r/NoSleep Opens Up a Much Needed Conversation about Content Ownership

This Monday r/NoSleep (one of Reddits top 15 subreddits) shuttered its doors – albeit temporarily – due to content theft.

Try it for yourself: https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/ (closed at time of posting)

This blackout is taking a cue from writer T-Jay Lea who’s internet story went viral in 2012. His story The Expressionless, has been taken, adapted hundreds of times without his permission. His reaction was to start The Writers Blackout, a movement to prevent theft of internet writing by YouTubers.

Reddit’s R/NoSleep explains: “The Writer’s Blackout is a movement designed to help authors receive fair compensation from YouTube narrators via direct mediation and/or advice from experienced writers. In addition, this movement strives to provide writers with personal advice on individual negotiations, working out fee options such as revenue percentages, view to dollar ratios or royalty rights. In short, we must stress that the core imperative of the movement is to strictly enforce that writers receive fair pay for their work.”

“Within 24 hours it had exploded,” Lea told Mashable. “I mean *exploded* to the point that Twitter was freaking out over it, Snopes had to run a debunking article on it and YouTube influencers left, right and centre were jumping on it to react.”

“Ultimately, we want to achieve a standard baseline of pay for all writers when negotiating with any content creator that makes substantial profit on various platforms, build bridges with smaller or non-profit channels that can foster good relations as they grow, educate writers on what constitutes fair rates for their work (online adaptations pay differently to a publication, for example), educate narrators on copyright laws, and ensure everyone benefits,” Lea told Mashable.

“Craig Thompson, a YouTuber known as Mini Ladd, issued a public apology after his channel was threatened with deletion due to the copyright strikes it received from NoSleep writers.”

“After a particularly rough week involving our authors having their content stolen, I had the idea of shutting down the subreddit so that the content thieves couldn’t see it to take it,” Druga told Mashable. “Just kind of an angry, irrational thought that grew into an actual idea.”

“So many people think that, because the stories are free to read, they’re also free to use,” lead r/NoSleep moderator, Christine Druga, said. “This is not the case at all. The stories are protected by copyright law the moment they are posted. We’re hoping that closing the subreddit will not only make those who take the content without permission, credit, and/or compensation see that they’ve been doing it wrong and change their ways, but that fans of both r/NoSleep (and anywhere that r/NoSleep content has been shared) will learn about the issue as well so that they can properly support the authors.”

Source: https://mashable.com/article/nosleep-subreddit-private-protest-copyright-theft/

Why It’s Hot?

So much of our jobs is based off of intellectual property. After the years of Barstool Sports, F*ck Jerry and The Fat Jewish stealing intellectual property, we thought these days are behind us. But on the internet, we can’t have nice things. Some of the internet’s most interesting stories come from Reddit, but without recognition, and compensation, we might lose out on some of the great things Reddit (and the internet community at large) has to offer.

This is a great way to bring attention to the content theft, people might not even be  Readers have to understand that “just because it’s free to read, it’s not free to use.”

Forget FOMO


Keeping up with the internet today is time consuming and almost impossible. Set up RSS feeds (yes they still exist), Twitter lists, Youtube channel notifications, email refreshes, phone notifications for all of your apps, that while living a well balanced life is impossible.

Like a super-powered RSS feed, Fraidycat is here to help you.

My Fraidycat home page

Fraidycat works as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox or as an app for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It bundles together all of your favorite internet stuff into one easy-to-read page, much like a super-powered RSS reader. The best part is that it’s not algorithmic like the Social Network That Shall Not Be Named.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2020/2/25/21153460/fraidycat-app-extension-internet-reader-rss-news-blogs-youtube 

How it works:

  1. Drop a link to a favorite website
  2. Label the lik approrpiately
  3. Watch as Fraidycat organizes the content and updates it according to your settings.

The site is lo-fi, reminiscent of the bygone era of individuals creating content, before the giants took over.

