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2018 was a big year for Greater Boston. Remember when we experienced fog sculptures, watched the MIT Media Lab give the internet control of a human being, revived dying organs, and got one step closer to having x-ray vision? To relive some of the craziest innovations of the past year, check out this roundup of the 18 things that blew our minds in 2018. Looking for more? You can also check out these 37 interviews from 2018, featuring innovators working in art and design, health and medicine, and entrepreneurship. All done? Cool. We're ready to move on to the future, too. Here's a list of 19 Boston-area happenings we’re looking forward to in 2019, including an astronaut’s return to space, the opening of the foodie’s dream market, and more.



Could Boston become the global hub for advances in artificial intelligence? Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun thinks so, stating in a new op-ed that, using our experience with life sciences, we could become the world’s leader in shaping this emerging technology. In the Boston area, AI is already being used to spot brain hemorrhages as accurately as humans, identify genetic disorders based on facial analysis, and help self-driving cars get on the road sooner. But although these organizations are using artificial intelligence for good, a group of local AI experts warn that tech companies often misrepresent their intentions surrounding AI; similar to the “greenwashing” done by the fossil fuel industry decades ago, corporate “machinewashing” could distract us from AI’s more harmful uses.



We're kicking off 2019 in Boston with several new transit developments — but instead of planes, trains, and automobiles, we’re talking ferries, buses, and tunnels. A new ferry is slated to connect North Station and the Seaport later this month, but it will initially only serve employees of a few big Seaport companies before maybe opening to the public later this year. New bus lanes are also the works to speed up commutes, but the city is still wrestling with some big questions — including who’s going to pay for them. And riders transferring from the commuter rail to the T at North Station may have noticed that they can now do so completely underground, thanks to a new tunnel beneath Causeway Street. Winter: checkmate.



What do music and farming have in common? You wouldn’t think much, but for our friends at Freight Farms, they go hand-in-hand in their shipping containers-turned-hydroponic farms that can play music while you tend to your crops. Also bringing music to new spaces: Sarasa, a Boston-based chamber ensemble that performs for and works with teens in state custody throughout Massachusetts in an effort to engage young people with music and encourage creative expression. If you’re looking to experience some new music for yourself, you’re in luck: a whole range of artists are performing live in Boston this month, from country singer Kasey Musgraves to hip hop artist Noname.



The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off this week in Las Vegas, bringing together tech companies from around the world to showcase their most cutting-edge innovations. 55 Boston-area organizations are making an appearance this year, including Formlabs, Perceptive Automata, and Pillo Health. Speaking of impressive local innovation, Forbes recently named Akshaya Shanmugam, co-founder and CEO of HUBweek ’18 Demo Day finalist startup Lumme Labs as a Cole Haan Changemaker for her work on creating a wearable device that helps curb addictive behaviors. Thinking of founding your own company? ICYMI, Boston is one of the best places to start a business, especially in the age-tech, biotech, and social impact industries.


One Night Band

Saturday, January 12, 7:00PM, The Sinclair

52 Church Street, Cambridge, MA 02138



AR in Action Industry Summit @ MIT Media Lab 2019

Monday, January 14, 8:00AM—7:00PM, MIT Media Lab

75 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA 02139



1 Million Cups Boston January

Wednesday, January 26, 8:30AM—10:00AM , LearnLaunch

281 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210



Conversation In Civic Innovation: Libraries as Drivers of Civic Engagement

Wednesday, January 26, 5:30PM — 7:30PM, District Hall

75 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210


learn more


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Jeff StewardLINE-8

Director of Digital Infrastructure and Emerging Technology, Harvard Art Museums

Jeff Steward directs the Harvard Art Museums on the use of a wide range of digital technology. He oversees the collections database, API, and photography studio. For the opening of the new Harvard Art Museums in November 2014, he helped launch the Lightbox Gallery, a public research and development space. Steward has worked at museums with museum data since 1999. Areas of research include visualization of cultural datasets; open access to metadata and multimedia material; and data interoperability and sustainability.

Q: The ideas of big data and data science can often seem like sort of a black box to a lot of non-STEM-oriented people, so I'm curious how you go about breaking down barriers and making the museum's data accessible. 

A: I try to walk the line between the two worlds by creating fun demonstrations that may rely on maybe a particular piece of data in our collection, but put it into an interface that's directly relatable for people to respond. I'm a visual thinker, and I'm surrounded by a lot of visual thinkers that work at the museum, so I'm always trying to figure out a way to present things visually so people have something they can respond to, but at same time offer glimpses of the data and the technology that's powering things underneath, so they can peer at it from both directions. In that way I'm not giving preference to one mode of thinking or one discipline. Having said that, I'm very much a science-minded person who studied computer science, so I'm always trying to think  about how  people interact in more — in a science-y term, interface — with the world in different ways. So if you go to our website and look at the menu for our collections...there are two very different interfaces for connecting with our collection: One through straight up visual presentation of the artworks, and another, the Application Programming Interface, is for those who just interact more naturally with the raw data about the collection...It's trying to walk this line between both worlds  —  making things appealing to data science, science-minded people, but at the same time keeping things firmly planted in museum world, in the world of visual culture and visual material.

Read the full interview with this week's Change Maker Jeff Steward

MA-7's newly elected congresswoman Ayanna Pressley sharing her vision for a more inclusive and equitable future at HUBweek 2018.