Health Care Is Broken. Google Thinks Oscar Health Can Fix It

Wired 14 Aug 2018 04:00 Mario Schlosser, the CEO of Oscar Health, wants technology to cure what ails the health care industry. And now Alphabet, Google's parent company, is betting $375 million on this digital panacea. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters In the late 1990s, two graduate students named in Stanford’s computer science department set out to organize the world’s information. Shortly thereafter, a visiting scholar named Mario Schlosser arrived on campus, set on figuring out how trust could be built into peer-to-peer networks. The original server used by the graduate students, who were now running a little outfit named Google, had formerly been crammed under a desk in the office Schlosser now used. Now, twenty years later, the graduate students have done OK, and they no longer need to borrow server space. But they’ve continually been stifled by one kind of information that’s very hard to organize: health care data. The industry in America is a mess: yoked together with confusing regulations, perverse incentives, and computers running Windows XP. Meanwhile, Schlosser, has moved on from academia and created a company, called Oscar, with Joshua Kushner (brother of Jared) to try to solve those problems. The goal of Oscar is to do to health care what Uber did to the taxi industry: use smart digital technology to make everything faster and easier for customers, and then use the data gathered to build radically new services, which can collect more data that leads to new services. (Ideally, Oscar would like to accomplish this without cracking as many eggs on its own head as Uber did.) Google invested early in Oscar through its venture capital fund Capital G and its health services spinoff, Verily. But today they’re announcing a much larger, and more strategic, investment, through the parent company Alphabet, of roughly $375 million. Neither company will give exact figures, but it seems that Alphabet will now own roughly ten percent of the Oscar. One of Google earliest employees, Salar Kamangar, the former CEO of YouTube, will also join Oscar’s board. I spoke with Schlosser for an hour on Monday about the deal, privacy, data, and whether, one day, we’ll actually treat our gastroenteritis through an app. Nicholas Thompson: Good morning, Mario. It’s a pleasure to talk to you. Thanks for speaking with WIRED. Mario Schlosser: Good morning, Nick. It’s a great pleasure talking to you. NT: Thank you. So you just raised a lot of money. You’ve already raised a lot from Capital G and from Verily, so this sounds more like a strategic partnership. What do you get out of it? MS: We’re humbled that Alphabet’s coming in. We raised our first round of funding from Capital G three years ago and since then they’ve been following us closely, seeing what we’ve been building, and Alphabet has come to the conclusion that they want to put more behind the company. It’s fantastic for us because it will really allow us to focus fully on the core model we’ve been building for the past 6 years, which is: use technology, use data, use design, use a human approach to build a very different health care experience. And that’s what this allows us to do. NT: And why are you doing it now? You just raised a lot of money at a pretty similar valuation in March. MS: So we weren’t out there trying to raise additional money. We raised a round a couple of months ago. But Alphabet has just been talking to us for the past three years, and it took them awhile to get to the point where they really said, “This is something we believe in and want to put more money behind.” NT: So it’s kind of like they’ve been chatting with you, you guys have been going out to dinner, and now they’re asking you maybe to move in with them? Is that the status of the relationship? MS: Well, they’re a financial investor, and they’re still a minority shareholder, so it’s a good trajectory for an ongoing relationship. NT: Alright, so you’re dating but you’re not moving in together yet. Why are you interested in a deep strategic relationship with Alphabet? It obviously has financial benefits but also has certain costs. MS: So, again, first of all it’s a financial transaction, right? They’re making an investment and, of course, Salar [Kamangar] is joining the board. It’s not that we have anything else to announce in terms of deeper ties at this point. Now, I do think we’ve benefited a tremendous amount over the past few years from being in touch with them in a good way. From my point of view, they’ve always been among the technology companies I've admired the most. They are the smartest in my view when it comes to data; they’re the smartest when it comes to the building of pure technology. I’m thrilled about that as a vote of confidence that I think is hard to parallel in today’s world. NT: What are you going to do with all the money you’re getting? MS: First and foremost, really make sure we invest and continue to invest in our differentiation. We were the first greenfield health insurance company in New York State in about 25 years or so. Trying to change how the health care system in the US operates by starting an insurance company wasn't an idea that really anybody else had at that point. The other thing we did over the past six years is really very methodically rebuild the entire infrastructure we have from the ground up. We have our own claims system we’ve been building, we have our own clinical management system, we built our networks ourselves—pretty much everything that we do internally to manage people’s health care was reinvented and rebuilt from a technology perspective. And so that’s what we can now go faster toward. We can hire more engineers, we can hire more data scientists, more product designers, more smart clinicians who can think about health care a different way. It’s the acceleration of that product roadmap that fascinates us the most. The second, more tangible piece, is that we’re launching new product lines. And the most notable one will be Medicare Advantage for 2020. So we’re coming into an additional business segment. We’re in the individual market, we’re in the small employer market, and we’re going into Medicare Advantage in 2020. NT: And so how big a part of your business do you expect that to be? Right now, you have three parts: You have individual people who get insurance, you have companies, and now you’re going to Medicare? Is that correct? MS: Yes, exactly right, yes. NT: And what will be the revenue split from those three categories? MS: You know, that’s a good question. I would expect them to be equally successful. What all these markets fit into is a high-level view that US health care will individualize over the next however many years. The biggest reason why the fax machine is still more valuable than the smartphone in health care is because you as an individual generally aren't buying your health care and your health insurance by yourself. There are all kinds of middlemen in that process. And what the middlemen do for the most part is remove the competition in the health care value chain that would go towards building something that’s a compelling, seamless user experience. They remove the cost containment pressures as well. That’s one big reason why health costs in the US have risen so much. In the end, you as an individual can’t really vote with your own feet, and oftentimes don’t even realize how much health care costs behind the scenes. NT: I want to talk about one of the most interesting decisions that you’ve made is to use what you call a narrow network. So every health insurance company comes out there, says we want better care, we want lower costs, and all the other ones also say we want a bigger network. You actually are saying, we want a smaller network. How do you use data to prune doctors from your network, and how did you make the decision to try to entice people with a smaller network of doctors? MS: First of all, the high level motivation for this comes from the fact that we’re spending a fifth of our GDP on health care and every other rich country is at half that. And so the system we have is already way too costly. The other interesting