A series for Medium members on the implications of self-driving technology

Over the last month I’ve been writing a series for Medium’s paid member section — Your Autonomous Future. I’ve drilled down into the industries and habits that stand to change once autonomous vehicles achieve mainstream adoption, including media preferences, travel and hospitality, logistics, public transportation, and politics. If you’re a member, and haven’t checked out the full series yet, I’ve included each of the five articles below.

However, I have one caveat before you jump in. In this series, I did not cover the topic that I think to be the biggest obstacle to AV adoption: algorithmic ethics. I believe…


Job losses, pay cuts, and ineffective retraining could mimic the trajectory of the Rust Belt

Photo: Harrie van Veen (CC by 2.0)

April 2, 2032:

John’s brother Evan was apoplectic with rage. “A 40 percent pay cut — can you believe that? I’ve been with the company for 15 years, and this is the thanks I get?”

Evan had been a driver with Amazon ever since it opened a warehouse in his hometown. John had worried that Evan was putting himself at risk by sticking with the job — despite reports of driver layoffs at other companies — and now it seemed that his fears were justified.

Evan’s anger cooled into despair. “I thought it was just a terrible April Fools’ joke…


Governments need to ensure that long-term investments aren’t undercut by emerging technologies

Olli. Photo: Local Motors

August 15, 2032:

While browsing through his news feed on the way to his office, John came across a video from a local news station.

“The Charlotte Area Transit System has announced that the Lynx light rail, Charlotte’s 25-year-old public transit network, will be shutting down at the end of the year,” the anchor announced, “citing declining ridership, rising maintenance costs, and an inability to compete with fares from competing ride-share companies. If you’re still a Lynx rider, let us know what you think about the move. And if you object, be sure to join the open hearing on the…


Tangible benefits for business operations and consumers alike

Photo: EU Truck Platooning

July 4, 2031:

“I think our microwave is broken.” John tapped a few buttons, then turned to his wife, Karen, who put on her most patient smile. “Did you turn it off and on again?” “Yeah, yeah, very funny,” John retorted. Damn, just in time to ruin lunch. He’d have to fend for himself in the meantime, but maybe he could replace it before their friends came over for fireworks? “Alexa, order us a new GE microwave.”

Instantly, Amazon’s warehouse receives the order and launches into a flurry of motion. Autonomous robots query the warehouse database and set off for…


Cars designed to cater to most of your needs en route will have a big impact on the travel and hospitality industries

A 1950s-era ad for America’s Independent Electric Light and Power Companies.

November 10, 2030:

“You should come up to New York for the day,” Amy said. “I’ll introduce you to your new account team.” John agreed that it was a good idea — it didn’t hurt to get some face time with the new boss now that Amy had taken charge of the operations department. “That sounds good,” he replied, “I’ll meet you for Starbucks around the corner from the office at seven tomorrow.” It was currently 9 p.m. as John looked out at the Charlotte, North Carolina, skyline, mostly unobstructed aside from a few late Amazon drone shipments.

Disconnecting the…


Autonomy will threaten audio’s century-long dominance in cars

Photo: sv1ambo via Flickr, CC by-SA-2.0

April 19, 2020

Monday morning: Time for John to drive to work. In years past, he drove his neighbor Emma to downtown Charlotte, where they worked a few blocks from each other. But this is a special day: It’s their first time trying out Uber’s new self-driving car, Uber Chauffeur. After hearing his friends rave about it, John decided to sell his aging (and costly) car. From now on, his commute with Emma would be shared as passengers.

It wasn’t much of a change for Emma — a passenger is a passenger no matter who is driving — but John…


Photo Credit: Blue Origin

Bezos, Musk, and Branson can’t plug the gap between America’s ambitions and its funding for Orion

You might have seen an article in The New York Times featuring Jeff Bezos’ most recent contribution to space exploration.

Standing against the backdrop of his New Shepard rocket booster and a full-scale mock capsule for carrying humans into space, Jeff Bezos revealed on Wednesday that he was selling about $1 billion in Amazon stock a year to finance his Blue Origin rocket company.

Mr. Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon, showed off the reusable rocket booster and the mock-up of the capsule that will take people up for panoramic views back down at earth, during a symposium here.

Mr…


So be careful when you create and design for silence.

Should we publish video on social platforms with or without sound? That was one of the big debates last year, especially with regards to publishing on Facebook and Snapchat.

In a 2016 industry survey, Digiday found that 85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound:

The news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Facebook has built a video ecosystem that does not require users to turn the volume up — and publishers have been more than happy to play ball. Most users’ news feeds are now inundated with short videos that feature text or captions narrating what’s…


First your car, then your world

You may have heard of the phrase “peak attention” or “peak content” before — likely from the many media and research organizations that have been pointing toward this phenomenon for some time now.

Based on eMarketer’s most recent study, growth in time spent with media will decline to just 0.1% YOY by 2018. This is a long way off of the steady growth of the mid-2000s, driven primarily by the introduction of smartphones — those pesky time-sucks whose pop-up notifications fit oh-so-nicely into the micromoments of our day (/s).

A cursory glance at the trends might lead one to believe…


Stop lying to coal miners and start preparing them for the jobs of the future

Miners at the Virginia-Pocahontas Coal Company Mine, 1974. Photo Credit: National Archives

Donald Trump appeared in front of a podium on Tuesday to turn back the clock on America’s climate change agenda. That’s a big, if unfortunate, news story by itself, but what really got my attention was an anecdote that President Trump used toward the beginning of his speech (emphasis mine):

I want to acknowledge the amazing people behind me on this stage: Our incredible coal miners. We love our coal miners. Great people.

Over the past two years, I’ve spent time with the miners all over America. They told me about the struggles they’ve endured. I actually… went to a…

Joshua Lasky

I used to work for @AtlanticMedia. I still do, but I used to, too. Formerly Remedy Health Media, @Atlantic57, @HonestTea. Long suffering @nyjets fan.

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