Say you want to know what a small, niche YouTuber you like has posted in a single week, but you’d rather know what your favorite tech blog posts every day. You can organize your Fraidycat lists to separate those out, so it’s easy to jump between either based on the frequency or by the individual tags you’ve given each respective item. (You can even use emoji as tags.) Fraidycat will pull new info every five to 10 minutes as it comes in for items designated real-time and once every one to two hours for daily ones. (There’s also self explanatory weekly, monthly, and yearly options.)



Why it’s hot: In a way, it’s bringing back the egalitarianism that made the internet so great in its infancy by dissolving the barriers between networks and allowing people to curate their own personal survailance network.

Seamless launches Seamless+

Seamless launches a paid offering, aligning to DTC trends of paid membership combined with rewards offerings.

For $9.99/month you get unlimited free delivery and 10% cash back.They also integrate donation match and “Elite Care,” an exclusive customer service offering.



Why It’s Hot:

In looking at what drives loyalty vs. what rewards existing loyalty, it’s interesting to see how paid models are making their way into reward programs.

Panera coffee subscription is the new free-wifi, but it costs $9+/month

Panera has launched a coffee subscription as a part of its loyalty program. For $8.99/month, you get unlimited drip coffee — 1 cup every two hours for as long as you can handle it. They may be burning through beans, but what this really means is they’ll be selling a lot more sandwiches.

From Fast Company: “Though Panera is pitching the subscription as a way for you to save money on coffee, Panera’s 150 test locations over the last three months saw subscribers visit three times more frequently and purchase 70% more in add-on items than the average customer. In other words, watch your wallet. These metrics, in addition to a surge of new customers, are inspiring Panera’s quick nationwide rollout.”

Because most Panera locations are suburban, customers tend to drive to the location. When they’ve made the commitment to drive, people are more likely to “bundle” their shopping by also eating at Panera once they’ve picked up their subscriber coffee.

Bonus points: being mostly suburban, Panera also avoids the on-foot, in-and-out commuter coffee buyers who are not likely to purchase any additional goods.

For consumers, it’s a novel way to think about coffee purchase.

For Panera, it seems like a smart way to lure people into their stores, in order to sell them higher-margin products like sandwiches and soups.

Why it’s hot:

1. Data: Registered subscribers will give Panera a huge amount of consumer data that they could use to understand menu preferences by a variety of demographics, as well as better identify core customers and understand their habits.

2. Earn brand loyalty by exploiting commitment bias: If you get someone to buy into the subscription, they are far more likely to continue to go to you for their coffee fix even if they ultimately cancel their subscription as brains subconsciously associate their body’s physiological coffee high with your store, and those neural pathways are difficult (and cognitively costly) to change.

3. It’s a smart lure: A big challenge for suburban food and beverage shops is getting people in the door. This encourages that, and a lot of people who go into a shop to buy coffee end up buying a muffin, or a sandwich, which is where these companies really make their money. If you stay (or return) to Panera to take advantage of the every-two-hour refill, you’re likely to buy even more.

Source: Fast Company

Apple is teaming up with Johnson & Johnson to see if the Apple Watch can reduce stroke risk

Apple and Johnson & Johnson have announced they are teaming up for a new groundbreaking study to see if the digital health tools included on the Apple Watch could help reduce the risk of stroke by detecting anomalies with the heart earlier than a person would become aware of them.

The study, called Heartline, uses a proprietary app along with the ECG sensor on the latest Apple Watches to monitor a wearer for atrial fibrillation (AFib)–one of the leading causes of stroke. Apple Watch Series 4 models and later have an electrical heart sensor built in, which allows the watch to conduct electrocardiograms (ECGs) on wearers. Those ECGs have been regularly praised for saving lives due to their ability to detect AFib.

Now Apple and Johnson & Johnson want to see if the Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram could help identify stroke risk before a stroke happens and thus allow at-risk users to seek medical attention before a critical attack. As noted by Dr. C. Michael Gibson, cochair of the Heartline Executive Committee and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School:

Heartline is a study that has the potential to fundamentally change our understanding of how digital health tools, like the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch, could lead to earlier detection of AFib, helping patients understand and directly engage in their heart health, prompting potentially life-saving conversations with their doctors, and improving health outcomes.