phenomenon is that cost in US health care has never really been proven or shown in any way to be correlated to quality of outcomes. If you go into the market of, let's say cars or phones, you expect there to be a correlation between how much you pay—you pay more money, you get a faster car with higher gas mileage. That isn’t the case in health care. You have an equal chance of going to a high-cost doctor or a low-cost doctor and getting the same outcome, the same satisfaction, the same sort of readmission rate. NT: Well, is that true because the system’s screwed up? Or because we don't know how to measure quality? If we had better measurements of quality do you think the data would suggest that it correlates more with price? MS: So, you should ask yourself why we don't have better measurements of quality. And in my view that is a secondary function of the root cause of having a screwed-up system. In a system where every network is broad, where insurance largely gets sold through big employers, where there’s a big incentive to keep everybody in the network, where there isn’t the kind of competitive pressure on the value chain, there isn't that much of a reason to develop a better correlation between cost and outcomes, or even visibility into how certain parts of the system perform. Who is going to measure it at that level if most providers get paid on a fee-for-service basis for anything that they do? It’s not in anybody’s immediate business model that they actually start paying attention to this. I'm not trying to be cynical about this, but to me, that’s the reason why you haven’t seen bigger investments in data infrastructures in health care that would even allow you to start deriving these kinds of metrics. When we go into new cities, we find health systems that want to build a differentiated experience with us in a different network design. The way we get data about the doctors working with those systems is oftentimes literally Excel files from these systems, and they come on a quarterly basis, and they’re 30 to 40 percent wrong. Why is that? Because the biggest purpose for these data files is for claims to get paid. This data wasn’t built for driving better clinical outcomes, attaching better clinical payloads to the data transmissions, for having more real-time insights and things like that. It’s a payments system first and foremost, and that’s it. The only way to unlock that and to actually build a product that can get lower unit costs by having fewer doctors and hospitals at the same or even better quality with better user satisfaction—that would be the model in a nutshell—is if you have user engagement. If members of Oscar realize from the beginning that if they need a doctor, if they need help, they can come to Oscar first—they can go and search in the app, they can talk to their Concierge team, they can use us to make appointments, and we will take care of all of that. We will have the right data flows, the right tools, the right metrics, to make sure we hold the doctors accountable and make sure that whatever happens to you, whether it's a small thing or a really big thing in your life, you’ll get the best possible care at the right point in time. NT: Before we dig into that though, back to the narrow network for a second. If data is so screwed up in health care, because good data would change and perhaps undermine all of health care, how can you be completely confident in your decisions about what doctors to let into your network, who to partner with, and how to measure patient quality of care? It’s like a chicken or egg problem. MS: Because as the insurance company, we already have a lot more data than anybody else in the system. That’s the key reason to me why I felt we had to be an insurance company from the very beginning. If you try to go to employers and get their data, if you try to go to health systems to get their data, you’ll have a limited view. We see in real-time what’s happening, and that’s a huge difference. Now the other interesting thing here is that you have to really rebuild that data infrastructure. Most partners and vendors in health care, the big drug vendors, the big imaging vendors and so on, are not set up for anything close to real-time data transmission. And that’s been one of the most interesting conversations for us from the beginning. We sort of say, “Hey we want to have this in real time,” and then we get looked at as if we have three heads, because it’s not clear to people the importance for anybody else in the system to have more real-time visibility. But we’ve consistently seen that seeing what is happening with somebody in real-time has one of the biggest possible impacts on whether that person would be willing to take advice and think differently about their care and so on. NT: So that brings us to the Concierge system. You’ve built this sort of incredible system where you have, as I understand it, nurses who talk to patient groups and you have far more communication than any other health insurance company. Was that set up because you wanted to transform how health care works, or was it also set up because it makes for really great data collection which then leads to your ability to improve all of your systems and all of your care? MS: So it’s really about the fact that we would like for members to see Oscar as the entry point to health care. The only way to build trust with an Oscar member is to be in any conversation from the very beginning, and that’s what the Concierge team does. It’s a six-person team. One of the six people is a nurse, they’ve got several people sitting behind them that can do things like, discover the right physician for the right case, escalate issues, and things like that. And whenever you talk to us, you’ll talk to one of these six people. That builds an amount of trust that you otherwise wouldn't get. There are very simple, tactical things like, when we show you the pictures of those six people in the app, you have a 25 percent increase in probability of sending that team a message when you see the pictures versus when you don’t see the pictures. Once we build that trust, and when it goes the other direction, when we see something in your data that prompts the team to reach out to you, you will have a much higher chance of picking up the phone, responding to the chat, and so on. To give you some data behind this, in a given week, 25 percent of members will be in some shape or form engaged with Oscar—they’re using the app, they’re in the website, they're talking to the Concierge team. If you only look at those members who end up going to an urgent care clinic or an emergency room, which is sort of like a high acute utilization of health care that often isn't very efficient, then 80 percent of those will have used the product in some shape or form in the week leading up to the event. And then oftentimes we can reach out to make sure you can go see a doctor, in the same afternoon, without having to go to the emergency room. We can give you a different recommendation of where to go, we can help you directly with our own telemedicine physicians. We can connect the dots in a different kind of way. NT: Before we talk about the telemedicine thing, I just want to make sure I understand that statistic correctly. Eighty percent of Oscar customers who go to the ER have talked to the concierge team or been in touch with Oscar at some point in the previous week? Don’t you want that number to go down? Wouldn’t you want the number of people who chat with your app to be less likely to go to the ER? MS: Yes, that’s exactly right. And that’s what we have to do. People just need to go to the right place of care. NT: The ideal scenario would be to model out what are the interactions they have with you, what are the odds they go to the ER, what are the odds that ER trip was necessary. Once you have that data, then to be able to interact with them differently in certain situations so that some of them go to the ER sooner and some of them don’t go to the ER. MS: Yes, that’s exactly right. And to give you an example of how that works in our systems, we have a clinical segmentation model that categorizes members into different levels of complexity