We Get Real AF

Ep 78: Vanessa & Sue Talk Tech: Harvard & MIT Mask Biosensors to Detect Covid-19, Microsoft Patent for Unique Digital Parental Controls, and More Tech & WEGRAF News

July 19, 2021 Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson Season 2 Episode 78
We Get Real AF
Ep 78: Vanessa & Sue Talk Tech: Harvard & MIT Mask Biosensors to Detect Covid-19, Microsoft Patent for Unique Digital Parental Controls, and More Tech & WEGRAF News
Show Notes Transcript

Join Sue and Vanessa  for a round-up of science,  tech,  & WEGRAF news.

Referenced:
Mask Biosensors

We Get Real AF Podcast Credits:

Producers & Hosts: Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson

Vanessa Alava

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Sue Robinson

LinkedIn Instagram Twitter 

Audio Producer/Editor: Sam Mclean  

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Technical Director: Mitchell Machado

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Audio Music Track Title: Beatles Unite

Artist: Rachel K. Collier

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Intro Voice-Over Artist: Veronica Horta

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Cover Artwork Photo Credit: Alice Moore 

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Vanessa Alava  

Welcome to the We Get Real AF podcast, everyone. I'm Vanessa Alava.

 

Sue Robinson  

And I'm Sue Robinson. Please, if you aren't already, go ahead and subscribe to the show. And leave us some love on social media - you can follow us at @wegetrealAF on all social media channels.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Yes, indeed. And like we mentioned on the last episode, Sue and I are going to be doing a lot more Sue/Vanessa talk tech, and we're trying a lot of new things. Our technical director Michell Machado is helping us get out video on social media. So, we're now on YouTube. And today we're trying some new live features on Twitch. So we're really excited about that and just playing so we say thank you for bearing with us as you hear our little nuances in the background of doing the podcast. But we're really excited today to talk about an event that we're planning for October timeframe it’s called the Power Source Summit: Jailbreaking the Shortage of Women in Tech, along with some cool current event Tech information and things that are going on in the world of tech and science. 

 

Sue Robinson  

yes, we are very excited about the power source event, it will be a virtual event coming up this fall has been as I mentioned, we're planning for the late October timeframe. And what it's going to be is an afternoon of connecting with some of the amazing women whom we have hosted on the we get relief podcast. So we have ladies who are experts in artificial intelligence and ethics, women who work in aerospace women who are app developers and founders. And they're going to be joining us and our listeners and our attendees at this event to just sort of talk about what their journey has been like building careers in STEM science, technology, engineering, and math and steam, which is the A for art's thrown in there. Have they built their careers, what their advice is for women who are either just starting out in their professions or perhaps looking to change professions and get into some of those industries. And and we're going to even be taking a look at careers of the future that maybe don't even exist yet. So we're very, very excited about this event. We have 16 women, speakers so far lined up, and it's going to be a really great event. So stay tuned to learn more about that we would love to have anybody who is within your I shot to join us for that event this fall.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Absolutely. We're always talking about the lack of women in these underrepresented spaces of science, technology, engineering, arts and math, and would love to be part of the solution and building a pipeline. And this is our mission The first step is obviously the podcast. The second step is actually putting events together that put people together, connecting them, sharing resources, sharing knowledge information, and just getting more conversation started to make that change that we want to see that global change. And then obviously we know that the exodus of the women from the workforce last year with COVID-19 really just was a double whammy for for all of us. So wanting to just change that narrative.

 

Sue Robinson  

Yeah. And also if you represent a company that is interested in supporting women in STEM, we are looking for sponsors for this event. We have again amazing speakers lined up these women are so accomplished in their careers. And the reason they're choosing to spend time with us that afternoon is because they want to pour their wisdom their learnings into the next generation of women coming down the pipeline behind them so if you are with a company that might be interested in joining us as sponsors, please reach out to [email protected]  or [email protected] and MicDrop is spelled MICDROP.com. We have a great sponsorship package. It's an awesome investment opportunity for companies. So please think about that too.

