By John Chambers

This article was originally published on Techonomy.com.

On a balmy evening in July, a large portion of Manhattan was plunged into sudden darkness. People were trapped in elevators, subways were disrupted, and traffic lights stopped working. Lucky for New Yorkers, the power outage only lasted five hours, and was eventually attributed to a burning 13,000 volt cable. Thankfully for all of us, this was not an act of terror — but it easily could have been.

While the wars of the past focused on destroying a country’s physical infrastructure — like bridges and roads — criminals of…

By Peter Wokwicz

This story originally appeared on Techonomy.com.

The overhype around blockchains has somewhat subsided in recent years, and they’re no longer perceived as a panacea to support all transactions, databases, and applications. Nevertheless, blockchains have become a valuable and essential tool for business — and a technology that companies should ignore at their peril.

So, what is blockchain? It’s a distributed ledger that eliminates the need for a trusted central party to facilitate digital transactions. It has the following key features:

  • Consensus: All parties in a blockchain transaction must agree to the same rules.
  • Provenance: All transactions are…

By David Kirkpatrick, Techonomy’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Facebook’s recently-unveiled Libra digital currency is not just one more product announcement. It hints at an entirely new set of strategies for the company that may go considerably beyond its potential for payments and commerce.

Many have correctly noted that Facebook could profit from transactions if it were to host such a mass-scale cryptocurrency on its vast social networks. Wired has a superb overview of the currency plans. But there is more to say.

David Marcus, who heads Facebook’s crypto and currency efforts, is a talented and thoughtful leader with deep roots in…

By Yoav Andrew Leitersdorf

(Courtesy of Shutterstock)

On Bastille Day, July 14, a terrorist in Nice, France turned a cargo truck into a weapon no less destructive than a bomb or gun. Like the 9/11 attacks, the tragedy in Nice illustrated that terrorism’s most dangerous weapons are things we don’t perceive to be weapons.

But what if those things were connected to the Internet? What if terrorists could repeat the Nice attack, with thousands of vehicles, from anywhere in the world?

I ask these grim questions as a venture capital investor. …

By Alexandra Talty

Louis Lebbos and Muhammed Mekki brought a Silicon Valley-vibe to their Dubai incubator, AstroLabs (Photo courtesy of AstroLabs).

It is a Monday afternoon in Dubai’s bustling Jumeriah Lake Towers, or JLT. The development looks like a futuristic scene from the movie Her, with its 80 multi-use skyscrapers jutting dramatically into the skyline. Nestled into “Cluster R” — all clusters are alphabetically-designated, too new to have a name — is one of Dubai’s hottest coworking spaces, AstroLabs.

Conceived by Louis Lebbos and Muhammed Mekki after they launched their own regional e-commerce company, AstroLabs is entering its second year, and hosts 77 startups.

Inside the space, the influence of Silicon Valley is everywhere. On one wall hangs…

By Rahaf Harfoush

In 1998, a generation of kids was introduced to 10-year old Ash Ketchum- a boy finally old enough to pursue his dream of becoming a world-class Pokemon trainer. Unfortunately, Ash overslept on the morning of his ceremony, and by the time he arrived on-site most of the Pokemon had already been given away to other trainers. There was only one left: an ornery small Pikachu, who has zero interest in obeying Ash.

Their relationship was contentious at first. Pikachu refused to enter his Pokeball, and tried repeatedly to escape, forcing Ash to drag him along by a…

By Atticus Mulkey

Garmin’s top of the line “fenix 3” watch now includes a pedometer and activity tracking features. (Image courtesy Shutterstock).

When you next open Facebook take a quick peek at the “More” menu. You might notice that something called “Moves” is featured. Moves is an activity-tracking app that Facebook acquired In 2014. This June, the app was quietly released into the wild. Facebook wants to know when you’re active, and they’re not the only company that’s interested.

I joke sometimes with my running friends that we don’t take our watches on runs; our watches take us on runs. People who run are obsessed with statistics, and watches and other wearables for runners are becoming almost a must-have…

By Jack Lynch

A report from MIT Management Review identifies employees’ concerns with digitally delayed companies (Image courtesy of Shutterstock).

The digital future has taken the corporate world by storm, but many employees are jumping ship. A new study by MIT Sloan Management Review, in collaboration with Deloitte, finds that only 44% of managers and executives believe their company is adequately prepared for digital disruption. Worse, 50% of employees who believe their company is lagging behind in digital innovation plan on leaving that company within a year.

In the report, MIT Sloan and Deloitte identified a number of key characteristics that define digitally adaptive companies, such as a cohesive corporate culture and an eagerness to take on…

By Dan’l Lewin

Civic technology like a new reporting system for the Iowa Caucuses can help make our democracy, and our society, more efficient. (Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

From the aqueducts that supplied water for public use in ancient Rome to the pneumatic tubes that moved trading information from point to point in Victorian England, people have always relied on technology to make civil society more efficient and accessible. Today, more than ever, technology is playing a vital role in our lives as politically engaged citizens.

The rapid evolution of the Internet and the standards-based protocols that have made the World Wide Web a part of our daily lives are already enriching our experience in a variety of civic activities, such as voting.

My favorite…

By Meredith Salisbury

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

Solving any disease is hard, but solving rare disease is a special kind of torture. Take everything that must be accomplished with any old disease — What causes it? Under what circumstances? Who does it affect? How can we prevent it or cure it? — and then toss in a scarcity of cases. When doctors don’t see enough patients with the same condition, just recognizing that there are commonalities between them is a major challenge. …

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