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Smart Cities Activity, smart cities

Smart cities for whom? Leveraging technology for an inclusive and just Atlanta

By Guest Columnist ALEX KARNER, formerly of Georgia Tech and now assistant professor in the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, with JENNIFER HIRSCH, ROBERT ROSENBERGER, and JESSE WOO, of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Atlanta is one of many cities across the country that is increasingly adopting “smart cities” technologies. These are usually internet-connected sensors that gather data about the environment. Common examples include traffic signals that monitor intersections for accidents, trash cans that alert sanitation workers when they’re full, or air quality monitors that send an alert when pollution levels are unsafe.

Worldpay processing system

Worldpay’s economic impact statement shows why civic leaders covet tech firms

A report by Invest Atlanta on the projected economic impact of Worldpay’s move to Atlantic Station illustrates the reasons city leaders want more tech firms in the city.
The jobs pay well and will add significantly to the city’s tax base. The products these employees create are of a high value, and the work process doesn’t create the environmental challenges of some other industries.

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girl coder

The only girl in a room of coders

Atlanta is home to 13,000 technology companies, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber says the tech sector will invest $1 billion in Georgia the next five years. It’s a rosy picture for young people who are learning to code.

Unfortunately, too few are girls. Those who are trying to break into the boys’ club are facing a pioneer’s uphill, often lonely climb. They are the “rainbow unicorns,” said local mom Caroline Busse, whose sixth grader Madeline is learning to code.

Atlanta’s tech sector to prospect for capital, attention, in Silicon Valley

There’s just something about a $19 billion price tag on a business acquisition that catches the eye.

This figure has to be in the back of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s mind as he prepares to lead a trade delegation to Silicon Valley. The group has meetings with 12 venture capital companies and social media platforms to invite them to invest in Atlanta tech companies.

The $19 billion is the sum Facebook has agreed to pay to purchase WhatsApp, a messaging giant. WhatsApp has more than 450 million monthly active users, and more than 70 percent of them are active each day, according to techcrunch.com.

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Logo for Freeside Atlanta

Atlanta’s Makers and the Next Industrial Revolution

In metro Atlanta and across the country, a revolution appears to be underway in libraries, recreation centers and workspaces. Amid the mass marketng from big box stores and online retailers and other forces that tell us what we need and how to order it, some people with skills are assembling for change.

They are techno-geeks, artists and craftspeople. They wield computers, 3D printers, laser cutters, transistors, glue guns, canvasses, acrylic paints, embroidery hoops and a wide range of other tools. They can be hobbyists, inventors or entrepreneurs.

The revolution is called the “Makers Movement,” a growing grass roots do-it-ourselves culture seeking to reinvent their pockets of consumer society, and the third annual Atlanta Mini Maker Faire featuring workshops and exhibits on robotics, electric vehicles, computing, 3D printing, green technology, among other topics, is scheduled Oct. 26 at Georgia Tech.

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Georgia geneticist challenges evolution, links humans to pigs

To Athens geneticist Gene McCarthy, pigs used to conjure filth and greed. But after years of research into this species, McCarthy sees a kindred spirit. Pigs, according to his Hybrid Hypothesis published last month on his website, Macroevolution.net, helped create humans by mating with chimpanzees.

As radical as it sounds—not to mention a coupling that many of us would rather not visualize–McCarthy is also following the steps of scientists like Galileo who risked derision to revolutionize how we understand our world and how we got here.

Transportation Camp attracts usual suspects to explore transit advances

Technology is disrupting nearly every aspect of the transportation industry — whether its state-of-the-art robotics revamping the automobile assembly line to a computerized conductor system navigating the railroad tracks or a mobile application providing real-time train and bus locations.

Nearly 250 technologists, planning students, professional experts and other transportation enthusiasts gathered at Georgia Tech for TransportationCamp South, an “unconference” organized by New York City-based Open Plans — a transportation technology and planning startup. Previous launch cities include San Francisco, New York City, Montreal and Washington, DC.

The future of the world — according to former Vice President Al Gore

By Maria Saporta

Trying to follow Al Gore as he speaks is like trying to drink water from a fire hose.

The former vice president is a fountain of knowledge and ideas, stimulating thought and concern as he weaves a tale of the future.

Gore was in Atlanta Friday evening at the Carter Center to talk about his most recent book: “The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.”