Eric, thank you for expounding on this topic. Cybersecurity is a popular buzz word but I feel like we rarely dive deeper to understand what the real mechanisms or issues are surrounding the topic. I fully agree with what you said about the insider threat, but I am curious if machine learning can be used to stop an outside threat that has already managed to find a way to tunnel in because of a fault in the code. Would AI be able to find this vulnerability too, or are there several more steps required to raise it to this level of sophistication?
Kaleigh, amazing article. I agree with Baker’s concerns, and I would add another aspect to them. Several of the areas that these organizations operate are in countries with unstable or corrupt governments. The anonymity of the people of that region, in some cases, may be warranted to protect those people. As an example, I have a friend in Uganda that runs a ministry whose location she intentionally keeps secret. She has several children and teen mothers at her site, and requires armed guards to ensure their safety. I would consider keeping this platform closed to the public and only allow access by organizations with proven track records before we open it up for broader use. In the same way the former Army Captain eluded to, it’s imperative that this intelligence gets passed to highly competent and capable organizations such as the Navy to ensure the mission is accomplished efficiently and effectively.
As expected, Nike is doing incredible work at the forefront of the industry by incorporating 3D printing into their manufacturing practices. I was in Rio at the Nike lab when they put these shoes out as prototypes, showcasing the direction they are going. For the skiers out there, much of the quality of a ski boot is tied up in getting a great bootfitter to form and mold the boot and custom insoles perfectly to the skiers foot. They also align the boot to ensure the skier’s joints stack up perfectly when they are skiing to give them more control over the skis. I mention this because it seems very relevant, for example, among runners. Runners put an immense amount of effort into finding a shoe that fits their foot with arch support, toe box, heel fit, pronate and supinate, etc. It seems like Nike could move into the custom shoe market that fits the runner’s foot very well by scaling this technology and finding a way to do DTC work after scanning a person’s foot in the store. Running stores already do things like this by watching runners run in different shoes, and this would be a big hit among distance runners everywhere, not to mention the other potential impacts in other sports.
I think this idea is fascinating. Three thoughts that came to mind for this concept are:
1) this company has huge potential to generate very successful startups, and has space to partner with venture capital firms when a concept is deemed worthy by meeting the crowdfunding and minimum order requirements. The company could even buy equity in the successful companies and generate revenue to invest in other successful ideas.
2) the company is an incredible platform to test low-risk startup ideas to see if they take off. The difficulty will be in determining idea placement to ensure candidates get sufficient visibility to even the playing field for true crowdsourcing.
3) they will have to be very careful about establishing the boundaries for the types of ideas they can successfully place on this platform. For example, if they move to clothing-only, they have the opportunity to partner with clothing manufacturers and be a connector for the entrepreneurs using their platform. But, if they allow the ideas to become too diverse, I am not sure they can deliver on their promise to produce based on the requisite votes and funding.
You addressed my biggest concern as soon as it came to mind, namely, privacy and trust. I love the idea of using AI to lower insurance premiums through behavioral incentives, making it more accessible and affordable. The two examples that come to mind that have succeeded here in the U.S. (not using AI, but with similar goals) were Progressive’s SnapShot program in car insurance (https://www.progressive.com/auto/discounts/snapshot/), and Safeway’s in-house health insurance plan (https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB124476804026308603). In the first, drivers can opt into the program to have their driving monitored. If they drive well while monitored, their rates go down. In the second, employees pay lower premiums for good results on health tests. The benefits are clear. The insurance companies incentivize good behavior through lowered premiums. As a result, people get in less accidents or live healthier, lowering the costs for the consumer and the provider. If the companies can convince people that their data is secure, or use opt-in programs that give them the choice to use their data or not, this will be a significant step in the right direction for healthcare and other types of insurance.
I was fascinated by this idea of scaling by custom capacity vs. scaling in the traditional sense. My first thought when reading about the supply chain and logistics portion was about the uses in the manufacturing industry to reduce inventories required to be held by companies, and to produce on-demand replacement parts for the forseeable future. As a specific example, many auto- and part-manufacturers have to fabricate and maintain a large inventory of spare parts long after the production of a vehicle is complete. It will also support a large but niche industry in restoring classic cars and modifying/customizing hobby cars. For the large-scale auto manufacturers, though, reducing inventory and thereby reducing costs by using AM will make a fantastic case that supports this business model of scaling up 3D printing capacity .
 “How 3D Printing is Redefining Auto Manufacturing”, Article by Gill Devine, Manufacturing Global, July 7, 2017, https://www.manufacturingglobal.com/technology/how-3d-printing-redefining-auto-manufacturing