The Future of Tech

The future is here. Imagine driving while at the same time reading the newspaper.

The self-driving cars’ brain uses deep learning technology to review cameras and GPS data to predict the fastest route to your destination with specialized algorithms always running between the computerized parts in and around the car’s engine. The vehicle can also calculate the probability of actions to be taken by other drivers and the chance of natural occurrences as you speed up on the road. It will really be a long time till fully autonomous cars are available for public consumption and even then, the human consumers will need to stay somehow alert in case the car has sensory or technical difficulties.

One of the biggest challenges of this technology is that, considering the services it offers, it’s not too expensive. In a standard self-driving car, the extra sensitive global positioning system needed for this car, which would utilize internal altimeters, gyroscopes and tachometers for accuracy, ranges between $80-$60,000. Video cameras mounted on the roof range between $125-$200. Radars and sensors mounted around the back combine to a total of around $150. The Laidar towering on the top of the car is the most expensive that amounts to $8000 and central computers which start, steer and stop the car average out to 3 times the sensor cost.

As calculated by the Boston Consulting Group, cars with the ability to put on an auto pilot mode would reach out an extra $5,500 more than the actual price and $10,000 with a machinery to go entirely driverless. It’s pretty affordable when you think of a science fiction vehicle like this could be at your neighbors’ fingertips.

To make sure that the self-driving cars and the ordinary cars are able to share the same road, government agencies like the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration) have stepped in. They are analyzing the data to see what roadway practice is needed for self-driving cars. With the new regulations, certain features are already being included on the cars to make them safer. The new models include real mounted back cameras as from May 1st, 2018 this is a required feature by the NHTSA. According to the administration, they believe that this requirement will annually save 69 additional lives. Forward collision board is another requirement and whether you have noticed it or not, it’s been in several different makes and models since 2003. This feature applies extra pressure to the brakes when the car is approaching an obstacle at a faster speed. Some cars currently on the road have computerized auto pilot detection on standby it kicks in when the human driver isn’t moving fast enough, and the cars must swerve into a new lane.

Google, Toyota, Honda, Nissan think they will all be ready by 2020. Google’s prototype has already logged over 1.8 million miles as at July 2016 now known as Waymo. Google has unleashed a fleet of 100 modified driverless cars throughout the streets of Arizona. Volvo on the other hand not only expects to have driverless cars on the market by 2020 but have also said that their version will be death proof. 81% of car accidents are caused by human error alone. The sweetest car manufacturer expects their cars to reach a full 100% accident survival rate. This depends on hard work, manufacturing materials and string testing regulations.

Uber paired with Volvo and the Carnegie Mellon University robotics department to test vehicles in the streets of Pittsburgh in 2016. On the other side of the US, Lyft teamed up with drive.ai in San Francisco to test its latest vehicles with human passengers to see just how the time of day and weather can mess with the fussy sensory equipment.

Below are some pros and cons that come along with this:

+ Increased road safety.

+ Decrease on road accidents will cause medical costs to shrink.

+ The old and elderly will be able to use the cars and go where they want to go and do what they want to do.

+ Speeding charges will go down then the police can spend more time focusing on other impactful issues.

–  Car insurance may become extinct since the computer will eventually be making all decisions and perhaps the premium will be paid by the car manufacturer.

–  Increased fuel measures could lead to more pollution.

Is Data the new oil?

I agree with the economist that the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. This has been shortened to the catch phrase that “Data is the new oil”. If you type that phrase on google, you will see a lot of traction to this idea. For example, we had the CBC broadcasting that Data is the new oil: Your personal information is the most valuable commodity then a famous quote says “There is a time that black gold ruled the globe, but “Black Gold” is no longer the world’s most valuable resource. It’s been surpassed by data.”

 The five most valuable companies in the world today-Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Google parent company Alphabet have commodified data and taken over their respective sectors.

The author of “Move fast and Break things” explains clearly that Data is clearly the new oil. Look at how Google, Facebook and Amazon have cornered culture and undermined democracy. This comes with responsibility because you now have to struggle with how to contain, regulate and control those zeros and ones. On the contrary BBC had its report that data is not the new oil and we all know that this is just an analogy and it comes with its own interesting nuances.

I believe that data is the new oil if we use it in the right way. By that I mean for commercial reasons, societal reasons or even individual reasons keeping it safe and observing ethics around data.

How can we use data in a social setting for example? Payments data and satellite imagery data can be used to identify the way industrial activity is progressing including mobile phone movement. You can easily figure out which part of an area is more impacted than the other.

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