to have and tout. We have AI in our soap. You don’t need to rub soap all over your body, it now finds the dirty spot and rubs it for you. Really what is practical and real AI? It has been around for many decades in different lingo and forms. Now, AI has more market form and will be in anything electronic. You need to understand AI and not just use the term or application loosely. The intelligence aspect of AI has to be applied to more effectively utilize the full potential.

Where is the critical impact on AI that can hurt or help you, it’s ethics. Most organizations are inserting AI into their common language and products; however, the impact is not all that obvious. If you are not thinking of the ethical and various risk impacts, you are just a follower in the buzz word bingo. It's crucial to establish your AI governance. Setting up an AI ethics Board is what is going to keep your risk low and your value high.

Computing will Drive Innovation

AI is one of the advancing technologies that rely on high-performance computing and silicon. However, demand shifts, availability and advancement can generate problems for the next generation of innovation. Computing power advancement does come with the balancing of the cost versus rapid progression that companies are grappling with today. Impactful innovations and expectations of new products and technologies are reliant on industry players making the right call and investing.

Without the exponential growth of computing power, we will stall in our progression of innovation. IoT, sensors, AI, Cloud, Drones, Autonomous, and all the latest trends will come to a halt unless the dynamics are aligned and balanced from cost, pricing and R&D for those providing the computing power. The demand is at such a high pace at this stage of technology expansion. It takes a tremendous commitment from the major players such as Intel and AMD. It also makes the PC players keep providing productivity tools. One of which is still the PC. Many think the PC is dead, but that is not reality as it is still the most productive platform.

Will Form Factor Make a Difference

Foldables at CES was a big attraction, as they moved towards mobile devices and displays for entertainment and productivity. Manipulated to the contour you desire, these intelligent displays are starting to gain traction and turning into reality. For the players, it comes down to a component that can give the industry a big boost, a refresh, and generate new channels and opportunities for innovation. Phil was pioneering foldable/bendable displays 10+years back when at HP and his prediction has taken form. The foldable players are building all the intelligence in a complete screen that bends at will. What does this give the consumer – more straightforward communication, lighter smartphones, increased productivity and creative possibilities beyond the obvious.

About our Guest: Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is one of the most recognized and sought after global technology analysts, futurists, and consultants. His fifty years in Silicon Valley has made him a voice that moves the market.

His writing and analysis have been at the forefront of the digital revolution. He was one of the first analysts to cover the personal computer industry and is considered one of the leading experts in the field of technology adoption life cycles. He is president of technology-focused company Creative Strategies and is also a regular podcaster on Tech.Pinions (also broadcasted on The Innovators Network).

Bajarin is a futurist and credited with predicting the desktop publishing revolution three years before it reached the market and multimedia.

He has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Nvidia, AMD, HP, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Qualcomm, Toshiba, and numerous others.

He also serves on the technology advisory boards for IBM, Compaq, and Dell. (from Wikipedia)

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

 

Direct download: Future_Innovation_Platforms_CES2020.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

AI has become the new buzzword that has been applied to anything and everything. You can’t attend trade shows without seeing AI attached to labels such as AI apps, AI-enhanced coffee, and AI influenced healthcare, etc. As of recent, AI has been in transition mode. It has moved from merely a “hype label” to something of reality. Some are even calling it the AI-driven “fourth industrial revolution.” On today’s show, I am going to be discussing AI and how it can be applied and used in innovation.

AI Innovation

Innovation and creation come from our learnings and experiences. With every new creation comes inspiration from something else. Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb; he perfected it. Einstein was inspired by physicists that went before him. So what is the difference between AI invented and AI-inspired? Input and experience play a key role. For AI, that comes in the form of the “training data” supplied to the system to recognize patterns and identify the best solutions. Training data is critically important and allows AI to do what it does. It is part of an element called machine learning, which has historically applied to games like chess and go. It was initially thought that humans had a unique advantage at these kinds of things. Here are a few examples that may prove otherwise:

  • Deep Blue’swin over Chess champion Garry Kasparov. It took multiple attempts, but the robot's skill evolved after a while.
  • IBM Watson’sJeopardy win over human trivia kings.
  • Google DeepMind’s Go-playing bot’s win against a Korean grandmaster. The top player has retired, saying that a human will never be better than a computer at Go.