 

Vanessa Alava  04:31

Yes, yes. And just to touch on MicDrop Creative if you didn't listen to the last episode -over the last three to four weeks, Sue and I have officially become full time entrepreneurs and we launched our own media company. And we're really excited. We have our own little startup. small but mighty and just really excited to create more original content, empowering and amplifying underrepresented voices and just really telling humans centric and purpose driven brand stories. So if anyone out there would like to just brainstorm on maybe original content and pitch original content that they're working on, or if you're a brand and want to tell your story, we would love to share it with everyone and help you ideate on that. So a lot of exciting things in the pipeline that we're working on. Hence, 1000 different tabs open in our brains and on our desktop.

 

Sue Robinson  

Yeah. And just to add to that, we are doing video as well as audio content, we do written content, we do animations, so we can help you with any really any kind of media content that you're thinking about. So please reach out to us.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Yes, indeed. Well, you know, Sue, and I want to provide value with our tech talks. And we want to kind of do like this current events, what's going on in tech So we have a few different things we want to chat about. Sue, you had a couple of articles that you had researched that were very interesting. So let's start with one of yours.

 

Sue Robinson  

Yeah. So I was reading on protocol, which is a technology news site, that Microsoft has come out with a patent, and they come out with patents all the time. And not all of them, you know, become actual products, but they're experimenting with parental controls, in a new way. So their newest patent describes a way to set parental controls that use context clues, as well as hard and fast rules. So for example, you might be able to allow your child to use Instagram, but not while they're driving a car. Or the system might help keep track of your kids homework hours, and then automatically allocate bonus YouTube time, based on settings. So as parents, Ben s, and I, you know, are obviously, and many of you listening as well. Very tuned into what parental controls are out there. And I think it's kind of interesting that Microsoft is also looking into this space and doing it in a context based use case kind of way. So I think that's really, really, really interesting.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Yeah, Indeed, indeed, my four year old has a knack for doing things on our phones, or our computers or smart devices that were like, How the hell? Did she just do that? Like, how did she get there? You know, so anything having to do with making it safer for our children to be digital citizens online? While we're not able to be there, 24 seven to watch what they're doing is, it's just a peace of mind for parents. So kudos to Microsoft.

 

Sue Robinson  

Yeah. And you know, some apps are more concerning than others, right. And so I think it's sort of interesting that they're looking at a way to, to customize parental controls by app, so we'll see if it ever actually becomes a thing. But it's sort of interesting to peruse the different patents that these big these tech giants come out with. And so you can follow along to see which ones actually become products.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Indeed, indeed, we hope to see More news on that front. Sue, I found an interesting story about biosensors in face masks to detect COVID-19. So, there is a study going on at MIT in conjunction with I believe it's pronounced Wyss Institute for biologically inspired engineering at Harvard. They've developed a wearable biosensor technology that can help mass detect COVID-19 in your breath. And the efficacy and accuracy levels are just the same as the standard PCR nasal swab, COVID test. And, obviously, that's cutting edge, we know how uncomfortable those tests can be. And this does it within 90 minutes. So really, really cool. the team of scientists are wanting to expand on that and get get it out into the world sooner rather than later. It can be used and extended past COVID-19 we're talking about scientists or even first responders that could be exposed to dangerous substances or toxins or chemical agents, same thing that the biosensors will be able to detect to give them that, that immediate response. That's incredible. Yeah, really cool.

 

Sue Robinson 

You know, and hopefully, while they say that, you know that these new strains of COVID-19 are starting to be seen now. So even as we get vaccinated, I think the unfortunate reality is that we're going to have to have some awareness and protocols in place for some time to come to help detect viruses and to your point, other dangerous substances in people's bodies and so it doesn't measure coming in as well. It coming into the mask or just the exhale, breath, do you know,

 

