We Get Real AF

Ep 84: Sue & Vanessa Talk Tech: Facebook Jr., Semiconductor Shortage & Teaching Monkeys to Play Video Games via Brain-Computer Interface

August 09, 2021 Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson Season 2 Episode 84
We Get Real AF
Ep 84: Sue & Vanessa Talk Tech: Facebook Jr., Semiconductor Shortage & Teaching Monkeys to Play Video Games via Brain-Computer Interface
Show Notes Transcript

Sue and Vanessa round up some recent attention-grabbing headlines in the world of science and tech - from Facebook aiming at a younger market, to a cool new Olympics museum - and a potential breakthrough for people living with paralysis.

We Get Real AF Podcast Credits:

Producers & Hosts: Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson

Vanessa Alava

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Sue Robinson

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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  1:14  

Welcome to the we get really a podcast, everyone. I'm Vanessa Alava. 

Sue Robinson

And I'm Sue Robinson, thank you so much for joining us today. We would love it. If you would go ahead and follow us on social at @wegetrealaf and go to wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a wonderful comment and rating and subscribe, of course, because we always have amazing content.

 

Vanessa  1:34  

Absolutely. We also want to say thank you to everyone visiting us on Twitch land because we're live on Twitch. That's very exciting. Thank you, Mitch Machado, for helping us with our video content. As always, we're very very appreciative. Today we're doing Sue and Vanessa Talk Tech. And we have a couple articles of interesting things that are going on in the world of tech and science. So I have an interesting one, Sue, that I had no idea and I'm going to be just really transparent and vulnerable here. Facebook, I guess is in the market of making or creating an Instagram for kids. So it's for children under the age of 13.  And basically, their whole thing is, you know what, people are lying about their age people being minors lying about their age in order to have an Instagram account. And this is their way of trying to make it a safe place. They're getting a lot of backlash from lawmakers and people that don't think it's a good idea, obviously, because of children and predators and all the other things that could be exposed to.

 

Unknown Speaker  2:44  

However, I don't know, I think on this side of it, I'm like, you know, what, if it's happening anyway, with kids pretending to be older than what they are, maybe having something that's geared toward a younger audience. It we could control it a little better. There are always going to be people trying to do the wrong things or bad things in the world of tech. But I think if we can control the environment as much as possible, just like there's YouTube, there's YouTube for kids and channels geared toward children. I'm leaning toward the side of Go Go Facebook and Instagram on this one. What do you think? 

 

Sue

I think? I think it's well intentionedI also having raised kids, I know a couple things. One is, as soon as kids know that there's a place that's dedicated for kids, there's going to be a certain point where they're going to not want to be in that place. Right. So that's just an inevitable thing that they'll want to move over to the adult version of whatever it is. And I also think, of course, as I think you alluded to Vanessa, any place you have a concentration of kids, you have a target for predators, and hopefully there'll be,

 

Sue Robinson  4:05  

you know, safety parameter set in place to protect against that. But yeah, I agree with you. I mean, what else you're going to 

Vanessa

Right, is going to be called reportedly called Instagram youth. Again, they are trying to cater to the users under the age of 16. Automatically, their accounts will default to private. And yeah, I think that this is an interesting play on Facebook just because they've been kind of in the light of like privacy hackers and a lot of kind of negative press. And even though they're getting backlash to your Point to like if we can create a safe, digital place for our kids to engage in, and others have done it. And again, I'm going to mention YouTube.

Maybe this is the way to go

Sue

if anybody has thoughts about any of these topics, please feel free to ping us in the chat. And we'd love to hear from you and hear your thoughts as well. I just got back from an amazing two week road trip across the Southwest with one of my daughters. And I wanted to share because the Olympics are going on right now I wanted to share a really neat discovery that we had that has some technology related to it. And that is the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this just opened a couple of months ago., this place is a super technology savvy museum brand new. And it's very experiential. So you can go in and you know, actually practice what it is like to be doing the slalom or downhill skiing. And you can it's almost it's not the are but they try to be as immersive as possible without going all the way into a headset as you get to actually experience these different sports. And the other thing that I really loved about it was that it's not just the Olympics, but it's the Paralympics. And so they, they tell you a lot about the technologies that are used to help Paralympic athletes perform their sport and you can learn about the prosthetics and the different kinds of devices and technologies that have been designed to facilitate Paralympians and any other athlete who maybe has a disability who's not at the Olympic level. So I thought that was super fascinating. And then just learning a little bit about the technologies that are used to help any Olympian train, for example, Vanessa I don't know if you knew this, but they have tattoos that they can tattoo onto an Olympic athlete, and it measures their biometric performance in real time. So anyway, if Colorado is anywhere in your travel plans, or you can put it on your travel plans, not only is it an amazingly beautiful state, but check this place out the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs.

Vanessa

That is so cool. I had no idea that existed and definitely check it out if you're on a road trip, which a lot of people are trying to take advantage of, especially in light of COVID and trying to avoid flying. So I also know to your to answer your question Sue about the tattoos and biometrics had no idea that existed. I don't even know how they would go about doing that. Where it’s a temporary tattoo, you know, and it washes off, but it's still able to, you know, give data like how does that happen? I would love to know the technology behind the tattoo, and the biometrics and how they're capturing this information. That is so cool. Yeah, it is totally and I don't have the answer to that. But But you know, maybe we need an answer if anybody has that.

