The HUBweekly is HUBweek's weekly newsletter, featuring a snapshot of the big ideas and innovations in art, science, and tech coming out of the Greater Boston area. You can find this week's full edition here. Want these insights, plus events, interviews, and more, delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to the HUBweekly here.
1. A LOOK BACK, A LOOK AHEAD
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.
2. NOT MACHINE WASHABLE
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.
3. GETTING AROUND TOWN
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.
4. THE SOUND OF MUSIC
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.
5. STARTING UP 2019
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.