Monday – The Atlantic Meets the Pacific Live!!

by Jessica Hutchinson

James Fallows with Eric Topol and Don Jones

01:20 pm – On the stage – Don Jones (vice president of global strategy and market development, Qualcomm Life) and Eric Topol (director of Scripps Translational Science Institute) on the topic of how the digital revolution will reinvent health care . . .

Medical apps that track biomarkers real-time are the way of the future.

These apps will include everything from constantly monitoring the blood to catch early signs of cancer, to a mouth swab used to ensure prescribed meds can be properly absorbed / metabolized by the patient.  As time goes on, patients will also have more and more access remote medical records.

Innovative medical apps will also lead to a more personalized patient-physician visit, as the patients and physicians will have to interact on a deeper level since medical reports will be generated in real-time.

The development of digital, medical media will change the field of medicine forever and for the better.  They will help educate patients regarding their health issues; cut down on the number of in-person physician visits, thus reducing transportation costs and lost wages; give patients more information on the costs of procedures so they can shop for the best prices; and will help identify medical issues before they become deadly.

01:19 pm – We’re back from lunch and back in session!

Larry Smarr with Jane McGonigal

11:30 am – Larry Smarr (director of Calit2) is interviewing Jane McGonigal about gaming and alternate realities.

Video games are often thought of as huge distractions for youngsters and adults alike. But, McGonigal and her team have found that video gaming – when done within certain time parameters – actually strengthens children and adult’s problem solving skills.  Games can also increase the quality of life and reduce anxiety and depression.

Reasons for the positive influence of video gaming includes: being constantly challenged to make decisions, being able to fail well (learning how to fail actually builds confidence), gaining a sense of accomplishment as goals are met and reaching out to a community of people (connecting with one another).

Did you know that online games actually beat pharmaceuticals in their ability to increase positive emotions by helping individuals cope with depression?

During the interview, McGonigal talked about a personal experience regarding how video gaming helped her get over a personal bout of anxiety and depression.  Her depression was the result of post-concussion syndrome from a hit to her head.  The syndrome led to thoughts of suicide, extreme depression and anxiety.

McGonigal’s physician advised her to rest her brain as much as she could and to be as happy as possible because depression and anxiety actually hinder the brain from healing itself.

As a result, McGonigal designed and created a game that helped to increase her happiness by focusing on attainable goals and building a community of allies.  After playing the game, her thoughts of suicide, depression and anxiety disappeared almost immediately.  The game is now posted online for others to use.

Video games help to build resilience by tapping into positive emotions.

“The source of emotions does not matter – they are real however you get them,” says McGonigal.

Fiero is a common expression that gamers use to express satisfaction when they accomplish something or reach a goal that was difficult to attain.  The expression – always coupled by jumping up and punching one’s arms in the air above their head – is experienced by soccer players and gamers alike.

Ron Brownstein interviews Ben Rattray

10:45 amBen Rattray, deemed by Time as one of the most influential people in the world in 2012, is now on the stage with Ron Brownstein (editorial director of the National Journal).

Rattray is the founder of, an online petition platform that is responsible for giving a big voice to individuals on the local level. This platform gives regular people the power to make change one petition at a time.

Petitions that have appeared on include petitions to stop Target from requiring all employees to work on Thanksgiving and to revoke Chick-Fil-A’s right to sell products on college campuses due to the company’s stance on gay rights.

Notable quotes from Ben Rattray:

  • “Incremental change is the best way to win a campaign.”
  • “Collective action organizes people around common objectives.”
  • “Anyone anywhere can start a campaign [on].”
  • “There is a lot more agreement on local change than national change.”
  • “The Internet is all about massive scale.”
  • is “empowering the people who didn’t have any voice,” such as people dealing with foreclosures and immigrants.
  • “We do not filter any campaigns on”

09:55 am – Madrigal is now interviewing Jessica Jackley, entrepreneur extraordinaire.

Jessica Jackley, a young, vibrant woman, was responsible for creating the non-profit org Kiva, a microlending, online program which supports aspiring entrepreneurs who would otherwise not be able to afford to start their own businesses.  Kiva directly connects lenders with lendees and has helped millions of people from developing countries reach their business goals.

Jackley commits her life to helping people with her exceptional entrepreneur skills. After Kiva, her next project was to make a difference in her own back yard by supporting small businesses and startups in the USA. Though it is based on a different model than Kiva (i.e., not the microleding model), the tools she provides to unaccredited investors makes it easier for them to acquire capital.

Jackley is now focused on Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. Kickstarter is a place to fund ideas and projects with a non-financial return. For example, if someone donates $500 to a musician, he or she will donate a song to you or sign a CD cover.

09:00 am – The first discussion with Chris Cox (VP of product at Facebook) is on the evolution of Facebook. Cox is being interviewed by Alexis Madrigal (senior editor, The Atlantic).

Cox, in his early 30s, has been at Facebook since 2005.  He was originally an engineer at Facebook and moved to the human resources department.  He stated that Facebook tends to look for imaginative, “scrappy” employees who are fast-moving, face-paced people who are hacker builder types.

Cox manages product at Facebook. His goal is to keep the products simple.  For example, their newsfeed product is simply called “Newsfeed” and their photos product is called “Photos.”

His first project, Newsfeed, which he worked on for 10 months straight, was not well-liked at first.

“Everyone hated it at first,” says Cox.

But, over time people started using it more and more and then started loving it. Within one year after Newsfeed came out, Facebook started seeing headlines praising the product. Now it’s hard to imagine a world without the Newsfeed feature of Facebook.

Sitting behind the controls “is an incredible, humbling responsibility,” says Cox.

From the beginning, Facebook built tools for privacy ensuring each person is in control of the representation they put in their profile.  People sometimes forget that they have control of privacy settings and can easily make their profiles more secure.

Cox stated that several billion photos are uploaded to Facebook per week. At first, they were receiving millions of letters saying things like:

“Dear Facebook, I don’t like this photo of me because I look chubby, please remove it.”

Facebook took action by building a set of tools so people could resolve these issues on their own quickly, such as “untagging” images.

All in all, Facebook is a medium and “a good medium does not interfere with a message. A medium needs to work wherever it goes,” says Cox.

07:33 am – I’m back at the Atlantic Meets the Pacific Conference, this time at the gorgeous Scripps Seaside Forum. The cameramen are getting ready to film the event and the caterers are setting up breakfast.

Stay tuned for details on top-notch presentations by our renowned speakers . . .

Speakers on the agenda today:

  • Chris Cox on mapping the future of networks
  • Jessica Jackley on microlending, the developing world and the future of entrepreneurship
  • Ben Rattray on the power of technology to do good
  • Jane McGonigal on solving the world’s biggest problems through alternate realities
  • Don Jones and Eric Topol on the creative destruction of medicine and how the digital revolution will reinvent health care.

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