Automakers, legislators, and others are excited about putting autonomous vehicles (AV’s) on the road as quickly as possible, and they cite many benefits. They’re pushing hard and investing a lot of money, but there are simple reasons why self-driving cars will not rule the road any time soon, no matter how beneficial they might be. For starters, some people will prefer to drive themselves or ride with a human driver. Inevitably some people will feel insecure riding in an AV and will refuse to ride in one, let alone buy one. While the numbers of those rejecting AV’s for such reasons may be small, they will sustain a demand for self-controlled vehicles to remain on the roads longer, presenting serious problems for AV operators. But that’s just the beginning – there are other major problems with AV’s that are not often mentioned in the media. Continue reading
Category Archives: future business
The adoption of digital communications technology keeps accelerating, but brings risk. The crash phase of the global population explosion may not start with food shortages, global pandemic, or world war, but with a widespread shutdown of the internet. The disruption to our shipping, energy, and food systems would be catastrophic. But isn’t the internet too resilient from its diversity, complexity, and vast extent to be at risk of a global shutdown? How might this come about? Continue reading
An excellent article recently appeared at Spiegel Online International titled “The Warming World: Is Capitalism Destroying Our Planet?” and I highly recommend reading it through to the end. In it the authors give in-depth information on the current status of the global climate, relating it back to human activity and national and international politics. (Millions of tons of CO2 going into the atmosphere every day has to have an impact, sooner or later.) The politics of various key nations and the negotiations at past climate conferences are described, and a lot of the latest climate science is brought forth. The topic is a bit frightening but of such critical importance to us that, really, every adult should have to read this article (whether they believe it or not).
Then, better informed, we need to take action, vote for politicians who are deserving, and “clean up our acts” by making many changes in our selves, our decisions, and our lifestyles in order to preserve a reasonably habitable world for our kids. The trouble is … it might already be too late.
Thanks for reading — Tim
If you’ve never been to a maker faire, especially a big regional one like the one at the Henry Ford, you have missed a lot of fun, not to mention the sight of a huge group of people of all ages having more fun than you’ve ever seen before.
I was fortunate enough to have the chance to spend the afternoon with my friends of the Illuminatus Light Show demonstrating and explaining inexpensive laser light show equipment to people of all ages, which was a blast in itself, but the wild things going on everywhere inside and outside the museum were highly entertaining, too. Robots of every size and description, crazy looking multi-rider bicycles, and amazing costumes and contraptions were everywhere, being demonstrated and with their inner workings exposed to all. There were a lot of people learning how to solder and construct and program their ideas into a technological form. That was all great, but there was also a LOT of a most striking current-and-future technology: 3D printing. Continue reading
For years I have watched the debate over genetically modified organisms (GMO), predominantly food items, with interest but not been sure where the problem was. Recent news articles have given me some new thoughts on the matter and a real cause for concern, however. Current genetic modifications, predominantly created and promoted by Monsanto, make food crops resistant to weed-killing chemicals so that more of those chemicals can be used without harming the crops. The higher yield of those crops is offered as reason enough to use these genetically modified seeds. The GM crops are generally tougher to kill and that, while it has benefits, presents the real problems. Continue reading
Food systems are going to be of primary importance as population peaks. If, as the UN says, population will reach more than 9 billion in the 2040’s before beginning a steep decline, the causes of that decline are important to consider today. A historical review of population reductions shows that neither war nor the natural disasters we’ve seen so far make a noticeable difference, but suggests that famine and possibly disease have the potential to make major reductions in the population. Decades ago I expected that we might pollute our world so badly that average lifespans would fall, but there has been some progress on preserving the environment and it appears that energy and food shortages created by overpopulation are bigger concerns. (Of course, the primary concern SHOULD be overpopulation itself, as these other problems are results of it.) If organic food and farming methods are more costly than agribusiness’ methods now, why would they replace the hugely productive methods used to produce most food in the developed world today? Continue reading
Are the chickens of the population explosion coming home to roost? An Associated Press article today covered the employment situation in the United States, where the addition of 150,000 jobs in the last month barely matched the increase in the population. It occurred to me that these new people in the population will themselves have children someday, and that in the near future we may see the population growth consistently exceeding the addition of jobs by higher and higher margins. This suggests large and increasing numbers of people will be unemployed, and the middle class will be driven into poverty by the simple mathematics of the population explosion. In addition, conservative attacks on unions and public schools means the middle class will be less well educated and increasingly powerless before corporations larger and more powerful than most countries. Continue reading