- A capstone project of sorts - how Massimo Vignelli designed his own funeral.
Feeding the Future:
- This data visualization shows how the typical daily diet for someone in the U.S. has changed over the decades - far less whole milk and red meat (offset by an uptick in chicken) and an explosive increase in the amount of cooking oil consumed. Notably, animal derived nutrition is still a significant share. As carbon concerns grow and lab-perfected substitutes to animal proteins get eerily accurate thanks to venture capital pouring in, it's likely that we will see a slow drift towards fewer creature sourced calories. We're praying that Soylent won't be prominent enough to have its own category in 10 years.
- A Foxconn factory has reduced its human labor force from 110,000 down to 50,000 after expanding their use of robotics. This has big implications for countries that have been spending heavily to boost nascent manufacturing industries, hoping to become production centers for complex goods like appliances and smartphones in part based on having lower cost labor than China. With massive investments in robotics and a tightly knit supply chain, labor cost increases are looking like a less important part of the equation, making it entirely possible that China will be able to maintain its standing as the world's workshop.
- Google may have found a buyer for Boston Dynamics in Toyota.
Roadmapping the Future:
- From polymer science to GPS, the research and development priorities set by militaries with the aim of killing one another more effectively find their way into our day to day lives, albeit in greatly transformed ways. As a means to generate something that could be reasonably recognized as progress, the pay for swords and hope for plowshares model has always been dangerous. That it sometimes delivers on the promise of a better future says more about our human capacity for creative subversion than the inherent benefits of such a system. The Wall Street Journal has an article on the development of railgun technology and it is filled with the repetitive beats that accompany each new era of betting on death: huge budgets that siphon resources (money, materials, energy - the railgun itself requires a powerplant that could run 18,750 homes) an unquestioned attraction to the aesthetics of power and violence, and rattling off stats that quantify the technology, never speaking qualitatively of impacts on human lives when it works as intended. It is inevitable that in our collective resourcefulness many will find aspects that can be bent into benevolent forms but in hacking a circuitous path to progress out of what was designed for destruction, it's hard to believe we are pulling from the best of our possible futures.