Vanessa Alava  

so it can assist us here? Let's I It doesn't, I mean, I'm assuming it's like the exhale. But to your point, if it's detecting other pathogens or toxins, nerve they explain is nerve nerve gas, could it be exposed to dangerous pathogens or nerve gas? So I have no idea, but I'm gonna keep an eye on this. There's actually a female staff scientist at Wyss institute that co-authored this study. So my goal, if she's listening, her name is Nina Donja. I'm going to reach out to Nina to see if she would be on the show and explain a little bit more about what's going on with this study. And how quickly we might see it out in, public

 

Sue Robinson  

Isn't it sort of mind boggling that a year and a half ago, we probably most of us didn't even know it and 95 respirator mask or whatever was in our we are all very mindful and paying attention to what's going on in that that world? Well, I'm going to kind of jump along to another news item that's related to COVID-19. And I know as as the world has begun to open back up, there's a lot of discussion and controversy about going back into the office. And can companies mandate this? Can they not mandate it? What are the protocols around that? We had a really interesting conversation with Angela O'Neill of nextra solutions on this very topic a few weeks ago. And so I just read that Adobe, VMware, Twilio and Asana are all mandating vaccines for those who come back into the office this summer. And that is a departure from the norm that industry leaders like Google and Facebook said earlier this year where they recommend it so. So to be clear, Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft are among the big names in the tech space that are not imposing vaccine mandates. But some of these other big companies, again, Adobe, VMware, Twilio and Asana are saying, Yeah, if you want to come back in, we are mandating it. And then from those companies, Adobe and Asana said that they are going to continue to assess the need to impose this rule based on the safety risks and government guidelines and regulations and Asana, Twilio said that they will actually require proof of employees vaccination status, whereas Adobe and VMware said that they will take employees at their word. So, you know, we talk about this a lot, because it's health data, right. And it's data privacy. And that's something that's very much interwoven into many of the conversations we've had, with guests here on the way get really off podcast. It sounds from the articles that I've read, like, in the tech world employs, by and large, are, when they do surveys are more in favor of requiring a vaccine, employers requiring a vaccine, more so than like in the general population. But again, this is sort of uncharted territory. And that's a big deal for an employer to require proof that you've been vaccinated, and what will the world of the future look like?

 

Vanessa Alava  

Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, again, I'm all about people having their privacy, and there's obviously HIPAA for employees to to help with that, and give employees that freedom to make their own decisions outside of work. However, when I think about it for even schools, I mean, schools want to see, you know, vaccines for children before they're led into that environment where they're exposing other children to potential illnesses, right. So I, I don't know, I'm so torn on it. I'm like, I want people to have their privacy, and I get it. But I also like, selfishly, want everybody to get vaccinated. Because if I'm going to travel, if I'm going to send my child to school, if I'm going to be out and about I want people to do the right thing. And if it's mandated, then they will be forced to do the right thing. But then is that borderline? Hey, what type of society do we live in? If we require people to get certain things when it comes to their health? Like, I don't know, I'm very torn.

 

Sue Robinson  

I'm kind of torn too because in my head, it's like, well, I'm vaccinated. So I know, I'm safe. You know, my kids were little I would have when it's possible. Now, right now, it's not really possible to have your kids vaccinated. But I feel like when, when we're protected, that I'm not so worried about whether other people have chosen that path or not. But it it's interesting, because it looks like the legislative world is leaning in the direction of allowing employers to make this mandate. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued an FAQ, which says that anti-discrimination laws do not bar employers from requiring onsite workers to get vaccinated. However, they still have to accommodate those who refuse for religious or medical reasons. So that's a pretty big loophole, because if you really just don't want to get vaccinated, you could probably say it's free. One of those reasons,

 

Vanessa Alava  

and then we circle all the way back to, do you really need to be in the office to do the work that you do? And if you don't, then is it on the employer then to, hey, they've done it for the last year and a half and change, why not continue to give people that option, that if you're not vaccinated, or if you don't want to return into that traditional office environment, to can tend to need to work at home or to remote work from wherever you are? Because we know that it can be done.

 

Sue Robinson  

Right. Exactly. I mean, so much has changed. And we're in the middle of it. All right. It'll be interesting to look back five or 10 years from now and see if people do have medical passports or if that's just maybe not something that actually sticks, right? It's it's more of a fear right now than an actual thing.

