- How brand works inside and outside an organization, and why visual branding is among the least meaningful elements of creating a sustained success. End-to-end design of experiences (via product, service, and marketing decisions) are more complex, but make up the bulk of how we interpret brands in the wild.
Making Technology Work for Us:
- The DIY/hacker ethos behind cooking up pharmaceuticals at home with open-source tech to drastically reduce costs of cures and treatments, though not without some serious risks.
Machines for Moving:
- Those small, zippy, and suddenly ubiquitous electric scooters popping up in city after city are more popular and positively rated by people with lower incomes. Wealthier folks are more likely to look disapprovingly at the low-cost, last mile solution, likely due to their disposable income income giving them access to on-demand cars and/or their own vehicles.
- Trucks for transporting freight are becoming more heavily loaded with sensors and information-sharing systems to increase efficiency and reduce logistical errors. Past press on how technology will impact truckers has focused on pure displacement of human labor by autonomous vehicles, but in light of how problematic those attempts have been so far, the hybrid approach of leveraging augmenting and instrumenting tools will likely be the model for some time.
- Kuri is the latest intentionally humanoid consumer robot to get canceled or scaled back, as voice-based interfaces from Amazon and Google continue to expand and fulfill 90%+ of the functionality their more mechanically complex counterparts.
- IBM has spent large sums of money marketing the AI abilities of their technology tools, singing their praises for tasks like improving the power grid or diagnosing cancer. From internal documents and doctor accounts, it seems at least that latter claim was dangerously overblown, with reports of IBM's Watson product recommending incorrect and potentially fatal treatment regimens. This gap between the high-tech promise of transformative medical technologies and the the messier reality is not unique to big data or AI schemes: innovations from implants to surgical robots often leave a trail of victims and broken promises as they make their way to technological maturity. Corporations and communities would do well to meet marketing claims with greater skepticism, and their real-world implementation with careful consideration and plenty of safeguards.
- An archive of 2,000 test faxes, many of which read as a personalized "hello world" or hopeful or joking communiqués sent out into the void. Sketches, notes, scans of physical objects: these are the cave drawings of a specific moment in human and technological history.
- The potential conflict between the right to know you're talking to a 'bot, and free speech allowances for letting a bot be a bot, privately.