If you’d like to take part in the study, Apple and Johnson & Johnson is seeking volunteers. To qualify you must be 65 years of age or older, be covered under Original (Traditional) Medicare, and own an iPhone 6s or later.

Why it’s hot: Another example of wearables used for (potentially lifesaving) prevention.

Source: FastCo

Snapchat offers mental health intervention

Snapchat has released a beta version of a search tool called “Here For You” that will proactively offer mental health support and resources for those searching for sensitive topics like anxiety, depression, suicide and bullying.

Although not the first platform to offer resourceful tools (Instagram rolled out a “restrict” feature that lets users block abusive comments and Pinterest offers self-directed “emotional wellness activities”), this initiative feels specially relevant for Snapchat since:

1) they have one of the youngest audiences of any social media platform as it reaches 90% of 13-24 y.o, a group who may be the most vulnerable to online bullying on the platform

2) they have the advantage of being considered an intimate space for teens, and therefore a more comfortable place for users to search and, potentially, actually use these tools in needed times

Axios says that this is the first product launch “around what will be a bigger health and wellness push from Snapchat” to be rolled out over the next few months.

Why it’s hot: Social platforms will continue to play a huge role in our lives, especially among the very impressionable teen audience, so it’s reassuring to see how the main platforms are looking for ways to offer specific resources and tools to help those in need. Also, the accessibility to these tools, and awareness of this topic, will continue to normalize mental health.


MIT Technology Review: bit.ly/39VjUol

Social Media Today: bit.ly/38Neawu



Write Your Memoir without Putting Pen to Paper

A new “service called Forevernote, which takes on the task of turning your memories into a memoir on your behalf.” Any life can be a memoir now. “Essentially, Forevernote gives you your own biographer. Sign up yourself or a loved one for the service and whether you’re looking to share a few short snippets of advice or a full detailed account of someone’s life, a trained biographer will help you shape your narrative and get you ready for a one-on-one interview.”

The one on one interview is transcribed and written by you or professional editors at Forevernote.


Why it’s hot?

This addresses a niche gap in the market. They could incorporate innovation if they are using AI at all to transcribe interviews or even right.

Facebook allows political campaigns to sponsor content on both IG and FB

These are among the nearly 30 Instagram accounts have posted memes for Bloomberg:

@fuckjerry (14.9 million followers)

@GrapeJuiceBoys (2.7 million followers)

@Tank.Sinatra (2.3 million followers)

@KaleSalad (3.5 million followers)

@ShitheadSteve (5.3 million followers)

@moistbudda (2.2 million followers)

@WhitePeopleHumor (4.3 million followers)

@cohmedy (3.7 million followers)

@FourTwenty (3.8 million followers)

@DrGrayFang (2 million followers)

@TheFunnyIntrovert (2.4 million followers)


Reuters reported last week that political campaigns can now sponsor content on Facebook as well, not just Instagram.

To use Facebook’s branded content tool, political campaigns or groups must be authorized as political advertisers through the company’s ID verification process.

Why it’s hot: Political campaigns might believe they can rely on sponsored influencer content to influence young voters, but young voters might not be as easily influenced as politicians might think.

Sources: One, two, three

Capitalizing on Alternative Uses

In time for the Oscar’s, google released “Find Your Scene” a 60-second spot that garnered over 11 million views on YouTube in just over a week.

Using UGC (user generated content), the spot features footage from famous YouTubers and regular folks to highlight how Google Maps can pinpoint (and provide directions to) famous movie locations (check out: Rocky StepsDoc Brown’s house or the beach from the Goonies).

Why It’s Hot:
Google capitalizes on the trend of Cinematic Tourism to showcase a feature that the product has had for a long time; the surprise and delight comes from the unusual use of the service.


The First Toy To Integrate with Amazon Alexa

Soon, toddlers can ask Alexa for help cooking in their very own toy kitchen. The Alexa 2-in-1 Kitchen and Market, from toymaker KidKraft, weaves in the Amazon voice assistant into an interactive pretend kitchen and grocery store.