 

Sue  8:48  

Right.

 

Vanessa  8:51  

That's awesome. Moving on to some other news, older Kindles and an Amazon is warning to their their customers may lose internet connection. So this is a light of, 2g and 3g internet being discontinued in some places in the US and other countries. So several other models of the Kindle, especially older models, will no longer have that function of being able to get online. Now there's some controversy just because obviously you can get a Kindle that has that option where you're able to connect to Wi Fi that are more expensive than the ones that don't so now if you purchase one, even if it was years ago, you paid a little more money is not going to adapt features not going to work anymore. So you pay the premium for something that was you know, had a expiration date on it. So in order to kind of accommodate for this Amazon is giving some sort of discount and they are emailing the people that have been affected to kind of give them a little extra cash to purchase an upgrade or you know, to get a new device. But it's interesting because Kindles are not like phones that you kind of upgrade automatically every few years is something that you kind of keep, and you don't really replace until it breaks. So I it's just really interesting, but it's something that I mean, how does Amazon control that? I mean, we kind of had an offline conversation about the things being obsolete the minute they come out, and just because technology is moving so fast yesterday. So I just thought this is a really interesting article. And it's going to affect several people because Kindles are very popular. And, you know, people have like, 1000s of books in there. You know, man bags and purses basically. So interesting. 

 

Sue

It is interesting. It's, it goes back to that planned obsolescence, which, you know, is that the case here or not? Who knows, but I will say, I'm not a huge e-reader fan in general, like, there's something about just holding a book. And I don't think it's just my generation, because my daughters who are in their 20s would much prefer to hold a book than to hold a Kindle too

Vanessa

So is the Kindle keyboard, Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle voyage, and Kindle Oasis. So if you don't know or you're unsure of the model you have you can check Amazon's website and it'll let you know. 

Tim Cook with who's obviously Apple CEO has announced that the chip shortage is going to start affecting iPhone sales in the coming months, a worldwide shortage of semiconductors has already been delaying production of the company's Mac books and iPad. And he made that announcement back in April. But he is now told folks that via CNBC, that there's going to continue to be supply chain issues. And this is, of course, coming out of the 2020 pandemic and sort of the supply chain shortages that have happened across all industries. So that could affect availability of new iPhones. And I don't know if it'll affect pricing, but I just wanted to put that out there for everyone. 

 

Vanessa

Yeah, I think that we're still I mean, we talked about the pandemic, which I think when obviously, we're still living, and we're still seeing, I mean, resurgence is now with the Delta variant. But as far as things that were affected last year, and supply, I still think that we're going to see this coming through every few months, right, because everyone was affected at different times, depending on how much supply they had at the time that they were hit

we just have to plan prepare for it and kind of be flexible and roll with it. 

 

Sue

So I want to share this, I think is super interesting. There is a company that it's a 20 person biotech firm that just beat Elon Musk's neural link and getting the okay from the FDA to test brain chip implants in humans with paralysis. And so the company is called syncron. And they are actually going to be doing a very small six person test later on this year through New York's Mount Sinai Hospital, where they're going to implant something called a neuroprosthesis in patients with severe paralysis, wow. And I mean, it's so incredible syncron is helpful that its device will allow patients to use brain data by thinking to control digital devices and achieve improvements in their functional independence. So literally, through their thoughts in the electrical waves that are produced through that, they will be able to operate a prosthesis and and I think, you know, it's just an incredible where this technology is going. They are Northstar, their ultimate goal - Synchron is to achieve whole brain data transfer. But what's really interesting is that neuro link, which is the Elan Musk, you know, kind of effort in this space, actually tested an implanted chip in a monkey's brain. And after six months, that monkey was able to play a video game.

 

Sue  15:55  

So just mind boggling, in every sense of that phrase, 

 

Vanessa 

Amazing that they're giving people the potential of that, you know, are paralyzed, the potential of regaining strength where they've lost it. I think that's amazing. And I've written down the name Syncron, so that we can maybe find somebody to get on the podcast to take a deeper dive on that technology, and what are the things they have in the works, but we also talk about the Pandora's box that opens, you know, if you have a chip controlling your brain, obviously, we want to do it. I mean, this is amazing, right? But what other black hole could that go under? Like, go down? So yeah, and you and I've had those offline conversations, too, right? 

Sue

No, I think it's super fascinating, it's a two hour procedure that's similar to putting a stent in the heart, except they're doing it in the brain. So it's a fairly simple, simple procedure, where they implant this chip, and then through the electrical impulses of somebody thinking about moving their prosthetic. They're able to do that. And of course, again, they're doing a clinical study of this or a test on six specific patients this fall, but yeah, incredible. 

Vanessa

Yeah, that's absolutely, absolutely. syncron. And then, yeah, I would love to get somebody on the show to talk more about that, because it's so interesting. And yes, absolutely. Focusing on the good here. Yeah. 

Sue

That's it for me today. 

Vanessa

Yeah, I think that that's, that's a lot. Thank you for joining us, again, we're gonna try to bring you more current events in the world of tech and science. So keep listening, and you'll hear more from me and Sue each week. 

Sue 19:54

we'll see everybody next week.