of their ongoing health care that is driven by all kinds of real-time data points—the moment a new drug comes in, the moment a new lab test comes in, this gets updated in real-time, so we have a very nice real-time view into the complexity of somebody’s health care history. When a nurse calls you back or the Concierge team comes back to you, we visualize your health care history through our own tool, Grouper, that’s sort of like a beautiful, easily accessible tool of way for a clinician to understand your health care history. So we can tell in real-time what kind of care you’ve had in the past and then based on that make sure you talk to the right person inside of Oscar or on the telemedicine team to then get you to the right provider afterwards. NT: That makes sense. Tell me more about telemedicine. Where is it heading? When does it get to the point where a significant percentage of care can just be done digitally through the app by doctors? MS: Yeah, we have a staff of doctors that takes telemedicine calls and secure messages. We were the first insurance company that made telemedicine free in 2014. So in all Oscar plans from the beginning, you were able to click a button, talk to a doctor, and get free health care that way. And these doctors were able to prescribe medication for you. What we’ve built over the years is a much tighter integration between the Concierge teams and those telemedicine physicians. So both directions, the Concierge teams to the doctors, doctors to the Concierge teams, can hand off cases more directly and more tightly, and that’s evolved powerfully to the point where now about two-thirds of all routine conditions of Oscar members, things like pink-eye and smaller injuries, have a telemedicine encounter as part of the episode of care. And that’s about 10X what any other insurance company has. What it does is reduce the cost of an episode of care for a member from something like $200 for pink eye to something like $40 or $50. The metric we’re tracking pretty closely is the percent of all cases that we have that are going to telemedicine and can be solved through telemedicine. And there, I think we’re at the beginning. As the insurance company, we’re in a unique situation to essentially say that the more cases our telemedicine doctors can resolve, the more we can lower total cost of care and increase the satisfaction for the member. NT: Alright, I want to talk about the way we use AI, but of course part of the way you use AI is dependent upon the kind of data you’re getting in. And my understanding is that one of the most interesting projects you’re working on is how to reimagine a client form and what to put in on client forms and how to structure those data sets. Explain that project to me and your ambitions there. _MS_The overarching idea behind this counterintuitive notion that we have to build our own claims system is that every incentive in the US health care system is really just a configuration in some insurance company's claim service. And so if we say that the incentives in the US health care system are off, which you hear a lot of people talk about, it oftentimes translates directly back to the fact that claims systems can be more creative and more versatile in configuring smarter incentives. To give you a very simple example, if we tried to give you a discount for where you get an MRI or for going to a doctor in off-peak hours, which I'm sure is something that's familiar to you as a concept from any part of the recipe of your consumer world, that literally wouldn't work right now because the most common claims format, by which your provider submits claims to the insurance companies, does not have a time of day field on the claim. And so the claims adjudication literally wouldn’t work. And to get to the point where we have the utmost flexibility in configuring smart incentives, in getting rid of weird authorization rules, in configuring more risk sharing and risk taking providers into the system, we thought we needed our own claim system. And that has, immediately, an impact on how much we do manually, and how much we can do in an automated way. We pay claims, for example, generally in three to four days; most insurers pay upwards of fourteen, sixteen days or so, and that’s because about 91 percent of our claims get paid through auto-adjudication. Meaning they get paid without a human being looking at them, a machine just kind of runs the whole thing through. Most insurers are somewhere in the 80s on that, so that right there makes a difference. That, of course, is less time spent on administrative overhead, it gives us more transparency into our data, and it lets us spend more time on configuring smarter incentives in way I think we actually should be doing it. NT: So let’s go back to the time of day thing. So that’s super interesting. Once you have that you can implement the equivalent of surge pricing or anti-surge pricing, discounts at off hours, or more expensive at peak hours, right? MS: I would rather do it as anti-surge pricing. But yes… NT: Well, as Uber of health care certainly you want to avoid the phrase surge pricing! MS: And honestly I think [discounts] is where much more value lies. There is a capacity that’s lying dormant because people don't want to go get an MRI done at 8 p.m. at night. We’ve literally had those conversations with contracting staff at imaging centers. And they told us other health insurance companies can’t do it but we’d love to do it with you guys and that’s now finally going to become possible. NT: Well, of course, right, because hospitals have to be staffed 24/7 because you have to be able to deal with any emergency but that means there’s lots and lots of downtime, so how can you more efficiently maximize that downtime? MS: Yes, for example, exactly. NT: OK. And are there other similar things you’ll be building into the claim form like time that haven't been built into claim forms before due to inefficiencies that have similar impacts? MS: There’s a lot around payments at the point of care that will get much easier, and we’ve been meaning to build this for the past couple of years and this is one of those things where we can finally get to it with more staff and more money with Alphabet backing us. The way you pay bills in health care is still kind of odd. You pay the insurance company something, you pay the doctor something, the two have to reconcile behind the scenes in strange ways. It is oftentimes difficult to predict what something will cost even if you have full control over incentive configurations or benefit configuration, and so we’re trying to get to a world where before you go to a doctor, here’s a button you push, here’s what this will cost, and we’ll settle everything up before the utilization even occurs. I think is again a very unique way in which only an insurance company can really rewire the system and make it more consumer-oriented in a way that the rest of the world already is, but that health care just isn’t. NT: Got it. Now tell me how exactly beyond the things we’ve mentioned are you using AI? Obviously you have a background in AI. And I mean that sort of in the specific machine learning AI sense since basically now any company that does anything with electricity now calls it AI. MS: I haven’t heard the definition get extended to electricity but I wouldn't disagree with you there. So we use analytics, I would just say, in the broadest possible sense, in a number of different ways that span from very pragmatic, bottom-up construction of ontologies—in my days in the early 2000s, building ontologies was still what people thought of as AI, those were days of the rule-based systems and the semantic web and things like that—all the way towards training machine-learning models. With ontology construction, most drop-down fields for finding physicians distinguish something like a hundred specialties or so. Internally, we knew we had to redo all that and distinguish about 350 specialties to ensure members could get the right care with the right doctor. And that was essentially somewhat of an analytics driven exercise to look at the clusters that form between what specialists treats, what members go to the doctor