 

Is this proof that AI is becoming smarter than humans? It depends on how you define smart. Do you define it by IQ number, critical thinking skills, or memorization? What makes humans smart? Let’s not move too fast here. In the case of chess, the key is to recognize patterns and to be able to look at the number of steps ahead. These are two skills that computers have become quite good at using machine learning. So is that the definition of smart?

 There is no doubt that AI will make an impact. Will it have an impact on innovation? If so, how will it be manifested? In what ways can we use AI to support our innovation endeavors? Are you ready to jump in?

AI and Creativity

One example of AI is in the writing of stories for Associated Press

AP uses deep learning in its Wordsmith tool to generate millions of news stories for financial services and sports, outpacing the output of all major media companies combined. Wordsmith has been trained on articles written by others that were redeemed as “good.” It plans to offer medium-specific stories, such as those published online and read on the air by newscasters, publication-specific stories separately tailored for publications like the New York Times and Buzzfeed. The question I ask myself is, could they write the script for my show? Not really, because my show isn’t triggered by press releases, and based on a specific style. So what is the downside of this? No one is reading the press release to validate it manually.

 

 One of my hobbies is to write instrumental music I use during ideation and brainstorming workshops. They recently came out with an experimental AI plugin from Magenta Studio. I’ve been experimenting with it to see if it can be a tool to help me create better instrumentals

Magenta provides a pretty easy way to get started with AI applied to create music. Another example of AI applied to creativity is when Christie, in October 2018, auctioned its first work of art generated by an algorithm called a generative adversarial network (GAN). This GAN approach meant that the AI was fed 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th and 20th centuries to train it in a style of art. Then a portrait was created by one computer network (the generating computer) that attempted to convince a second computer (the discriminating computer) that the image it generated should pass as real art. The discriminating computer is trained with portraits to teach it how to discern what a good portrait looks like so it can play the referee. The generating computer’s task is to create convincing art through a feedback loop, which improves both their capabilities over time. The portrait that passed the test sold for $432,000. This begs some important questions: Who should get the byline for the article published by the wordsmith tool for AP? Who gets the songwriter credit for the new song?

Who should sign their signature to the painting?

 

 

Applying AI

Could AI be applied to creating ideas that result in high impact innovations? Could it replace human creativity? Could AI be used to generate new ideas? I don’t think so. It could be used, however, as a tool to take raw ideas and apply AI to expand, enhance, and improve them. Possibly a tool to help the human side of brainstorming get past the mental block of generating more and better ideas.

So if we use AI as a tool to “create,” …

  • Who should get the byline for the article published by the wordsmith tool for AP?
  • Who gets the songwriter credit for the new song created by a tool like Magenta Studio?
  • Who should sign their signature to the painting?
  • Who should get credit on the patent application for a tool that helped in brainstorming?

AI augments what authors and inventors can do. With advances in machine learning, the interaction between algorithms and the creative process is changing. AI now allows artists to find unexpected beauty in chaos and complexity that exceeds the human grasp. AI is something to experiment with. It shouldn’t be feared. I am very optimistic about the role AI can play as a tool.

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

No two people are alike. We all enjoy different movies, music, and experiences. To be normal is not to be average, but different. For some reason, we are uncomfortable showing our differences. Many people feel inadequate when looking at others around them. Face it; we are all quirky. Everyone has their own “normal.” It is normal to follow your natural inclinations. Trying to conform to the crowd is not acting like yourself. We are all outstanding in some way. Once we find what our “super-power” is, life takes on a new meaning. What are the steps to being content with who we are? Find out who you are and be that. Discover your strengths and use them. You are unique, and it is your duty to be who you are.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

Direct download: Will_AI_Replace_Human_Creativity.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PDT