Thanks for the wonderful, post! I agree with ss! I spent four long years as an undergraduate research fellow in structural biology and infectious disease labs, and the core emphasis of postgraduate biological sciences training is protocol development, experimental troubleshooting, and data analysis. I fear that, if one hands off steps 1 and 2 to robots, the essence of doctoral training is close to lost. To the extent that researchers are not there to troubleshoot experiments or to understand why they may have worked (trial and error is another important part of the scientific method), they may lack the interesting questions/insights to drive their own research forward. I do, however, think that for more standardized protocols, systems like this are great. For early stage research in new frontiers in science, I’m skeptical.
Thanks for the fantastic post, EBN! I spent a few months advising a federal agency that wanted to identify an approach to automatically enroll Medicaid eligible school children into their free and reduced lunch school programs, and the single largest barrier we encountered was variability in how states collected and stored data. I remember having one school district send me scanned, handwritten documents that contained lunch eligibility for 30,000 students in her district. So, I think that the work of the Canadian government is commendable. Data security does seem to be of grave concern. Even the best data encryption may not prevent employees from sending one another unsecured files with citizen personally identifiable information. Even the most trusted firms in the US fall victim to this, and the US government accounts for their foibles here: https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/breach/breach_report.jsf. Quick question: what did you mean when you noted that the UX should be modified to “behave like a consumer-grade application”? How would this work?
Thanks for the great post, Hartley! Thinking back to our Catalina case, I think that Instacart would be a perfect platform for integrating targeted coupons for consumers. Through your research, did you see any evidence that Instacart might move toward customized digital coupons for frequent users of the service?
Thanks for the great article, A123! I understand that Stitch Fix recently moved into a 90,000-square-foot warehouse to accommodate inventory and shipping. Do you have any insights into how their personalization model might influence their approach to supply chain and inventory management?
Great article, Elyse! One of PillPack’s interesting developments this year is its partnership with PokitDok. The partnership is intended to help Medicare patients understand which drugs are covered through their Part D prescription plan, outline how much they cost, and give them clarity on when their insurance will kick in. I think that this partnership gets right at your suggestion that PillPack continue to differentiate itself with individualized service. With regard to international growth, which markets do you think are most ripe for PillPack?
Rudi! Great article! It’s wonderful to hear about the sustainability work that GSK is doing. There are a number of pharmaceutical companies (including the one I profiled, Novartis) that are working on mitigating the effects of global warming by optimizing sustainability strategy throughout their supply chain. I also think that their efforts to make their vaccines accessible to the most vulnerable populations are venerable. I think that GSK might pull from Novartis’ playbook and use an internal carbon price for project investment decision-making. This approach could contribute to GSK’s continued adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and help it further internalize their emissions/ externalities.
Mike – thank you for your wonderful article! I was unaware of Dibrom’s use for managing Zika’s proliferation but surprised to see that, despite its egregious health effects, it is still so widely used. My own research shows that it is toxic to the human nervous system. Symptoms of exposure include headaches, nausea, and diarrhea! Further still, there appear to be non-negligible environmental/food chain harms created because it is also toxic to aquatic species at the “low end of the food chain,” like aquatic insects and frog larvae; essentially, fish food. It would be great to see AMVAC refine their formulations to address these concerns, as you rightly suggest. The other interesting approach to managing the proliferation of Zika is the use of CRISPR and gene drive technologies. I imagine AMVAC is not in the business of biotechnology, but its worth considering less harmful approaches to managing disease risk, nonetheless.
Thanks so much for your article, Alex. Your post highlighted several issues that prevent climate mitigation strategies from moving forward: (1) lack of understanding or willingness to discuss what is at stake in the climate debate, (2) regulatory capture, (3) the tools of governments and regulators in promoting action on climate, and (4) the critical role of shareholders in moving the climate debate forward, particularly when the agent (Exxon executives) refuses to act rationally. Your post also highlights the grave importance of more blunt, command-and-control legislation to force companies to internalize their externalities. The challenge with the latter, however, is that carbon prices in emissions trading schemes need to be sufficiently high to incentivize innovation to reduce emissions. It is incredibly disappointing to see that Exxon is unwilling to do their part to prevent global warming, but I’m hopeful that more blunt policy tools will right this wrong.
This is an incredibly cool article, Peter! Not least because my husband is a machine learning engineer, I really enjoy hearing about clever applications of these technologies. What surprises me is that Google isn’t using its data center operations as a proof-of-concept to monetize this technology for other industries. What Nest has done for homes DeepMind could do for firm sustainability operations more broadly! Thanks for the great read!
Shreya – thank you for the fabulous read! And “woot woot!” for menstruation posts! I worked for a Smart Tampon start up this summer called NextGen Jane, and we often discussed the challenge of changing consumer behavior (in this case, getting women to make Self-Quantification part of their monthly routine using the biological material in their tampons.) It is quite the challenge to get women to discuss their menstruation and a separate challenge to discuss sustainability, particularly when our tampon/pad/alternative menstruation tool is a sticky part of our lives. In reflecting on this stickiness issue, I wonder if much of it has to do with information asymmetries. That is, I don’t think I’ve ever seen sustainability information on the tampons I pick up. It would be interesting if Natracare made part of its strategy providing women with clear information on brand-specific carbon footprints. Once these information are disclosed, women may be more willing to make a switch.