Making its debut at this weekend’s New York Toy Fair, the $300 deluxe wooden play set is expected to go on sale at Amazon.com later this year, and includes 100 play pieces that prompt various reactions from Alexa. Not included: Alexa itself, which would come from their parents’ Echo smart speaker, designed to sit at the center of the play set.

KidKraft created a program that works in the Amazon Alexa world that helps kids learn about cooking meals and shopping as they play, without having to say “Alexa” to get the assistant to react. Once the parent or child asks Alexa to start the KidKraft program, the smart speaker reacts to everyday words and phrases kids may say during play. So, if Alexa picks up on a kid saying “spaghetti,” “market” or “let’s play,” Alexa will chime in with prompts for a recipe, a shopping list of ingredients, or start up a game.

But Alexa is not just responding to kids’ voices — it can also tell which items kids are playing with and react accordingly. The accessories in the play set, which include fake food and cookware, are fitted with RFID chips, and sensors can tell which items are at the register or on the stovetop. The play set then relays that info to the smart speaker via Bluetooth. That means when a child places the pot on the stove, Alexa may say, “Now that the water is boiling, can you open up the fridge and grab some vegetables?”

The play set is also programmed with several games Alexa can play. For example, the “Secret Ingredient Game” challenges kids to guess which food Alexa is thinking of based on clues. Then kids have to scan the right item at the check-out counter.

To address any concerns over kids interacting with voice assistants, Amazon requires Alexa programs for kids — including this one made by KidKraft — to follow stricter content guidelines. Programs for kids can’t include any advertising, sell anything, collect any personal information or include content that is not suitable for all ages.

Why It’s Hot

As toy companies determine the balance of technology and analog, tactile ways to play, this kitchen set seems like a great first step into how to upgrade a classic toy without the use of screens or interfering with imaginative free play.


Google AI no longer sees gender

Google has decided it wants to avoid potential gender bias in its AI system for identifying images, so it’s choosing to simply use the designator “person” instead.

From The Verge:

The company emailed developers today about the change to its widely used Cloud Vision API tool, which uses AI to analyze images and identify faces, landmarks, explicit content, and other recognizable features. Instead of using “man” or “woman” to identify images, Google will tag such images with labels like “person,” as part of its larger effort to avoid instilling AI algorithms with human bias.

“In the email to developers announcing the change, Google cited its own AI guidelines, Business Insider reports. “Given that a person’s gender cannot be inferred by appearance, we have decided to remove these labels in order to align with the Artificial Intelligence Principles at Google, specifically Principle #2: Avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias.”

Why it’s hot:

It’s interesting to see AI companies grapple with the reality of human social life, and navigate the shifting waters of public mores.

Avoiding bias is a major issue in society, and it’s very important that the companies building AI don’t build their human bias into it. But with any new technology, there can be unintended and unpredictable consequences down the line, from even seemingly innocuous or universally accepted ideas.

Source: The Verge

Skincare + AI: Making Mass Personalization Easy

A skincare startup is tackling the complexity consumers face when navigating the category to select the best products for their skincare needs. Rather than adding to the clutter of products, ingredients and “proprietary formulas”, or attempting to educate consumers through exposure to research + science, Proven Skincare simply prescribes personalized solutions for each individual.

After collecting customer input based around 40 key factors, Proven Skincare’s AI combs through a comprehensive database of research, testimonials and dermatology expertise, to identify the best mix of ingredients for each person’s situation.

Ming Zhao, Proven’s CEO, co-founded the company while struggling with her own skincare issues.

“The paradox of choice, the confusion that causes this frustrating cycle of trial and error, is too much for most people to bear,” says Zhao on the latest edition of Ad Age’s Marketer’s Brief podcast. “There’s a lot of cycles of buying expensive product, only for it to then sit on somebody’s vanity shelf for months to come.”

As the human body’s largest organ, skin should be properly cared for—using products and ingredients that have been proven to work for specific individuals. That’s the core mission behind Proven Skincare, a new beauty company that has tapped technology to research the best skincare regimen for consumers.