for, and things like that. So there’s a bunch of like clustering in there. But also some very bottom-up clinical manual classification of issues that we had to redo. We did the same for CPT codes, diagnosis codes, all of these formats and ontologies you have in health care were developed for payment systems and not necessarily for clinical categorization of issues. On the machine learning side we have very predictive models running. For example, the model that tells us whom to reach out to because the member might be about to go to the ER or urgent care is a machine learning model that uses lab data, drug data, categorization data and things like that. We’ve got tools internally that tell us in any particular geography how much utilization will there be for specialty care, for primary care, by these 350 different specialties and do we have the network in the area to be able to manage that in a good way. NT: And do you use this system as you figure out what cities to move into next? Are you taking giant data sets of cities, demographics, etcetera, and figuring out where you can move? MS: I'm glad you asked. We indeed do that. We have an internal process called market scorecards that takes all of the health care markets, about 350 or so in the US, and maps them into a categorization of: how do the provider networks look in the city? What does the population look like in the city? Which health systems could we work with and how good are they at what they do already on the population health side? And it distills for us a prioritized list of markets. So that’s how we go into new markets and how we roll into new cities every year. NT: Wow, that’s really interesting. And then on these different problems, the different problems you just described, you’re using A. Going back to the news, how much will your now deeper strategic partnership with Alphabet help? Obviously it's the company in the world most focused on AI right now. MS: So again they’re financial investors; there’s no access that they would have. We are extremely careful about that. We run an insurance company with the goal of making sure we look at your data only so you get better health care, and that’s the only reason why. So that’s the first important point to make. I think it will help us indirectly by the fact that, as I mentioned, I personally am inspired to work in a company that Alphabet has confidence in. I just think as a technologist, it’s a vote of confidence that I find pretty amazing. I admire what they've been doing in machine learning and data analytics and so on. I think indirectly there will be plenty of opportunities for us to learn from them as to how they look at data, how they analyze their own health care data sets, and questions they would like to ask of how the health care system operates. Whether in academic settings or other settings, I think there will be ways to work with others on answering smart questions. Salar is joining the board, and he’s been a friend and advisor for the past three years. He is a person who has been able to look at consumer industries from a data-driven perspective in a way that few other people have been able to, and so just having him give more of a look at this will be powerful as well. NT: And tell me how you protect patient data, since the big story of the day today is the AP’s report that Google has been tracking location even when people have asked it not to. You have the most sensitive data in the world and you just started a partnership with a company that is in trouble over data privacy. How do you ensure people that you will protect them? MS: Yes, to be sure to remind people, they’ve been an investor for the past three years and there’s obviously been no sharing of data before. That’s going to continue to be the case. We have been an insurance company from the very beginning. The first thing we ever did is go through a licensing process. And so the attitude towards the regulatory bodies that maybe the other Silicon Valley companies have had in the past would have never worked. Not as an insurance company. One of our internal values is, “Respect the rules. But fight for better ones.” You know, we can have arguments with regulators, we can say they ought to think about changing certain things, but we are fundamentally extremely at the behest of our regulators and work very closely with them. And so that extends to data protection and data privacy. From the very beginning, we have had to be extremely careful about building our systems in a way that they are very secure and uphold the highest privacy standards and HIPAA compliance and the various other standards that play a role there in a very important way. That will never change, it is very important, and every day is a new challenge, there’s no question about that, but it’s something we’ve been paying lots of attention to and have been very, very tight on. NT: And have you change any of your privacy policies since the Cambridge Analytica stuff? MS: Not to my knowledge because it’s not really something that applies to us. If you’re a provider under Oscar, your doctor can log in to a system of Oscar and can request your clinical data, but none of those things are related, from our legal counsel’s point of view, to any of the things that I think the social networks had to go through. NT: Well, but presumably you have much richer data sets. If you know the time that I talk to somebody about a health care condition, that's hugely effective in giving more care but it also means wherever it’s stored in your system, it somehow also makes it easier to de-anonymize me, right, because every little bit of information is attached to every little person and every little file in a large data set in some future time is possibly shared out of network or possibly a hack could put more people at risk. So how, as you get these incredible data sets, how do you add extra layers of protection at each step of the process? MS: One, by having a team of dozens of people who spend their time on security every single day and making sure that our internal systems are tight. That’s the engineering team, the security team, and so on. Two, by having dozens of people on the compliance side that watch what we do. And as an insurance company and a technology company, our organization is an interesting sort of amalgamation of what you would expect in a typical insurance company and what you would expect at a typical technology company, and therefore we have a very big compliance staff, a very big legal staff, and they have layers and layers of safety and security in there in ways that I feel comfortable with. But we also say, every single year, we’ve got to be compliant, got to make sure we push for better protection and more security. NT: Great. Another question I'm sure you get often, your cofounder is the son-in-law of the President of the United States. How have you navigated that in the year-and-a-half that President Trump's been in office? How has your view on how to navigate that issue changed? MS: It hasn’t changed form the beginning, which is: this does not affect what we do. The business hasn't gotten any easier in the past couple of years, but it's never been easy, and I think if we don't obsess over trying to create a better health care experience and making sure we deliver that promise to our members, then we wouldn't be spending our time right. And that's what we’ve been totally focused on. And whatever happened in the press, whatever happens on the regulatory side, I have personally always thought, and I think the company shares in this, that if we have something that leads to lower costs and happier members in some shape or form we’ll be able to turn this into a successful company. However, the regulatory environment changes over time, it’s something we have to be mindful of course, as this happened as we watched it, but it never affected what we do day to day. And so from that point of view any kind of disconnectivity, however it looks, never played a role inside the company. When we get out there and make a point about how we think health care should work, we do it publicly and we answer questions to the Congress and whatever else, but that’s it. NT: Got it. OK, last question since I know we’re running out of time. Tell me one problem in health care that you have not been able to solve yet that you hope to be able to solve in the next couple of years. MS: I would say—and this will take many years—but curing a complex issue from afar. I think there will be lots of ways in which telemedicine will become even more powerful and that’s one we haven't been able to solve. I think that’s one that will keep us occupied for years to come. NT: Excellent. Alright, well thank you very much. Thank you for talking with WIRED. MS: Absolutely, it was nice to talk. More Great WIRED Stories Using AI to fix Wikipedia's gender problem Meet the UK’s new, very British fighter jet Naked Labs' 3-D body scanner shows you the naked truth Polemicists will make enemies. Don't fire them A deadly treasure hunt spawns an online mystery Looking for more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories
