Fashion is often considered the more frivolous and aloof corner of the design world, but the collective patterns that emerge there carry real meaning. What we wear to armor, costume, or camouflage ourselves in day-to-day life is less peacock and more canary in a coal mine: an early indicator of things to come; a response to the hidden, atmospheric changes afoot. Ayesha A. Siddiqi (one of the best trend forecasters/analysts around) reflects on what the styles of the twenty-teens say about our times and anxieties: " The retro tech futurism of the 90s is an appealing era to mine for aesthetics now because the future as imagined from the 90s was so safe. All the electronics were colorful and hardwearing. A deep contrast to the millennium we did reach, where our screens are spies ready to slice our thumbs with their shatter prone cracked glass."
An op-ed in The New York Times cites research from MIT and other sources to argue that automation may have a pernicious domino effect: first hollowing out working class labor jobs, which then drives the economically and spiritually depressed cohort to seek political remedies. Some of the connections made in the column are a bit spurious, but the idea that economies are being remapped by automation faster than many in the labor market can keep up is sound, borne out by data and anecdote alike.
There's yet another food delivery robot (this time from Postmates) entering the market, despite the risky lives of such machines: bursting into flames one day, getting vandalized another.
Past CLEAR design lab client RightHand Robotics has just raised $23MM in Series B funding. The company develops and manufactures robotic systems for applications like piece picking of goods for e-commerce operations. Whether it's packing boxes in a fulfillment center warehouse or scrubbing the floors of cavernous brick and mortar retailers, more companies see strategic investments in robotic systems as a necessity for staying competitive or coping with regional labor shortages.
Some would-be, could-be social media influencers are faking sponsored content posts to appear more successful.
The year in memes, as reported by WIRED UK.