Why It’s Hot: In a world where the benefits of things like AI and big data are not often apparent to the “average” person, this is an example of technology that solves a real human problem, while remaining invisible (i.e. it’s not about the tech).

The Network Effect

Andreessen Horowitz, the notable VC firm who had early investments in the likes of Facebook and Lyft recently announced ” The Marketplace 100,” a ranking of the largest and fastest-growing consumer-facing marketplace startups and private companies.

They determined the rankings by looking at US credit card data to understand where consumers are actually spending their money.

Here are the key takeaways from the Marketplace 100:

  • Four marketplace startups– Airbnb, Doordash, Instacart, and Postmates– account for 76% of consumer spending.
  • Travel, food, and groceries are the largest categories.
  • Emerging categories include celebrity shout-out services, streetwear sites, fitness memberships, and even car wash providers.
  • Some marketplaces are growing really fast—3x to 5x year-over-year.

Why it’s hot:
Collectively, millions of individuals and small businesses make a living operating on these platforms, where hundreds of billions of dollars of goods and services trade hands each year. By possessing powerful network effects, marketplaces can become huge economies themselves.

A whopper of a success

Breaking the mold.

This is predictable but someone had to do it. The have it your way king finally gave it your way to less preservatives but a more competitive mindset. First the Impossible burger, and now no preservatives?

The ad displays a majestic coat of mold that attaches itself to a pristine 28 day old whopper. Doesn’t that make you hungry!

There is nothing more real than food decay. I feel this fits into a larger trend that reverts back to real, not just in food. Looking at more natural bodies in Aerie ads and the non-retouched photos on Urban Decay’s Instagram page. The fact that more cosmetic companies launching and releasing lighter coverage foundations that aren’t meant to cover every flaw. This kind of harsh humor making fun of facts about yourself being socially awkward or depressed. Finding the light in things that aren’t perfect.

This seems like a perfect time to land with something like this.

Especially when McDonald was quicker on the no preservatives bandwagon since September 2018. But didn’t have quite a splash as much as this one did. Especially on the defensive when and Icelander bought and then went on to live stream a 10 year old McDonald’s burger and fries for the world to see the non-decay. 

I sent the 10 year old McDonald’s burger to a cousin and she said,

“…you made me not wanna eat McDonald’s. Like i knew it was bad but i do not like to be reminded.”

What was interesting was when i told her to eat Burger King when she needed a fast food fix she just said ‘i haven’t had BK in a hot minute’ which maybe won’t flip her to Burger King.

Some other perspectives.


Activate This ‘Bracelet of Silence,’ and Alexa Can’t Eavesdrop

Last year, Ben Zhao decided to buy an Alexa-enabled Echo speaker for his Chicago home. Mr. Zhao just wanted a digital assistant to play music, but his wife, Heather Zheng, was not enthused. “She freaked out,” he said.

Ms. Zheng characterized her reaction differently. First she objected to having the device in their house, she said. Then, when Mr. Zhao put the Echo in a work space they shared, she made her position perfectly clear:“I said, ‘I don’t want that in the office. Please unplug it. I know the microphone is constantly on.’”

Mr. Zhao and Ms. Zheng are computer science professors at the University of Chicago, and they decided to channel their disagreement into something productive. With the help of an assistant professor, Pedro Lopes, they designed a piece of digital armor: a “bracelet of silence” that will jam the Echo or any other microphones in the vicinity from listening in on the wearer’s conversations.

The bracelet is like an anti-smartwatch, both in its cyberpunk aesthetic and in its purpose of defeating technology. A large, somewhat ungainly white cuff with spiky transducers, the bracelet has 24 speakers that emit ultrasonic signals when the wearer turns it on. The sound is imperceptible to most ears, with the possible exception of young people and dogs, but nearby microphones will detect the high-frequency sound instead of other noises.

“It’s so easy to record these days,” Mr. Lopes said. “This is a useful defense. When you have something private to say, you can activate it in real time. When they play back the recording, the sound is going to be gone.”

During a phone interview, Mr. Lopes turned on the bracelet, resulting in static-like white noise for the listener on the other end.