 

Vanessa Alava  

I mean, and then we've also had the conversation of like, the minute you make something mandated, then you have like the black market that can easily generate, like IDs for fake ID, what type of thing where you're like, yep, I've got it. And then just like this lie, right? And like, how many people are who's telling the truth? And who's telling a lie? And then what's the law that you know, people who have lied, and Shawn's fake medical passport? What happens to them? And it's like, it's like this big snowball effect? I just feel like there's a lot of different Pandora's boxes that can be opened. Because of it.

 

Sue Robinson  

Yeah, no, I agree. Totally. And this is sort of an aside, and it's a personal thing. And because I'm not an anti vaxxer at all, I am vaccinated. But I just noticed this weekend, it's really weird. My arm started hurting, right where my vaccine had gone in. And this has been a couple of months since I've been vaccinated. And it's like, really sore again, which is kind of strange. So I don't know what that means. If anybody out there knows that maybe I just pulled a muscle that's, you know, coincidentally in the same spot, who knows? But I know obviously, whenever something's new, your brain goes to what do we really know about the long term effects of this? So I understand people's concerns and anxieties, there is no perfect solution. And I think we all need to approach it with reason, open conversation and compassion for different viewpoints. 

 

Vanessa Alava  

Absolutely. I mean, that's all we can do. And goodness, we've also talked about how you know, even prior to COVID, I feel COVID has made people a lot more vulnerable and a lot more open to having dialogue with people from different backgrounds and different viewpoints. But even before then, there was like this really big PC culture where you can barely talk to somebody without having the same views and leaving still friends, right? Like, it's just, we're at a point now where we should be able to have these conversations. It's a tough decision, whether you're doing for religious purposes, whether you're doing it because you don't want to be part of the case study. And we are trying to act quickly and get ahead of this, which obviously, we appreciate science. I'm on the other end that I do want to get vaccinated, but I'm nursing right now. And I have an eight month old I know the science is trending toward Hey, it’s good. It doesn't affect babies, but it up. Me, is one thing, but like my children is another and I'm like, my head can't go there right now. And I don't want to have like a what if moment, so I'm going to try to wean him off at a year and then get vaccinated. So I I'm not one to judge, I understand. And I like having these conversations because it gets people thinking. But I think that it's the time right now when we need to come together as a society as a as like the earth in general trying to help one another as human beings. We need to just have open conversation, open dialogue versus trying to tear each other down.

 

Sue Robinson  

I agree 100%. And I think it's also just really concrete example of how emerging science and technology impact every single one of us and we need to keep reading the news informing ourselves having these important conversations so that we do kind of know, the full landscape of what is at least the current knowledge. Because it truly anything proved that that science and technology impact every single one of us, even as they are forming. It's the pandemic So absolutely,

 

Vanessa Alava  

Absolutely. Well, this has been great to keep tuning in. We so appreciate everyone that's been with us since the very beginning. That's one thing I don't think We mentioned it last time to like, June 30, was one year, one year officially that we've been podcasting, we can consider ourselves podcasters now confidently, like, we've been doing it and having having a great time. And again, that's informed our decision to to form MicDrop Creative. And yeah, you're gonna see us and hear us do a lot of new things, innovative things, and some things will work and we’ll continue doing and other things will just say, Hey, it didn't work and move on.

 

Sue Robinson  

Right. And one of the new things that we did start in addition to our main Tuesday release of the We Get Really AF podcast where we interview women, specifically in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math about emerging tech and emerging science topics. We have also introduced for those of you who may not be aware, a second segment that comes out weekly, it's called Profesh Sesh. It releases on Thursdays and it's all things career of everything from how to use LinkedIn to salary negotiation to when to know and how to know the way to leave your position and move on to something new. So definitely check that out because it covers it all. And we have an awesome talent specialist and recruiter who works with us on that segment, Alisa Walters, so that again, is on Thursdays.

 

Sue Robinson  

Thanks so much, everybody for joining us. Continue to follow us and check it and have a great week.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Yes, bye.