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Best Nintendo Switch Deals and Console Bundles (Autumn 2018)

Wired 14 Aug 2018 02:00 Nintendo We're incredibly optimistic about the future of the Nintendo Switch and believe it sets a new standard for game systems. Since it's relatively new, there aren't a ton of killer deals yet. But at $300, it's still roughly as cheap as a PS4 or Xbox One, and super easy to take with you anywhere. If you don't own one yet, we've got your back. Below are all the current Nintendo Switch deals and bundles we could find. We've also added some of the best Switch games you should consider and essential accessories you'll absolutely need. Updated August 2018: We've updated the prices, removed several deals, added a warning to some bundle deals, and added a few new accessories to the roundup. Nintendo Switch Bundle Deals The standard Switch bundle is still the best way to buy into Nintendo's hybrid handheld system. You can choose whether you want an all-gray version or one with a neon blue left Joy-Con and neon red right Joy-Con. The colors do make it a bit easier to know which side they slide into since part of the appeal of Switch is the ability to turn each Joy-Con sideways and use it as an itty-bitty controller for multiplayer games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Nintendo Switch with Gray Joy-Con ($299) Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue/Red Joy-Con ($299) Nintendo Switch (Blue/Red) + Stand & Carrying Case ($325) Nintendo Switch (Gray) + A Suite of Accessories ($346) Nintendo Switch (Blue/Red) + A Suite of Accessories ($346) Nintendo Switch + Nintendo Labo Variety Kit ($340) Refurbished Switches from Nintendo We don't always recommend refurbished units, but Nintendo has a good track record with refurbished units, and a couple of us on the Gear team have purchased refurbished consoles from Nintendo in the past. These all come with a 1-year warranty just like you'd get with a new Switch from the factory. It's not a huge discount, but if every dollar counts, it's a way of saving a few bucks. Refurbished Nintendo Switch with Gray Joy-Cons ($275) Refurbished Nintendo Switch with Mario Red Joy-Cons ($275) Refurbished Nintendo Switch with Blue/Red Joy-Cons ($275) Refurbished Nintendo Switch with Splatoon Green/Pink Joy-Cons ($275) Must-Have Switch Games Nintendo There are a lot of fantastic Nintendo Switch games, but we've highlighted a few of our favorites here. For even more suggestions, read WIRED's Best Nintendo Switch Games. Nintendo Labo Variety Kit ($70) - 9/10 WIRED Recommends Sonic Mania Plus for $30 Super Mario Odyssey ($49, normally $60) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ($60) Snipperclips ($20) Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle ($42, normally $60) Mario Kart 8 Deluxe ($55, normally $60) Splatoon 2 ($53, normally $60) Bayonetta + Bayonetta 2 ($52) Rocket League ($14, normally $40) Donkey Kong Country: Tropic Freeze ($60) Rayman Legends ($40) Indie Games to Download: Stardew Valley ($15), Celeste ($20) (read our review), Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove ($25) Switch Essentials You'll Need Nintendo All of these accessories are in our list of Best Nintendo Switch Accessories, but to get you started, we've included a few links below for items you really do need. You'll need a MicroSD card to download and fit extra games. We recommend buying as large a one as you can so you don't have to buy more in the future. We also highly recommend buying a screen protector, a travel case, and a Nintendo Pro Controller. An extra Dock is nice if you have more than one TV. 128GB SanDisk MicroSD Card ($42) AmFilm Glass Screen Protector ($8) Orzly Carrying Case (For Travel) ($14) Nintendo Switch Pro Controller ($59, normally $70) 2 Extra Red/Blue Joy-Con Controllers ($67) 2 Extra Pink/Green Joy-Con Controllers ($73) 2 Extra Gray Joy-Con Controllers ($67) SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth Gaming Headset ($100) - One of the Best Wireless Gaming Headsets Once you buy, be sure to also read our top 10 Tips and Tricks for the Nintendo Switch. When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.
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Drone Swarms as You Know Them Are Just an Illusion—for Now

Wired 14 Aug 2018 02:00 Liam Cobb Look at all the pretty drones. Hovering above sports stadiums from Houston to Pyeongchang, many hundreds of them have lately sparkled in artful murmuration. On a recent Time magazine cover, 958 drones pixelated the sky. The world record, 1,374 LED-bedazzled microbots, was set by Chinese company EHang UAV in May. So-called drone swarms—the phrase people have taken up with gusto—are having their biggest, buzziest year ever. It’s an evocative word, swarms, and innocuous enough when applied to one of Intel’s drone light shows. But it’s tinged with alarm—if drones can dance at twilight, they can also attack. Sure enough, a gang outside Denver sent a small fleet to harass FBI agents on a raid earlier this year. In Syria, rebels reportedly sicced a squadron of quadrotors on a Russian base. To the media, both events were swarms. Take comfort, then, in this buzzkill: “The swarm is really an illusion,” says Mac Schwager, an assistant professor at Stanford who studies multi­robot systems. Schwager, along with many of his colleagues, resists the word. Too entomological, conjuring as it does frillions of bugs surging as a single superorganism through the air. (Flocking birds, in fact, were the field’s original inspiration—though the occasional roboticist does try studying insects.) When drones “swarm,” on the other hand, they’ve been choreographed in advance, or else are being controlled by human minders with joysticks. Even the DOD’s recent military demos have required teleoperators. LEARN MORE The WIRED Guide to Drones Not that researchers at MIT, ETH Zurich, and elsewhere aren’t trying to imbue drones with hive-mindedness. In Schwager’s lab, small groups of five or 10 really can sync their movements, powered by so-called decentralized algorithms that tell each bot where its buddies are in space and time. But fully autonomous systems, Schwager says, are “sort of in the R&D phase.” More removed still are drones that can actively learn from one another and derive unprogrammed behaviors from their esoteric robo-chatter. The 2017 web film Slaughterbots perpetuates such unrealities. In it, an intelligent drone fleet tears through a college campus, murdering students. Never mind that quadrotors aren’t capable of navigating indoors, where GPS signals can’t propagate. The point of the short, which was screened late last year at a UN weapons convention in Geneva and has been viewed on YouTube more than 2.5 million times, is to scarify the notion of robots working together. Linked up, they’ll inevitably become a locust plague on humankind. Except that’s how teams of drones will one day be able to survey natural disasters, rescue survivors, clean up oceans, farm fields, explore other planets, and deliver your burritos. Networking isn’t inherently evil. Nora Ayanian, a roboticist at USC, imagines a scenario in which every bot is programmed slightly differently, so that when they’re deployed en masse, the smartest among them teaches the pack how to act. Ayanian calls it “leveraging diversity in the control policy,” an engineer’s way of saying that more perspectives means better results. Diversity matters, even in machines. This article appears in the August issue. Subscribe now. More Great WIRED Stories Want to get better at PUBG? Ask PlayerUnknown himself Hacking a brand new Mac remotely, right out of the box The super-secret sand that makes your phone possible Climate change's looming mental health crisis Silicon Valley's playbook to help avoid ethical disasters Looking for more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories
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How to Track Your Heart Rate With Wearables

Wired 14 Aug 2018 01:00 Neil Godwin/T3 Magazine/Getty Images You probably learned how to track your heart rate in school: Put your finger on a pulse point, like the inside of your wrist, and count how many pulses you feel in a minute. That yields your heart’s beats per minute, or bpm. Cool trick! you thought. And you promptly forgot about it. But your heart rate can be a useful piece of data. It’s a reliable metric for setting fitness goals that puts your cardiovascular health—ahem—at the heart of your workout. Plus, maintaining a healthy heart rate can reduce your risk of strokes, heart disease, and cardiac arrest. If you have a wrist-worn activity tracker, it’s dead simple to monitor your heart rate accurately and continuously. Here's how to use that data to keep your ticker in top shape. Listen to Your Heart From the moment you strap on a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, you'll start seeing your bpm on the screen. But what do those numbers mean? “It’s important to understand that there is a spectrum of what constitutes a normal heart rate,” says Dr. Gregory Marcus, Director of Clinical Research for the Department of Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco. He's also part of the research team for the Health eHeart Study, which aims to shed light on heart disease by analyzing digital health data from participants' mobile health-tracking devices. You might have heard that a healthy resting heart rate—the rate when you’re physically and mentally relaxed—typically falls between 60 and 100 bpm. But Dr. Marcus explains that it’s not so simple, since heart rates vary from person to person. “In many cases, the more fit a given individual is, the more their heart rate will slow while they’re at rest or while they’re asleep,” says Dr. Marcus. So a person who is very athletic might find that their resting heart rate slows to 30, even 20 bpm. This is because the heart muscle of a physically fit person doesn’t have to strain as much to support the body’s needs. Your heart rate can also fluctuate widely throughout the day. So if your chest is pounding during a workout, your heart is pumping more oxygen-rich blood to support your physical exertion. Conversely, when you’re lounging on the couch, your heart rate might slow substantially. Your heart rate can also vary depending on your level of stress, if you’re pregnant, or if you’ve just downed a cup of coffee. Dr. Marcus says that “in general, there isn’t really a heart rate that raises the concern of a cardiologist,” unless those perceived abnormalities in heart rate co-occur with more obvious symptoms. In other words: While it’s good to be mindful of your heart rate, don’t stress out too much. You may, ironically, raise your heart rate worrying about it, and that’s not healthy by any measure. Take Measurement Your heart rate is a convenient, objective way to measure how much you’re exerting yourself during a workout. Using the heart rate data from your activity tracker, you can inform and adapt your exercise regimen. Start by determining your target heart rate. This is the heart rate that you should seek to achieve and maintain during rigorous exercise. Dr. Marcus advises collaborating with a physician or a trainer to determine your target heart rate and the duration for which you should aim to maintain it during a workout. The American Heart Association offers some rough guidelines for setting your target heart rate. First, calculate the average maximum heart rate for someone your age. You can do this by subtracting your age from 220. So the average maximum heart rate for a 30-year-old would be around 190 bpm. Your target heart rate can be anywhere between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Depending on whether you’re easing back into a workout routine, or if you’ve been training regularly, you can set incremental goals to increase your progress toward your target heart rate. During your workout, all you need to do is glance at your wearable tracker. You can also check your data afterward. Wearables like Garmin, Fitbit, and Apple Watches have compatible apps that graph your heart rate over time. You can easily see your bpm and have a concrete idea of the intensity of your workout. Get the Right Fit You can’t get an accurate read on your heart rate unless your device is charged, functional, and fitted properly. Make sure your wearable fits snugly around your wrist to ensure that it picks up your pulse during your workout. Be mindful that some wearables give more accurate heart rate readings than others. While wrist wearables are for the most part precise enough for everyday use, chest wearables give the most exact readings. Some devices’ ability to pick up heart rates is compromised when you’re working out in the water, and others aren’t waterproof at all. For accurate heart rate readings, our own reviewer swears by Garmin’s wrist wearables. Finally, remember not to focus so much on the numbers as much as the quality of your exercise. Use your heart rate data as a motivator—so you can run, dance, swim, and bike your way to a healthier heart.
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Wildfire Smoke Is Smothering the US—Even Where You Don't Expect It

Wired 14 Aug 2018 01:00 Justin Sullivan/Getty Images America is on fire … again. More than a million and a half acres are burning in 15 states, from Arizona to Alaska. More than 3,000 firefighters are working to contain the Mendocino Complex Fire 100 miles north of San Francisco, now the largest in California history, and over the weekend, lightning strikes sparked dozens of new wildfires across the state of Washington. Near Mount Shasta, the deadly Carr Fire has so far incinerated 1,077 homes, forced mass evacuations, and killed eight. Putting a few hundred miles between you and combustion country certainly confers some measure of safety. But not as much as you might think. While wildfires are geographically limited by nearby fuel sources, wildfire smoke goes wherever the wind takes it. Carried on eastward-flowing air currents, dangerous particulate matter from wildfires is increasingly smothering large swathes of the US, causing health scares wherever these air pollution spikes hit. Welcome to the United States of Smoke. Animation by NOAA “Minnesota actually gets just about the most smoke days of any state in the US, you just don’t notice it,” says Nolan Miller, an economist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies the deadly health impacts of temperature and weather extremes on the elderly. In new research, his group discovered that smoke shocks can also kill. More than 1,000 people die each year from downwind exposure, according to Nolan’s analysis, which is detailed in a working paper. Smoky days also sent more people to emergency departments and doctor’s offices than on days without smoke, especially folks with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions. “The key message of our research is that the bulk of the health burden of wildfires is not felt by people living really near the fire, but rather, on people hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the source,” says Eric Zou, an economist who led the satellite data analysis. Historically, it’s been difficult for researchers to conclusively connect wildfire smoke with specific health outcomes because of patchy data—fires tend to occur in rural areas that often lack air pollution monitoring coverage and where few people live. But satellites are