As American homes are steadily outfitted with recording equipment, the surveillance state has taken on an air of domesticity. Google and Amazon have sold millions of Nest and Ring security cameras, while an estimated one in five American adults now owns a smart speaker. Knocking on someone’s door or chatting in someone’s kitchen now involves the distinct possibility of being recorded.

It all presents new questions of etiquette about whether and how to warn guests that their faces and words could end up on a tech company’s servers, or even in the hands of strangers.

By design, smart speakers have microphones that are always on, listening for so-called wake words like “Alexa,” “Hey, Siri,” or “O.K., Google.” Only after hearing that cue are they supposed to start recording. But contractors hired by device makers to review recordings for quality reasons report hearing clips that were most likely captured unintentionally, including drug deals and sex.

Two Northeastern University researchers, David Choffnes and Daniel Dubois, recently played 120 hours of television for an audience of smart speakers to see what activates the devices. They found that the machines woke up dozens of times and started recording after hearing phrases similar to their wake words.

“People fear that these devices are constantly listening and recording you. They’re not,” Mr. Choffnes said. “But they do wake up and record you at times when they shouldn’t.”

Rick Osterloh, Google’s head of hardware, recently said homeowners should disclose the presence of smart speakers to their guests. “I would, and do, when someone enters into my home, and it’s probably something that the products themselves should try to indicate,” he told the BBC last year.

The “bracelet of silence” is not the first device invented by researchers to stuff up digital assistants’ ears. In 2018, two designers created Project Alias, an appendage that can be placed over a smart speaker to deafen it. But Ms. Zheng argues that a jammer should be portable to protect people as they move through different environments, given that you don’t always know where a microphone is lurking.

At this point, the bracelet is just a prototype. The researchers say that they could manufacture it for as little as $20, and that a handful of investors have asked them about commercializing it.

Source: NY Times

Why It’s Hot

Voice tech spawns voice protection tech. We can assume innovation to protect us from innovation is a trend worth following.

Apps Streamed in stead of Downloaded, think of all the Storage!!

I have been having the same phone problem for about a year now. I don’t have much storage on my phone so I’ll resort to picking and choosing which app stays and which app goes. Its like a heartbreaking rose ceremony for my apps every week. So when I saw this, I was ON BOARD.

AppStreamer, which is middle ware that sits between apps and operating system, would cut storage needs down to 85% on Android phones. It predicts when to fetch data from the cloud server. AT&T Lab Research lent its data to from cellular networks to help this paper. Unsure if its for all phone types. But mostly tested or intended for gaming apps, this new software will allow smartphones to stream the applications on your phone only the time that you are using them. Much like a Netflix show or movie.

This helps apps because it doesn’t have to worry about large visuals and heavy code slowing down the gaming application running on your system or taking up a lot of space on a users phone leading to deletion (like me) or using a ton of their cellular network data. Helps 5G run better because instead of having to connect to many different applications it just connects to AppStreamer, lessening the load on 5G.

I’m saying gaming, because that’s what its intended to solve. But it can work on virtually any app.

In fact, researchers on AppStreamer use edge computing, (oooo). Which is just using the edge of servers when in-taking information and sending information, located in cellphone towers which are closer than the cloud. But less reliable! (ahhh) Bagchi’s lab is interested and working towards ways to make edge computing more reliable.  Because of the proximity, researchers think it can be more for just your silly phone, it could be used in self-driving cars communicating in milliseconds to servers that are close, which in-turn makes it more safe.

Welcome to the wonderful world of streaming, you don’t have to own it OR download it to use it, have it, or be charged for it.

Also, I can only imagine the wealth of information something like this could have or lack there of.

Researchers presented their findings on the 18th to the International Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks in Lyon, France.

UNTIL IT COMES OUT, i’ll be having a rose ceremony tomorrow night and out goes VSCO, i’m sure of it. And all the Instagram models will cry, and cry.


