On the weird, powerful materialist draw of the digital interior design game Design Home that boasts millions of users, all striving to create a better home, virtually.
Feeding the Future:
A good analysis of efforts to create a meatless burger that hovers in the uncanny valley of meatiness, and why the strong cultural associations of a burger make it a difficult target for veggie-fying.
KitchenAid, the subsidiary of Whirpool best known for their iconic stand mixers, invests heavily in educating its manufacturing workforce, a once common practice that has dwindled over decades. While complaints of a lack of qualified workers is often chalked up to a skills gap, employers are in the best position to close that gap, gaining loyal employees in the deal.
Despite the growing number of unfilled manufacturing industry jobs, high-performing firms like Minnesota's Protolabs are building intensive recruitment programs to draw in workers for the new and improved roles that 21st century manufacturing has to offer.
Today's wealthy men could work less, but end up working more than their predecessors, perhaps because workplaces have taken the place of churches, temples, or clubs as centers of meaning and community in recent decades. Given that jobs are, well, jobs, and not actually (usually) causes or communities, making the workplace the central axis of your world may not be an ideal configuration for attaining a lasting sense of place and purpose. Sometimes work is just work.
An excellent long read from Jill Lepore on historical fears of automation and how gendered forms of labor could impact the winners and losers of the later 21st century labor pool, among other things.
Because much of our built world is based on a (flawed) assumption of bipedal human movement, wheeled robots (and people using wheeled devices for mobility) face immense challenges in navigating them. Indeed, this article from IEEE Spectrum totally misses the fact that human movement is not synonymous with walking. The "we" here forgets disabilities, and the changes in mobility that come with young age, old age, and transient or chronic health issues like disease or injury: "We step through narrow spaces, we navigate around obstacles, we go up and down steps. Robots on wheels or tracks can’t easily move around the spaces we’ve optimized for our own bodies." Rather than rethinking how robots should move, perhaps we should rethink the layout of our domestic and commercial spaces to better serve the range of real, present day human mobility needs. Robots would benefit from the bargain, but more importantly, so would the rest of us.