Need to Know
31 : 05 : 18

31.05.2018 Technology

Prada's Nylon Farm celebrates its heritage, UCLH partners with the Alan Turing Institute to bring AI to hospitals, Porter magazine dedicates whole issue to plastic pollution.

1. Prada nods to heritage with Nylon Farm films

Nylon Farm for Prada SS18 by DLV BBDO, Tuscany

Global – The luxury fashion house has released a new campaign that honors the brand’s heritage whilst embracing a technological future. Entitled Nylon Farm, the series of short films made their premiere on Instagram and a dedicated microsite.

Inspired by the signature fabric of Prada, the first chapter of the series introduces the futuristic farm with the flocks of ‘nylon’ sheep, where the brand supposed sources their material. The story unfolds over the following three episodes, which will later be released across the brand’s social media platforms in early June.

Nylon has become a signature material in Prada designs since Miuccia Prada began using it in the 1980s, sourcing the material from factories that were using them for military parachutes. The films, which were shot on location at company’s industrial headquarters in Valvigna, Tuscany references the brand’s design past but also its constant textile innovation. In line with Anti-Authenticity Marketing, the series demonstrates the fine balancing act between celebrating heritage whilst not being beholden to it.

2. Teaching robots the basics through Sims-style videos

VirtualHome by MIT and University of Toronto, US VirtualHome by MIT and University of Toronto, US
VirtualHome by MIT and University of Toronto, US VirtualHome by MIT and University of Toronto, US
VirtualHome by MIT and University of Toronto, US VirtualHome by MIT and University of Toronto, US

US – Researchers from MIT and the University of Toronto have developed a system that teaches robots the individual components of a task that often make up household work.

Entitled Virtual Home, the system uses the Unity game engine to create instructional videos to train the robots. The system breaks down the tasks into individual actions that define how it is performed. Take for instance setting the table for dinner, which would be separated into: walking to the cabinet, opening the cabinet, grabbing the plate, walking to the table and putting the plate on the table. With simplified instructions, computers can process the request and then execute successfully.

Although the system is designed to aid robots for the home, Ross Mead, founder of robotics software company Semio, indicates further potential for the model, predicting to Fast Company that they could be use for other robot activities beyond the domestic sphere. ‘These high-level scripted actions provide a level of abstraction for the actions so that they can be ported to different robot platforms with different sensing and actuation capabilities,’ he explained.

3. UK hospitals may replace doctors with AI

UK – University College of London Hospital (UCLH) has announced a partnership with the Alan Turning Institute to bring machine learning to the National Health System.

Researchers at UCLH believe that machine learning algorithms have the ability to diagnose diseases, identify people at risk of illness and could also be used in resourcing. The initial plans will focus on improving the country’s A&E departments, which are currently under strain. Using collected data, the technology can indicate the source of a patient’s pain or injury, to prevent their condition from becoming critical.

‘Machines will never replace doctors, but the use of data, expertise and technology can radically change how we manage our services – for the better,’ says Professor Marcel Levi, University College of London Hospital chief Executive.

In our forthcoming Health and Wellness Futures Forum, we will examine how technology is reshaping the healthcare system. Book your ticket here.

Medly Pharmacy, Brooklyn Medly Pharmacy, Brooklyn

4. Porter demonstrates its commitment to plastic-free

Image by Mario Sorrenti, courtesy of PORTER magazine. Image by Mario Sorrenti, courtesy of PORTER magazine.
Image by Mario Sorrenti, courtesy of PORTER magazine. Image by Mario Sorrenti, courtesy of PORTER magazine.

London – In partnership with environmental organisation Parley for the Oceans, the Net-a-Porter's fashion magazine is bringing to light the effects of the global plastic crisis in its latest issue.

Following the brand’s pledge to Parley AIR, where all plastic in its workplace and practices will be removed by 2019, the 63-page publication urges the rest of industry to take more action. Over a series of interviews with legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle and eco-activist Anja Rubik, as well as a collection of striking imagery shot by Mario Sorrenti, Porter highlights the destructive reality facing our planet.

‘What we are trying to do by working with PORTER is to highlight the beauty and fragility of our oceans, and to invite the fashion industry, especially luxury brands, to collaborate,’ Rubik said in a statement. ‘We have passed the point of raising awareness and symbolic actions; now it’s time for solutions that can be scaled quickly.’

As part of a further initiative, Net-a-Porter will sell Adidas x Parley trainers throughout May and June 2018.

5. Young eating habits are influenced by social stars

Despite an increased awareness of well-being amongst young people, social marketing is still affecting this generation when it comes to food choices. Researchers from the University of Liverpool found that children were more likely to opt for junk food over healthy snacks, after witnessing their favourite social stars eating it.

As well as greater exposure to unhealthy foods, Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health blames the lack of regulations to protect children from junk food marketing, particularly online, where this generation is increasingly spending time.

6. Thought-starter: How can targeted advertising survive the GDPR?

We spoke to Katarzyna Szymielewicz, co-founder and president of Panoptykon Foundation, a Polish NGO that aims to protect the rights of individuals in a surveillance society, on how the GDPR will change online advertising.

'The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will provide the right balance between what consumers need, our best interests and the best interests of companies,' asserts Szymielewicz.

With the GDPR now in effect, companies will have to reconsider how targeted advertising might have to change. For Szymielewicz, the central change will be not stopping advertising online but ensuring that consumers are given full consent over what data they are handing over. 'Targeted advertising used to be done without our consent and the law allowed this,' she says. But now users must have control all of any access rights that companies like Google or Facebook may demand.

‘Such controls are the way to go in order to avoid distress and the feeling of intrusion that we have now. We should always be able to say no to whatever things are included in targeting, and we should also have a say in who or what types of company receive that information’, Szymielewicz explains.

Read the full Q&A here.

Nike x MMW collection, US. Images by Nick Knight. Nike x MMW collection, US. Images by Nick Knight.