Tackling the opioid epidemic with digital rehab

A new company called Boulder is launching a digital rehab program. Boulder uses both medication like buprenorphine and peer support to help people recover from opioid addiction. It has raised $10.5 million in venture funding, led by Tusk Venture Partners, and signed a deal with the insurer Premera. The payer plans to give its members in Alaska access to Boulder in April and eventually expand to all two million members across the Northwest. Premera will pay Boulder a monthly flat rate for each patient, so the company can tailor each treatment program to the individual and keep it going for as long as they need.

Telemedicine and online drug prescription represent an opportunity to reach people suffering from opioid addiction on their own schedule. Instead of traveling to a dedicated rehab center that may not be close to home, a patient can come to Boulder through a hospital. Once inside the hospital, a doctor hands their patient a tablet loaded with Boulder’s software, and the patient conducts their first session over video there.

Over video chat, a doctor will then determine whether the person is an appropriate candidate for treatment with Suboxone, a medication that combines both buprenorphine, an opioid pain reliever, and naloxone, which blocks opioid effects. If they are, the doctor calls in the prescription to a local pharmacy and then rush-ships patients a kit with Narcane, a nasal spray version of naloxone that can bring someone back from an overdose, spit tubes for tests, and educational pamphlets to the patient. In an initial pilot in Southern Oregon, 85% of 100 patients stuck with the treatment program for eight months; 0nly one person went to the hospital because of relapse in that time.

Once a physician determines a person’s Suboxone regimen, patients are expected to conduct spit tests to check that they are adhering to their medication and to see if they’re using other substances. While on video conference with their physician, a patient spits into a tube, which they then mail in. Alternatively, the patient records themselves doing the spit test and then mails in the sample. Unlike in other programs, where a relapse might get a patient kicked out, at Boulder, if a person relapses, the doctor adjusts the treatment accordingly. The hope is that by taking a less punitive approach, patients won’t be inclined to send in fake results.

Though addiction treatment in general is not standardized, typical inpatient programs last 90 days or less, and outpatient programs can vary even more. Where a digital approach has the biggest potential is allowing physicians to create personalized programs in terms of the duration of peer support, dosage of medication, and how long a person stays on medication.

In addition to a doctor and medication, patients have access to a care advocate, who, much like a social worker, helps a patient with housing or finding a new job, and a peer coach, who offers emotional support as the patient works through sobriety. Unlike most treatment programs, this one has no end date. Patients can continue to be on Suboxone for as long as they feel necessary to mitigate their addiction.

Boulder does not have psychiatrists or therapists on its staff of care providers, but its insurance partner Premera plans to play a role in connecting patients to behavioral health near them. In addition to matching them to existing care providers, the company is hoping to fund new behavioral health facilities in rural communities through a series of grants worth a combined $15.7 million.

Why it’s Hot:

While the program is new and its efficacy remains to be seen, at a glance this looks like a really smart digital solution for a nationwide problem. For Premera, they stand to position themselves as a premier insurance provider for addiction treatment, which is a growing market. For Boulder, they could play a key role in shifting how we approach the opioid epidemic.


Filling Food Prescriptions

Image result for free stock photography supermarket fruits and veg

Kroger, a US supermarket chain, is testing out a new service that has shoppers filling their food prescriptions. Born from the realization that doctors’ nutritional advice to patients is often vague – we’ve all heard “eat healthier”- the initiative pairs shoppers with aisle side assistance from nutritionists. The ideas is that dieticians can make more specific recommendations that make the doctor’s advice more actionable. Nutritionists take into considertaion budget, cooking skills and lifestyle when making recommendations.

The pilot launched last spring in Kroger’s hometown of Cincinnati, OH. In its current form, diabetes patients work with a local physician who makes dietary recommendations they can then take to a nutrition expert at a Kroger in Forest Park, OH. The prescription itself is actually just a shopping list of food items that have been tailored to the patient’s specific medical condition.

Source: https://thespoon.tech/kroger-is-testing-food-as-medicine-with-food-prescriptions-for-customers/

Why it’s hot:
Talk about added value! Kroger is talking to people in the right place and the right time and going above and beyond.