beginning to change that. Using smoke plume image data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Miller’s group derived a daily smoke exposure status for every zip code in the US for every day between August 2005 and December 2013. By linking this geographic smoke score to air pollution monitoring data and deidentified billing records for every Medicare beneficiary over the same time period, they were able to construct an eight-year, day-by-day look at how the country’s elderly fared during smoke shocks—sometimes down to a few square miles. Miller says it’s the first national-scale study of wildfire smoke health impacts using satellite data, though he stresses that the results are just preliminary. But other scientists have found evidence that the wildfire smoke public health problem is only going to get worse as the west gets hotter and drier. A 2016 study predicts that climate change will drive almost 60 percent more “smoke waves”—or multiple days of high particulate pollution from wildfires—across much of the US by 2050. NOAA Demographic shifts are also raising the stakes. More people are living at the wildland-urban interface, where wildfires are deadliest. A recent analysis of US Census data found that 43 percent of all new houses built between 1990 and 2010 were constructed in the WUI. Then there’s the aging Boomers. By 2050, an estimated 83.7 million people over the age of 65 will call the US home, nearly doubling the current population—and a paper published in April found that bad smoke days during California’s 2015 wildfire season caused spikes in emergency room visits, with the most pronounced impact on patients over 65. “It was the older population that was really driving that effect,” says Ana Rappold, an epidemiologist at the Environmental Protection Agency and an author on the study. Most of those ER visits were made by people with cardiovascular conditions. And unlike folks who suffer from respiratory ailments like asthma and COPD, people with pre-existing heart issues aren’t particularly aware of how bad the smoke can be for them, as a recent study by researchers at the Centers for Disease and Control concluded. To combat these and other gaps in public understanding, Rappold is leading up a citizen science project at the EPA to teach people about the dangers of wildfire smoke. Last August, her team released an app called Smoke Sense, which asked users to answer questions about conditions in their zip code, any symptoms they might be feeling—runny nose, coughing, chest pain, anxiety—and what they’re doing to reduce their exposure. In the 2017 pilot season about 5,000 people launched the app more than 50,000 times, according to Rappold. Her team is making that data available to teachers, as part of a STEM curriculum to help kids learn about smoke and health. They also expect to release a newer, slicker version in the next few weeks, which will provide information about local air pollution and a 24-hour smoke prediction forecast. “The hope is that a user would be able to use the Smoke Sense app in the same way that we use weather maps,” says Rappold. “You can see what the air quality is now and what it is likely to be in the near future so it can help you plan your day.” So far, Smoke Sense has revealed an unsurprising truth; that people only take action to stay out of the smoke once it starts to make them feel really crappy. With the 2018 fire season already outpacing last year by 500,000 blazing acres, it’s never too early—and you’re never too far away—to stock up on those N95 masks. More Great WIRED Stories Using AI to fix Wikipedia's gender problem Meet the UK’s new, very British fighter jet Naked Labs' 3-D body scanner shows you the naked truth Polemicists will make enemies. Don't fire them A deadly treasure hunt spawns an online mystery Looking for more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories
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Facebook buys rights to show La Liga games in India

Guardian Technology 14 Aug 2018 12:03 Messi fans in India will now be able to watch Barcelona for free on Facebook. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images Facebook has bought the rights to show Spanish top-flight football in the Indian subcontinent in the latest move by a US technology company into sports rights. The company has signed an exclusive agreement to show La Liga games featuring Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and other stars for the next three years. The deal will allow Facebook to show all 380 matches for the new season, which starts on Friday, to users in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Facebook will show the games for free to its 348 million users in the region, including 270 million in India. The company did not disclose how much it was paying for the rights, which cost Sony Pictures Network $32m (£25m) last time they were for sale in 2014. Facebook and other US technology companies have been buying up rights to popular sports for streaming services. Competition from cash-rich US tech companies is a threat to cable and satellite TV broadcasters, which have used sport as a way to attract and keep customers. Facebook pays about $1m a game to show 25 Major League Baseball games worldwide for no fee, supported by advertising. From next season in the UK, Amazon will bundle 20 English Premier League matches with its Prime subscription service. Sky and BT currently share the rights to show live games on TV. Facebook’s Free Basics initiative was banned in India in 2016 for breaching net neutrality rules. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui / Reuters/Reuters Peter Hutton, Facebook’s director of global live sports, told Reuters its La Liga streams would be free of advertising at first but that it was considering its options. He said the La Liga deal was an experiment and not part of a land grab of sports rights. “This is one deal,” Hutton told Reuters. “It’s not something that is a big threat to broadcast world.” The deal is La Liga’s latest effort to expand its fanbase in India, where it opened an office in New Delhi in 2016. Jose Antonio Cachaza, La Liga’s country manager for India, said: “This is the first step for us. We’re excited to see it and we want make it as successful as possible so we can unlock other territories around the world.” India and the surrounding south Asian countries are a crucial untapped market for Facebook, which has hit saturation point in the US and most of western Europe. The social network already has over 241 million users in India alone – the largest single country user base for Facebook, exceeding its 240 million US users – but there is plenty of room for growth. India’s population passed 1.3 billion people in 2017 and is expected to hit 1.5 billion by 2030. Meanwhile about 500 million people in India are expected to be internet-connected this year, in a country that is primarily mobile first and has relatively affordable mobile data. Facebook has already had some setbacks in India as it strives to reach chief executive Mark Zuckberg’s goal of connecting “the next five billion people”. In a coalition with Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera, Nokia and Qualcomm, called Internet.org, Facebook launched its Free Basics service in India in 2015 with local mobile network Reliance Communications. The service provided free internet access to select sites, including Facebook but excluding competitors. It was banned from India by the nation’s Telecom Regulatory Authority in 2016 for breaching net neutrality rules. Since then Facebook has launched its Watch video on-demand service, Watch, in the US – a rival to Google’s YouTube and Netflix, it features original shows viewed through its site. Facebook is said to be planning to launch Watch in India this year, according to a report from local news outlet The Ken, as a way to entice the other 250 million-plus internet-connected people in India on to its main social-networking platform. Last year Facebook failed in its attempts to acquire the rights to Indian Premier League cricket with a $610m bid. The La Liga rights may make a suitable alternative vehicle with which to launch Watch in India.