Budweiser flips label for social sharing: meet the #SelfieBud

Budweiser created a specialized labeling for social sharing as part a massive promotional effort around the Super Bowl. The SelfieBud special edition label is printed backward so it appears normal in selfies on social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

Although Budweiser also launched a traditional Super Bowl commercial (minus Clydesdales), they know they need to do more than just a TV spot to stay relevant with younger audiences. The SelfieBud was part of a bigger experiential marketing campaign involving a BudX Hotel takeover that featured influencers with significant followings on social media.

Influencer marketing strategies are forecast to become more popular, with brands spending as much as $15 billion on such campaigns by 2022, according to  Business Insider estimates based on data from influencer marketing agency Mediakix.


Why it’s hot:

-In today’s always-on world where it can feel like we’re all sharing similar experiences or at least similar stylistic aesthetics on social, original and exclusive experiences drive social currency for brands.

-Adapting your packaging to be more “user-centric” in order to solve a problem or demonstrate you understand your audience’s pain points (remember Snickers’ sassy wrappers?) is a fun way to drive excitement and, hopefully engagement for your brand.

Delta’s turned Minority Report technology into a reality

Delta Airline is adopting new screen technology to add another layer of personalization to customer journeys.

Delta has struck up a partnership with technology company Misapplied Sciences to launch the Parallel Reality beta experience for flyers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Parallel Reality displays are an opt-in technology which, according to Misapplied Sciences, allow ‘a hundred or more’ consumers to view personalized content tailored to their unique journey needs via a single screen.

For Delta, adopting this technology means providing new way-finding opportunities: from displaying only relevant flight information to the viewer and translating that information into a language of the consumer’s choice.

For the beta launch in Detroit, almost 100 customers will be able to view content personalized to their needs. The partnership was announced at CES 2020, which makes Delta the first airline to keynote and exhibit at the event.

Why it’s hot: Delta is taking an existing technology and transforming it into a tool to improve customer experience. It’s taking the idea of one-to-one communication and personalization to the next level. Not to mention the company’s commitment to digital transformation unveiling several other consumer innovations alongside Parallel Reality at CES 2020. The announcements included an expanded partnership with ride-hailing company Lyft to help streamline journeys, a new AI-driven machine learning platform that analyses millions of data points, and even a wearable robotic exoskeleton for its employees.

Source: Contagious.io

Tool to Help Journalists Spot Doctored Images Is Unveiled by Jigsaw

A doctored, phony image of President Barack Obama shaking hands with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. A real photograph of a Muslim girl at a desk doing her homework with Donald J. Trump looming in the background on television.

It is not always easy to tell the difference between real and fake photographs. But the pressure to get it right has never been more urgent as the amount of false political content online continues to rise.

On Tuesday, Jigsaw, a company that develops cutting-edge tech and is owned by Google’s parent, unveiled a free tool that researchers said could help journalists spot doctored photographs — even ones created with the help of artificial intelligence.

Jigsaw, known as Google Ideas when it was founded, said it was testing the tool, called Assembler, with more than a dozen news and fact-checking organizations around the world. They include Animal Politico in Mexico, Rappler in the Philippines and Agence France-Presse. It does not plan to offer the tool to the public.

We observed an evolution in how disinformation was being used to manipulate elections, wage war and disrupt civil society,” Jared Cohen, Jigsaw’s chief executive, wrote in a blog post about Assembler. “But as the tactics of disinformation were evolving, so too were the technologies used to detect and ultimately stop disinformation.”

The tool is meant to verify the authenticity of images — or show where they may have been altered. Reporters can feed images into Assembler, which has seven “detectors,” each one built to spot a specific type of photo-manipulation technique.

When an image has been manipulated — for instance, two images were merged together or something was deleted from the background — traces of the changes may be left behind. With a computer program that has been trained to learn from being shown example after example of what it should detect, Assembler can analyze an image and highlight where it thinks those traces are.

Source: NY Times

Why it’s Hot

We rely on the integrity of news coverage, but more and more we have to doubt everything we see. This is a good example of a use of technology that can impact society in a positive way, driving clarity among those responsible for informing us with the truth every day.