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Activision consolidates global media with OMD

Ad Age 14 Aug 2018 11:30 The consultancy R3 estimates Activision's global media spending at around $100 million, while research firm Comvergence puts it even higher. Credit: ActivisionActivision, the Santa Monica, California-based video game developer, has consolidated its global media planning and buying with Omnicom's OMD without a review. The change comes about a month after Activision opted to stick with creative incumbent 72andSunny after a competitive review. The media assignment is effective immediately, according to a statement from OMD. First-person shooter game "Call of Duty" is scheduled to release its next version, called "Black Ops 4," on Oct. 12. Activision's other titles include "Destiny" and "Crash." In 2011, Activision shifted its North American media business, which was $150 million at the time, from WPP-owned MEC to OMD without a review, Ad Age previously reported. MEC continued to handle the business in Europe and Asia Pacific. Activision conducted another review last year, opting to retain OMD and MEC. GroupM's MEC merged with sibling agency Maxus last year to form Wavemaker. The agency declined to comment. Before the most recent shift, OMD was handling media in the North America and Latin American regions. It will now add the Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific regions. Activision declined to comment beyond OMD's news release. Activision parent company Activision Blizzard spent an estimated $87 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media. Activision Blizzard reported $1.97 billion in net revenues in the quarter ending March 31, up from $1.73 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Consultancy R3 estimates Activision's global media spending at around $100 million, while Comvergence, an international research company that tracks agency pitches, estimates the spending to be higher, at around $140 million in 2017.
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How to turn off Google's location tracking

Guardian Technology 14 Aug 2018 10:53 Want to stop being followed by big tech? Read on … Photograph: HANDOUT When you turn off “location history” Google still tracks your location when you use several of its key services including Maps, search and the weather. Here’s how to really turn all of it off. A report from the Associated Press has highlighted that the feature called location history is just one of the systems that Google uses to track your location for personalised services, local search and other purposes such as advertising. When you turn off location history, Google stops automatically recording your location for features such as the Maps timeline, but it warns you that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps”. When you perform a search, access Google Maps, or get the weather, either manually or automatically through a smartphone widget, Google will still log your location. To prevent it from doing so you need to turn off another setting called “Web & App Activity”. To do so on an Android device follow these steps: Head to settings. Tap on Google then Google Account Tap on the data & personalisation tab and then on web & app Activity Toggle Web & App Activity off To turn off location history: Head to the Data & personalisation tab as above Tap on location history and toggle the setting off for each phone or device connected to your Google account To do so for iPhones, iPads and computers: Click on this link to take you directly to the activity controls page (you may have to sign into your Google account to access the page) Toggle the web & app Activity setting off The toggle for location history is directly below the web & app Activity setting, which you can also toggle off Alternatively you can navigate to the setting by following these steps: Open Google in your browser and sign in to your account Click on your profile picture in the top right corner and on the Google account button Click on Personal info & privacy then my activity Click on activity controls Toggle off web & app activity To review and delete your recorded activity, including location data, Google’s My Activity panel allows you how to delete individual and group events. You can also delete your location history in your Google Maps timeline by clicking on the bin icon. Google has been tracking Android users even with location services turned off Fitness tracking app Strava gives away location of secret US army bases
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Waymo, Blacture, Reddit, Pipeline Angels and more: See the new Next speakers

Ad Age 14 Aug 2018 06:30 */ ]]> New Next speakers Pras Michél of Blacture, Jen Wong of Reddit and Dara Treseder of GE Ventures will take attendees into the future of media, trust and startups.Next has added new speakers including Daniel Cherry, chief marketing officer at Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues; Pras Michél, the Fugees co-founder now creating Blacture; Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels, the network of women investors; Meiling Tan, head of marketing at Waymo; Dara Treseder, chief marketing officer at GE Ventures; and Jen Wong, the chief operating officer at Reddit. They join a Next lineup already stacked with investors, founders, researchers and marketers, coming together for Next on Nov. 13 and 14 in New York to tackle the most effective marketing today: innovation. By ranging from robotics to hemp-infused beauty products to the Wilkinson bread bot, Next will look ahead to help attendees prepare for the changes to come—and make change of their own. Day One features an afternoon of stimulating keynotes and conversations, culminating in Next Titans, a new live experience about six startups seeking funding and marketing support. They will pitch live to former Mondelēz chief media and e-commerce officer Bonin Bough, BlueRun Ventures General Partner Cheryl Cheng, former GE chief marketing officer Beth Comstock and VaynerX chairman Gary Vaynerchuk — with a twist: Using Indiegogo, the in-studio and streaming audience will be able to purchase products and compete with the Titans to become a marketing partner. Day Two will chart Next Blockbusters including esports, machine learning, cannabis and self-driving cars. Midday tracks will let attendees drill down on an area that particularly matters to them. And there will be networking. The Next lineup includes: Girlboss CEO Sophia Amoruso, Oath Digital Prophet David Shing and Harman CMO Ralph SantanaSophia Amoruso, CEO and founder at Girlboss on connections as the future of currency Sharmeen Browarek, senior director of viewer engagement at Twitch on using machine learning to fight bias in gaming Jess Carbino, Bumble's sociologist on the next workforce Daniel Cherry, CMO at Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues on gaming's next play IRL David Dancer, CMO at MedMen on the cannabis boom to come Kass Dawson, global head of marketing at Softbank Robotics with the Pepper robot, on the future of human-robot interactions Amy Emmerich, chief content officer at Refinery29 on content's next mission Tony Magee, founder of Lagunitas on cannabis in Lagunitas drinks and the culture Clinc CEO Jason Mars, Vertly co-founder Claudia Mata and MedMen CMO David DancerJason Mars, CEO and co-founder at Clinc on the rise of conversational AI Claudia Mata, co-founder of Vertly on cannabis in beauty Megan Maloney, investor at General Catalyst on the real future for blockchain Pras Michél, founder of Blacture on the future of media and tech for black culture Glenn Minerley, head of esports at Momentum Worldwide on brands' role in the entertainment culture ahead Natalia Oberti Noguera, CEO and founder of Pipeline Angels on changing the "white bro" culture of Silicon Valley Delane Parnell, CEO and co-founder at PlayVS high school esports league on the future of competitive gaming Ralph Santana, CMO at Harman on the 65-mile-per-hour living room David Shing, digital prophet at Verizon's Oath on screens and our mental health Meiling Tan, head of marketing at Waymo on bringing self-driving cars to the public Dara Treseder, chief marketing officer at GE Ventures on how to accelerate change Randall Wilkinson, CEO and co-founder of The Wilkinson Group on the future of food and his company's robotic Wilkinson Mini Bakery Jen Wong, the chief operating officer at Reddit on the future of community trust Be there, just over the horizon, at Ad Age Next on Nov. 13 and 14. Early-bird tickets are available through Wednesday, Aug. 15. Regular pricing starts Thursday. All the is info here.
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